Five Stars, Joanna Barker, Josi S. Kilpack, Nancy Campbell Allen, Rebecca Connolly, Sarah M. Eden

Know what you Like

It’s common knowledge that one of us is a sucker for a good historical fiction romance. Therefore it comes as no surprise that my favorite reads of 2019 that were released in 2019 looks like this….


**This doesn’t include books I read in 2018 that we’re released this year or books I read this year that we’re released previously.

In no particular order…

The Lady in the Coppergate Tower:

A Tip of the Cap: I read this book right at the height of my house saleing month and I didn’t realize until now, thought I grammed about it, I never blogged about! So here you go: Rebecca Connolly is one of my favorite authors not just for her stories and characters, but the whit and charm that suffuses each of them. The London League is possibly my favorite series by her and it was a huge toss up between this one and By Hook or By Rook, but may I remind you, this one made me cry… in public. So take that for what it’s worth.

A Song for the Stars:

Daisies and Devotion:

The Heart of a Vicar:

Secrets and Suitors:

Here’s to another year of amazing reads!!





Esther Hatch, Five Stars, Joanna Barker, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Low Violence, Sarah M. Eden

Christmas in July

When I was little my grandmother held a Christmas in July celebration. Her birthday was in July and one year she decided for her birthday, she wanted to celebrate Christmas, so she did, and I LOVED it.

When I received an ARC of  All Hearts Come Home for Christmas, in July, it wasn’t quite that level of amazingness, but it was pretty close. Though I love anthologies, I don’t always love every story in them, this one was the exception.


I had already anticipated loving “Christmas as Falstone Castle”, I couldn’t imagine a better Christmas story than one that included the danger duke of Kielder, and I did not disappoint! However, I don’t think I could pick a favorite story out of the bunch. They were all equally entertaining and heart warming.

Christmas at Falstone Castle – Sarah M. Eden – “The Dowager Duchess of Kielder eagerly anticipates spending Christmas with her son and his family. Though their relationship has been strained, the duchess is determined to heal the chasm. Even with the help of the widowed local vicar, her plan will take a Christmas miracle. But during this magical season, anything is possible . . . even two second chances for love.”

–Not only was it so fun to read about Christmas at Falstone Caslte, and I will warn you, you will fall in love with the dangerous duke all over again. However,  I loved that he wasn’t the focus. I love that we got a fresh look at the dowager duchess. This was a second chance story I could get behind. It wasn’t just a second chance at romance, but a second chance at being the mother she wanted to be, and it was beautiful.

The Heart of Christmas – Anita Stansfield – When a chance meeting brings together a gentle seamstress and a widowed banker, each lonely soul finds a first hint of hope. As their lives become entwined, it will take Christmas spirit to guide a broken family to love and healing.

–This story had a little bit of Cinderella magic, a little bit of Christmas magic and a whole lot of heart.

’Tis the Season to Be Daring – Esther Hatch – Elizabeth Davenport has had quite enough of the London Season. Determined to evade a parade of unsuitable suitors, she seeks help from the one gentleman who has no regard for Society’s rules. All of Society knows Lord Hawthorne is not interested in marriage, yet he cannot deny Miss Davenport’s unique charm. And as the Christmas season works its magic, their charade begins to feel less like playacting and more like love.

–I possibly laughed the most with this one. It had delightfully witty banter with just enough scandalous behavior to be both clean and entertaining.

The Christmas Dress – Joanna Barker – Seamstress Nell Addington is thrilled when her childhood friend Jacob Hammond commissions a dress for his sister. But when Nell realizes her feelings for Jacob run far deeper than friendship, an unexpected snowstorm—and some holiday cheer—may convince them both that love is worth fighting for.

–If I had to pick a favorite as far as story line went this one would possibly be it. Joanna always uses pertinent metaphors to pull you right into the story.  I loved how much character development and story building she was able to connect me to in such a short amount of pages.

I’m ready for Christmas, who’s with me??

To win a free Copy of “All Hearts Come Home For Christmas” enter the rafflecopter below:

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Five Stars, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Low Violence, Sarah M. Eden

Shattered Notions

About 12 years ago my sister and I decided we wanted to learn something new, so we went to our local rock climbing gym and got belay certified, thus began a love affair with rock climbing. We found we love to go in the mountains far more than in the gyms. We love the nature and the challenge. We especially love that since we have the gear, it’s free. I must admit though, I had no idea about the history of rock climbing, or how far back it went.


I have looked forward to Holy Harry’s book for far too long, and it did not disappoint. Not only was the history of rock climbing fascinating, but making Harry a rock climber just fit so well. However I would have never thought, oh I bet Harold Jonquil likes to climb things. That sounds ridiculous. Which is why Sarah Eden is such a phenomenal writer.

From the first few pages of the book every preconceived notion I’d ever had about Harry were cracked in two. Then, the more I learned about him, the more I loved him and rooted for him to become the man both Sarahs new him to be.

This story is not just a beautiful character journey. Harold’s journey was enveloped in a tender second chance romance. As well as complex family dynamics that draw you further and further into the arms of the Jonquil family. This may have been my favorite Jonquil book yet.

With that in mind, switch gears with me to Sarah Eden’s upcoming release The Lady and the Highway Man.


From the first page this book shattered all my preconceived notions of Sarah Eden’s writing. If I hadn’t been fully aware that the book I was reading was a Sarah Eden book, I never would have guessed it.

The writing and the plot were so very different from the Sarah Eden I was used to, and yet wholly delightful. The story was incredibly quirky and a little on the dramatic side, both of which fit the whole perfectly.  I was entirely entertained and captivated.

The two stories within the story pulled me out a little the first time or two, but the more I was pulled into the characters, the more I loved the added character development they provided.

This is why I love Sarah Eden’s writing, it continually surprises and enchants me. Every, single, time.

Five Stars, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Moderate Violence, Sarah M. Eden

Faint of Heart

Sarah Eden’s newest book,  Healing Hearts  takes us back to Savage Wells. I have to admit that westerns aren’t really my thing, but I fell in love with this town and the people in it in “The Sheriff’s of Savage Wells.” I was so excited to be back in their world again, and loved every second of it.


Miriam steps off the train looking for a job not a husband. She refuses to be wed, and Gideon is unspeakably embarrassed by the misunderstanding. Stranded in Savage Wells, Miriam has nowhere else to go and a secret that she’s determined to keep from everyone. She has epilepsy, a condition that other doctors had claimed was symptomatic of madness, a diagnosis which prompted her family to have her committed to an asylum. Miriam is afraid that if Dr. MacNamara finds out the truth, he will send her back to the asylum a place that is little better than a prison.

But Gideon is not like the other doctors she has encountered, and he offers Miriam the nursing position anyway. When illness sweeps through the town, Gideon and Miriam work together to care for the growing number of sick people. As they do so, their relationship slowly grows into something deeper. When Miriam’s former doctor arrives in town to take her back to the asylum, Gideon, along with some familiar faces in Savage Wells including Cade, Paisley, and Hawk must rally around Miriam to protect her from a dangerous fate. And for Gideon, it might mean risking his heart one more time for a chance at love.

This is a beautiful novel showcasing excellent character development and intriguing story lines. Sarah Eden has an amazing grasp of human nature and it makes her novels shine.

The book centers on a common mail-order bride trope, but Sarah Eden shifts it into something creative and unconventional. Then she uses that unconventional relationship to pull out our greatest anxieties about relationships and confront them.

Sarah Eden has no pretense of what should and is awkward and difficult, and is willing to write about it in beautiful stories and settings that are both entertaining and edifying.

The history of the struggles women faced during this time are fascinating, but it was more than beautiful historical fiction. Through Miriam’s condition she reflects our own worst personal fears and brokenness back at us and then gives Miriam powerful moments to succeed. Giving us the power to see more into the hearts of each characters and in ourselves.

I have a dear friend whose two year old started having seizures last year, out of the blue and with no apparent connection. Even with a team of doctors and medical experts at hand, it has been a scary process for their family. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to deal with unexpected medical conditions with out the medical knowledge or the freedom to pursue it. I loved how this novel opened my eyes to the gratitude I have for both those things.


3 1/2 Stars, Heather B. Moore, Jen Geigle Johnson, Sarah M. Eden, Timeless Romance Anthologies


I love the holiday season, the music, the decorations, the traditions. I love creating new traditions in my littles and watching the season come alive in their eyes. Books have always been a part of our traditions and I love a good holiday story to get me in the Christmas spirit.


Mary Rose has one goal for her mother’s annual Christmas Eve party: convince her childhood friend Julian Mayes to marry her. She has always admired Julian. Surely one moment under the kissing bough will convince him they were meant to be together. Newly hired by a prestigious London law firm, Julian is ready to shake the dust of the countryside off his polished boots. But he’s always had a soft spot for Mary. As the danger to her future becomes clear, will one kiss be enough to prove to him how far he will go to protect her?

The Plot was cute and the characters were endearing but there was something lacking in the natural flow of the story.

Famed matchmaker to the ton, Adelaide Northrup cannot imagine a more perfect way to spend Christmas than answering the desperate call of Mr. Porter Bartrum: widower, young father, dunderhead. The young gentleman’s first marriage was an arranged one and he hasn’t the first idea how to find a wife on his own. His dear friend, Chloe Munson, has watched his attempts with amusement and finds this latest approach, the clandestine hiring of a matchmaker, his most entertaining yet. If Adelaide plays her cards right, and she always does, she might very well manage to secure two happy endings.

I mentioned on Social Media how excited I was to hear more from Mrs. Northrop and she did not disappoint. Using Mrs. Northrop to guide the two characters to a realization of their feelings worked so well and made the story nothing short of adorable.

THE FORBIDDEN DUKE by Jen Geigle Johnson
They weren’t supposed to meet, but now that they have, nothing will ever be the same. The Duke of Salsbury blames her family. Lady Catherine blames his. Will an age-old dispute between the Salsburys and Asters rip apart any hope they have to be together? In this game of secrets and lies, can their love for each other conquer even the most tightly held family prejudices?

This nod to Romeo and Julie, but with a sweet ending had my favorite meet cute of the anthology. The author did a beautiful job with the romance balancing their attraction with the struggles in their background they needed to over come.

On Christmas Eve, Eleanor Hadfield, who works as governess at her childhood home of Willowsmeade, is stunned to learn that the love of her youth, Julian Phillips, is coming back after a decade’s absence. Once the gardener’s son, he has elevated his station to navy captain. Making a match with a mere governess would lower his position, if he were to still love her as he did as a young man, which is unlikely. Unable to bear the idea of noble Julian keeping an old promise out of obligation or pity, Eleanor decides to leave the only place that has ever been a home.

In this second chance love story it was easy to connect with the emotions of the two characters and the author’s slow build from both points of view until they finally were brave enough to express their feelings created a good tension and satisfying ending.

FOLLOW THE RIVER HOME by Krista Lynne Jensen
With her beloved home entailed away to a wealthy cousin, spirited Arabelle Hyatt has resigned herself to marry the arrogant man, if only to save her family from destitution. But before an understanding is reached, a childhood friend returns from war, wounded in more ways than one. With Christmas coming—what may be their last at Hybrigge—holiday traditions are celebrated, memories are revisited, and Arabelle learns what lies in a man’s words is not always what lies in his heart.

I liked the way the author set up the characters for this story, but they seemed to get a little lost in the plot. There was a little too much going on. It would’ve worked great in a flushed out novel but made the short story feel disconcerting.

THE NEW EARL by Heather B. Moore
Celia Thompson knows she can’t live with the new earl who’s come to take her brother’s place. Before she can pack her belongings and reconcile herself to a fate of living as a spinster in her aunt’s home, the new earl arrives. Yet, Aaron, now Lord Banfield, is not the pompous, arrogant man she’d imagined. In fact, he’s quite . . . interesting and handsome. Celia decides to help the man acclimate to his new role. But the longer she stays on at Banfield, the more she realizes the new earl might be the answer she’s been looking for.

I really like the set up of Heather Moore’s  story and the banter back and forth between the two characters. The clandestine meetings and the way they came to respect each other made for a good romance, but for some reason the ending left me feeling a little underwhelmed.

One of my favorite things about reading Holiday themed books from the Regency era is the traditions. I loved learning how they celebrated and the little things they did to make the holiday special. It was obvious all these authors did their research bringing something new and interesting to my holiday tradition repertoire.


3 1/2 Stars, Low Language, Low Romance, Low Violence, Sarah M. Eden, Timeless Romance Anthologies

Something Old, Something New

I have to confess the first time I saw the cover for the newest Timeless Western Collection, Calico Ball, I had no idea what one was.

Now that I’ve learned something new about something old, I keep thinking, why don’t we do stuff like this anymore? It sounds charitable and delightful, and something I would definitely attend.Calico Ball (Timeless Western Collection Book 1) by [Kelly, Carla, Eden, Sarah M., Holt, Kristin]

This collection contains three short stories set in The West and each about a Calico Ball.

“The Keeper of the Western Door” by Carla Kelly has a slow but budding tender relationship. The be true to your roots message was sweet. However I felt like the conversations were a little stilted.

“A Convenient Arrangement” by Sarah Eden like most of her writing is an emotionally driven story. It’s one of the reasons people connect to her stories and her characters. Her descriptions of the characters and their reactions to each other made an already delightful tale, adorable.

“Isabella’s Calico Groom” by Kristin Holt was probably my favorite of the three stories. It took me a few pages to place the other characters in the book as stories I’d already read. The characters from Sophia’s Leap Year Courtship a Timeless Romance Single and “Wanted: Midwife Bride” from the Mail Order Bride Collection appear briefly in this story. Kristin Holt combined a story of independence and being who you are with a heart warming romance. I particularly appreciated that she created in Isabella a woman not afraid to speak up and communicate through misunderstandings, it was refreshing.

Overall I really enjoyed this Collection, I love learning about new things and felt pulled right into the excitement of the Calico Ball. The next time someone wants ideas for a fundraiser, a Calico Ball will be on the top of my list…but then I might actually have to learn how to sew…


4 1/2 stars, Low Language, Low Romance, Low Violence, Sarah M. Eden

Fly on the Wall

Confession: I’ve always secretly wished I could be a part of a regency house party. They sound entertaining and dramatic and just the sort of craziness I would love. Sarah Eden’s latest novel, Loving Lieutenant Lancaster, takes place at such a setting. But it gets better, what could be better than a regency house party you ask? A regency house party in which both the Jonquils and the Lancasters have been invited, genius! Oh to be a imagined fly on that fictional wall!

Loving Lieutenant Lancaster by [Eden, Sarah M.]

“Orphaned as a child, Arabella Hampton was the unwanted and unloved charge of a cruel aunt and neglectful uncle. The only light in her young life was the kindness of the Jonquil family, and she clung to the childish dream of someday living with them at Lampton Park. Now, years later, that opportunity is presented to Arabella in a most unexpected way: she is to be the lady’s companion to the dowager countess. The lines of her position are blurred, and she is neither family nor servant. So when the countess plans a grand house party, Arabella is content to hide in the shadows. But one gentleman sees her there.

Lieutenant Linus Lancaster has retired from the navy and is not looking for love, especially when he finds himself entangled in his sisters’ scheme to trap him into finding a wife at a house party at Lampton Park. Yet amid the festivities, he’s impossibly drawn to the dowager’s quiet companion, Arabella.”

As excited as I was to dive into a book where the Jonquils and the Lancasters collide, I could not anticipate the awesomeness that would ensue when you but Philip Lancaster and Adam Boyce in the same location, for an extended period of time. I have this image of Sarah Eden sitting at her computer drumming her fingers together with a conniving, but smug look on her face, at the prospect of writing such scenes. They did not disappoint, they were fantastic and quite hilarious.

The beautiful thing about Sarah Eden, is the seamless way she combines both the humor and the deeper beautiful messages of love, and trust, and family.  Of acceptance and fear, and a need to belong. Each emotion is potent and makes the words on the page become more than just a story, but a connection.

Sarah has taken us on a journey with these two families for so long, it was nothing but delightful to get to see them collide and can I just say, I am so incredibly excited to hear Charlie’s and Artemis’ respective stories, or story?? You can see how much they are both hurting, and yet wanting. Now that would be the best, right? A permanent joining of the two families. A girl can dream. –N.C.


PS- The one thing I was confused on, some one help me out here…did I miss something? Dr. Scoresby just shows up at Linus’ house, like that was normal and acceptable? Yet they were all out of beds and Linus is sleeping in the office. Where did he sleep and why was it generally acceptable for him, who was no relation and not invited, to just be there?? Help a confused girl out here…




Five Stars, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Low Violence, Sarah M. Eden

No one’s more surprised than m’self

Wow, I loved this book. I was not expecting too since I didn’t love the first two in the series. Which is surprising since I think Sara Eden is a fantastic author. I still can’t pinpoint exactly what it was about the first two, but this recent release in the series, blew me away. 

“For nearly a year, Tavish O’Connor has carried the crushing weight of his family’s future on his shoulders. He has taken on the care of his youngest brother, Finbarr, who lost his eyesight in a terrible accident. But the lad needs more than Tavish can provide. Finbarr needs hope.

Cecily Attwater specializes in hope. As a tutor to the newly blind, she has dedicated her life to helping others overcome the obstacles she herself has conquered. Her new assignment in a remote corner of Wyoming proves trickier than usual: Finbarr refuses to learn. To make matters worse, his family—and the other Irish townspeople—are less than thrilled to discover an Englishwoman in their haven.

Cecily’s only hope lies in securing the cooperation of her pupil’s brother, Tavish, who happens to be her harshest critic and quite possibly the most frustrating man she’s ever known.

For Finbarr’s sake, Tavish and Cecily forge an uneasy alliance that, as the weeks pass, tiptoes toward something deeper than either dares admit or face, and toward a future they know to be impossible. There can be no hope of a happy outcome for an Irish man and an English woman amongst a people reeling from violence and centuries of hatred between their two homelands.”

Love Remains made me laugh, made me cry, (not in a bad way) and made me feel a deep connection with the characters in this story. One of the things I love about Sara’s writing, is how you can have no idea what it is like to feel something having no experience in that area, and then finish the book feeling more compassion and understanding for something you’ve personally never experienced.

I loved how she wrote Cecily’s character. I loved how she withstood so much heartache and trial in life and yet still rose above all that and was kind and loving. And Tavish *sigh* love his humor and his love/willingness to do anything for his family. That is what family is to me, and it really stuck a cord.

It was hard to read about the O’Connor’s stubbornness and attitude to Cecily. Especially with all they had gone through I honestly expected better from them, but through it Sara made it more realistic and brought out those prejudices, recognizing that everything is not always peachy keen.

Finnbar… Can’t wait for his story!

And can we talk about how much I loved the moment between Cecily and Tavish at their pond when he describes everything around them that she can’t see. I don’t know why but that made me tear up. That’s love right there, a love that will remain. –M.V.


Five Stars, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Low Violence, Sarah M. Eden

Have Courage and be Kind

In a conference many years ago I heard a woman speak about womanhood and she said something that spoke to my soul.

The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are course; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue, We have enough popularity we need more purity.” -Margaret D. Nadauld  

I want to be that kind of woman, I want my daughter to be that kind of woman; I love reading books that show that kind of woman. In Ashes on the MoorSarah Eden introduces us to Evangeline.


“The life of an impoverished schoolteacher is not one Evangeline Blake would have chosen for herself. Torn from her home and her beloved sister and sent to work in the gritty factory town of Smeatley, Evangeline must prove herself to her grandfather, a man who values self-reliance above all else, before he will grant her access to her inheritance. Raised to be a lady of refinement, she hasn’t any of the skills necessary to manage on her own nor does she have the first idea how to be a teacher. But failure means never being with her sister again.

Alone and overwhelmed, she turns to the one person in town who seems to know how she feels—Dermot McCormick, an Irish brick mason who is as far from home and as out of place as she is. Despite the difference in their classes and backgrounds, Evangeline and Dermot’s tentative friendship deepens and grows. Her determination and compassion slowly earn her the faith and confidence of the skeptical residents of Smeatley, who become like the family she has lost.

But when a secret from her past comes to light, Evangeline faces an impossible choice: seize the opportunity to reclaim her former life and rejoin her sister or fight for the new life she has struggled to build for herself—a life that includes Dermot.”

Despite her circumstances Evangeline is tender and kind, refined, good and pure. The world needs more books like this. Books where women face impossible circumstance and overcome them with courage, kindness and optimism.

Sarah Eden took a book that could have been somber and tragic due to its location and character’s situation in life and used the underlying themes of family and home to infuse the book with warmth, comfort and hope.

It was obvious that every aspect of the book was extremely well researched giving the book depth and richness. This was especially apparent in the way Sarah Eden handled the Yorkshire language. Not only could you tell she had a beautiful handle on such a unique way of speaking, but she understood that it was also a part of their identity, tying it in beautifully to that underlying story arc of home and purpose.

The imagery throughout the book created an emotional attachment to the scene and the characters. The way Sarah Eden used the bells pulled you immediately into Evangeline’s grief making you feel it deep in your heart with every gong. Then to use the bells again at the end of the book as a symbol of hope for the future was exceptional story telling.

I’ll say it again, the world needs more books like this. Books that advocate the value of teachers and the difference, however small, they can make in a child’s life. Books that show that friendship does not need parameters. This is a must read. –N.C.


Five Stars, Low Language, Low Romance, Moderate Violence, Sarah M. Eden

Nuggets of Wisdom

Confession, I love to write. I find it so cathartic to pull out my thoughts and feelings and put them to a page. However sometimes it ends up sounding more like word vomit than a clear and concise extension of my thoughts. Because I got a college education, writing was a byproduct of all my classes. Other than gen ed stuff however my formal education never went in the direction of focusing on honing those particular skills. I’m happy with where I am right now and am content with my life focusing on the success and smiles of my three little ones.

Which is why I love good authors. I love to take little nuggets of wisdom from writers I admire and think, huh that’s how you do that, maybe someday I’ll learn how to replicate that. For now I’m content to learn from them, so without further ado, the little gems of knowledge I gained from Sarah M. Eden via For Love or Honor.

  1. A good writer knows how to get you invested in their characters past, present and future. (Seriously were you not just aching for Stanley’s past, present and future through this whole book!)
  2. A good writer knows the power of comedic timing. (Philip and Mariposa were again useful to relieve the tension of an otherwise harder topics, but Puck! – such an awesome character and so well written, perfect blend of tack and humor)
  3. A good writer knows how to write about heavy important topics without leaving you feeling depressed or empty. (did this book make me cry? yes, yes it did. But it also filled me with hope and awe.)
  4. A good writer can intertwine her books so that instead of being a one time adventure you’re engaged in, they become a whole world in your imagination that continues to ebb and flow through the whole series. (Who else is absolutely dying of anticipation for Holy Harry’s story, I can’t wait to get inside his head. And I loved how she brought Sorrel and Philip into this book more. And the scene with Caroline is what pushed the water works.)
  5. A good writer engages all your emotions. (Yes I’m fully aware that these are fictional characters, but I have family in the armed forces that I worry about. I have family that struggle with infertility. I have nieces and nephews that love big. I am invested in these characters because their feelings and emotions are as raw as mine have been.)

For Love or Honor was all of these things and more. A beautiful story of the heartache of war and the hope and love that can heal it.  –N.C.

“From the moment they met, Marjie’s heart has belonged to handsome Captain Stanley Jonquil, younger brother of the Earl of Lampton. But six long months ago, when Stanley’s sense of honor required that he do as he had sworn and return to the Continent to fight in defense of King and country, neither Stanley nor Marjie could have dreamed what the cost of his service would be.

It has been ages since Stanley last wrote, and Marjie and the Jonquil family are plagued by his unknown fate—until the day he unexpectedly reappears. Marjie’s joy, however, is quickly shadowed by confusion—the aloof, battle-worn soldier before her is not the man he once was.”

*No obvious religious themes

**The violence rating is due to the brief but necessary descriptions of war and injury though I’d probably put it closer to low than moderate