Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A Bride of Convenience by Jody Hedlund

About the Book
Unemployed mill worker Zoe Hart jumps at the opportunity to emigrate to British Columbia in 1863 to find a better life and be reunited with her brother, who fled from home after being accused of a crime.
Pastor to miners in the mountains, Abe Merivale discovers an abandoned baby during a routine visit to Victoria and joins efforts with Zoe, one of the newly arrived bride-ship women, to care for the infant. While there, he's devastated by the news from his fiancee in England that she's marrying another man.
With mounting pressure to find the baby a home, Zoe accepts a proposal from a miner of questionable character after he promises to help her locate her brother. Intent on protecting Zoe and frustrated by his failed engagement, Abe offers his own hand as groom. After a hasty wedding, they soon realize their marriage of convenience is not so convenient after all.

My Thoughts
Jody Hedlund has been on my favorite authors list since the very first time I read one of her books almost 8 years ago! And I have faithfully read everything she has written ever since. The first two books in this Bride Ships series being among some of my favorites for sure so I was more than a little excited to read this book especially when I realized it would contain my all-time favorite trope, marriage of convenience! But, this one didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
We met Pastor Abe in the previous books and I was looking forward to seeing him get his happily ever after. He seemed like such a great guy and after watching him help his friend win over his girl I was excited for him to find someone too. He was a very selfless and giving person, always going out of his way to care for everyone around him and I admired that. There were just times that I wanted him to have more of a backbone and actually stand up for something rather than kowtowing all the time.
Zoe Hart (always love seeing any part of my name in books) was a bit of an enigma, sometimes being brazen and bold but then turning around and acting shy. They way she was willing to care for children left in dire straits was certainly commendable even if sometimes it felt illogical.

Zoe and Abe had an interesting relationship, there was a lot of confusion and moments of hot then cold and so much could have been cleared up with an honest conversation that never happened. They were well suited though and their way to their own happy ending.

Meet the Author
Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of over 20 historical novels for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy Award, Carol Award, and Christian Book Award. She lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy teens, and five spoiled cats. Visit her at www.jodyhedlund.com.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

At Love's Command by Karen Witemeyer

About the Book
Haunted by the horrors of war, ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries known as Hanger's Horsemen who have become legends in 1890s Texas. They defend the innocent and obtain justice for the oppressed. But when a rustler's bullet leaves one of them at death's door, they're the ones in need of saving.
Dr. Josephine Burkett is used to men taking one look at her skirts and discounting her medical skills. What she's not used to is having a man change his mind in a heartbeat and offer to assist her in surgery. Matthew Hanger's dedication to his friend during recovery earns Josephine's respect, and when she hears of her brother's abduction, he becomes her only hope for rescue.

Matt has stared down ruthless outlaws, betrayal, and injury, but when a bossy lady doctor crawls under his skin, his heart is tempted to surrender. And when she is caught in the crossfire, he may have to sacrifice everything--even his team--to save her.

My Thoughts
This book was a breath of fresh air that I desperately needed after a string of books that didn’t quite reach the mark for me! Karen Witemeyer has long been a favorite author of mine and this book just proved how much she deserves her spot on that list!
I absolutely adored Matthew and Josephine! From their very first meeting the sparks flew and their banter and chemistry had me laughing out loud and grinning like a fool throughout the whole book! They were both no nonsense people who got the job done no matter what and I loved how well matched they were. I also really appreciated the way they respected each other and discussed things instead of making demands, arguing, or getting offended!
I also loved the other three Horsemen! Preach, Jonah, and Mark all had their own unique personalities that made you love them and I can’t wait till we get their stories!
There was a decent bit of action in this book too and it was so well written that I could easily envision it all going down! They way the Horsemen worked together was a thing of beauty and I loved watching them in action!

In short, there was nothing about this book I didn’t love and I’m already anxious to get the rest of the series!

Meet the Author
Voted #1 Reader's Favorite Christian Romance Author of 2019 by Family Fiction Magazine, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. She makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

A Gilded Lady by Elizabeth Camden

About the Book
Caroline Delacroix is at the pinnacle of Washington high society in her role as secretary to the first lady of the United States. But beneath the faade of her beauty, glamorous wardrobe, and dazzling personality, she's hiding a terrible secret. If she cannot untangle a web of foreign espionage, her brother will face execution for treason.
Nathaniel Trask is the newly appointed head of the president's Secret Service team. He is immediately suspicious of Caroline despite his overwhelming attraction to her quick wit and undeniable charm. Desperate to keep the president protected, Nathaniel must battle to keep his focus fully on his job as the threat to the president rises.

Amid the glamorous pageantry of Gilded Age Washington, DC, Caroline and Nathaniel will face adventure, danger, and heartbreak in a race against time that will span the continent and the depth of human emotion.

My Thoughts
This series is fast becoming my favorite of Camden’s works and I am not mad about it!
After meeting Caroline in book one of this series I knew she’d be a heroine to admire and that it was going to take a very special man to capture her heart. I was right on both accounts!
Caroline was an expertly crafted character, she was confident and charming without being arrogant or obnoxious. And while she’d had a bit of a wild side growing up she had learned how to temper it, making her a lady of poise and grace who wasn’t afraid to break rules if the situation called for it!
Nathaniel was the exact opposite of Caroline, a rule-follower to the bitter end he came across as hard and unyielding. But Caroline saw through that to the amazing dedicated man he was and I loved watching her coax him out of his professional wall. The two of them were a study in opposites attract and they balanced each other so well! I loved watching their relationship slowly unfold!
One of my favorite things about Camden’s writing is all the historical detail she incorporates! She takes bits of history that often are overlooked, especially in fiction, and brings them to light in a completely brilliant way that leaves you knowing so much more than you did at the start without ever bogging the reader down in the details. It is all organically woven into the story and I applaud her greatly for that! I loved getting an inside look at life in the White House 120 years ago and I was shocked by how lackadaisical security was! I’m so glad that has changed and extreme measures are taken now to protect the First Family! It was interesting to watch Nathaniel implement his security ideas which seemed so over the top to the staff then but would be taken as the bare minimum now!
It was also fascinating to read about how things were handled following the president’s assassination and the swearing in of Roosevelt. I hadn’t really considered how the changing of staff would go in that situation.
We also got to read more about Luke, who, when we left him in book one, was being held in Cuba for charges of treason. I loved getting more of his story and I cannot wait to read even more when his book comes out!

In short I loved this book and definitely recommend it! And while you could probably read this series as standalones there are continuing threads throughout that make more sense when read as a whole!

Meet the Author
Elizabeth Camden is best known for her historical novels set in Gilded Age America. Before she was a writer, she was an academic librarian. Her novels have won the RITA and Christy Award and have appeared on the CBA bestsellers list. She lives in Orlando, Florida, with her husband, who graciously tolerates her intimidating stockpile of books. Learn more at www.elizabethcamden.com.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.