Tag Archive | historical romance

A Match of Wits (Book Review)

a match of witsA Match of Wits by Jen Turano is the fourth book in her historical romance series. I was given this book to review at my request. I have enjoyed Jen’s writings ever since reading her first book A Change of Fortune. I equally enjoyed A Talent for Trouble and A Most Peculiar Circumstance. A Match of Wits did not disappoint in displaying Jen’s unique voice filled with wit and whimsy.

Agatha is a reporter from New York who someone wants dead. To preserve her life she heads West to seek stories and write, encountering a series of adventures along the way, keeping her bodyguard and companion busy. Her deepest secret is the love she had for a certain man, Zayne, who reappears when she least expects it in a Colorado mining town.

Zayne is at his low point in life and looks now more like a scraggly mountain man than the dashing man about town Agatha used to know. Having struck gold in a mine and been left with a permanent and painful leg, Zayne Beckett has chosen a life of isolation to nurse his wounds and avoid any real relationships, including that of his friends and family back in New York. Agatha however finds Zayne at this low point and through a further series of misadventures, and coerces him into going home to recover from his latest disaster.

Little did Zayne realize that the exquisite and irritating Agatha was the woman he loved all along. With her life in danger and his leg in a cast, how is he to protect her? And why, with all the schemes of the matchmakers around him, can he not woo this woman to be his wife?

If this book were a movie I think it would rival an old slapstick with the antics the characters engage in.  I could imagine a young Dick Van Dyke as Zayne! Jen writes her humorous romances with a light touch and while she places them in ridiculous situations at times, she writes a believable and enjoyable story filled with love and faith that will leave you smiling. Well done, Jen and again, a beautiful cover by Bethany House.

 

Stuck Together (Book Review)

10948 StuckTogether_mck.inddI have always enjoyed Mary Connealy’s western romances with their high adventure and lovable characters. Stuck Together is the third in the Trouble in Texas series and I was given a free copy to read of the book for the purpose of this review.

Vince Yates has sworn to never marry. As the only law in the dead-end town of Broken Wheel, he has seen enough in his life to make him weary and cynical. He suffered horribly from the Civil War but that didn’t compare to the emotional wounds left by his tyrannical father. His deepest wounds are hidden under his rough “Invincible Vince” persona.

Tina Cahill lives with her brother, Jonas, one of the men who makes up his circle of friends. She pickets the saloon and cooks for the town at the diner and gives Vince sass right and left. He enjoys sparring with her and as one of the few single women in town, watching her walk her line all the while trying to keep her out of trouble.

Trouble comes in the form of Vince’s father, mother and a sister he had been unaware of. After he had refused a summons to come home to care for his mother suffering from dementia, they had come to him. His father high-tailed it out-of-town leaving the women in Vince’s unsuspecting care. His new sister falls for a friend leaving Tina and Vince in charge of his mother, trying to prevent her from endangering herself.

More trouble comes his way that threatens the well-being everyone he loves and Vince rushes headlong into the danger to save his friends, fearing that dementia is in his future which means he can never marry the woman he loves. They all learn hard lessons about trusting God with their future as they fight for it.

I love the complexity of Mary’s characters and the humor she adds to her stories. Danger, deep friendships and faith all weave together to give a romance and a happily ever after that will make you glad you came to Broken Wheel for a visit through the pages of this book.

 

Full Steam Ahead (Book Review)

full steam aheadI’ve enjoyed Karen Witemeyer’s books and when the opportunity came to read a galley for a review, I jumped at the chance. Full Steam Ahead is a slightly different turn for Karen’s historical romances, but one that is enjoyable none-the-less.

The story’s heroine is Nicole Renard, the only child of the owner of Renard Shipping. She’s been raised on shipping and fully capable, in her eyes, of being the heir her father needs for his business. If only he saw it that way.

A dagger that has been in the family for centuries has the superstition that the holder of it prospers. Renard’s competitors, the Jenkins, are eager to take possession and that desire has bordered now on an evil obsession that threatens the health and well-being of Nicole’s already sick father, and the safety of her and her mother.

In an attempt to save her family and the business, Nicole agrees to travel to find an acceptable heir to run the business. She will have the choice of the business associates of her father for the role. Unbeknownst to him, she secrets the dagger with her. To avoid capture by the evil Jenkin’s brothers, she takes a detour which deprives her of the majority of her funds. To continue on her journey she needs a job.

Darious Thornton has seen tragic things that have motivated him to pursue safety for steam travel. He desperately needs a secretary and in spite of the distraction of a female, he hires Nicole. Not only can she read his writing, she can correct his errors and he finds his work is moving along faster. Not only that but the delightful young woman who doesn’t fear challenging this crusty bachelor, saves his life. But he learns Nicole is keeping secrets, deadly secrets. He’s determined to protect her.

As the Jenkin’s brothers come searching for her, perhaps he can save her life well. And maybe gain a wife in the bargain. As both lean on God and face their own weakness in their faith and challenge each other to growth, love blooms. Can it overtake the evil? Would the eccentric inventor ever be a person Nicole’s father could accept as an heir? Can she trust her future to God instead of an old useless weapon?

I loved this story and had no trouble finding time to read it. This lacked some of Karen’s whimsy although a bit is there. The romance heats up in a tasteful and delightful way. The faith element is real and not in your face but an honest and authentic expression of the struggles the characters face. If you like western romances, you’ll enjoy this story rooted in serious issues of the time period that plant it solidly in history.

As usual, Bethany House has done a superb job on the cover art as well.

Stealing the Preacher (Book Review)

stealing the preacherI have loved Karen Witemeyer’s writing and looked forward to reading Stealing the Preacher. I was not disappointed.

This book is a follow up to Short Straw Bride and looks at Crockett a few years after Travis and Meridith tie the knot. Crockett Archer is now a preacher looking for a church and headed to candidate for one. He is kidnapped from his train to fulfill a birthday wish for an ex-outlaw’s daughter.

Joanna Robbins loves God and has not only mourned the passing of her godly mother, but the departure of the pastor who once shepherded their small flock.  She has taken on the burden of seeing her father come to know the Lord. Can she possibly convince Crockett that his kidnapping was within God’s perfect plan and that the church he is to pastor is right across the field and not in a city further away?

Crockett is a great example of modesty, passion and purity as he takes on the various challenges laid before him and makes a great hero. Joanna is his biggest cheerleader but fearful that no one would love someone like her but falls in love with her father’s new ranch hand who also stirs her heart on Sunday mornings with his powerful preaching. Will  the two finally be able to come together as one with Joanna’s father so opposed to the man and another woman bend on having him for herself?

This book was a great read. If you like lighthearted western romances then this tale of Piney Cove, Texas will be a fun adventure for you. I enjoyed every moment. Thank you again, Karen!  Enjoy this cute trailer: Stealing the Preacher Book Trailer

A Noble Groom (Book Review)

Noble Groom HedlundWhen I saw that Jody Hedlund had a new book out I checked to see if the library was going to be getting A Noble Groom and was thrilled to put it on hold before it ever came in. This is the second time now that I’ve been able to snag a copy of a newly released novel. Ah, bliss!

Jody is well known for her ability to research an area and topic and create a story that reflects real life events. This is what makes her novels more than just historical romance. They are true historicals but romance is definitely in these pages.

Let me say this, Ms. Hedlund writes well and honestly and she is going to take you emotionally into places you may not want to go before giving you a happy ending. In this novel, taking place in Michigan, highlights the struggles of German immigrants who are struggling to adapt to a life of farming after originally immigrating with the goal to take up their mining labors like they had in Saxony.

Annalisa is an obedient daughter, married to a man of her father’s choosing. Hans isn’t brutal but neglectful and more interested in gambling away the farm than providing for his growing family. Annalisa ends up widowed, pregnant and the mother of a young daughter who is trying to keep the farm and hold off the attacks of a man who wants her property to build a lumber mill.

Annalisa’s father sends a note to his brother in Germany, to see if a relative might be available to come and take over the reigns of Annalisa’s farm, and be her husband.  When a man arrives on their doorstep months later, they assume it is the groom, but it’s not.

Carl Richards is on the run from a death sentence in Germany, but if the people that have taken him in and provided him with food, shelter and hard labor like he has never known, were to discover his true identity, they would kill him first. Carl is in reality the only son of a Baron who oversees the mines where Annalisa’s family used to work, and where her brother died.

A growing attraction develops and Carl is torn between his deception and love for Annalisa who still awaits her groom from the Old Country. When he finally arrives they will have difficult choices to make. A natural, historical tragedy, puts them all at risk. Will everyone survive the test?

I enjoyed this story very much. It highlighted the trials and the marriages of the era, where love was not the point of marriage, but a partnership for survival. Jody highlights the idea that even then, love and kindness can flourish during dark and difficult times, when one is committed to God. A worthy read.

Swept Away – Trouble in Texas Book 1 (Book Review)

swept  awayI enjoyed the antics of the Kincaid brothers and their brides so I looked forward to reading Mary Connealy’s latest venture, Swept Away.

I was quickly swept into the story as the heroine of the piece. Ruthy McNeil is a scrappy little thing and far tougher than I would be given the challenges she was dealt. For all that she was a trusting soul as well when rescued, after being swept away in a flood,  by a total stranger in the handsome package of Luke Stone.

Having rescued Ruth, Luke figures the only thing for him to do is take her with him, hoping to find a place for her before he fights for his ranch.  They meet up with a band of friends with deep bonds forged in Anderson prison where they served as “Regulators.” There they had been in the difficult position of keeping order, even amongst their fellow prisoners which some saw as traitorous.

These men have noble character and willingness to risk all for each other. Ruth comes to respect them and buys into their cause, whether they like it or not. Throw in an abused wife and action bursts forth until they are all swept away.

I liked the historical aspect of delving in the bond forged by men in prison during wartime. To deal with death and deprivation as well as the other dangers inherent with desperate men, these men emerged with honor intact and a desire to do what is right above all. The added sub-story of domestic abuse highlights the challenges many women faced in the brutal west. Abuse was not reported and who would interfere with a man’s right to control his wife? These men, however, refused to turn a blind eye and it becomes more important to rescue the victim above claiming the stolen property.

There are traces of humor as well in this story. I love that these simple men can have such cute thoughts and Luke tops them all, especially in regards to his new, and unexpected wife. It’s a sweet thing to watch their relationship.

I look forward to book two in this series which takes up Glynna’s story. Poor Dare. He’s got it bad. It will be fun to see how this pioneer woman who has been through so much will fire up the local doctor. It will also be fun to see the friendship between Glynna and Ruthie develop.

To Honor and Trust (Book Review)

honor and trust coverThe latest historical romance by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller, To Honor and Trust, is a sweet story. Callie works as a governess for a family which puts her in an awkward situation. Not quite a servant and not quite family, but often treated as such, she struggles to seek God’s will for her future. Marriage is not on her list of possibilities after being spurned by her previous fiancé.

Thomas is part of a wealthy family and struggling with his own future as he avoids the machinations of his father and brother to embroil them in the family business, the one things that definitely not on his agenda of future possibilities.

As the two meet on Bridal Island and interact, Thomas doesn’t realize the social upbringing of Callie is similar to his own and Callie doesn’t understand that the golf pro she has come to admire, is actually a man who is wealthy.

When the truth is discovered, Callie is distraught. After all, Thomas has lied to her. A strange accident and a mysterious series of crimes culminate to throw the two together or tear them apart forever. No spoiler here – the cover kind of gives away the ending.

I enjoyed the story and characters but felt the ending went on too long. It almost felt like the start of another story that then leaves one hanging. But that’s just my opinion. In spite of that it was a fun book to read.