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Review: The Spice King

by Elizabeth Camden

About the Book

My Thoughts

This is my favorite Camden novel to date. Every element was pitch-perfect and came together in a truly lovely novel. I loved Annabelle and Gray, as well as the supporting cast of characters. Sweet, inquisitive, and intelligent Annabelle Larkin is the opposite of the brusque, business savvy and reclusive Gray Delacroix, yet together they are the perfect couple. I loved these two and championed for their happily-ever-after, even though the odds were against them. And, without giving away any spoilers, they had a rocky road to travel. I was kept in suspense wondering how things would work out not only for Annabelle and Gray, but for the Delacroix business and all those involved.

Camden’s passionate prose and thorough research breathe new life into obscure bits of history. What I love about her novels is that they are very smart with women protagonists who do amazing things in their respective eras. I love reading about bold women who defy expectations and follow their hearts and this is a hallmark of Camden’s writing.

I adored The Spice King and cannot wait for more in the Hope and Glory series. Highly recommend!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Review: A Perfect Silhouette

by Judith Miller

About the Book

 In 1850, Mellicent "Mellie" Blanchard takes a job at a mill in Manchester, New Hampshire, to help support her family. In search of additional earning opportunities, she approaches a daguerreotype shop owner with the proposal that he hire her to make paper cuttings or silhouette portraits for those who can't afford an expensive daguerreotype.

When a particularly charming customer--whose broad smile and twinkling eyes catch her off guard--asks to escort her home, the seeds of romance begin to blossom. All the pieces of her new life seem to have fallen perfectly into place, but when her new venture brings her an unexpected opportunity, she is confronted with the truth that all is not as it seems. Will Mellie, who is keeping secrets of her own, find happiness in the new life she has carved out for herself in the busy mill town?

My Thoughts

With nods to North and South, Judith Miller’s A Perfect Silhouette is a sweet historical romance. Being a fan of Gaskell’s classic novel, I loved reading about a factory worker who falls in love with the mill owner. I liked both our hero, Morgan, and our heroine, Mellie, and enjoyed reading about their romance as it gently unfolded. Mellie’s riches-to-rags story and the secret of Morgan’s identity gave a deft nod to the Cinderella story, which I appreciated, while adding more depth to the plot and kept the reader guessing as to how things would unfold. A well rounded cast of supporting characters as well as a quaint New England setting provided a cozy backdrop for this endearing story. Overall, I really enjoyed this book.

Fans of sweet, inspirational historical romance will love A Perfect Silhouette.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Review: Finding Lady Enderly

by Joanna Davidson Politano

About the Book
Raina Bretton is a rag woman in London's east end when a handsome stranger appears in a dank alley and offers her a glittering smile and a chance for adventure. Rothburne Abbey has a unique position for her, one that will take her away from her hardscrabble life and give her a chance to be a lady. Things she could only dream of might be coming true. But some dreams turn out to be nightmares.

Though Raina has traded squalor for silk and satin, something about the abbey is deeply unsettling. As she wrestles with her true identity, the ruin, decay, and secrets she finds at the heart of the old mansion tear at her confidence and threaten to reveal her for who she really is. Only one man stands between her and the danger that lurks within--and only if he decides to keep her biggest secret hidden.

My Thoughts

I loved this book. With a rags to riches to rags story told in a first person narrative, Finding Lady Enderly is a treat to my Brontë-loving heart. The setting was a total win. Victorian England, on a country estate with a crumbling old abbey…it’s one of my favorite literary settings. Yet what made this story was the characters. While far from perfect, I loved Raina. Though she was a bit naïve and made her fair share of mistakes, I thought she was sweet and underneath the mask she wore, she had a good heart. Her flaws made her relatable and she’s someone I would love to befriend. And Sully! Definitely one of my favorite heroes in recent memory. His devotion to Raina and his courage made him the definition of a hero.

Yet while their romance is very much a part of the novel, I think this is also a story of Raina’s self-discovery. As a person in the world, yet also a being in Christ, her identity is questioned throughout and luminously answered.

I can’t write a review of this book without mentioning the secret correspondence between Raina and Sully. Reading about the messages passed between them through favorite passages in beloved books was a true delight and made me love this book that much more.

Finding Lady Enderly is a marvelous new tale from a very talented author. I can’t wait to read more from Joanna Davidson Politano!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Review: Midnight on the River Grey

by Abigail Wilson

About the Book

She knew the house was keeping secrets. If only the darkness would speak…

After her elder brother’s mysterious death, Rebecca Hunter vows to expose the man she believes responsible: Mr. Lewis Browning–known by locals as the Midnight Devil and by Rebecca as her new guardian.

Summoned to his reclusive country estate to await her London season, Rebecca plans her own secret investigation among the darkened corridors of the mysterious Greybourne Hall. Yet Lewis Browning is not as she once imagined and his motivation is horribly unclear. Recurrent nightmares and Rebecca’s restless feelings are further complicated by the shadow of her mother’s prior descent into madness and wondering if she, too, will follow the same heartbreaking path.

Even as midnight rides, strange injuries, and further murders lead back to Mr. Browning, Rebecca can’t ignore the subtle turn of her heart. Has she developed feelings for the man she swore to see hanged? And moreover, can she trust him with her uncertain future?

My Thoughts

Murder, espionage, and secrets result in a fresh take on Regency fiction that will appeal not only to fans of authors like Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and Julie Klassen, but to avid mystery readers, as well.

Wilson’s novels combine so many elements of fiction that I love. Regency settings that are reminiscent of Jane Austen, a first person narrative and characters that harken to the Brontës, and enough intrigue to keep the reader guessing until the end. I thoroughly enjoyed her debut, In the Shadow of Croft Towers, and was very much looking forward to her second novel. It did not disappoint.

I really like our heroine, Rebecca Hunter. While in the beginning she seemed a little cold, the further I read, the more I got to know her and found her to be likable. She was strong and smart and it was clear that she loved her brother. While in the beginning, she seems somewhat naïve, the further the story developed, the more mature she seemed and began thinking for herself. And while I wasn’t entirely sure of Lewis in the beginning, my opinion of him changed as the novel progressed and I began to like him more. Without giving any spoilers, I will say that I was utterly blown away by certain revelations, and to me, that is a sign of a good book.

I loved that this book was set in the fall/early winter. It perfectly lends that spooky feeling to an already spine chilling mystery and creates for a deliciously eerie reading experience.

Perfect for readers across the board, I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a good mystery. I can’t wait for more from this talented author!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Book Spotlight + Review: The Number of Love

by Roseanna M. White

About the Book

The toughest puzzle she’ll have to solve might be the wishes of her own heart.

Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network–field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack German telegrams for hints of the enemy’s plans. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, she discovers for the first time in her life that numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy that just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the quick and brainy Margot, but soon the dangers of the war draw ever closer. Margot and Drake will have to team up to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.

My Thoughts

Once again, Roseanna M. White has blown me away with her talent at writing strong and intelligent protagonists, as well as a romance that will make you swoon. I loved everything about this book; the characters, the setting, the message. I did not want to put it down and it quickly earned a spot on my list of all-time favorite books. Many things factored into this, not the least of which are the amazing heroine and hero.

Margot De Wilde is a heroine after my own heart. Granted, she’s a cryptologist and a mathematical genius, and I have always anything math related abhorrent. But I loved her because she was so smart and strong, and she defied expectations for women of her time while also being a humble follower of Christ. Her struggles with maintaining her own hopes and dreams while falling in love are relatable to many people and are portrayed perfectly in the book. Another hardship Margot faces is grief, and I think that Roseanna M. White portrayed this thoughtfully, as well. While it is apparent from the start that Margot is a strong believer and that her faith is very important to her, that faith is tested and I think this is something all believers can relate to. Among the most life-like and surprisingly relatable heroines in recent memory, Margot is one of the best heroines I’ve read about in a long time.

While Peter Holstein will always hold first place in my heart where White’s heroes are concerned, Drake Elton has to be among my favorite heroes in recent Christian fiction. A little mysterious and very adventurous, Drake has such a big heart, for Margot, especially, yet also for his family and his countries. Similar to Margot, Drake is also a strong believer whose faith is put to the test as he wrestles with the demands of war. Yet while at times he struggled with certain tasks, he maintained a strong faith. I loved this big hearted hero.

Aside from our lovely heroine and hero, I loved the secondary characters. The book boasts a rich cast of characters that create a very full, diverse reading experience. I love that Margot and Drake’s family and friends were portrayed with their own quirks, showing that even though none of us are perfect and we all struggle with different things, God is still there, loving us and helping us through it all.

I must also mention Room 40, a character in and of itself. Prior to White’s Shadows Over England series, I had never heard of the secretive intelligence hub known as Room 40. This mysterious network was described so vividly that I practically felt as though I was there myself, watching these incredibly gifted individuals cracking codes and razzing one another. It definitely made me eager for book two in the series!

Fans of WWI fiction and Christian historical fiction alike won’t want to miss The Number of Love. I can’t recommend this book enough.

All opinions expressed in this review are my own. Thank you to the author and Bethany House for the complimentary copy of this book.


About the Author

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award-nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, designing book covers, editing, and pretending her house will clean itself.  Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary.

Follow Roseanna M. White

Congratulations to Roseanna M. White on this marvelous new release!

Review: Murder in the City of Liberty

by Rachel McMillan

About the Book

 Hamish DeLuca and Regina "Reggie" Van Buren have a new case--and this one brings the war in Europe dangerously close to home.

Determined to make a life for herself, Regina "Reggie" Van Buren bid goodbye to fine china and the man her parents expected her to marry and escaped to Boston. What she never expected to discover was that an unknown talent for sleuthing would develop into a business partnership with the handsome, yet shy, Hamish DeLuca.

Their latest case arrives when Errol Parker, the leading base stealer in the Boston farm leagues, hires Hamish and Reggie to investigate what the Boston police shove off as a series of harmless pranks. Errol believes these are hate crimes linked to the outbreak of war in Europe, and he's afraid for his life. Hamish and Reggie quickly find themselves in the midst of an escalating series of crimes that seem to link Boston to Hamish's hometown of Toronto.

When an act of violence hits too close to home, Hamish is driven to a decision that may sever him from Reggie forever . . . even more than her engagement to wealthy architect Vaughan Vanderlaan.

My Thoughts

With a war stirring across the pond, tensions are high in 1940s Boston. As sides are taken and lines are drawn, Hamish and Reggie must find out where they stand–both as individuals and together–and who to trust.

Returning to the Van Buren and DeLuca Mysteries is a bit like revisiting old friends. I love Hamish and Reggie and Nate and was so eager to read more about them. It was charming to see the friendship between Reggie and Hamish evolve over the course of the novel, as well as to learn of a budding romance for Nate. In Murder in the City of Liberty, we see the dynamic duo further grow into their independence in the fabulous and charming city of Boston. I adored the early ‘40s setting and reading about Reggie and Hamish’s fledgling detective business. Scattered throughout the novel are references to classic literature and film, as well as history tidbits that will keep you turning pages; hallmarks of Rachel McMillan’s writing style.

Yet the book is not all fun and games. The serious issues of racism and mental illness are dealt with openly in this novel. Again, we are given a look at Hamish’s anxiety and panic disorder. His mental illness is dealt with in an honest and open way that will give fellow sufferers like myself someone to relate to. At times, it seemed as if the mystery took a backseat to Hamish and Reggie’s romance. Still, it was heartbreaking to read of the hate crimes that were so prevalent in the early 20th century.

While Murder in the City of Liberty might not have been my favorite offering from McMillan, I still enjoyed the book and would recommend it to fans of vintage tales and cozy mysteries.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Review: The Printed Letter Bookshop

by Katherine Reay

About the Book

One of Madeline Cullen’s happiest childhood memories is of working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened Madeline’s heart toward her once-treasured aunt—and the now struggling bookshop left in her care.
While Madeline intends to sell the shop as quickly as possible, the Printed Letter’s two employees have other ideas. Reeling from a recent divorce, Janet finds sanctuary within the books and within the decadent window displays she creates. Claire, though quieter than the acerbic Janet, feels equally drawn to the daily rhythms of the shop and its loyal clientele, finding a renewed purpose within its walls.
When Madeline’s professional life falls apart, and a handsome gardener upends all her preconceived notions, she questions her plans and her heart. Has she been too quick to dismiss her aunt’s beloved shop? And even if she has, the women’s best combined efforts may be too little, too late.

My Thoughts

This book is Katherine Reay at her finest. Once I started this book, I couldn’t put it down. The characters are living and breathing and leap off the page. While the three heroines are very different people, and are at different walks in life, their lives intertwine in many ways between beginning and end. The story is layered with many twists and turns. And The Printed Letter Bookshop, a character itself, is as warm and inviting as any bookshop you can imagine. I’d love to spend a day at the shop. Nearly every emotion is portrayed in this novel. At times, it is heartbreaking, and at others, it will make you smile, sometimes even laugh. It’s such a rich and satisfying novel.

While not overt, the faith theme in The Printed Letter Bookshop is more noticeable than in most of Reay’s other novels, something I appreciate seeing. I love seeing the messages of grace and self-worth portrayed for each character in the book.

I can definitely see myself returning to this novel someday. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves literature and is looking for a prolific read.

All opinions expressed in this review are my own. Many thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for the complimentary copy of this wonderfully full novel.