Posted in Christian, Giveaway, Historical, Interview, romance on October 3, 2017

LOVING LUTHER

by

ALLISON PITTMAN

  Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Publisher: Tyndale House

Date of Publication: September 1, 2017

Number of Pages: 432

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Germany, 1505

In the dark of night, Katharina von Bora says the bravest good-bye a six-year-old can muster and walks away as the heavy convent gate closes behind her.

Though the cold walls offer no comfort, Katharina soon finds herself calling the convent her home. God, her father. This, her life. She takes her vows–a choice more practical than pious–but in time, a seed of discontent is planted by the smuggled writings of a rebellious excommunicated priest named Martin Luther. Their message? That Katharina is subject to God, and no one else. Could the Lord truly desire more for her than this life of servitude?

In her first true step of faith, Katharina leaves the only life she has ever known. But the freedom she has craved comes with a price, and she finds she has traded one life of isolation for another. Without the security of the convent walls or a family of her own, Katharina must trust in both the God who saved her and the man who paved a way for rescue. Luther’s friends are quick to offer shelter, but Katharina longs for all Luther has promised: a home, a husband, perhaps even the chance to fall in love.

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Praise for Loving Luther:

[Pittman] pens an exquisite tale, capturing the emotions of a nun grappling with the faith she’s always known vs. a new and unfamiliar freedom in faith.  Simmering with tension of Katharina’s discontent and longings, the novel unveils a slow morphing that follows Katharina’s own personal transformation, from reverence to spirited determination in choosing her own way in the world. — Booklist

Loving Luther is a moving and rich historical romance based on Luther’s relationship with his wife Katharina.  In addition, it shows how their marriage was actually significant to the Lutheran faith.  Instead of dwelling on the couple’s courtship, the story goes deep into the roots of the Reformation.  Luther and Katharina interrogate their faith, living out their convictions in a way that is both inspiring and profoundly human.  Loving Luther has depth, and it is unexpectedly touching.  Katharina and Luther, in search of a happy ending, find one another.  Their love, Pittman shows, really did change the world. — Foreword Magazine

A historical novel with characters who are brave, strong and willing to take chances in times of persecution.  The plot is partially based on the teachings of Martin Luther and the many lives he changed, some for the better, some for the worse.  Pittman is a talented author who touches on topics that have been debated over the decades and are still being talked about today. — Romantic Times Reviews

 

How has being a Texan (or Texas) influenced your writing?

I’m a transplanted Texan, but I’ve been here for almost 30 years—more than half my life now… I don’t have novels set in Texas (except my little Christmas Novella that is basically a love letter to San Antonio and HEB), but I like to think that I have a Texas attitude in my stories. Meaning this: Texans love Texas, without reservation, despite our flaws, regardless what other people think. My books don’t always feature the most loveable characters, but I love them. Fiercely. I’d love them if they never reformed, if they never reconciled their sins. I love them in the dirt and I love them when they’re all cleaned up—and all the miles and miles in-between.

Where did your love of [books, writing, reading, and/or storytelling] come from?

My love of all things reading and writing came from my mom. Long before I knew how to write, I would dictate stories to her and she would faithfully scribe them for me, without changing anything. And my earlies memories are of her reading to me. In particular, I remember my illustrated classic volume of Heidi. I remember thinking: She’s enjoying this just as much as I am! That meant something, to know that she wasn’t just reading to me, she was reading with me. Ever since, I’ve thought of reading as a shared experience.

What was the hardest part of writing this book? 

The hardest part about writing Loving Luther was the huge feeling of responsibility I felt for everybody who knew this story, who knew the characters and the circumstances of Martin Luther and the Reformation. I had some history hi-lights to work as bullet points in the story, but lots of free room for imagination. I’m good with the imagination part! And I had to take some fictional license in places. The thing is, I never really know where the line is. So, I’m praying that readers will experience the story in the same spirit I used in creating it.

What did you find most useful in learning to write for publication?  What was least useful or most destructive?

Most useful? There are so many people who know so much more than I do about so many things. Designers know how to design. Editors know how to edit. I have great story instincts and a certain level of writing skill, but that’s such a small part of making a book successful. I had to learn that not all great ideas make great books, and past success doesn’t guarantee anything for the next title down the line, so approach and write EVERY book as if it’s your first. After all, every book is a first of my books for someone! Least useful? Destructive? I’ve been fortunate enough to work with two VERY supportive publishers. I think overall the least useful adage in writing is the idea of “Write what you know.” If I did that, I’d never be able to write about baseball or dust storms, or Martin Luther, or flappers, or…anything. I’d have to center an entire cannon around enchiladas and 80’s TV.

What does your perfect writing spot look like? Is that what your ACTUAL writing spot looks like?

My perfect writing spot is the spare room/office in my house—walls are a soothing sage green, shelves displaying my books, photographs of friends and family on the desk and shelves. All of my research books are within an arm’s reach. My candle smells like Disneyland in the morning. The light is low and the AC is perfect. Now, my ACTUAL writing spot? Same house, just down the hall. In the living room, curled up on a corner of the sofa, with episodes of The Golden Girls barely audible in the background.

Do you have any strange writing habits or writing rituals you’d like to share with your readers?

I should probably acknowledge Twizzlers and coffee in all of my book dedications.

What book do you wish you could have written?

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. It is my absolute favorite novel. A dream-dream-dream project would be two write the love story of Officer McShane and Katie Nolan, through the eyes of the patient, lovelorn McShane.

If you could time travel, what time period would you first visit?

I would love to pop into the late 1920s. I want to see a Charlie Chaplin movie in a theater with an orchestra. I want to wear an amazingly cute hat. I love the post-war excitement and liberating mentality. As much as I love delving deep into the past for novel research, my research confirms that I wouldn’t want to live anywhere pre-indoor plumbing and cheeseburgers. The 20s has everything I love now, only fresh and new. Specifically, I’d want to zap onto a Hollywoodland Studio lot. I’d fetch coffee, carry scripts, whatever—just to see that world.

Allison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a three-time Christy finalist—twice for her Sister Wife series and once for All for a Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties. She lives near San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike.

 

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Posted in 4 paws, Historical, Review, romance on October 2, 2017

AN INCONVENIENT BEAUTY

Hawthorne House, Book 4

by

KRISTI ANN HUNTER

  Genre: Regency Romance

Publisher: Bethany House

Date of Publication: September 5, 2017

Number of Pages: 384

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Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, so he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. While he’s certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, she is strangely elusive, and he can’t seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, she has no choice but to agree to a bargain that puts her at odds with all her romantic hopes—as well as her conscience. And the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she regrets the unpleasant obligation that prevents her from any dream of a future with him.

As all Griffith’s and Isabella’s long-held expectations are shaken to the core, can they set aside their pride and fear long enough to claim a happily-ever-after?

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Praise for An Inconvenient Beauty

“With the latest superbly written installment in her Hawthorne House series, RITA award-winning Hunter once again proves she has the key to inspirational-romance and traditional-Regency readers’ hearts as she gifts them with another gracefully executed love story that delivers all of the richly nuanced characters, impeccably researched historical plotting, and sweet romance they could ever crave.” —Booklist

“The final book in the Hawthorne House series brings Hunter’s saga to a sigh-worthy conclusion. These family members have become like real people, and although readers will celebrate that the characters have found love, it is bittersweet to say goodbye. The plot moves briskly, yet the romance never feels forced. The period details are, as always, charming, and entrench the reader in the culture and traditions of the era.”—RT Book Reviews

“Hunter’s final installment in the Hawthorne House series will delight those already invested in the series as well as any reader who enjoys stories set in Regency-era England. . . . As the London Season plays out, secrets are revealed, past loves return, and hearts align—despite a fair amount of underhanded conniving–to create a fitting finale to the series and a lovely addition to the Regency genre.”—Publishers Weekly starred review

The author weaves a tale of misdirection, introspection and an unexpected love connection.

When I started this book I didn’t know this was fourth in a series. Not that it matters a whole lot, but it might have given a little more history on Griffith and his family. But even without reading the first three, the story tells how Griffith came to be the Duke at such a young age and how it has impacted his thought process when it comes to choosing a wife. It was actually quite comical in some ways…men are more logical and don’t realize that you can’t choose a spouse that way.

Isabella has had a quite life in the country and it is only when her father cannot maintain the farm that she is persuaded by her Uncle to help entice men to side with him on a political bill that was important to him to pass. He apparently is not beyond using his niece for a political win.

But no matter what Griffith and Isabella think or expect from life, they never thought that they would find their soul mates within each other. It is a tough road for both of them and they fight the attraction that grows with each other but of course do not win.

I really enjoyed this story for the time period, how people acted in relationships, the underhandedness of some people (because you have to have some “evil” to round out a story) and for the comedic thoughts and acts of various characters that brought some levity to the time and their situation. Plus it goes to show you can’t go looking for love, it is going to find you no matter where you hide!

We give this 4 paws up.

Kristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in computer science but always knew she wanted to write. Kristi is the author of the Hawthorne House series and a 2016 RITA Award winner and Christy Award finalist. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia.

 

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Historical, romance on September 23, 2017

Title: Last Gentleman Standing

Author: Jane Ashford

Pub Date: September 5, 2017

Synopsis

A fortune hunter’s dream…

Miss Elisabeth Elham is an unlikely heiress. She never knew the curmudgeonly uncle who died suddenly and left her a fortune. She’s proud, outspoken and independent—a definite challenge for London’s fortune hunting suitors.

As various determined gentlemen vie for her attention at balls, routs, picnics and parties, Elisabeth finds herself embroiled with a charming rake, a mysterious nabob, and an elegant neighbor. This would all be great fun, if only she wasn’t so fascinated by the one man in London who’s not trying to woo her…

Rediscover this classic Regency romance!  Originally titled Bluestocking, this classic story has been unavailable for over 25 years and is now returning from the vault!

 

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Excerpt

Elisabeth had recrossed a stile and was traversing an open field when she heard hoofbeats behind her. Turning, she was just in time to see the rider urge his magnificent chestnut up and over the fence she had just climbed. The form of both was flawless, and she forgot herself in her admiration of the jump, watching unself-consciously, as the horseman approached her.

The chestnut had white feet and was one of the most beautiful and spirited animals she’d ever seen. He moved with the ease and power of a true thoroughbred and might have made almost any rider appear insignificant, but the man on his back matched his quality. He looked to be tall, and his figure was well-molded and athletic. His buckskin breeches fitted him to perfection, and his coat fairly cried out its fashionable origin in the workrooms of a Weston or a Stultz. Elisabeth had seen a few gentlemen of the haut ton in Bath, and she knew enough to recognize that the deceptive simplicity of the folds of his cravat and the carefully casual arrangement of his hair were the signs of a veritable tulip, a top-of-the-trees corinthian. At that moment, she met his slightly mocking gaze and looked down in confusion, recalling herself with annoyance. She had been gaping like a schoolgirl, she thought.

The rider pulled up before her. “I almost feel I’ve been in a competition,” he said. His voice was deep and resonant. “I hope you gave me full points for that jump.”

Elisabeth looked up. His eyes were pale blue, she noted, in spite of his black hair and rather dark complexion. “I was staring quite rudely, I know,” she replied. “I beg your pardon. But I was transfixed by the way your horse took that fence.”

The man patted the chestnut’s neck, “He’s wonderful, is Tristram.”

“Tristram?” repeated Elisabeth, smiling. “That’s an uncommon name for a horse. Do you take it from Tristram Shandy?”

The rider looked at her with much more interest than he’d first shown. “Yes, I’m fond of Sterne.”

“Oh, it is my favorite of all books. I thought hardly anyone read it now.”

He smiled back at her somewhat quizzically. “And I should hardly have thought it fit reading for young ladies.” He surveyed her. He was the despair of his mother and several aunts, who had all at one time or another introduced to him dazzling debutantes calculated to urge him into marriage. But though he’d treated them politely, he’d been extremely bored in their company and really had very little notion of what to say to conventional young women. Seeing that Elisabeth was a bit uncomfortable under his gaze, he continued, “But then I rarely find young ladies wandering about my land unattended. So I can’t quite make you out. Are you someone’s governess, perhaps? Do you teach your pupils from Sterne?” His amused smile faded as he went on before she could answer. “No, that doesn’t seem right.”

Looking down at her drab garments, Elisabeth laughed. “I’m sure I don’t know why you say so. I do look very like a governess. In fact, until a few weeks ago, I was a teacher at a seminary for young ladies. Now that my uncle has obligingly left me his fortune, I shall have to change my style of dress.”

“Uncle?” he asked. His eyes narrowed. “You can’t mean old Anthony Elham? I heard of his death.”

“Yes. I am Elisabeth Elham. Though it is not at all the thing to go about introducing oneself to strange men,” she told herself reflectively.

The rider laughed. “I hope I’m not strange. But I beg pardon. I should have made myself known to you immediately. I am your neighbor, Derek Wincannon. Do you mean to say that old Elham has left you Willowmere?”

Elisabeth shrugged. “It is part of the estate. And a very ramshackle part, I must say. I have never seen so neglected a house.”

“It’s the scandal of the neighborhood,” said Mr. Wincannon. “Your uncle was a shocking landlord and a worse neighbor.”

“From what I heard of him,” answered Elisabeth,  “he was uniformly shocking. I’m rather sorry I never met him.” The man laughed again. “But in any case, you may inform the neighborhood that I shall be putting the place to rights as soon as I may.”

“That’s good news. Will you be settling there?”

“No. At least, not immediately. I shall live in London for a time, at Elham House.”

“For the season, I assume.”

“Yes, I’ll be bringing out my cousin.”

“You are bringing out someone? I’d have thought it would be the other way about.”

“Oh, no,” Elisabeth smiled. “I’m beyond that sort of thing. Quite on the shelf, in fact,” she added lightly.

“I see it now,” he responded dryly, “a veritable antique. How can I have mistaken you for girl in her twenties?”

She laughed. “Well, I daresay I shall attend a few parties also, if I’m asked.”

He smiled. “There can be little doubt of that, I should think. You’ll wish to sample the gaities of the season and attend the assemblies at Almack’s.”

“Almack’s? Oh, no, I shouldn’t think so.”

He raised his eyebrows.

“My father used to tell me stories about London, and he was most severe on Almack’s. He called it the Marriage Mart and painted such a vivid picture of the trials young girls undergo as they are catalogued and labeled according to their faces and fortunes that he gave me quite a horror of the place. I don’t at all wish to go there now.”

Mr. Wincannon’s interest was definitely caught. “Now?”

“Well, of course I might have done so some years ago had I been offered the opportunity,” Elisabeth explained obligingly. “When one is thrown penniless upon the world at the age of nineteen, one is willing to try any shift to come about again. I was very willing then to marry to make my fortune. But I wasn’t given the chance, and how fortunate that was, really. For now, you see, there is no need.”

Derek Wincannon laughed. “You are a most unusual girl,” he said.

“Because I prefer to order my own life now that I have the means to do so?” asked Elisabeth. “I’m persuaded you can’t really think so. Would you give up your independence without need? No indeed. When I was desperate and might have married, no one dared offer for me. I certainly won’t encourage anyone to do so now that I have an income.”

“Much good that will do you, I should say.”

About the Author

Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Her historical and contemporary romances have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, Slovenia, and Spain, as well as the U.S. Twenty-six of her new and backlist Regency romances are being published by Sourcebooks. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She is currently rather nomadic.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Historical, romance on September 21, 2017

Title: The Last Outlaw

Author: Rosanne Bittner

Series: Outlaw Hearts, #4

Pub Date: September 5, 2017

Synopsis

True Love Never Dies

Times have changed, and the old Wild West is a thing of the past. Nestled in his beautiful Colorado ranch, surrounded by family, infamous former outlaw Jake Harkner’s hung up his guns for good and finally found a measure of peace—but dark memories haunt the woman who has always been his strength, and not even Jake is certain he can save his beloved Miranda this time.

All he can do is swear to remain by her side. But it takes more than a hope for peace to outrun a past defined by violence, and it isn’t long before Jake is embroiled in a rescue mission he simply can’t refuse. Life has brought him back full circle as he rides into Mexico to save a young girl from a dreadful fate…leaving Miranda behind one final time, fearing that the man she loves more than anything is destined to die the way he’s always lived—by the gun.

 

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Excerpt

A note from Rosanne: THE LAST OUTLAW opens with a love scene between the hero (Jake Harkner, a notorious gunman) and his wife Miranda (Randy).  Because of a prologue to this first chapter, readers will know a gang of bank robbers is headed for Boulder, Colorado, which is where Jake and Randy are on a shopping trip and staying in a hotel. They will know Jake is bound to get involved in the gunplay that follows. 

In this opening, readers realize these two, whose love story is incredibly beautiful, are having personal problems stemming from an event in Book #3, LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE.  You will have to read that book to learn what happened, but I think here you will sense the incredibly loving relationship these two share, Jake’s adoration of his long-suffering wife, and you will realize something needs to happen later in this story to “fix” the current underlying problems they are having.  I think readers will be surprised later in the story to find out how this problem is solved.  It’s VERY sexy, and also very beautiful.

 

Jake trailed his tongue over his wife’s skin, trying to ignore his fear that she could be dying. Her belly was too caved-in, her hip bones too prominent.

She’ll get better, he told himself. The taste of her most secret place lingered on his lips as he moved to her breasts, still surprisingly full, considering, but not with the same breasts he’d always loved and teased her about, with the enticing cleavage that stirred his desire for her.

He would always desire her.  This was his Randy.  She was his breath.  Her spirit ran in his veins, and she was his reason for being.  God knew his worthless hide had no business even still being on this earth.

He ran a hand over her ribs, which were too damn easy to count.  Sometimes he thought he’d go mad with the memory of last winter, the reason she’d become more withdrawn and had nearly stopped eating.

He met her mouth, and she responded.  Thank God she still wanted this, but something was missing, and he couldn’t put his finger on it. He thought he’d made it all better, thought he’d taken away the ugly.  He’d feared at first she might blame him for what happened, but it had been quite the opposite.  She’d become almost too clingy, constantly asking if he loved her, not to let go of her, asking him not to go far away.

He pushed himself inside of her, wanting nothing more than to please her, to find a way to break down the invisible wall he felt between them, to erase the past and assure her he was right here, that he still loved her.  How in hell could he not love this woman, the one who’d loved him when he was anything but loveable…all those years ago?  She’d put up with his past and his bouts of insanity and all the trouble and heartache he’d put her through…this woman who’d given him a son and daughter who couldn’t make a man prouder and who loved him beyond what he was worth … six grandchildren who climbed all over him full of such innocent love for a man who’d robbed and killed, and worst of all … killed his own father.

He moved his hands under her bottom, pushing himself deep inside her, relishing the way she returned his deep kisses and pressed her fingers into his upper arms in an almost desperate neediness.

That was what bothered him.  This had always been good between them, a true mating of souls, teasing remarks back and forth as they made love. But now it was as though she feared losing him if she didn’t make love often, and that wasn’t the sort of man he was. It had always been pure pleasure between them. He’d taught her things she would never have thought of, helped her relax and release every sexual inhibition. He knew every inch of her body intimately, and she’d loved it.

This was different.  And it was harder now, because not only did he hate the idea of feeing like he was forcing her, but he was also terrified he would break something.  She was so thin and small now.  He out-weighed her by a good hundred and fifty pounds by now; she couldn’t have weighed more than eighty or ninety pounds.

He surged deep in a desperate attempt to convince himself he wasn’t losing her. And through it all, he was screaming inside.  Sometimes he wanted to shake her and make her tell him what else he could do to bring back the woman he’d known and loved for nearly thirty-two years. He missed that feisty, bossy woman, the only person on this earth who could bring him to his knees.

He’d faced the worst of men as a lawman in Oklahoma, and run with the worst of men the first thirty years of his life.  He’d spent four years in prison under horrible conditions.  He’d been in too many gunfights to count, taken enough bullets that he had no right still being alive.  He’d ridden the Outlaw Trail and defied the odds. His reputation followed him everywhere, and a reporter had even written a book about him – Jake Harkner: The Legend and the MythMyth was more like it.  And the legend wasn’t one he was proud of.

And this woman beneath him … this woman he poured his life into this very moment … she’d been there for most of it.

He relaxed and moved to her side.

“Don’t let go yet, Jake.”

 

About the Author

RosanneBittner

 

USA Today bestseller and award-winning novelist Rosanne Bittner is known as the “Queen of Western Historical Romance” for her thrilling love stories and historical authenticity. Her epic romances span the West—and are often based on Rosanne’s personal visits to each setting. She lives in Coloma, Michigan, with her husband and two sons.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Historical, romance on September 19, 2017

Title: Highland Flame

Author: Mary Wine

Pub Date: September 5, 2017

ISBN: 9781492602538

Synopsis

NEWLY MINTED LAIRD SEEKS WIFE, PREFERABLY RICH

Laird Diocail Gordon has just inherited his uncle’s run down castle and rag-tag clan. He knows the sorry sight of the castle would send any woman running, but is determined to find a wife to help return his home to its former glory.

Widowed lady Jane Stanley is determined to return to England, even if she has to tromp through the Scottish Highlands on foot to get there. Her travels lead her straight into the midst of a troop of dangerous Highland warriors. The mysterious, brawny laird forbids his men to harm her, and the spark between them is immediate. The only way Diocail can keep her safe is to take her home with him, but will the miserable state of his clan douse her newly ignited Highland flame?

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Historical facts you should know

  1. A reverence was the proper greeting for this era, sometimes called courtesy. You stepped back with one foot, bent at the knee, keeping your back straight and ‘lowered’. If you were the higher ranking person, you would do the same and it was called ‘offering courtesy’, meaning it was a polite way of greeting one another. Even Queen Elizabeth Tudor lowered herself before the archbishop of Canterbury.
  2. Every house had a buttery….it was where the butts of ale were stored.
  3. A butler was the man who kept the keys to the buttery. In this period, he was huge and someone who could defend those keys with his brawn because ale was essential to survival in winter.

Excerpt

They both fell silent again as they consumed more of the food and faced a topic neither of them had any experience with. Not many a man did. It was why men wed, and women too, because together a man and woman might combine their knowledge to make a successful home. He’d been taught the logistics of defense and negotiation needed to foster relationships with other lairds.

But how much fare to put on the tables?

He had no idea or even how to go about making sure there were ample hands to prepare the food. Diocail felt his brain throbbing as he contemplated all the things needed to run a kitchen, and those were only what he knew about. What truly nauseated him was that he knew damned well how lacking his knowledge was. He knew how many men to ride out with, how many horses, and his education continued on to include how many blacksmiths it took to make sure those horses were shoed, how many stable lads it took to make certain those animals were fit to ride, how much feed and what sort was needed to maintain a horse’s strength.

A hundred details, and a kitchen was no different. No wise man made the mistake of thinking it an easy thing to keep running smoothly. Their current circumstances were proof of that surely enough.

“Ye need a wife, one raised with the education to see this place set right. No’ that any decent girl would have this house as it is,” Muir added. “Try to contract one, and she’ll run home to her father the moment she sees the condition this castle is in. But ye need one. A wife, that is.”

“I hoped to have a bit of time before getting down to that part of being laird,” Diocail groused.

“Best set yer secretary to sorting through the offers in Colum’s study.” Muir didn’t offer him any respite.

“Do nae hold out any hope,” Diocail replied. “There is a decade of letters sitting there. Any offers are long past their time of opportunity.”

His new lairdship was proving to be far more challenging than he’d ever thought it might be. Somehow, in all the times his mother had spoken to him of the day he’d take over the Gordon clan as laird, she had never mentioned just how complicated the duty was. There was building to consider, horses, men, training—and the list went on. All things he’d been taught as a man.

Now there was the kitchen, and God only knew what else went along with running one

smoothly.

Well, not God.

He let out a grunt. Here was something he knew less about than the Lord above.

Women.

And, more precisely, a lady and the duties she would have been trained to do.

There were reasons a laird wed a woman from a highborn family, and one was that she would come with an education as diverse as any given to a laird’s son. Running a kitchen was more than turning bread; it was knowing how much bread to set out to rise in the morning so that the supper table was full and how much grain was needed to make it through the winter and how many hands were needed to produce it all. His head began to ache. He didn’t know what went into bread, much less how much was needed to see an entire castle through a day, but as laird, his duty was to make certain the tables were laid with fare.

Nor did he know anything at all about helping a lady settle into the place he hoped she’d make into a home.

Muir was correct; she would run back to her father before sunup.

Diocail took another swig of the whisky, wishing it would dull his senses.

But all it did was warm him enough to make him conscious of the draft coming through the holes in the roof. He tipped his head back and discovered stars peeking at him where tiles were missing, likely from the winter storms. Colum was a bastard for leaving his people to such circumstances.

Laird of the Gordons. Diocail’s mother’s dream.

And his nightmare, it would seem.

About the Author

Acclaimed author Mary Wine has written over 30 works of Scottish Highland romance, romantic suspense and erotic romance. An avid history-buff and historical costumer, she and her family enjoy participating in historical reenactments. Mary lives in Yorba Linda, California with her husband and two sons.

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Posted in 5 paws, Christian, Giveaway, Historical, Review, romance on September 10, 2017

THESE HEALING HILLS

by

ANN GABHART

  Genre: Historical Romance / Christian

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: September 5, 2017

Number of Pages: 368

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Bestselling Author Transports Readers to the Appalachian Mountains for Adventure and Healing

Packed with history, These Healing Hills by bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart introduces readers to the fascinating and difficult life of frontier nursing.

When the soldier Francine Howard planned to marry after WWII writes to tell her he is in love with a woman in England, Francine is devastated and in need of a change. She seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Services.

It is in these mountains that Francine crosses paths with Ben Locke, a soldier still very much suffering from the horrors of war. With his future shrouded in as much mist as his beloved mountains, he’s at a loss when it comes to envisioning what’s next for his life.

While Francine and Ben find they are from completely different worlds and possess very different values, they both learn that things don’t always go the way we plan. Ann H. Gabhart invites readers to witness the healing power of love and step forward to tantalizing new possibilities.

Praise for These Healing Hills

“Reading These Healing Hills is like wrapping up in a beloved quilt and stepping back in time. Ann H. Gabhart captures a fascinating slice of Appalachian history in this tale of a mountain midwife and a soldier, bringing it to life as only a native Kentuckian can. Poignant and romantic, witty and wise, with enduring spiritual truths, this is my favorite novel of hers to date.” —Laura Frantz, author of A Moonbow Night

“What a wonderful story! Filled with true-to-life characters (including some four-footed ones) and fascinating historical details, These Healing Hills is a beautifully written, heartwarming story of life in the Appalachian Mountains at the end of the Second World War. Ann Gabhart combines vivid descriptions, meticulous research, and a deep understanding of the human heart to create a story that will linger in readers’ memories long after the last page is turned. This is a book to savor, not just once, but over and over. A true keeper.” —Amanda Cabot, bestselling author of A Stolen Heart

“Ann H. Gabhart delivers a rich tale set in Kentucky’s Appalachian Mountains at the close of World War II. Francine buries the painful loss of the man she loves beneath the difficult work of a frontier nurse-midwife. The mountain people touch a place deep in her heart, and she gladly sacrifices the life she always wanted in order to serve them. But can she ever be truly happy among the hills and hollows where modern medicine often gives way to ancient folk cures? These Healing Hills is a fascinating and beautifully crafted story that I highly recommend.” —Virginia Smith, bestselling author of The Amish Widower

“You are sure to enjoy this endearing story of love lost and found in the enchanting hills of Kentucky.” —Jan Watson, author of the Troublesome Creek series

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What a lovely story!  It is “Call the Midwife” but in the Appalachian mountains.

I learned so much from this book about the culture of the people that lived in the mountains in the mid 40’s, what the nurses went through to learn and be certified as a midwife and of course was swept away in the love story between Francine (Fran) and Ben.  Since the author is from this general area I’m sure it was easy for her to research details.  I was able to picture the mountains, the homes, the people and what life was like during that time frame – when people did not have a lot but were happy.  Goes to show that money does not make you happy.  I also learned a lot of new words like baby catching, sass patch (garden) and killed – but not as in dead, just wounded.  As I was reading the author’s notes at the end, I discovered that the Frontier Nurses and the Frontier Nursing University are indeed real and was started by Mary Breckenridge in 1925 as a way to help those get nursing care that might not otherwise receive the services.

There is a little tension between Fran and her first boyfriend, Seth.  It takes a certain type of person to do what Fran is doing and Seth is definitely not that kind of person…as they might have said back then, he is “city folk”.  Plus Fran is becoming accustomed to living in the mountains and has grown attached to many of the residents, especially Ben.  She is learning quite a bit from her patients – to have patience, to not dismiss herbal remedies and to take joy in life.

There is some joyful moments throughout the book and I think Woody, Ben’s younger brother, steals the show at various times.  He is quite the talker and happy all the time that it is hard to not like him or root for him in various situations.  There are also some dogs featured in the book.  I loved the descriptions of the dogs and their antics.

This was a very enjoyable story and I did not want it to end.  I want to know more about what happens to many of the characters like Woody, Jeralene and Becca & Carl.  Perhaps the author will grace us with a follow up book.

We give it 5 paws up and suggest you pick this up soon (or enter to win a copy below).

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels—The OutsiderThe BelieverThe SeekerThe Blessed, and The Gifted—as well as Angel SisterSmall Town GirlLove Comes HomeWords Spoken True, and The Heart of Hollyhill series. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky.

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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

Grand Prize:

Copy of These Healing Hills + The Kentucky Snack Basket (11 items including a Derby Pie Tart, Bourbon Pecan Brittle, Bourbon Chocolates, Spiced Pretzels, Modjeskas, Coffee, Snack Mix, Candy Bar, Caramel Corn, and a Horseshoe from Churchill Downs!)

First Runner-Up:

Copy of These Healing Hills + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card

Second Runner-Up:

Copy of These Healing Hills + $10 Starbucks Gift Card

September 5 – 14, 2017

(U.S. Only)

 

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Check out the other great blogs on this tour

5-Sep Playlist Texan Girl Reads
6-Sep Review Syd Savvy
7-Sep Character Interview Books and Broomsticks
8-Sep Review The Page Unbound
9-Sep Guest Post Forgotten Winds
10-Sep Review StoreyBook Reviews
11-Sep Scrapbook Page Books in the Garden
12-Sep Excerpt Reading by Moonlight
13-Sep Review Missus Gonzo
14-Sep Author Interview The Librarian Talks

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Posted in 4 paws, Historical, Review, romance on August 28, 2017

Synopsis

Anthony Blake is in love with his best friend’s sister, Sophia Elliot. But his plans to court her are put on hold when he is forced to resume his role as an undercover spy for the Crown. A secret document listing the names of the entire network of British spies-including his own-has been stolen. To protect Sophia, Anthony cuts off all ties to her and exchanges his life as an honorable earl for the façade of a flirtatious playboy.

Heartbroken and confused, Sophia travels to India, hoping to find healing in one of the most exotic regions of the British Empire. But the exotic land isn’t as restful as she had hoped. Instead, she finds herself embroiled in a mystery of a missing sea captain, a possible murder, and a plot that could involve the prince of India. And when Anthony appears at the British Residency, asking questions and keeping his distance from her, she is stunned.

She still loves him, and, in her heart, she knows he loves her too. But how can she rebuild her relationship with him if he won’t confide in her? Does she dare offer her heart to him a second time, or will their love be lost under the India sun?

Review

Escaping to India from your life in Britain, may or may not be the right thing to do, because your life might just follow you there.

This is such an intriguing story.  It is a Proper Romance novel set in both England and India.  I will say that the authors descriptions of India with the colorful saris, the elephants and the market places created a vivid image in my mind.  It sounded like a place I wanted to visit.  Plus, as the title suggests, there are some gorgeous orchids mentioned in the book that created quite an impression on me.

There is romance and a little bit of a mystery all rolled up in this book.  There are moments when I laugh out loud at Sophia, and other times when I gasp wondering what will happen to her as she involves herself into who killed the man and how it affecting a certain little boy.  Then there is the unrequited love between Sophia and Anthony.  I think if he had not been asked to track down some missing documents he would have married Sophia in England.  However, duty called and he had to answer.  Now can he win her back?  Sophia does not make it easy for Anthony and in fact asks him to help her find a husband.  That will not be an easy task, and probably not one Anthony wants to help Sophia complete.  You will only find out the details by reading the book!

We give this 4 paws up.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Historical, romance on August 28, 2017

The Pursuit of Lady Harriett by Rachael Anderson

When wills clash and hearts collide, who will reign victorious?

Termed an Incomparable during her first London season, Lady Harriett Cavendish is beautiful, spirited, and confident, capturing the attention of a great many suitors. Unfortunately, they all failed to capture her attention, and she concluded the season as unattached as she’d begun it.

Only weeks prior to her second season, Harriett encounters Lieutenant Christopher Jamison while visiting Tanglewood Manor. Recently returned from war, the lieutenant is everything that Harriett’s previous suitors were not. He’s arrogant, ungentlemanly, irritating, and challenges her at every opportunity. When he goes too far, Harriett decides that it’s time to turn the tables on him. But as she sets out to put the lieutenant in his place once and for all, she discovers there is more to him than meets the eye, and when it comes to matters of the heart, she has no control whatsoever.

 

Excerpt

The corners of the man’s eyes crinkled in a mild show of amusement. “Lady Harriett, I presume?” Rather than look at her with appreciation as most men did, he appeared amused.

At her nod, he tucked his hands behind his back, remaining a few steps above her. “I am Lieutenant Christopher Jamison, an old friend of Jonathan’s.”

“I was expecting you days ago,” she answered. “Lord Jonathan charged me with the unhappy task of informing you he and his new bride are currently away on their wedding trip. He is sorry he cannot be here to meet with you and has asked that I relay his apologies.”

“May I inquire as to how long they will be away?” he asked.

No, you may not, she wanted to say. Her neck was beginning to ache from looking up at him, but she forced her gaze to remain steady. “They expected to be gone a fortnight, sir.”

“And they have been gone how long, exactly?”

She felt an unaccountable hesitancy to tell him. “A week.”

“Ah.” He sounded disappointed but seemed to take the news in stride, glancing at Charlie as though wondering whether he ought to retrieve his horse or not. Harriett prayed that he would.

When his gaze strayed back to her, he took the unwelcome, and ungentlemanly, liberty of perusing her figure. When his eyes met hers again, his lips twitched into a slight smile. “Forgive me, my lady, but you appear to have had a run-in with a mud puddle and lost.”

How kind of him to point that out. Harriett kept her hands at her side rather than attempt to brush the dirt from her face and pelisse yet again. The damage was done, and no amount of brushing or shaking would remove the muck. What she needed was a hot bath and a change of clothes.

“Actually, sir, I was merely an innocent bystander.”

“Indeed?”

She picked up her skirts and ascended the steps, stopping on the stair above him so that she was eye level with him. “Are you always such a reckless rider, sir? Do you not pay heed to your surroundings?”

“Of course I do.”

“If you had, you would have seen me standing at the side of the road and, I would hope, thought to slow your animal down so as to not splash mud all over my pelisse.”

Her chilly set down did not have the desired effect. He did not appear the least bit repentant. Rather, he looked ready to burst into laughter. “And your face, apparently.” He leaned forward and squinted. “If I’m not mistaken, there is a splash or two of mud on your bonnet as well.”

Harriett glared at him. “How observant you are, Lieutenant Jamison. One can only wonder why you didn’t put that skill to good use earlier. If you had, perhaps my pelisse, face, and bonnet would still be clean.”

“I am always observant, my lady,” he said. “But might I suggest that if you would like to be noticed at the side of the road, you should wear a color that does not blend so perfectly with your surroundings. That particular shade of green looks quite lovely on you, but only someone with the eyes of an eagle would have spotted you in front of a landscape of evergreens.”

Harriett opened her mouth to respond, but no words were forthcoming. The man did not even attempt to behave like a gentleman. How could he be so . . . so . . .

“Have you no apology to offer, sir?” she finally spluttered.

“Oh, did I not apologize? Forgive me.”

“For what? Forgetting to apologize or for not doing so in the first place?”


 

RachaelAbout the Author

A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

Website

 

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$75 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 9/22/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

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Posted in Giveaway, Historical, romance on August 9, 2017

Celebrate National Book Lovers Day by indulging in a classic Regency romance

or perhaps trying a story from a Proper Romance author you haven’t read before.

Synopsis

Twenty-six-year-old Katie Macauley has placed all her hope in Hope Springs, a small town in the 1870 Wyoming Territory. But if she wants to return home to Ireland to make amends with her estranged family, she’ll need to convince the influential Joseph Archer to hold true to his word and keep her on his payroll as his housekeeper despite her Irish roots. The town is caught in an ongoing feud between the Irish and the “Reds” the frontiersmen who would rather see all the Irish run out of town and the Irish immigrants who are fighting to make a home for themselves in the New World. When Joseph agrees to keep Katie on as his housekeeper, the feud erupts anew, and Katie becomes the reluctant figurehead for the Irish townsfolk. As the violence escalates throughout the town, Katie must choose between the two men who have been vying for her love though only one might be able to restore hope to her heart.

Giveaway

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Posted in Giveaway, Historical, romance on August 6, 2017

Celebrate National Sisters Day with a book about Cassie, whose attempts to play matchmaker go awry when she falls in love with her sister’s potential suitor.

Synopsis

Cassie, the youngest of six daughters in the Wilton family, is bold, bright, and ready to enter society. There’s only one problem: her older sister Lenora, whose extreme shyness prevents her from attending many social events. Lenora is now entering her third season, and since their father has decreed that only one Wilton girl can be out at a time, Cassie has no choice except to wait her turn.

Evan Glenside, a soft-spoken, East London clerk, has just been named his great-uncle’s heir and, though he is eager to learn all that will be required of him, he struggles to feel accepted in a new town and in his new position.

A chance meeting between Evan and Lenora promises to change everything, but when Lenora proves too shy to pursue the relationship, Cassie begins to write Mr. Glenside letters in the name of her sister. Her good intentions lead to disaster when Cassie realizes she is falling in love with Evan. But then Evan begins to court Lenora, thinking she is the author of the letters.

As secrets are revealed, the hearts of Cassie, Evan, and Lenora are tested. Will the final letter sent by the vicar’s daughter be able to reunite the sisters as well as unite Evan with his true love?

You can read my review here

Giveaway

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