Five Stars, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Low Violence, Sally Britton

Meet Cute

As much as I love having an audio book in the background while I work on my house, they don’t always have my full attention. Getting sick over Spring Break was a blessing in disguise. I finally had an excuse to ignore anything that needed to be worked on and lie in bed, and just read.

I’d been saving some of my more anticipated books for a time when I could dive into the book without my focus being split. One of those  was Sally Britton‘s Courting the Vicar’s Daughter.

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Harry Devon, son of a wealthy gentleman who cared more for money than his family, has returned to the family estate at last. Without direction, and lacking the knowledge necessary to run his estate, Harry is prepared to leave it to others to make the difficult decisions. Until he meets the vicar’s daughter. 

Augusta Ames, who much prefers the childhood nickname Daisy, is preparing to open a school for daughters of poor tenant farmers. In the habit of serving others, Daisy determines to help Harry find his path and place in their community. When he embraces her plan with enthusiasm, their friendship begins to blossom into something more. 

But the Devon legacy is regarded with suspicion, thanks to the greed and cruelty of Harry’s late father. When the neighborhood finds reason to turn on Harry, will Daisy trust her heart enough to love him still?

Sally Britton writes some of the cutest first meeting scenes, and this one was no exception. They pull you right in so you are immediately invested in the outcome of her main character’s relationships.

Many regency novels write about the life of wealthy gentlemen, balls, and glittering debutants. Which, if done well, take us away to a different time and place. We escape through our reading. But a great author can also get you to escape into a quite village with country dances and simple farmers, Sally Britton did just that in this novel. I loved the simplicity of life she conveyed in this novel, but it didn’t make it any less difficult or real.

She writes with such wit,  that though she expertly gets her characters to grapple with life, you don’t feel bogged down with the weight of it all. Underlying it all is a beautiful understanding of real love that pervades her novels. Harry’s story was a delightful end to this series.

 

 

 

Four Stars, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Low Violence, Sally Britton

Winter Wonderland

This week we had a snow day in our area! If my memory is correct this hasn’t happened in my area for over 20 years! I loved it, we watched the snow come down all day. We played in it, spent time together, and of course, did some reading.

Sally Britton’s “The Captain and Miss Winter” was the perfect book to read on that rather snowy day.

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The end of the Napoleonic wars comes as a relief to Caspar Graysmark, but before he can settle into the comfortable life of an English lord he has a duty to the people of France. A treasure lies hidden in the heart of the forest, stolen gold that would save the lives of many who lost everything during the war. In his quest, Caspar stumbles across a hidden cottage in the woods, and a different sort of treasure altogether.

Scarlett, living with her sister and grandmother, belongs nowhere. Her father’s mistakes led to their exile from England and their banishment into the forest. The cold winter months have taken their toll on Scarlett’s spirits and her grandmother’s health. The Englishman who arrives at Scarlett’s door, looking more like a bear than a captain of the British army, reminds her of all she lost to the war.

With winter drawing to a close, Caspar must find the missing gold, but his quest to right the wrongs of war has changed. Can Scarlett let him rescue her, too?

The Captain and Miss Winter is based on the story of Snow White and Rose Red, as recorded by the Brothers Grimm. It is a sweet/clean romance novella, and is Book 2 in a series of Regency retellings. The stories can be read in any order

Sally Britton wrote a sweet and engaging story. She combined the difficulty of a Novella, keeping depth of characters and not rushing the romance, with a unique Fairy tale re-telling. Putting the setting in the regency era just after the Napoleonic Wars, but in France, showcased her her talent writing this era. All those skills just highlighted the entertaining story she weaves.

There was one plot point that was mentioned briefly in the middle of the book that I kept thinking was going to have a purpose later on, but it never did. That left me feeling a little unresolved at the end, but other than that, I really enjoyed this re-telling of a lesser known fairy tale.

Five Stars, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Low Violence, Sally Britton

Feel Deeply

Don’t you feel like sometimes emotions get a bad rap? If you’re too happy, you’re crazy. If you’re too sad, you’re depressed. If you too angry you’re…o.k. I totally get that one too angry can be a bit dangerous. The truth is, we all feel things and deep down we all want to feel. Good books are the ones that make you feel, the best books use a range of emotions, and use them well. In The Earl and His Lady, released today, Sally Britton masterfully guided us through a well of emotions from grief, to anger, to peace and love.

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“Lady Virginia Macon, the recently widowed Baroness of Heatherton, has an impossible decision to make. Her late husband’s unscrupulous brother demands guardianship of her sons. The courts are on his side, unless she marries someone willing to stand in her late husband’s place. Locking her heart away and devoting herself to her children is the only way Virginia can countenance such a decision.

Wearied by the world, Lucas Calvert, Earl of Annesbury, is tired of being alone. His wife’s passing six years previous left his life gray and empty. His only recourse has been to make life better for those around him, using his considerable wealth and influence. When he learns of Virginia’s plight, he knows he can save her and her sons.

During one of the rainiest summers in England’s history, Virginia and her children bring light and color back into Lucas’s life. But will Virginia’s determination to protect her heart destroy their possibility of finding happiness together?”

Giving Virginia and Lucas a mutual ache added a sweetness to their second chance love story. The way Sally Britton chose to make Lucas’ loss distance and Virginia’s recent showcased her writing ability to use a range of emotions tying you to the characters. It also added a level of hope to the novel making it that much more endearing.

The story was not only a beautiful roller coaster of emotions, but it was also a sweet commentary on dealing with those feelings. What are the rules of grief, can grief and peace co-exists, and remember to dream are just a few of the delicate truths she expertly handles.

Along with these truths Sally Britton ties into her compelling plot, a narrative on the highs and lows of parenting and a tender tapestry of the blending of families. The interactions between Virginia and Lucas, the good and the bad, were delightful and spot on. The moments she created between both Virginia and Lucas, and the boys, as a mother, were especially poignant.

Sally Britton’s latest novel is an engaging second chance love story that gives you all the feels.

Four Stars, Low Language, Low Romance, Low Violence, Sally Britton

I will not be awkward, I will not be awkward…

I learned in a college class many years ago that I am what’s known as a shy extrovert. I’m often nervous and awkward around new people, but I feel energized in large groups and gatherings. Because of this odd paring I love to go to social gatherings, but most of my time there I spend trying to convince myself not to be awkward. I guess that’s why I find such enjoyment in reading about awkwardness, makes me feel like I’m not alone in this world.

Sally Britton is a relatively new author, her first books have come out just this year. The Social Tutor has some perfectly delightful awkward moments.

The Social Tutor: A Regency Romance (Branches of Love Book 1) by [Britton, Sally]

“After years of escaping etiquette lessons in favor of the stables, Christine Devon’s grand debut in London is only weeks away, though her deportment lacks the sophisticated polish she needs to achieve her goals of a lofty marriage. Desperate to take her place in society, she needs someone to instruct her in proper behavior.

Thomas Gilbert, newly returned from Italy, is ready to begin his dream of founding a horse farm. But during his time away, the estate’s finances have dwindled to almost nothing. Unless he can find a way to save his family from ruin, he will be forced to sell his horses and give up his dreams entirely.

A chance meeting between them may solve both their problems. Christine gains a tutor in the finer arts of polite behavior, while Thomas is given access to the finest bloodlines in England. But as time passes, the arrangement is less about business, and more about love. Will they see it in time, or will Christine leave Thomas behind for the splendor of London’s ballrooms?”

Christine is painfully naive and awkward, but written so well that you can’t help but love her. Sally did a marvelous job of having Christine and Thomas grow together in both their love and their maturity, showing well developed characters.

She also presented a wonderful juxtaposition between the two families. One were love was encouraged and freely given and one where family was an investment you expected a return on. This latter idea was not uncommon during this era and I appreciated how realistically harsh Sally was about familial ideas of the time. While pushing that next to the growing idea that people are more than a business transaction and given love will give a greater return.

**If you sign up for Sally’s newsletter on her website she’ll send you a free ebook novella of Thomas’ sister, Martha’s story. Martha’s Patience.

Martha's Patience: A Regency Novella (Branches of Love Book 0) by [Britton, Sally]

“Martha Gilbert’s third London Season looks no more promising than the previous two. Despite her best efforts, she has yet to receive an offer of marriage from the one man who matters, her escort and friend, Mr. Brody. 

George Brody returns to London every year, going to the same parties, balls, and seeing the same people. The one bright spot to fulfilling the role expected of him by society is squiring Martha around town. 

This year, Martha is determined to wed, and George must to decide if he wishes to remain friends or become something more.”

Martha isn’t the usual simpering miss, not only is she refreshing, but it provided moments of laughter and tension. I loved how she wrote Martha’s awkward attempts at flirting from Thomas’ perspective, brilliantly done. Sally writes such moments so well I’m wondering if she has personal experience with such situations and am beginning to think Sally and I would be great awkward friends.

Sally’s most recently released novel was released just last month, The Gentleman Physician, exhibits Sally’s diversity as an author.

The Gentleman Physician: A Regency Romance (Branches of Love Book 2) by [Britton, Sally]

“Banished from home by her angry father, Julia Devon travels to Bath to fulfill her role as family spinster by assisting her cousin, Lady Macon, in caring for her dying husband. 

Nathaniel Hastings’s life runs in a predictable pattern, until a routine visit to one of his ailing patients brings him face to face with Julia, the woman who broke his heart five years before in London. 

Julia and Nathaniel find themselves unlikely allies as they work together to tend to the family’s needs, fend off Lady Macon’s scheming brother-in-law, and avoid confronting the pain of their shared past. But could this accidental meeting be their second chance at love?”

Through this story we are given the details of Christine’s sister Julia’s failed season. The story is less awkward humor and more tender emotions. (Don’t read it tomorrow, wait till after mother’s day, it’s a tad heart rending). The background for Julia and Nathaniel’s re-connection deals with loss in various forms and Sally writes it with sensitivity and finesse.

I’m always excited to add new author’s to my list of reads, and am secretly grateful this is an online venue so that we can all be friends without all that awkwardness getting in the way. 😉