Lord of Her Heart by Sherrinda Ketchersid (review)

LordofHerHeart_ketchersid.jpgHow did one master the affairs of the heart?

Fans of Medieval Historical Romance have a new author to watch in Sherrinda Ketchersid.  Her debut novel, Lord of Her Heart, is an absolute treat.

As Lady Jocelyn escapes the convent disguised as a boy, she soon finding herself taken on as squire to an imposing, impressive, and chivalrous knight, Malcolm Castillon.  More than luck is at play, as they are both bound for her home of Ramslea.  He to win a title and land, and she to avoid an unwanted marriage and discover why her father has not written to her for a year. Continue reading

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Sneak by Evan Angler (middle grade book review)

sneak_angler_thnelsonSneak is the exciting follow-up to Evan Angler’s Swipe.  With a nearly breathless pace, readers are once again swept up into a dystopian future in a story that grapples with issues of politics, loyalty, and faith.  Where Swipe was an introduction to this apocalyptic world, Sneak is a story of the journey Logan takes to find the sister he was told had died when she flunked her Pledge. Continue reading

Spring Magic by D.E. Stevenson (review)

springmagic_stevenson_deanstpressSpring Magic had me from the beginning, as it begins with a set-up similar to other well-loved pieces of fiction with an almost amusingly horrid family, this time an aunt who is not really an invalid and an uncle who is ineffective, in charge of a young woman who finds her moment to break free.

Frances Field is often more an observer than catalyst, so that moment is a combination of her doctor’s advice and the bomb that drops in the square, upsetting her aunt’s conviction that the war and the blitz would not dare touch her neighborhood.  Conveniently having money of her own, she is off to a seaside vacation on the Scottish coast.

What follows morphs from a vacation with colorful locals into a story of entanglement with the affairs and fortunes of a group of Army officers and their wives and children.  And while there is an offer of romantic attachment by the local laird, it is among the officers that Frances eventually finds a reciprocated attraction.

While the romance is not terribly convincing, the various threads of this story keep the reader involved and entertained.  With a bit of peril and excitement woven through, the war is ever present even if not much discussed, and is brought to the fore when the village is bombed.

Overall, this novel from 1942 may not be the best of D.E. Stevenson’s writing, but it is rather endearing for what it is, a light and rather cozy wartime read with adventure, intrigue, and romance on the rugged Scottish coast.  And as Stevenson’s characters sometimes reappear in other books, I’m hopeful for a certain local-with-potential to make another, more central appearance.


Spring Magic by D.E. Stevenson | Dean Street Press, January 2019 (originally published in 1942) | paperback or ebook, 279 pages


From the publisher:

Frances was free. She had enough money for her holiday, and when it was over she would find useful work. Her plans were vague, but she would have plenty of time to think things out when she got to Cairn. One thing only was certain—she was never going back to prison again.

Young Frances Field arrives in a scenic coastal village in Scotland, having escaped her dreary life as an orphan treated as little more than a servant by an uncle and aunt. Once there, she encounters an array of eccentric locals, the occasional roar of enemy planes overhead, and three army wives—Elise, Tommy, and Tillie—who become fast friends. Elise warns Frances of the discomforts of military life, but she’s inclined to disregard the advice when she meets the dashing and charming Captain Guy Tarlatan.

The ensuing tale, one of D.E. Stevenson’s most cheerful and satisfying, is complicated by a local laird with a shady reputation, a Colonel’s daughter who’s a bit too cosy with Guy, a spring reputed to guarantee marriage within a year to those who drink from it, and a series of misunderstandings only finally resolved in the novel’s harrowing climax.

Spring Magic, first published in 1942, is here reprinted for the first time in more than three decades. Furrowed Middlebrow and Dean Street Press are also reprinting four more of Stevenson’s best works—Smouldering Fire, Mrs. Tim Carries On, Mrs. Tim Gets a Job, and Mrs. Tim Flies Home. This new edition includes an introduction by Alexander McCall Smith.

 

 

 

 

 

From the publisher:

Frances was free. She had enough money for her holiday, and when it was over she would find useful work. Her plans were vague, but she would have plenty of time to think things out when she got to Cairn. One thing only was certain–she was never going back to prison again.

Young Frances Field arrives in a scenic coastal village in Scotland, having escaped her dreary life as an orphan treated as little more than a servant by an uncle and aunt. Once there, she encounters an array of eccentric locals, the occasional roar of enemy planes overhead, and three army wives–Elise, Tommy, and Tillie–who become fast friends. Elise warns Frances of the discomforts of military life, but she’s inclined to disregard the advice when she meets the dashing and charming Captain Guy Tarlatan.

The ensuing tale, one of D.E. Stevenson’s most cheerful and satisfying, is complicated by a local laird with a shady reputation, a Colonel’s daughter who’s a bit too cosy with Guy, a spring reputed to guarantee marriage within a year to those who drink from it, and a series of misunderstandings only finally resolved in the novel’s harrowing climax.

Spring Magic, first published in 1942, is here reprinted for the first time in more than three decades. Furrowed Middlebrow and Dean Street Press are also reprinting four more of Stevenson’s best works–Smouldering Fire, Mrs. Tim Carries On, Mrs. Tim Gets a Job, and Mrs. Tim Flies Home. This new edition includes an introduction by Alexander McCall Smith.

 

When Mountains Move by Julie Cantrell (review)

whenmountainsmove_cantrell_tnzI have set my pulse to the slow, steady rhythm of the mountains.  When the pale moon peaks beyond the rocky crown and the coyotes sing their night hymns, the blood within me steadies and I almost believe I am home. (p.136)

Julie Cantrell’s debut novel, Into the Free, was so moving that I’ve continually put off reading it’s sequel, not wanting to experience more heartbreak for her wonderful character Millie.  But having finally read When Mountains Move, I regret having waited.

While When the Mountains Move is an almost immediate continuation of Into the Free‘s depression era story that follows Millie from her difficult but somehow magical childhood in rural Mississippi through adolescence and into the bloom of her first love and the devastation of her greatest trials and heartbreaks, it is also a different and distinct story of it’s own. Continue reading

Ladies of Intrigue by Michelle Griep (review)

ladiesofintrigue_griep_barbourBeyond the historical romance and dash of mystery promised in the subtitle, the three novellas collected in Ladies of Intrigue share one vital thing in common: Michelle Griep’s stellar, immersive storytelling.

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady is set on the Cornish Coast and is perfect for fans of English Regencies involving smugglers and thieves.  While I had previously read and enjoyed The Doctor’s Woman, it did not stop me from reading it anew and relishing this story of opposites set in the American frontier.  Rounding out the trio, A House of Secrets combines political maneuverings and two people unintentionally clashing in their attempts to do good works.

Each heroine is determined but distinct, as are their stories and settings. Whether it is the governess unwittingly becoming involved with a gentleman smuggler, the missionary doctor’s daughter finding herself practically conscripted into assisting an Army doctor struggling with his rigid approach to medicine, or the society miss determined to prove herself despite the perceived lack of support from her politically ambitious fiancé, each of the three heroines finds a bit of danger when others have something to hide.

For fans of historical inspirational romance set in the 19th century, this is a trio of stories that are sure to delight.  Recommended.


Ladies of Intrigue: 3 Tales of 19th-Century Romance with a Dash of Mystery by Michelle Griep | Barbour Books, Feb. 2019 | ebook, 288 pages

This review refers to a digital galley read through NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher.  All opinions expressed are my own.


3 Page-Turners Under One Cover from Reader Favorite Michelle Griep!
Can truth and love prevail when no one is as they appear?

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady
Cornish Coast, 1815
When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret?

The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner!)
Dakota Territory, 1862
Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins.

A House of Secrets
St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890
Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.

The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma (review)

thepinkbonnet_tolsma_barbourThe Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma is the second book in a new multi-author series from Barbour Books, True Colors: Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime, that weaves true crime into a new work of Historical Fiction.  Set in 1933, this story centers around the notorious Georgia Tann who trafficked children through her role as the director of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. Continue reading

The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo (review)

thealamobride_ybarbo_barbourKathleen Y’Barbo’s The Alamo Bride is the seventh entry in the Daughters of the Mayflower multi-author series from Barbour.  Each short novel may be read as a stand-alone, though a quick review of the genealogy chart included is always a good idea.

Ellis Dumont doesn’t know if the wounded man she is caring for in her family’s barn is on the side of the Mexican Army, and neither does he once fully awakened for the healing herbs she has used to keep him asleep. Continue reading