Book Showcase: ISABELLE AND ALEXANDER by Rebecca Anderson

Blog Tour Banner: ISABELLE AND ALEXANDER by Rebecca Anderson, Proper Romance Series, May 3-16, 2021 Blog Tour, features book cover with Regency Era dressed couple walking through a gate; quote: "Isabelle's loving and persevering fervor and devotion will resonate with any caregiver's heart." Booklist

ISABELLE AND ALEXANDER - RAndersonIsabelle and Alexander by Rebecca Anderson
ISBN: 9781629728476 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781629739953 (ebook)
ASIN: B08WJT83XR (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B093K2MQ7X (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Release Date: May 4, 2021

Isabelle Rackham knows she will not marry for love. Though arranged marriages have fallen out of fashion, hers has been settled for some time to combine the upper-middle-class wealth of her father’s coal mines with Alexander Osgood’s prospering Northern country textile mills. Though not a man prone to romantic gestures, Alexander is well-known as an eligible bachelor. His good looks have turned more than one head, so Isabelle is content to think of herself as Alexander’s wife.

However, her marriage is not what she expected. Northern England is nothing like her home farther west in the lake country. Cold, dreary, and dark, the soot from the textile mills creates a gray hue that seems to cling to everything in the city of Manchester. Alexander is distant and aloof, preferring to spend his time at the mill rather than with her at home. Their few conversations are brief, polite, and lacking any emotion, leaving Isabelle lonely and desperately homesick.

Sensing his wife’s unhappiness, Alexander suggests a trip to his country estate. Isabelle hopes this will be an opportunity to get to know her new husband without the distractions of his business. But the change of scenery doesn’t bring them any closer. While riding together on horses, Alexander is thrown from his and becomes paralyzed. Tragedy or destiny? The help and care that Alexander now needs is Isabelle’s opportunity to forge a connection and create a deep and romantic love where nothing else could.

 

Advance Praise

“Anderson’s first foray into historical romance is an atypical, yet satisfying story set in Victorian Manchester’s upper middle class. Hand this to readers looking for a book that navigates the peaks and valleys of two strangers attempting to make a life together despite the hardships life throws at them.”— Library Journal

 

“Isabelle transitions from an unaware, leisure-class woman to a more enlightened spouse and supporter of the working class. Intimacy and romance develop between Isabelle and Alexander because of simple gestures, like a long look or a thoughtful gift, and their conversations. Their slow, stately courting is reader appropriate for any age or audience. Manchester also gets its due as a place of grit and incredible production. Descriptions of bustling mills reveal their impact on the couple’s family and its fortunes. Isabelle and Alexander is an intimate and touching romance novel that focuses on women’s lives in the business class of industrial England.”— Foreword Reviews

 

“Isabelle must use her quiet spunk, busy mind, and compassionate spirit to woo her husband in a wholly new way. Anderson’s debut is a lovely northern England Victorian romance about confronting the seemingly impossible and the power of empathy. Anderson also addresses the time period’s treatment of physical and intellectual disabilities. Most of all, she beautifully depicts love in its many forms beyond romance, such as compassion, patience, and vulnerability; and her characters illustrate the ways that these expressions of love carry us through even the darkest hours. Isabelle’s loving and persevering fervor and devotion will resonate with any caregiver’s heart.”— Booklist

 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 2

Pages 11-15

Two weeks into their marriage, Isabelle believed she understood exactly what was expected of her, and what she could expect in return. It was not what her mother had led her to suppose.

Alexander was polite, if cold, and exceedingly busy. It appeared to Isabelle that their marriage had changed his daily routine very little. In the city, he woke early and breakfasted alone before walking the four blocks to his mill, where he spent his days overseeing the workings that remained a mystery to Isabelle. When he arrived home for supper, he spoke little of his work, and Isabelle cast about for any topic of conversation they’d not scratched the days before.

Trouble was, there was very little for her to offer.

Welcome home, Mr. Osgood, she could imagine herself saying. Dinner is served as you requested. I spent the day managing your small staff of servants who are fully capable of managing themselves, waiting for visitors to appear, nodding and smiling at people who passed the parlor window, and staring at the supremely masculine decorations on the walls.

As a result, dinner was a quiet affair. Every evening.

After dinner, the couple retired upstairs. Separately. This part was far from what Isabelle’s mother had led her to anticipate. Not that she’d spoken of specifics. But Isabelle had arrived at certain ideas, and her current reality did not reflect them in the least. Isabelle knew she had nothing of which to complain, except that every day, she felt the burden of loneliness and yearned for a friend with whom to commiserate. She understood that what was missing was someone who wanted to talk with her.

Edwin, home at the Lakes, would have replaced her within a month. It was so easy for him to take anyone into his confidence. He would certainly have found a friend with whom to talk and listen and laugh.

Isabelle spent an hour each morning writing letters. She wrote to her mother, informing her of the duties she performed, the sights she saw in the city, and the food she ate. These letters spoke of dirt and fish and household management. She took care to add enough detail to create a picture of fulfillment. She wrote to Ed, reminding him of childhood escapades and telling him how she missed his laugh. She wrote to her old governess, thanking her for teaching her all she needed to know in order to fill her days with meaning. After two weeks of writing such letters, she had not yet posted one.

A gentle knock on the door prompted Isabelle to look up from yet another letter she would not send. Mrs. Burns, the housekeeper, stepped inside the drawing room and said, “Pardon, ma’am, but have you a moment?”

“Is there a problem?” Isabelle could not keep the excitement from her voice. Perhaps there had been trouble at the market and the menu would need to be remade. Or an issue with the ordering of candles. Her hands came together in anticipation of being permitted to fix something.

Mrs. Burns shook her head. “Not any problem, ma’am. You have a caller.” She handed a card to Isabelle, who felt the air rush out of her lungs.

Company. A visitor. Precisely what she had been waiting for. Why did she now dread that for which she had so long hoped?

Without even reading the name on the card, Isabelle rushed to the writing table and straightened her papers, then ran her hands down her dress to make herself unwrinkled and presentable.

When Mrs. Burns next opened the door, she ushered in a short, round, bald man dressed impeccably in a blue tailcoat. “Mr. Lester Kenworthy, ma’am.”

Isabelle rose from the chair she had taken only seconds before.

Mr. Kenworthy shook his head and blustered toward her. “Oh, please, sit. No ceremony is needed between us. I only wanted to come and meet the new Mrs. Osgood. Your Alec would have you kept a tight secret from us all, and we can’t have that, can we?” He said all this in a cheerful waterfall rush of words as he pumped her hand with both of his. “Lovely, if I may say so. Lovely.”

His words were masked in an accent so sharp that she found herself startled that she’d understood him. The proximity of Cumbria to Lancashire had given her no reason to believe there would be such a disparity in inflection. But this man’s vowels seemed utterly shuffled and remade. Delight danced through his articulation.

“I am the business manager at Osgood Mills and pleased as can be to see you. I thought if I came and made myself known to you, we could get you into a room with my wife and daughter. Fast friends, I’m sure you’ll be.”

Isabelle nodded and gestured to a chair. Mr. Kenworthy sat, laughing and bumbling about the loveliness she added to the room. Certainly he’d been there before and could tell that nothing had changed since it was the drawing room of a bachelor.

When he stopped for a breath, Isabelle realized she’d not said a word since Mr. Kenworthy entered the room. “It is a pleasure to meet you, sir, and I’d be honored to make the acquaintance of Mrs. Kenworthy and your daughter.” Isabelle blushed to realize that she’d taken on some of the tilting vowels of his accent.

He must have heard it as well because he reached for her hand again and laughed. “We’ll make a local of you in no time, sure enough. Would your schedule permit you to take tea at our home tomorrow?”

Isabelle had only seconds to determine if accepting this unexpected invitation would be wise. What would Alexander say? In fact, she was fairly sure Alexander would say nothing, as he said nothing on practically every matter.

“Mr. Kenworthy, I am delighted to say that I have no standing appointments for tomorrow. I’d be very glad to come.”

“Lovely, lovely.” He’d repeated the same word so many times that Isabelle was certain it would forevermore sound correct only when spoken in his Lancashire accent. He stood and pumped her hand again. She wasn’t sure that hand-shaking was the proper greeting of the moment, but it felt so wonderful to have someone reaching for her that she returned the squeeze to his fingers. Her smile was genuine as she thanked him for his visit.

Excerpt from Isabelle and Alexander by Rebecca Anderson.

Copyright © 2021 by Rebecca Anderson. Published by Shadow Mountain Publishing.

 

Meet The Author

Author - Rebecca Anderson aka Becca Wilhite headshotRebecca Anderson is the nom de plume of contemporary romance novelist Becca Wilhite, author of Wedding Belles: A Novel in Four Parts, Check Me Out, and My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions. Isabelle and Alexander is her debut historical romance novel.

High school English teacher by day, writer by night (or very early morning), she loves hiking, Broadway shows, food, books, and movies. She is happily married and a mom to four above-average kids.

 
Author Links:    Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Website | Goodreads
 
 
This excerpt and tour brought to you courtesy of AustenProse.com

Book Showcase: GEORGANA’S SECRET by Arlem Hawks

Georgana’s Secret by Arlem Hawks
ISBN: 9781629727929 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781629739526 (ebook)
ASIN: B08RLRZ65Q (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B08Q5MW1SG (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Release Date: January 12, 2021

 

A Regency romance on the high seas. Two hearts yearning to find a safe harbor, and possibly, a lasting love.

As a young girl, Georgana Woodall dreamed of beautiful dresses, fancy balls, and falling in love. However, when her mother dies, she cannot face a future under the guardianship of her abusive grandmother and instead chooses to join her father on his ship disguised as his cabin boy, “George.”

Lieutenant Dominic Peyton has no time in his life for love, not with his dedication to His Majesty’s Royal Navy claiming his full attention. While trying to adjust to a new crew, he strives to be an exemplary officer and leader. When he sees the captain’s cabin boy being harassed by the crew, he immediately puts a stop to it and takes the “boy” under his wing. After discovering a number of clues, Dominic deduces that George is really a woman. Knowing that revealing the cabin boy’s secret would put her in serious danger from the rowdy crew, Dominic keeps silent and hides his growing affection for her.

Georgana is quickly losing her heart to Dominic’s compassion and care but is convinced nothing can come of her affection. She cannot continue to live her life on the sea, and having already missed too many seasons in London, her chances of being welcomed back into polite society and finding a suitable husband are quickly slipping away.

Georgana quickly loses her heart to Dominic’s compassion and care, but needing to maintain her disguise as a cabin boy, she is convinced nothing can come of her affection.

Georgana’s Secret is about two hearts yearning to find a safe harbor, and possibly, a lasting love.

 

 
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Indiebound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | Deseret Book | Kobo eBook

 
 

Read an excerpt:

“Good, George. Good!” Dominic motioned for the lad to pause his punching. Half a dozen days of practicing had not turned George into a fighter, but he was learning quickly. The wardroom was warm and stuffy that morning, and already Dominic had lost his cravat and coat. Now he unbuttoned his waistcoat and added it to the pile. He pulled at his loose shirt, letting cooler air dry the sweat.

He didn’t know how George kept going with his jacket securely buttoned.

“Now, I don’t want you to think about hitting my hand this time.” Dominic raised his hand again. A thin layer of grease coated his palm from the lad’s fist. He’d never known a boy to worry over dry skin unless it started to crack, but young Mr. Taylor was an odd one.

The boy cocked his head.

“When you swing, I want you to try to punch the wall.” He motioned behind him with his head.

George obediently walked toward the back of the wardroom, glancing at Dominic out of the corners of his eyes. Dominic laughed, grabbing his arm to stop him. “No, stay where you are.”

“But I can’t reach the wall.”

Dominic repositioned the boy. Maybe a different explanation would work better. “Hit my hand, but instead of aiming for the surface of my hand, imagine going through it. A cannonball doesn’t stop at the hull, it pounds straight through.”

“Unless it misses.” Was that a grin on George’s face? Dominic blinked, and it was gone.

“Those are French guns.” The fleeting spark in the boy’s eyes gave him hope. “Don’t be a French cannon. Be a sound English cannon.”

George chewed the corner of his bottom lip and stared at Dominic’s hand. His fist shot forward. Dominic’s hand smarted when the boy made contact. The punch was harder than any of his previous ones.

“Much better. Again.”

A stocky form stomped through the door, and George snapped into a salute. “More practice, Peyton?” Jarvis asked. His watch clearly hadn’t cured the foul mood he woke up in. The second lieutenant didn’t wait for an answer before entering his room and slamming the door.

They wouldn’t see him for several hours, Dominic bet.

George continued hitting Dominic’s hand until it began to ache. Dominic’s chest swelled with pride. Already the timid cabin boy was showing more determination.

A cabin door opened, and this time it was the young chaplain. George paused to glance at the orange-haired clergyman, who nodded in greeting.

“Will you be attending services today, sir?” the chaplain asked, adjusting his spectacles.

Ah, right. Sunday. Dominic scooped up his discarded clothes. “Of course, Mr. Doswell. I just need to fetch my prayer book.” And dress himself properly.

Captain Woodall always wore his dress coat for services, and Dominic tried to remember to do the same. He still hadn’t managed to form a friendship with the captain, something he’d never failed to do on his previous assignments. The captain had set firm boundaries with the crew, even with his officers. As far as Dominic could tell, no one had been able to penetrate those walls.

Except George, of course. Dominic wondered at that. They were barely relations.

George followed him to the door of his cabin. Dominic threw his things onto his cot and knelt by his trunk.

“Will we practice again tomorrow?” the boy asked.

“If you want to.” Dominic glanced sideways at him. “Do you want to?”

The boy nodded, face still red from the exertion of their lesson.

“I will see you after forenoon watch.” George was enjoying it, then. That pleased Dominic. The lad was as quiet as ever, but now he regularly looked Dominic in the eye, and he had even told a joke.

Excerpt from Georgana’s Secret by Arlem Hawks.

Copyright © 2021 by Arlem Hawks. Published by Shadow Mountain Publishing.

 

 

Meet The Author

Arlem Hawks began making up stories before she could write. Living all over the Western United States and traveling around the world gave her a love of cultures and people and the stories they have to tell. With her travels came an interest in history, especially the history of her English heritage. When she isn’t writing, Arlem is baking her characters’ favorite foods, sewing Regency dresses, learning how to play the tin whistle, and water coloring. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two children. Having previously published four historical romance novellas, Georgana’s Secret is her debut novel.

 
Author Links:
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Website | Bookbub | Youtube | Goodreads | Pinterest
 
 
This excerpt and tour brought to you courtesy of AustenProse.com

2020 Book 165: OF LITERATURE AND LATTES by Katherine Reay


Of Literature and Lattes by Katherine ReayISBN: 9780785222040 (trade paperback) ISBN: 9780785222057 (ebook) ISBN: 9780785222064 (digital audiobook) ISBN: 9781799732648 (audiobook on CD) ASIN: B07TSQFJSX (Audible audiobook) ASIN: B07TG7T3CV (Kindle edition) Publisher: Thomas NelsonPublication Date: May 12, 2020

Return to the cozy and delightful town of Winsome, where two people discover the grace of letting go and the joy found in unexpected change.

After fleeing her hometown three years earlier, Alyssa Harrison never planned to return. Then the Silicon Valley start-up she worked for collapsed and turned her world upside down. She is broke, under FBI investigation, and without a place to go. Having exhausted every option, she comes home to Winsome, Illinois, to regroup and move on as quickly as possible. Yet, as friends and family welcome her back, Alyssa begins to see a place for herself in this small Midwestern community.

Jeremy Mitchell moved from Seattle to Winsome to be near his daughter and to open the coffee shop he’s been dreaming of for years. Problem is, the business is bleeding money—and he’s not quite sure why. When he meets Alyssa, he senses an immediate connection, but what he needs most is someone to help him save his floundering business. After asking for her help, he wonders if something might grow between them—but forces beyond their control soon complicate their already complex lives, and the future they both hoped for is not at all what they anticipated.

With the help of Winsome’s small-town charm and quirky residents, Alyssa and Jeremy discover the beauty and romance of second chances.




Welcome back to the town of Winsome, Illinois. We were introduced to this small town, a bedroom community located less than one hour away from Chicago in The Printed Letter Bookshop. We met the new owner of the bookshop, Madeline Cullen, and the store’s two employees, Janet—a divorcee who is estranged from her adult children due to marital infidelity issues, and Claire—a married and working mom who appears to have lost touch with her teenage children. All three women work hard to make the bookshop a viable retail store as well as make amends for past actions and oversight. Fast forward a few months and Janet’s daughter, Alyssa, is returning to Winsome after her tech company was closed due to fraud on the part of the company’s owner. Alyssa is desperate for a new job but is fearful of her return “home” especially if that means a return to her mother’s house. Alyssa doesn’t want to renew her relationship with her mother, but she has nowhere else to go. Fortunately for Alyssa, she has mad tech skills and her childhood BFF hires Alyssa to help with her family-owned restaurant. She then refers Alyssa to several other local business owners and although this isn’t the career she dreamed of, Alyssa is finally working in her field.
Just as Alyssa struggles to find her place in the world and in her family, Jeremy Mitchell, the owner of the local coffee shop, is struggling to make his business a success and find his place in Winsome. Jeremy relocated to Winsome to be closer to his daughter, but his move may have been for naught because his ex-wife is seriously considering moving to Tennessee for her job. Jeremy’s business is floundering and he isn’t sure what he can do to stop his ex-wife from leaving with their daughter.

I read and thoroughly enjoyed The Printed Letter Bookshop and was thrilled when I found out Ms. Reay was writing another book set in this small town. To say I was pleased when approved to read an early reader copy of Of Literature and Lattes is a massive understatement. Of course I had to re-read The Printed Letter Bookshop before reading Of Literature and Lattes just to refamiliarize myself with the characters and the town. I read Of Literature and Lattes in one sitting over a few hours. I didn’t even get up to fix more tea, the story was so engrossing. Initially, Alyssa comes across as somewhat temperamental, but when you factor in losing her job, being investigated by the FBI, and then being robbed of all of her possessions on her drive from California to Illinois, her moodiness is understandable and even forgivable to a certain extent. One of the many things I enjoyed about this story was the multiple and intersecting storylines. In many ways, Alyssa’s story felt like a coming-of-age story primarily because of her insecurity and family drama issues. Jeremy’s story was a bit different, but he also seemed to experience a self-awakening and acceptance that he needed help from his friend and co-worker. Jeremy was also dealing with some major family drama issues. Of Literature and Lattes came across as a highly realistic story with believable characters and action. Major themes include self-realization, self-awareness, family and community drama, friendship and trust issues, as well as romance. I could rhapsodize about this story, but I’ll simply say that if you’re interested in realistic fiction you should definitely read Of Literature and Lattes. If you’ve read The Printed Letter Bookshop, I encourage you to grab a copy of Of Literature and Lattes. If you enjoy reading books about books and community, then you’ll want to get yourself a copy of Of Literature and Lattes. I also encourage you to read The Printed Letter Bookshop just in case you haven’t read it. I’ve read and adored everything that Katherine Reay has written and I’ll probably be re-reading Of Literature and Lattes while I await her next book.

Happy Reading y’all!



Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

2020 Book 127: LAKESHIRE PARK by Megan Walker



Lakeshire Park by Megan Walker
ISBN: 9781629727349 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781629738864 (ebook)
ASIN: B0844PXP9D  (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B086NSGFZD (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Publication Date: April 7, 2020


Brighton, England 1820

Amelia Moore wants only one thing—to secure the future happiness of her younger sister, Clara. With their stepfather’s looming death, the two sisters will soon be on their own—without family, a home, or a penny to their names. When an invitation arrives to join a house party at Lakeshire Park, Amelia grasps at the chance. If she can encourage a match between Clara and their host, Sir Ronald, then at least her sister will be taken care of.

Little does she know that another guest, the arrogant and overconfident Mr. Peter Wood, is after the same goal for his own sister. Amelia and Peter begin a rivalry that Amelia has no choice but to win. But competing against Peter—and eventually playing by his rules—makes Amelia vulnerable to losing the only thing she has left to claim: her heart.






Purchase Links: #CommissionEarned   IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Audible  |  Barnes & Noble  |  B&N Nook Book  |  BookDepository  |  Kobo eBook  |  ThriftBooks




Amelia Moore knows that the situation for her and her sister, Clara, is highly unstable and dire. Her stepfather’s health is declining and he has made no provisions for their support after his demise. Their parents, unfortunately, were unable to make provisions for them after their deaths so the only options are marriage or placements as governesses or companions. Amelia’s stepfather, Lord Gray, has given her a few weeks to secure a marriage proposal or seek employment and it is Amelia’s hope that one of Clara’s London suitors will propose, Sir Ronald – Lord Demsworth. So off Amelia and Clara go to Lord Demsworth’s country estate, Lakeshire Park for a house party. Unfortunately for Clara, Georgiana Wood is also present and vying for Lord Demsworth’s attention. Amelia knows that this may be Clara’s last shot at happiness and is willing to do whatever takes to see her sister happily wed, even if it means befriending Georgiana Wood’s brother, Peter Wood. Needless to say, Amelia and Peter don’t exactly get along initially due to a misunderstanding, but the more time they spend together the more they realize they have in common. 

Just when it seems as if things are going according to plan for Clara and Lord Demsworth, Amelia receives word that Lord Gray is on his deathbed and they are to never return to his home in Brighton. Amelia is informed that their belongings will be sent to them at Lakeshire Park. She’s also informed that both she and Clara are to find suitable employment if marriages haven’t been arranged. Seeing no other recourse, Amelia confides in Lord Demsworth’s mother and is informed that Lady Demsworth’s nephew is seeking a suitable match. Amelia meets with this man and he proposes a loveless marriage, one she always assumed would be best. Amelia isn’t sure this is the best option but is the only option available at the moment since marriage hasn’t presented as a viable choice for Clara even though Lord Demsworth seems smitten by her charms. And then Georgiana strikes and scandalizes the local society by openly kissing Lord Demsworth at a local ball. Georgiana presumes that Sir Ronald will propose marriage to her and she’ll win his hand in marriage. Although Amelia has befriended Peter, will she ever be able to forgive Georgiana for what’s she done to her sister? Will Clara and Sir Ronald ever get together despite the scandal caused by Georgiana? Will Amelia be happy with the proposed loveless arranged marriage now that she’s met a man that she has true affection for even though his family has caused heartbreak to her beloved sister?

I’ve been dealing with severe migraine after severe migraine for several weeks now on top of back-to-back bronchitis infections, so a HEA was just what I needed about now. There’s nothing quite like a happy-ever-after romance to make you feel better no matter how bad you’re actually feeling. Lakeshire Park is the first novel published by Megan Walker and it packed quite a punch folks. I felt that there were hints of Pride and Prejudice with the misunderstandings and preconceived prejudices between Amelia and Peter Wood, hints of Sense and Sensibilities with the demise of Amelia and Clara’s parents and need to find someplace suitable to live unfortunately without any available guardians, and Georgiana seemed to be a cross between the conniving Mary Crawford from Mansfield Park and sneaky Lucy Steele from Sense and Sensibilities. Yes, there’s a lot of Austen-inspired themes in this story but it is a wholly unique story. Of course, that’s just my perception, you may read it and find something totally different. Just in case you can’t tell, I enjoyed this story. I quite liked the developing relationship between Amelia and Peter and their verbal sparring, as well as the settings for their many walks and rides. If I had one wish, it would be to get to know the other characters just a little better. The reader gets to know Clara and Georgiana, but the remaining characters play incredibly minor roles and aren’t well-developed (and probably with good reason). This story presents family angst, family drama, societal strictures, and hints of romance (it is the 19th century). Yes, it ends with a HEA, but is it a HEA for everyone? Well, you’ll need to read it to find out for yourself. Seriously, if you’re in the market for a sweet, historical romance to read, then grab yourself a copy of Lakeshire Park to read. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Walker in the future. 

Happy Reading, y’all!



Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+ as well as a print review copy. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



Meet the author


Megan Walker was raised on a berry farm in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, where her imagination took her to times past and worlds away. While earning her degree in Early Childhood Education, she married her one true love and started a family. But her imaginings of Regency England wouldn’t leave her alone, so she picked up a pen and wrote her first novella, A Beautiful Love: A Regency Fairy Tale Retelling which was published in 2019. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband and three children. Lakeshire Park is her debut novel. 



Connect with the author via her website, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, and Twitter.



BLOG TOUR


Debut novelist Megan Walker tours the blogosphere April 6 through May 1, 2020 to share her new historical romance, Lakeshire Park. Forty popular book bloggers specializing in historical romance, inspirational fiction, and Austenesque fiction will feature guest blogs, interviews, exclusive excerpts, and book reviews of this acclaimed Regency romance novel.



Blog Tour Participants


April 06:  The Silver Petticoat Review (Guest Blog)
April 06:  Katie’s Clean Book Collection (Review)
April 06:  The Readathon (Review)
April 06:  Getting Your Read On (Review)
April 07:  Heidi Reads (Review) 
April 07:  Romance Junkies (Guest Blog)
April 08:  The Calico Critic (Spotlight)
April 08:  Timeless Novels (Review)
April 09:  Gwendalyn’s Books (Review)
April 09:  From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt) 
April 10:  Courtney Reads Romance (Review) 
April 11:  Clean Wholesome Romance (Spotlight)
April 12:  The Christian Fiction Girl (Review)
April 12:  English Historical Fiction Authors (Guest Blog)
April 14:  Joy of Reading (Review) 
April 15:  The Book Diva’s Reads (Review)
April 15:  Katie’s Clean Book Collection (Interview)
April 16:  Frolic Media (Excerpt)
April 17:  The Lit Bitch (Review)
April 19:  Robin Loves Reading (Review)
April 19:  My Jane Austen Book Club (Guest Blog)
April 20:  Bringing Up Books (Review)
April 21:  Lu Reviews Books (Review)
April 22:  Bookworm Lisa (Excerpt)
April 22:  Austenesque Reviews (Review)
April 24:  Half Agony, Half Hope (Review)
April 25:  Relz Reviewz (Review)
April 26:  Bookish Rantings (Review) 
April 27:  Probably at the Library (Review) 
April 27:  Christian Chick’s Thoughts (Review) 
April 28:  Laura’s Reviews (Review) 
April 29:  Heidi Reads (Interview)
April 29:  Bookfoolery (Review)
April 29:  From Pemberley to Milton (Review) 
April 30:  The Caffeinated Bibliophile (Excerpt)
April 30:  A Bookish Way of Life (Review)
May 01:  Bookworm Lisa (Review) 
May 01:  Impressions in Ink (Review)

2018 Book 203: BECOMING THE TALBOT SISTERS by Rachel Linden

Becoming The Talbot Sisters by Rachel Linden
ISBN: 9780718095765 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780718095772 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780718095789 (Audiobook)
ASIN: B072TPB44G (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: May 1, 2018


Twin sisters Waverly and Charlie Talbot have drifted far apart as they pursue opposite dreams of stardom and service to the poor. On an astonishing journey across Central Europe, they must come together to face their fears, find their courage and fight for what they love.

Celebrity chef Waverly Ross has built a successful career with her home-entertaining show Simply Perfect. Yet she and her husband, Andrew, have never been able to realize the true desire of Waverly’s heart: to become a mother. Meanwhile Waverly’s twin sister, Charlie Talbot, buries her bitter disappointment and shattered idealism beneath a life spent serving others as an international aid worked in Budapest, Hungary.

When the beloved aunt who raised them passes away, Waverly and Charlie come together in their grief after living years on separate continents. Struck by a fierce desire to bridge the distance between them, Charlie offers Waverly and her husband the selfless gift of surrogacy.

But soon the sisters find they are each in danger of losing their jobs, seemingly putting their dreams on hold once again. When Waverly shows up unannounced in Budapest with a plan to rescue Simply Perfect, the sisters embark on an adventure across Central Europe that could save them both from occupational hazards. Though the twins haven’t had to rely on each other since childhood, an unforeseen dangerous turn in their journey across Europe forces them to stand together to save their careers, the baby, and each other. 



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Waverly and Charlotte “Charlie” Talbot had their lives turned upside down just before their thirteenth birthdays when their parents died in a plane crash on their way to South Africa. These twin sisters went from living a life of affluence on the East coast to a modest life with an aunt in Ohio. Now their beloved aunt has died and it seems their lives are coming apart once again. The sisters have grown apart over the years and made lives for themselves on separate continents. Waverly seems to have it all, a popular cooking show on the Food Network, a loving husband, and a wonderful home. She’s been likened to the next Martha Stewart. The only thing Waverly doesn’t have is something she can never have, a child. Waverly has just had her sixth miscarriage and has been told she can’t try to get pregnant again. Charlie travels to central Europe for an NGO teaching sex education. She had left the US with the thought of returning after only a few weeks but found her calling in South Africa. She was even determined to set up a clinic for women there only to have that dream stolen when all of her monies were embezzled by her business manager and then she was attacked and brutally raped. She’s not sure what she wants from life, but she is sure that she can help her sister achieve her dream and offers to be a surrogate. Little do either Waverly or Charlie realize that this offer will send their lives spiraling down paths neither one saw coming. Will they be able to survive the future alone or finally come together as sisters once again?


I found Becoming the Talbot Sisters to be a fast-paced read and one that offered a little bit of everything, family drama, hints of romance, international intrigue, and more. Both Waverly and Charlie do a lot of soul searching and find out what they want from themselves and each other. It was interesting reading about them redeveloping their relationship as adults and revealing the secrets they had tried so hard to keep hidden for so many years. This became not just a story of sisterhood but about women empowering one another in so many ways (trust me, once you read the story you’ll understand), as well as a story about hope, courage, love, and family. Throughout their journeys, Waverly and Charlie find that life is neither “simple” nor “perfect” but together it can be just right. For those of you that enjoy reading inspirational fiction then I heartily recommend you grab a copy of Becoming the Talbot Sisters to read. For those of you that aren’t quite sure about inspirational fiction, then I say this book will surprise you and go ahead and grab a copy to read, you can thank me later. The only problem I had with this book is that it made me incredibly hungry to try out all of the foods being described and I wish there were a few recipes included to try out (and I don’t even cook). I look forward to reading more from Ms. Linden in the future.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, as well as a free print review copy. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



Meet the author

Rachel Linden is a novelist and international aid worker whose adventures living and traveling in fifty countries around the world provide excellent grist for her stories. She holds an MA in Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College, a BA in Literature from Huntington University, and studied creative writing at Oxford University. Rachel lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband and two children. She enjoys creating stories about hope and courage with a hint of romance and a touch of whimsy. 


Connect with her via her website at RachelLinden.com and Facebook: AuthorRachelLinden 


This review and tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours



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Becoming the Talbot Sisters: A Novel of Two Sisters and the Courage that Unites Them

Becoming the Talbot Sisters: A Novel of Two Sisters and the Courage that Unites Them

Becoming the Talbot Sisters: A Novel of Two Sisters and the Courage that Unites Them

Becoming the Talbot Sisters :  A Novel of Two Sisters and the Courage That Unites Them

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Becoming the Talbot Sisters

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Becoming the Talbot Sisters : A Novel of Two Sisters and the Courage That Unites Them

Becoming the Talbot Sisters: A Novel of Two Sisters and the Courage that Unites Them

Book Showcase: SECRETS OF THE PORCH by Sue Ann Sellon

Secrets of the Porch by Sue Ann Sellon
ISBN: 9781629945453 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781631222344 (ebook)
ASIN: B00IX0D2KY (Kindle edition)
Publication date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Tate Publishing

Sixteen-year-old Sophie Mae Randolph has been in a downward spiral since the death of her mother a year ago. Placed in an abusive foster care situation, she took to the streets, and soon landed in more trouble than she experienced sleeping under a bridge. Caught robbing a gas station with her boyfriend Gabe, she accepts a compassionate judge’s sentence to a year on the Nebraska farm of the grandmother she didn’t know she had: Lila Mae Randolph.

Even though she’ll avoid the juvenile detention center, Sophie is none too happy at first, disliking everything from the smell of the chicken coop to the fact that she must do chores and attend church. Eventually, however, she settles into farm life and opens up to the love offered her there. With a dog named Hunner by her side, she explores the pond and plants a garden, and in high school, she meets a new boyfriend named Blake. Along the way, she discovers that Lila harbors her own secrets. Why is Lila silent about the Gerard family when she drives past their farm? What are the mean-spirited church ladies holding against her? Before she leaves the farm, Sophie hopes to discover the answers to these questions.

In the meantime, she excitedly accepts Blake’s invitation to the prom, and they attend the long-awaited event. But when he brings her home, they find Lila beaten and bruised on the porch, and when Blake goes to call for help, he fails to come back. The past invades the present in the form of Gabe, who reappears and beats Sophie, leaving her for dead on the porch with her grandmother. Then he retreats into the house in a drunken stupor.

As they console each other through the night, Sophie and Lila share their deepest secrets, and the mysteries of the farm are revealed to Sophie. Unlocking their secrets frees both of them.

Help arrives in the morning, as the past again meets the present. This time it is Lila’s past, in the form of her previous love Charles Gerard, whose story Sophie now knows.

Police and paramedics are summoned, and Blake is found injured but alive, but as they learn later, Hunner did not make it through the night. Before Gabe is taken away by the police, Sophie—feeling peaceful and finally free from her past—tells him she forgives him. No longer stuck, she is ready to move forward.

In the ensuing years, Sophie and Blake attend college, marry, and have a daughter, Lilly Mae. Lila and Charles also marry, and he helps her fulfill her lifelong wish to own her own bakery. Eventually, he succumbs to cancer, and Lila soon follows him in death. Sophie and Blake scatter their ashes at the pond, as they had wished.

Afterward, Sophie returns to the farm, where she walks from room to room, reliving their lives together. She finds a note addressed to her from Lila, telling her that while Sophie was searching for healing and peace on the farm, Lila found her own healing and peace. Sophie also discovers the necklace Charles gave Lila for her birthday, along with his love letters, which Lila gives Sophie permission to share with others. Love transformed not only Sophie, but Lila as well…



About the Author


Sue Ann Sellon was born in Nebraska City, Nebraska, nationally recognized as the birthplace of Arbor Day. Writing poetry and short stories came to her naturally as a young girl lying beneath the large oak trees near the Arbor Lodge Mansion. She recalls these memories as some of the best of her childhood. You may still find her there from time to time resting in a cool spot on a blanket with her fingers tapping away on the keys of her laptop.

Married to her husband and best friend, Dr. Paul Sellon, together they share a love and interest in their historical home and a taste for cooking. Sue Ann previously owned her own restaurant, as well as a fashion franchise. Creative by nature, she also loves painting, decorating, and restoring vintage furniture. She refers to herself as an expert in the arena of estate auctions and garage sales. However, she remains loyal to her first love…writing.

Secrets of the Porch, an inspirational romance, is Sue Ann’s second novel. Her first novel, Carly’s Calling, was released in 2003. Sue Ann hopes to write many more stories that speak to the power of faith and the endurance of the human spirit.  

Sue Ann is currently engrossed in two writing projects. Her next novel, Blue Skies, Wheat Fields & God is underway as well as her first stab at writing a comical screenplay titled, “It’s Over at 50.”



Author Website      |     Facebook      |     Twitter      |     Goodreads 




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Book 23: WHEN TWO HEARTS MEET Review

When Two Hearts Meet by Janelle Mowery
ISBN: 978-0-7369-2810-6
Publication date: October 1, 2011
Publisher: Harvest House

Rachel Garrett finds that attaining her dream of becoming a nurse is fraught with peril. A deputy sheriff with a wall around his heart doesn’t help matters, but when she learns why Luke Mason has barricaded his heart, her desire to heal confronts an even greater challenge. Her need of his protection from an unknown assailant might be the force that sends his wall crashing down around them.

Luke became a deputy in order to find the men who killed his father. He turns his back on God, only to run into the fiery Miss Garrett, who is a constant reminder of his lost faith. As Luke hunts for Rachel’s attacker, he finds she has snared his heart. Faced with the fear of losing another loved one, he must decide whether he can learn to rely on God to save her?or run from the love both offer.


Rachel Garrett knows that relocating to Colorado in the late 1800s is going to be difficult. She doesn’t know anyone there and the territory is quite a change of pace from her life back in Missouri. She knows that you can’t really run away from problems, but she needed a change of scenery after being blamed for the death of a patient. She’s barely had a chance to catch her breath from the ride into Rockdale and meet her new boss, Dr. Barnes, when she’s enlisted to help in several home emergencies, including a home delivery and a sprained ankle. But disaster strikes on her third home visit when she finds a pregnant woman bleeding and near death. Regrettably the woman, after suffering her fourth miscarriage, dies shortly after Rachel arrives at the house. Rachel feels bad about the woman’s death but knows that there was nothing she could do to stop it. 

As Rachel settles into Rockland, she focuses on her job, finds a new church family, and begins to learn her new neighbors. As she begins to feel comfortable with her new life and work, she also helps Dr. and Mrs. Barnes with their two small children, as well as start a small Sunday School program for the kids at the church. Through all of her ups and downs in life Rachel turns to her faith to sustain her and prays that it will be all she needs in order to survive.

Luke Mason is a good deputy sheriff but he no longer attends church or believes in God. His mother is the church pianist and prays that Luke will return to the faith of his youth. As Luke tries to maintain law and order in his town, he witnesses the strength of Rachel’s faith and finds it attractive, especially when it appears that her life may be endangered. Just when it seems like he knows who the culprit is, tragedy strikes. Can Luke survive losing someone else that he’s grown attached to or will he be able to save Rachel from harm?

When Two Hearts Meet is a nice inspirational, historical romance that happens to be a quick read. The characters are well developed and the action somewhat expected for a Western romance but realistic. The intrigue is primarily what kept my attention throughout as it appeared that Rachel might have numerous enemies and as soon as one was cornered, another would appear. Both Rachel and Luke gain lessons of faith, hope and love as their friendship slowly turns to romance. There aren’t any steamy scenes and the romance isn’t front-and-center, but Ms. Mowery has done an excellent job of providing a hopeful, happy-ever-after, inspirational romance. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher through FaithfulReader.com. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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