Before the Fortress Falls

About the Book:

Before the Fortress Falls by [A. L. Sowards]

Title: Before the Fortress Falls

Author: A. L. Sowards

Release Day: April 1, 2022

Publisher: Covenant Communications

Formats: Print, ebook, audio

Genres: Christian Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, War Fiction

When rumors reach Vienna that an attack by the Ottoman army is imminent, Wilhelm von Schor, one of the emperor’s courtiers, prepares to evacuate his family—including his sister, Katja. But Katja’s reluctance to leave the city and the people she loves so well grows the farther the family carriage gets from her childhood home. When she learns that another brother, Xavier, is returning to Vienna with his musketeers, she decides to remain behind and face the shadow of war.

Katja soon reunites with Xavier and also with Toby, a dear friend from childhood. As Katja and Toby renew their friendship, an element of attraction builds on the comradery of their youth, and they quickly realize they have found something worth fighting for: love. But all too soon, the Ottomans encircle the city, blanketing its inhabitants in fear. Katja, Toby, and Xavier must each fulfill their new roles if they are to survive. In the overcrowded hospitals, below ground in the countermines, and on the ramparts defending the city walls, the three must fight for love, family, faith, and the survival of their city and everyone inside.

Book Trailer:

Book Review:

Wow! This was a stunning book. This book started off a bit slower for me but I knew that it could happen. My brain takes a while to process things so it took me a little while to read, but it was a great book! Before the Fortress Falls is by A.L. Sowards. The characters were so engaging and the story was beautiful. It was fun to read from different perspectives and I think it really made the story interesting. 

Katja was a strong character who was trying to do what she thought was best. Although the Ottoman army was coming, she chose to stay in Vienna. I thought that Katja was an interesting character, she felt so real. Life was hard, they were in the midst of a siege and yet she did not give up. However I liked how there were still times when she was afraid or when she felt overwhelmed, but how she still pressed on and looked to God. 

Toby was also a wonderful character, his life had not been easy but he worked hard. I liked his strength and his willingness to help serve his home city. Although he was afraid, he still wanted to protect his home. He was human though and there were times when he got discouraged. However though it all he still worked hard and he even encouraged Katja when she got down. 

Toby and Katja had a sweet romance. They had been old friends, and it was sweet to read about them. I liked how their romance was a slow burn, it was definitely cute to read about them interacting and helping each other. They had their troubles and an invasion to fight off, but they worked together. 

Xavier and Wilhelm were some of the other perspectives that you got to see. I really liked reading from both of their perspectives. They had a few different views on life, but they both wanted to save their home city. Although they fought and disagreed, they were still family. I really liked the family feel of this book. Katja, Wilhelm, and Xavier all had different views on life and ideas, but they still cared for each other even when things got hard. 

The action was very exciting in this book and it was definitely fascinating to read about. I felt as if I learned a lot from the battle scenes and from what the soldiers did to try and prepare for battle. It was really engaging. There are some more gruesome wounds and deaths mentioned but it fits the book and the scene. 

Before the Fortress Falls is a wonderful book and I would definitely recommend it! Before the Fortress Falls is a historical romance book. 

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required. 

About the Author:

A. L. Sowards is the author of multiple historical fiction novels, with settings spanning the globe from the fourteenth to twentieth centuries. Her stories have earned a Whitney Award, several Whitney Finalists positions, and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal. She enjoys hiking and swimming, usually manages to keep up with the laundry, and loves it when someone else cooks dinner. She currently lives in the beautiful state of Alaska with her husband, three children, and an ever-growing library.

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The Mozart Code

About the Book:

Title: The Mozart Code
Author: Rachel McMillan
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: March 15th, 2022
Genre: Historical Romance

No matter how you might try to hide in a war to escape your past, it is always close at hand.

Lady Sophia Huntington Villiers is no stranger to intrigue, as her work with Alan Turing’s Bombe Machines at Bletchley Park during the war attests. Now, as part of Simon Barre’s covert team in post-war Vienna, she uses her inimitable charm and code name Starling to infiltrate the world of relics: uncovering vital information that could tilt the stakes of the mounting Cold War. When several influential men charge her with finding the death mask of Mozart, Sophie wonders if there is more than the composer’s legacy at stake and finds herself drawn to potential answers in Prague.

Simon Barrington, the illegitimate heir of one of Sussex’s oldest estates, used the previous war to hide his insecurities about his past. Now, he uses his high breeding to gain access to all four allied quarters of the ruined city in an attempt to slow the fall of the Iron Curtain. He has been in love with Sophie Villiers since the moment he met her, and a marriage of convenience to save Simon’s estate has always kept her close. Until now, when Sophie’s mysterious client in Prague forces him to wonder if her allegiance to him—and their cause—is in question. Torn between his loyalty to his cause and his heart, Simon seeks answers about Sophie only to learn that everything he thought he knew about his involvement in both wars is based on a lie.

Book Review:

I wanted to like this book, and I did end up enjoying it. However, I was a bit confused while reading the book, and it made it hard to understand and get into the book. But I did end up liking it by the time I got to the end of the story. There are still a couple of things that I think I missed but otherwise it was really good. The Mozart Code is my first book by Rachel McMillian, and it was really fascinating and thought provoking. 

I picked up this book because I thought that it would be interesting, and it definitely met that expectation. The characters were very unique and it was intriguing to read from their perspectives and see things from their eyes. 

Sophia and Simon were drawn together because of a marriage of convenience. They were both using their marriage to help themselves avoid situations. They never expected to be anything more than friends. However, as the secrets of their work are drawn to light, things become more complicated than they expected. They were both playing games that could lead to someone getting hurt. They were working a thin tightrope together between friendship and love all the while trying to complete tasks secretly. 

I liked Sophia and Simon. They had a flair and a secrecy to them. It was cool to read about Simon’s connection to chess and how it affected his view of life. And how Sophia loved music and the way her mind could see the music. They were both trying to do good in their own ways. He worked for the government while she tried to return artifacts to their rightful owners. I liked the chemistry between the characters, and I could definitely see how well they fit each other. It was a bit frustrating to see them dancing in circles around each other, but at the same time, I understood them. They were both afraid of different things, and it affected their ability to love each other. 

The storyline was engaging, but I really didn’t know what was going on til at least half way through the book. It made it harder for me to read, and I kept on having to take breaks. I did enjoy the book by the end of it, but it was harder for me to understand. I felt as if I was missing a lot of things. All in all, this was a good book. I would recommend The Mozart Code to those who enjoy historical fiction that stimulates your mind a bit to think. 

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.

The Valet’s Secret

About the Book:

Title: The Valet’s Secret
Author: 
Josi S Kikpack
Publisher:
Shadow Mountain
Release Date: 
March 7, 2021
Genre:
Historical Romance

A passionate kiss from a handsome valet becomes a Regency Cinderella story when he is revealed to be an earl. 

York, England, 1819. 

As a once happily married woman, Rebecca Parker lived a charmed life, but now widowed and working for a living, she feels alone and living a mundane existence. That is until the day a valet speeding by on a horse nearly runs her off the road. Mr. Malcolm Henry is apologetic, gentle, and very handsome. She’s instantly drawn to him, which is why, rather than stopping him from kissing her, she finds herself kissing him back, reigniting a nearly forgotten passion in her. But love at first sight only happens in fairy tales–never to an ordinary woman like her.

Still, she cannot stop thinking about Mr. Henry and the kiss they shared. The more time she spends with the earl’s valet, the more she knows she cannot in good conscience allow Mr. Timoltson to continue to court her, even though a marriage to him would provide her financial security and independence from her overbearing father’s control. The heart wants what it wants, and her heart wants Mr. Henry.

But while working in the kitchens during a fancy dinner party, she sees something strange: the valet–the valet she kissed–is sitting at the right hand of the baroness. She realizes that Mr. Henry is not the earl’s valet; he is the earl–Kenneth Winterton.

Heartbroken, angry, and betrayed, Rebecca isn’t sure she can trust Lord Winterton, much less accept his apology. But when Lord Winterton proves he is as kind and gentle as “Mr. Henry” was, she finds herself willing to give him a second chance. But will he still take a chance on her, when choosing a commoner means he might lose his inheritance?

Book Review:

This was a cute and fun read. It took me a little while to get intoThe Valet’s Secret by Josi S Kilpack. However once I really started reading it, I was very intrigued. The Valet’s Secret was different then the other books I had been reading, but it was still an enjoyable read and very interesting. 

Rebecca Parker is in a new stage of life. She feels lonely and wants a break from the mundane routine of life. She never expected to meet Mr. Malcolm Henry on the road, and she never expected from him to change her life. However, what will she do when she learns that he is not a valet but the earl – Kenneth Winteron? Can their relationship ever become more? Kenneth Winteron just wants to be free, however becoming his uncle’s heir means rules and stations. He never expected to fall for a woman below his station or to lie to her about who he is. Will he ever be able to gain her trust and maybe grow a relationship?

Rebecca was such a refreshing change of character. She was older and she had lived life. I really enjoyed reading about her and reading about her finding herself. She had gotten married at a young age and raised her daughter, but when her husband died she moved back in with her father and in a way lost herself. Rebecca was so strong. She had endured much in her life, and it was cool to read about her still growing and learning. She was learning how to find herself in this new stage of life and she was falling in love. 

Kenneth was an interesting character. He had to grow on me. I didn’t dislike him, but I just had to read more about him before I really understood him. He was also just trying to find his place in the world. He was a bit uncertain about his place and it was fun to read about him learning what it meant to be an Earl. However, he was kind and he truly cared about those around him. He had lived life and he valued people. Kenneth had to figure out what it would mean to love Rebecca and how to build a relationship with her. 

Rebecca and Kenneth had an interesting relationship. They were of two different stations. However Rebecca didn’t know it at the time and she found a connection with him. It was definitely fascinating to read about them falling in love and interacting, trying to figure out how to make their friendship work, never expecting something to come out of it. I thought that they were such a sweet couple and they definitely balanced each other out. They also had to learn to overcome their differences in stations and work past the whispers of others.

The side characters were also fun! Rebecca’s daughter Rose was super sweet. I loved Rebecca and Rose’s relationship. They trusted each other and cared for each other. Kenneth’s Uncle was complicated but he also cared for Kenneth. The Baroness who Rose worked for was also a character

 She was such a strong woman who was a great addition to the story. 

The Vault’s Secret was a sweet and cute book. It was about characters falling in love and figuring out how to work with their different stations. I really enjoyed it and I would recommend it to those who like historical women’s fiction. The Valet’s Secret is a clean historical women’s fiction romance. 

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.

About the Author:

JOSI S. KILPACK is the author of several novels and one cookbook and a participant in several coauthored projects and anthologies. She is a four-time Whitney Award winner—including Lord Fenton’s Folly (2015) for Best Romance and Best Novel of the Year—and a Utah Best in State winner for fiction. She is the mother of four children and lives in northern Utah.

You can find more information about Josi and her writing at josiskilpack.com

The Elements of Love

About the Book:

The Element of Love (The Lumber Baron's Daughters Book #1) by [Mary Connealy]

Title: The Elements of Love
Series: The Lumber Baron’s Daughters #1
Author: Mary Connealy
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: March 1st, 2022
Genre: Historical Christian Romance

She mixed danger, desperation, and deception together. Love was not the expected outcome.

With their sharp engineering minds, Laura Stiles and her two sisters have been able to deal with their mother’s unfortunate choice in husband until they discovered his plans to marry each of them off to his lecherous friends. Now they must run away–far and fast–to find better matches to legally claim their portion of their father’s lumber dynasty and seize control from their stepfather.

During their escape, Laura befriends a mission group heading to serve the poor in California. She quickly volunteers herself and her sisters to join their efforts. Despite the settlement being in miserable condition, the sisters are excited by the opportunity to put their skills to good use. Laura also sees potential in Caleb, the mission’s parson, to help with gaining her inheritance. But when secrets buried in Caleb’s past and in the land around them come to light, it’ll take all the smarts the sisters have to keep trouble at bay.

Book Review:

This was a fascinating and engaging book! It took a bit for me to get really engaged, but I ended up really enjoying it. I also love the stories that Connealy writes and this one is no different. The Element of Love is the first book in Mary Connealy’s new series, The Lumber Baron’s Daughters. I love how Connealy usually writes series that feature a family. This series features three sisters on the run from their stepfather, searching for husbands to save their inheritance from their stepfather. 

Laura Stiles was such a fascinating character, she was the youngest of the sisters and the main character of the first book. I thought that she was really cool, her father had wanted her and her sisters to have a full education and Laura even knew how to use chemicals to create explosions and such. However she was on the run and just trying to survive. Pastor Caleb Tillman is just trying to follow God’s lead. He felt drawn to the mission field never expecting to meet Laura and get drawn into her world. However both Caleb and Laura have secrets that can affect the future. Will they learn to trust each other?

Laura was different from characters you usually read about in historical romances and I really enjoyed reading about her. Although she was the youngest, she was still strong and stubborn. She was trying to do her part to help her sisters and protect their mother. Laura was trying to find her place in the world and trying to find a husband. She didn’t expect to meet someone so quickly or to find herself drawn to him. But Caleb has secrets of his own, will Caleb and Laura be able to work through their secrets to form a relationship or will it all go up in flames. 

I liked Caleb, he was trying his best to follow God’s leadings. He wasn’t a perfect man and he had made mistakes but he was trying to own up to them. I could tell that Caleb cared for the people around him and he wanted to point them towards God. He had his faults, but he was trying to learn from them and grow. It was sweet to read about him falling for Laura. I liked how he saw her for the capable woman that she was. Caleb will have to figure out what it means to care for Laura and follow God’s calling. 

This was a fun and exciting book! The characters drew me in and I am excited to read the next books in the series. I have my guess on who it will be about. The plot was also interesting and I was engaged the whole time. The Element of Love is a clean historical Christan romance. I would recommend it to those who like historicals and enjoy a little suspense and action. 

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.

Summerhaven

About the Book:

Summerhaven by [Tiffany Odekirk]

Title: Summerhaven
Author: Tiffany Odekirk
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Release Date: February 14th, 2022
Genre: Historical Fiction

Hannah Kent and Oliver Jennings pledged their hearts to each other as children. Now, years later, Hannah is thrilled to receive an invitation to spend the summer at Oliver’s family’s country estate. The path to wedded bliss is clear—so long as Oliver’s highbrow older brother, Damon, has ceased his juvenile antics, Hannah’s future looks bright indeed.

But from the moment Hannah arrives at Summerhaven, nothing is as she expected. Oliver seems disinterested in renewing their acquaintance, and Damon is not the brutish boy she remembers but a man intent on avoiding marriage. Although she has loathed Damon her whole life, when he contrives a ruse designed to win them both what they desire, Hannah warily agrees. All she has to do to reclaim Oliver’s attention is pretend to be madly in love with Damon. But when Damon is surprisingly convincing in his role as a suitor, it proves difficult to discern the line between pretense and true love.

Excerpt:

Damon stepped forward, and his watch key and seal—visible reminders of his status and self-importance—clanked together. He bowed. “Miss Kent.”

“My lord,” I returned with a shallow curtsy. 

The corners of his mouth curled into a smile. “I see someone has managed to make a lady out of the wild girl I once knew,” Damon said, and before stepping back in line with his mother, he met my eye and added, “A pity.”

My eyebrows pulled together in surprise. 

“Do try not to scowl, Miss Kent. It will crease your lovely brow.”

“Damon Jennings,” Lady Winfield scolded. “You have been taught better manners.”

“My apologies, Mother. Teasing a beautiful woman is one of few things that has yet to be lectured out of me.” 

I gaped. Never in all my life had a man spoken so casually to me. Damon may have grown into a man, but he was not a gentleman.

Book Review:

This was such a cute book! I loved it! I have to admit I was a little worried because the premise sounded a little awkward, but it was actually a really lovely book! Summerhaven is the first book that I have read by Tiffany Odekirk and I loved it! It has enemies to lovers, fake relationships, and the grumpy one is sweet on the happy one, I mean put these all together and you have an amazing book!

Hannah felt things deeply because she was kind and cared about others. She fell hard for her childhood friend, but things didn’t turn out the way she thought it would. She agrees to a charade with the brother of her childhood best friend, Damon. He is different than she remembered, and now she is more confused than ever. She fell in love with Oliver, Ollie, years ago and now she does not know what to think. Will Damon and Hannah’s relationship become more than just a ruse?

Hannah was a fun character, she cared deeply for her family. She wanted to find someone who would love her for herself. I liked reading about Hannah as she learned to be herself and what it meant to truly be in love with someone. She was just so sweet and kind, she was a wonderful character. However she did have to learn how to let the past go and learn from it, looking towards the future.

Okay, so I liked Damon from the beginning. He seemed like such a scoundrel at first, but as you read more you learned that there was more to him than met the eye. He had teased Hannah when they were children so he seemed at bit mean at first, however he had really grown since she had last seen him. Damon fell for Hannah fast and it was so sweet to read about him caring for her. However he was an earl and being an earl came with responsibilities, Damon will have to decide if loving Hannah is worth everything he could lose.

Damon and Hannah were cute together! They had a banter that I loved reading about, their interactions were so much fun! I am honestly not sure how I feel about Ollie, but he did add to the story. There are some side characters that were a lot of fun and I hope that they get their own books. 

Summerhaven was a great book! It was certainly interesting to read about Damon and Hannah’s relationship grow. I really enjoyed the story and I would totally recommend this book! Summerhaven is a clean historical romance.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.

Giveaway:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0ae98b8a298/

The Thief and the Noble

About the Book:

The Thief and the Noble by [Dana LeCheminant]

Title: The Thief and the Noble
Author: Dana LeCheminant
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Release Date: February 1st, 2022
Genre: Historical Fiction

As the daughter of a marquess, Lady Marian Russell is poised to impress in her first London Season. She is young, beautiful, and wealthy—but catching an eligible husband is the last thing on her mind. Marian is disillusioned with how the upper class lives while the poor of London suffer, and she is determined to right this imbalance. When she comes face-to-face with a mysterious man who steals from arrogant aristocrats and redistributes the spoils to the poor, Marian recognizes a motivation that mirrors her own. She is determined to discover the true identity of the unscrupulous hero and offer her assistance. 

When she unmasks the bandit, however, Marian is stunned: he is none other than the elusive Lord Robin Loxley. In exchange for her silence, Robin begrudgingly agrees to train the lovely Marian in the art of thievery, quickly realizing that his heart may be stolen next. But when Robin and Marian discover a copycat thief operating in London, they are faced with a foe whose purpose is far from noble. Amid distracting suitors, becoming champions of the poor, and a growing attraction they can’t ignore, can they expose the renegade pilferer without risking themselves—and each other?

Book Review:

Happy sigh, this was just as good as I had hoped. I have been in a bit of a reading slump so this book took me longer to read, but it was still super sweet and fun. The Thief and the Noble is Dana LeCheminat’s first historical fiction and it was just a lovely book! The Noble and the Thief is a historical fiction retelling of Robin Hood, I mean how cool is that?

Marian was so fun! I loved her spunk and her kindness, she wanted to help those around her. I loved reading about Marian as she tried to figure out how to help those around her, she was a lady and she knew that she had much. However Marian was struggling to figure out how to help the less fortunate when she bumps into a thief, Robin. It was so cool to read about Marian learning more about herself and learning to stand up for those around her. Marian was an awesome character and I just loved her growth throughout the book. 

Robin was a sweetheart, he was the perfect hero. He was kind, but he was also kind of standoffish. I loved his relationship with his family and with Marian. He put up this facade to those around him but he let Marian inside of his walls. Robin was a thief, and yet there was more to him than met the eye. I loved learning more about Robin and his values, he had to learn to let people into his heart and to not close himself off. 

Marian and Robin were lovely together, I really enjoyed their interactions. It was a lot of fun to read about them together. I also adored Robin’s sister and Marian’s cousin Will. The side characters were lovely additions to the story. The plot was very interesting and I didn’t know what was going to happen. There were a few twists and turns and I couldn’t put the book down. 

The Thief and the Noble is definitely a must read! It was just as good as LeCheminant contemporary books! I would totally recommend The Thief and the Noble! The Thief and the Noble is a clean historical fiction retelling of Robin Hood. 

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.

Beyond Lavender Fields

About the Book:

Title: Beyond Lavender Fields
Author: Arlem Hawks
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: February 1st, 2022
Genre: Historical Fiction

1792, France Rumors of revolution in Paris swirl in Marseille, a bustling port city in southern France. Gilles Etienne, a clerk at the local soap factory, thrives on the news. Committed to the cause of equality, liberty, and brotherhood, he and his friends plan to march to Paris to dethrone the monarchy. His plans are halted when he meets Marie-Caroline Daubin, the beautiful daughter of the owner of the factory.
A bourgeoise and royalist, Marie-Caroline has been called home to Marseille to escape the unrest in Paris. She rebuffs Gilles’s efforts to charm her and boldly expresses her view that violently imposed freedom is not really freedom for all. As Marie-Caroline takes risks to follow her beliefs, Gilles catches her in a dangerous secret that could cost her and her family their lives. As Gilles and Marie-Caroline spend more time together, she questions her initial assumptions about Gilles and realizes that perhaps they have more in common than she thought.
As the spirit of revolution descends on Marseille, people are killed and buildings are ransacked and burned to the ground. Gilles must choose between supporting the political change he believes in and protecting those he loves. And Marie-Caroline must battle between standing up for what she feels is right and risking her family’s safety. With their lives and their nation in turmoil, both Gilles and Marie-Caroline wonder if a revolutionnaire and a royaliste can really be together or if they must live in a world that forces people to choose sides.

Book Review:

Wow! This was such a powerful story about learning that in war there are two sides of the story. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this book at first. I was kind of hesitant because I have heard so many great things, and I was expecting great things. So it was kind of a slow start, but once I really started the book, I was enthralled. It was an amazing story with characters that felt incredibly real. They had their own issues and life to work through. Beyond Lavender Fields by Arlem Hawks is definitely a book that you don’t want to miss. 

The storyline was so intriguing and interesting. Gillespie and Caroline were on opposite sides of the revolution, and yet they felt drawn to each other. Gilles Etienne was for the revolution. He wanted a better future for France. However, when he meets stubborn royalist Marie-Caroline Daubin, he starts to see that the revolution is not black and white. Caroline believed in the old France, but as she interacted with Gilles, she began to see that people are not their first impressions. Gilles and Caroline will have to figure out if a révolutionnaire and a royaliste can really be together or if their worlds are just too different. 

Gilles Etienne was an interesting character. He was divided on the revolution. He wanted to fight for freedom, and he would even consider himself a Jacobin, a révolutionnaire. But as time went on he found himself reconsidering their methods and ideals. I liked Gilles’ growth as a character and seeing him learn from the mistakes of war. He was a kind man who was willing to see that he may be wrong. He had to grow on me, but by the end of the book I loved him! Gilles had my heart and he was just an awesome character!

Marie-Caroline Daubin was also a complicated character. She was stubborn, but she was kind. I loved that she was a strong woman in a time where women were considered lesser. She was a lot of fun because of how vocal she was about her beliefs. She had to learn how to listen to the advice of others, and see that there is more to people than meets the eye. 

There were so many good quotes in this book and so many lessons to be learned. I adored the characters. It was interesting to read about them as they struggled through their feelings about the war. They were characters that I could relate to and feel for. There was brokenness in the story but there was also hope. Caroline and Gilles had to work through their feelings about the war and each other, but it was always fun to read about them interacting.

Beyond Lavender Fields was a stunning book! I would definitely recommend it, it totally lives up to the hype. Beyond Lavender Fields is a clean historical romance set during one of the French Revolutions.  

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.

About the Author:

ARLEM HAWKS began making up stories before she could write.
Living all over the western United States and traveling around the
world gave her a love of cultures and people and the stories they
have to tell. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications, with
an emphasis in print journalism, and she lives in Arizona with her
husband three children.

The Librarian’s Journey

About the Book:

The Librarian's Journey: 4 Historical Romances by [Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Marilyn Turk, Kathleen Y'Barbo]

Title: The Librarian’s Journey
Author: Cynthia Hickey, Patty Smith Hall, Marilyn Turk, Kathleen Y’Barbo
Publisher: Barbour Fiction
Release Date: October 1st, 2021
Genre: Historical Romance

A brave fight for literacy during the Great DepressionFour women set out on horseback to bring the library to remote communities

Part of FDR’s New Deal was the Works Progress Administration, which funded the Pack Horse Library Initiative. Ride along with four book-loving women who bravely fight for literacy in remote communities during the Great Depression by carrying library books via horseback. Will their efforts be rewarded by finding love in the process?

Love’s Turning Page by Cynthia Hickey
1935, Ozark Mountains
Grace Billings jumped at the chance to be a traveling librarian, but she didn’t anticipate the long days of work, the intense poverty, or the handsome new schoolteacher whose love for the mountain people surpasses even her own.

For Such a Time by Patty Smith Hall
1936, Pine Mountain, Georgia
Forced out of her nursing job due to budget cuts, Ruth Sims applies for a position with the Pack Horse Library incentive, only to discover she must go to the one place she swore never to return. The children instantly steal her heart with their thirst for books, and she’s happy in her post until she meets their teacher, Will Munroe—the man who broke her heart. 

Book Lady of the Bayou by Marilyn Turk
1936, Mississippi
Forced out of her comfort zone, Lily Bee Davis travels by horse or boat taking books to remote areas. When she meets little Evie and her reclusive father at a dilapidated plantation house, she is drawn by their losses and longs to draw them out into life again. 

Book Review:

A collection of stories about the traveling librarians of the early 1900s, The Librarian’s Journey consists of Love’s Turning Page by Cynthia Hickey, For Such a Time by Patty Smith Hall, Book Lady of the Bayou by Marilyn Turk, and The Librarian and the Lawman by Kathleen Y’Barbo. It is a piece of history that I have never heard of, and I was so excited to read it! I actually saw it through bookstagram which is cool! Each of these stories is about the women’s journey, how they grew and found their place within a difficult and changing world, as well as how they find love. Each story was different, but they were all so enjoyable to read. I mean what bookworm hasn’t thought about being a librarian at one point or another?

Love’s Turning Page by Cynthia Hickey 

Grace and her family live in the Ozark mountains amidst the Great Depression. With a large family, times are tight. When a position as a traveling librarian opens up, Grace jumps at the opportunity. But there are dangers and secrets in the mountains, Grace will need to find help from the local schoolteacher. I really liked Grace and her family. It was fun to see how close they were and how they supported one another. Grace was very relatable, doing her best to work hard and help out her family. I enjoyed reading about all the interesting characters she met along her route too! Anthony was also a sweetheart! He really wanted people to learn and was willing to help. Even though he was also trying to keep his focus on work, he was interested in Grace. They both had to get past what they thought that their futures should look like, especially once their hearts got involved. There were also some suspenseful parts of the story that Grace and Anthony went through, which gave the story a bit more excitement. 

For Such a Time by Patty Smith Hall

Ruth Sims is disappointed to be back in her hometown working as a traveling librarian after losing her nursing position in Atlanta. She feels aimless and adrift. Having to work alongside her one-time fiance doesn’t make it any easier, especially with so much unresolved history. As they seek to aid their community with books and medical care, they also have to re-evaluate their lives and hearts. This one had a little bit of angst. Ruthie and Will were both dealing with past hurts and secrets. Neither was quite where they thought they would be and were adjusting to the changes of their lives. I was a little frustrated with Ruthie because she seemed a bit stuck in what she thought that her life should look like. But it was sweet to watch how her community (and Will!) changed her mind and helped her see that she could have a future there. Will was also very sweet, I loved his family! 

Book Lady of the Bayou by Marilyn Turk

In the bayou of Mississippi, Lily Bee Davis travels to the remote areas by horse and boat to bring books as a traveling librarian. Coming upon a little girl named Evie and her reclusive father in a run-down plantation pulls at her heart, she hopes to help them find life and light again. This one was cute too! I love children and families in stories, so this appealed to me right off the bat. Evie was really cute and she took to Lily so fast. It was really sweet the way that the whole community took to Lily. That was an element that I enjoyed in all of the stories actually, the connections each woman made along her trail. Lily’s grandpa was also such a lovely character, I loved his faith. I also enjoyed how they all grew and went outside of their comfort zones, and found blessings through it.

The Librarian and the Lawman by Kathleen Y’Barbo

Lottie Trent finds more excitement than she expects when she connects with the wife of a backwoods bully and starts carrying messages for her in exchange for the books she carries. But FBI agent Clayton, who is on the trail of a criminal gang is also looking for answers and Lottie might be one of them. I enjoyed the second chance romance in this one, it was really sweet. It is always nice for the couple to have some prior history, it feels like the romance has more to help it move along. This one had more of a suspense element with Clay being an FBI agent and the investigation. It was fun to read about! The characters were really fun to read about, I enjoyed their dynamic. It was cool to read about the FBI back then because it is not something I usually see in historical fiction.

Overall, this was a fun collection! I generally enjoy anthologies and this theme was especially fun! Like I said, I have always had a dream of being a librarian and I liked the community aspect of these stories with the librarian’s trails. I would recommend this to those who enjoy historical fiction with romance and some had a bit of suspense too! This is clean with faith elements.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.

The Librarian and the Lawman by Kathleen Y’Barbo
1936, Kentucky
Lottie Trent connects with a backwoods bully’s wife by secretly carrying messages for her in exchange for books. FBI agent Clayton Turnbow is on the trail of a criminal gang and discovers the packhorse librarian maybe a key member. 

Her Darling Mr. Day

About the Book:

Title: Her Darling Mr. Day
Series: American Royalty #2
Author: Grace Hitchcock
Publisher: Bethany House
Release Date: January 4th, 2022
Genre: Historical Fiction

New Orleans’ most eligible bachelor insists he’s not on the market . . . but he couldn’t be more wrong.

Jilted in front of all New York, Theodore Day decides to lose himself in his family’s luxury riverboat business in New Orleans and compete against his brother to become the next company head. The brother with the most sales by summer’s end will win the position. Thanks to Theodore’s fame as a suitor in a socialite’s outlandish competition to find a husband, he has become very desirable royalty in Southern society and thus has an advantage.

It took Flora Wingfield’s best work to convince her family to summer in New Orleans, but with Teddy Day a bachelor once again, she’s leaving nothing to chance. Desperate to stand out from all the clamoring belles, Flora attempts a bold move that goes completely awry, only to find it’s her interior design skills that finally catch his notice.

But when Flora’s father’s matchmaking schemes come in the way of her plans, Teddy will have to decide where his happiness truly lies and what he is willing to sacrifice for it.

Book Review:

I am honestly not sure how I feel about this book. I was excited to read it because I heard a lot of good things about the first book, but it had a slow start. However, by the end of the book, I did end up enjoying Her Darling Mr. Day. Her Darling Mr. Day is the first book in Grace Hitchcock’s American Royalty series. 

Flora was an interesting character. She was complicated, and at first I found her a bit annoying, but I grew to understand her. She had fallen for Teddy Day long ago, and she was determined to win him over. But when she arrived in New Orleans, she found that she had had to fight for him to see her. Flora seemed immature at first, but I soon came to realize that she was just trying to find her place in this world. Her father hadn’t always seen her worth, and she just wanted someone to love her. Flora had to learn that her worth was found in Christ. She had to learn to face her fears and trust God. 

I am also not sure how I felt about Teddy. He had been jilted twice but he also did not really appreciate Flora. He was lost in his own issues. He did grow by the end of the book though. He came to see Flora for the kind woman she was. He had a lot to learn, and he had to figure out if love was worth fighting for. He had to learn what it meant to choose Flora. 

I liked that Flora and Teddy were friends first. Teddy’s brother was not as bad as I thought he might be. I also liked Flora’s cousin and some of her sisters, some of them were really immature. I wish that the sisters were closer. I also feel like this book reminded me of a teen TV show with so much drama. I was hoping that it would be different. However all in all, this was a good book. I am kind of looking forward to the next book too.

Her Darling Mr. Day was a good book and I would recommend it to those who enjoy historical reality TVness. It is clean and a little bit Christian. 

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.

Choices of the Heart

About the Book:

Choices of the Heart by [Sarah M. Eden]

Title: Choices of the Heart
Series: Hope Springs Story #7
Author: Sarah M Eden
Publisher: Mirror Press
Release Date: January 11th, 2022
Genre: Historical Romance

The paths of life that brought them together are destined to tear them apart.

Burke Jones began his life as a nameless orphan, dreaming of one day being a renowned doctor with a home and family to call his own. Sophie Kingston, daughter of an influential East Coast family, was destined to be an important and beloved part of Baltimore Society.

Life has not gone quite as either planned.

Now living in the home of a family friend, Sophie joins the lady on a journey to the tiny town of Hope Springs in Wyoming Territory. It is unlike any place she’s ever known. And the resident doctor is a mystery as well. Burke knows he isn’t the success he’d always imagined he would be, and seeing it through the eyes of this newly arrived Society lady only drives that home.

As Hope Springs begins to weave its magic, Sophie discovers more than she’d ever imagined, in both the town and its doctor. And Burke, who has always guarded his heart, begins to wonder if there might be more to life than he has previously imagined.

Their futures, however, do not lie along the same path or in the same destinations. Fate has once again proven unkind.

Can Hope Springs work yet another miracle?

Book Review:

OMG! I was so excited for this book! I love Sarah’s books and this book is the latest in her Hope Springs series. I binged this series this year and am now waiting as she writes more! Choices of the Heart follows Dr. Burke, a relatively new addition to Hope Springs. From a childhood as a nameless orphan and dreaming of a career and a family, he has found himself in the small town of Hope Springs serving the people there. Sophie Kingston is the daughter of an influential East Coast family in Baltimore, but she finds herself not quite fitting in with Society. A family friend brings Sophie to Hope Springs which is unlike any place she has known, and Burke upon meeting the Society ladies sees the lackluster success to his dreams afresh. As Sophie finds more than she imagined and Burke finds that even if his life isn’t as he originally planned there might be more to it. However, as fate seems to pull them apart, will they find a future together?

Burke was so sweet! He is more reserved than most of the town and still not super confident of his place there. The arrival of Sophie and Mrs. Archer makes him consider his practice and the success of his work. Burke had overcome a difficult childhood and was searching for a sense of accomplishment and success in his work. Throughout the book, he learns about his influence and the effects of his work. It is lovely to see the town’s gratitude and care towards him. They all love and respect him so much. It was so cool to see Hope Springs through his eyes, and all the people who it was made of.

Sophie was another new character who came from the big city to Hope Springs. Baltimore had dampened her natural enthusiasm and made her uncertain about herself. Coming to Hope Springs, she found a welcoming family who took her in as one of their own. She felt like herself there. She was able to be useful and able to help the families while still keeping her joy and personality. 

It is always nice to read a series and see the characters you already know and love. Hope Springs has so many lovely characters who you still get to see as the books continue. This book continues to show the larger story of the town and the struggles of them all, though the focus is on Burke and Sophie. There is definitely a hinting or two at more books and I will be in line for them! 

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.