The Lost Lieutenant by Erica Vetsch

I always look forward to Erica Vetsch’s novels. I, unfortunately, have not had time to read novels like I have wanted to. I’m so glad I took the time to read The Lost Lieutenant!

Vetsch has done a great job in her research, not only into the Regency period but also the feelings and emotions of the people who lived them.

Diana Seaton has a cruel father. He obviously never wanted a daughter, and never lost an opportunity in digs, slights and other ways of letting Diana know his feelings. I could really empathize with Diana. Even though my father wasn’t quite as cruel as Diana’s, my father was sometimes cruel. He, too, wanted a boy and was extremely disappointed when his first child, me, was a girl (hence my name!).

Evan Eldridge was a war hero, much to his dismay. The Prince Regent promoted him to the ranks of nobility, leaving Evan upset and disgruntled. I could also understand Evan’s feelings. I would rather be a regular everyday person than one in a position of “privilege”.

Vetsch pulls you into the roller coaster named The Lost Lieutenant and does not let go until the end of the story. She paints vivid word pictures, putting you right in the scene. Her characters run the gamut from kind, charismatic and loving to cruel, hedonistic and evil, which creates a thoroughly captivating novel.

I received this book from NetGalley. However, I was under no obligation to write a review.

Publisher’s Summary

He’s doing what he can to save the Prince Regent’s life . . . but can he save his new marriage as well?

Evan Eldridge never meant to be a war hero–he just wanted to fight Napoleon for the future of his country. And he certainly didn’t think that saving the life of a peer would mean being made the Earl of Whitelock. But when the life you save is dear to the Prince Regent, things can change in a hurry.

Now Evan has a new title, a manor house in shambles, and a stranger for a bride, all thrust upon him by a grateful ruler. What he doesn’t have are all his memories. Traumatized as a result of his wounds and bravery on the battlefield, Evan knows there’s something he can’t quite remember. It’s important, dangerous–and if he doesn’t recall it in time, will jeopardize not only his marriage but someone’s very life.

Readers who enjoy Julie Klassen, Carolyn Miller, and Kristi Ann Hunter will love diving into this brand-new Regency series filled with suspense, aristocratic struggles, and a firm foundation of faith.

The Victorian Christmas Brides Collection: 9 Women Dream of Perfect Christmases during the Victorian Era by C.J. Chase, Susanne Dietze, Rita Gerlach, Kathleen L. Maher, Gabrielle Meyer, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Vanessa Riley, Lorna Seilstad and Erica Vetsch

My Review

Who doesn’t love the magic of Christmas at any time of year? Add the mystique of the Victorian Era, coupled with the enchantment of Christmas brides, and you have the recountal of a memorable time in history.

Nine authors have come together to write nine stories of men and women finding unexpected, but much-welcomed, love.

I traveled from the United States to England and back again. I felt the cold, stinging of sleet and heard the pinging of it hitting the window. I was entranced and breathless from the beautiful snow as it fell softly to the ground, covering it in pure white. I smelled the pungent fir and pine Christmas trees, along with the wassail and roasting goose. I felt despair, confusion and joy-just as the personalities portrayed did.

I am familiar with many of the authors and enjoyed reading their works. A few were new to me. However, I look forward to reading additional creations of theirs, too.

The fun thing about novellas is you can curl up in your favorite reading space and read as much or as little as you want. If you are like me, you’ll read the entire book in one sitting!!

I received this book from NetGalley. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Experience a Dickens of a Christmas

Faced with the daily extremes of gluttony and want in the Victorian Era, nine women seek to create the perfect Christmas celebrations. But will expectations and pride cause them to overlook imperfect men who offer true love?

Paper Snowflake Christmas by Vanessa Riley
1837 Framlingham, England
How can widow Ophelia Hanover give her son a perfect Christmas when his guardian, the Earl of Litton, arrives early to take permanent custody of the boy?

One Golden Ring by C.J. Chase
1855 Devonshire, England
Wounded soldier Tristram Nowell returns home to indulge his mother’s wish for a family Christmas–and encounters Marianna Granville. Can he forgive the former heiress who jilted him years before?

Love Brick by Brick by Kathleen L. Maher
1857 Elmira, New York
SarahAnn Winnifred overcomes orphan hood apprenticing with pioneering doctors. Rufus Sedgwick, relocating his English estate, seeks help for his ailing Mum. Christmas reveals the secret wish of both hearts–for love.

The Sugarplum Ladies by Carrie Fancett Pagels
1867 Windsor, Ontario, Canada and Detroit, Michigan
When Canadian barrister Percy Gladstone finds his aristocratic British family unexpectedly descending upon him for Christmas, he turns to American social reformer Eugenie Mott and her fledgling catering crew for help.

Star of Wonder by Susanne Dietze
1875, County Durham, England1875
This Yuletide, Bennet Hett, Viscount Harwood, offers Lady Celeste Sidwell matrimony and the Star of Wonder diamond necklace, as their fathers arranged. When the diamond disappears, will they find a greater treasure?

Father Christmas by Lorna Seilstad
1880, Christmas, Chicago, Christmas
Widowed harpist Beatrix Kent believes love can only come once in a lifetime, but this Christmas, carpenter Hugo Sherman hopes to pull on the musician’s heartstrings and prove her wrong.

The Perfect Christmas by Erica Vetsch
1880s London
Melisande Verity might be in over her head trying to create the perfect Christmas window display, but if she succeeds, will she finally attract the attention of her boss, Gray Garamond?

A Christmas Vow by Gabrielle Meyer
1899, Christmas, London, England, Christmas 1899
Lady Ashleigh Pendleton is hosting a houseful of guests for Christmas when railroad executive Christopher Campbell unexpectedly arrives from America with a mysterious agreement signed by their fathers before their birth.

The Holly and the Ivy by Rita Gerlach
1900, Small town along the Potomac near Washington, DC
A glass ornament. Love letters tied in red Christmas ribbon. Lily Morningstar and British antiquities expert Andrew Stapleton are drawn into a family secret that binds their hearts together.

My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss, Texas: Priscilla’s Reveille by Erica Vetsch

My Heart Belongs in Ft bliss Texas

Publisher’s Summary

Journey now to Fort Bliss in West Texas of 1874, where…
A Battle Is About to be Waged Between Two Hearts.

Fashion artist Priscilla Hutchens has a grudge against the army that has ruined her family and taken the people she holds most dear. When her twin niece and nephew are left orphaned at Fort Bliss, Texas, she swoops down on Fort Bliss to gain custody of them immediately.

There is just one thing standing in the way—Post surgeon Major Elliot Ryder, who is also the twins uncle, also claims the children and thinks he knows what is best for them.

Priscilla and Elliot will cross swords, but each will have to lay down arms if they are to find a lasting peace on which to form the family both are longing for.  Who will win the battle? Or will a truce be called for the sake of love and family?

My Review

Priscilla Hutchens travels to Ft Bliss, Texas, to rescue her niece, Tessa, and nephew, Timothy, after the untimely death of their parents. She is determined they not be subjected to the type of life she was as an army child being dragged from pillar to post.  They are already too much like her, in that the Army has made them orphans. Major Elliott Ryder is their uncle, and he definitely has something to say about Priscilla’s attitude and where the twins will live.

I especially enjoyed getting to know Priscilla. She is a very spunky, spirited and feisty young woman who is not afraid to speak her mind, but neither is she afraid to get her hands dirty and help when needed.

The twins are fun to meet, too. Tessa is a lot like her Aunt Priscilla in spunkiness and spirit, and she is never still, running full tilt night and day. Timothy, on the other hand, is more circumspect and reserved.

Erica Vetsch has written a captivating story of late 1800s military life. I found myself fascinated by the remarkable detail to the story. Just a few of the topics Miss Vetsch described in interesting and realistic imagery include the primitive conditions, herbal and natural medicinal techniques, military protocol and Army regulations.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Where the Heart Is Romance Collection: Love Is a Journey in Nine Historical Novellas by Andrea Boeshaar, Carol Cox, Rhonda Gibson, Sally Laity, Jane LaMunyon, Claire Sanders, Erica Vetsch and Pamela Kay Tracy

Where the Heart Is

About the Book

Journey along with nine women who find themselves on the move out of their comfortable lives and into the unknown as they set up new homes, take on new jobs, seek out loved ones, and encounter romance. Will their faith endure the hardships, and will love form when life is in transition? Written by nine inspirational romance authors who have a passion for American history and faith.

My Review

In Where the Heart is by Sally Laity, Leah Somerville is heartbroken when she finds out her brother will inherit her home, Laurelwood. Leah hoped and prayed her hard work and dedication to her family and Laurelwood would result in her being given the home, even though it wasn’t the norm in 1860. However, she realizes she must find another place to live when her younger brother boldly announces he is to receive the home immediately.

Rhonda Gibson introduces us to Polly Schultz in The Midwife’s Apprentice. Polly is traveling on the Oregon Trail after being forced from her home by her mentor’s new husband. She is journeying with a family expecting a baby. However, due to a misunderstanding, she has to abandon their wagon and stay with another family.

Murder or Matrimony, by Pamela Kay Tracy, puts us back on the Oregon Trail with Megan Crawford. Megan left her old life behind in the hopes of a new beginning but, she encounters multiple hurdles along the way.

Bride in the Valley, by Andrea Boeshaar, remains on the Oregon Trail. Dillon Trier and Penny Rogers are two young people we met in an earlier story.  Miss Penny isn’t the best cook, especially over a campfire, but the few times Dillon eats with her family, he has no complaints. Dillon’s been ordered by his boss to stay away from the ladies and concentrate on his job of making sure his boss’ spoiled, pampered daughter’s piano makes it safely across the dangerous terrain.

New Garden’s Inspiration, by Claire Sanders, is set in Indiana in 1861. Leah Wall, a young Quaker, living with relatives since the death of her parents, feared she would never marry. Nevertheless, handsome Caleb Whitaker, a widower with two children, asks for her hand in marriage. However, Leah quickly discovers all is not as she thought or dreamed.

A Tender Branch, by Jane LaMunyon, takes place in 1874. Mary Sherwood is grown. However, she never forgave her father for letting the Civil War claim him on the battlefield. She also blames him for her mother’s death and the destruction of their home when she was six years old. Now, she finds out that her father is not only alive, but has the audacity to want to see her, and wants her to travel cross-country to where he has started his new life.

Erica Vetsch brings us the story of Evelyn in Knight and Day. Evelyn is one of four sisters forced out of their home upon their father’s death.  The four have traveled to Wyoming in 1874 as mail order brides. Unbeknownst to Evelyn, her future groom has a child. Evelyn has a child too and hasn’t told her future groom either.

The story of Evelyn’s sister, Emmeline, is picked up in On a White Charger, by Erica Vetsch. Emmeline is a dreamer and fantasizes about a life as a cattle rancher’s wife. Her fantasies are fueled by dime novels and have ill-prepared her for life as a shepherd’s wife; adding insult to injury, the local cattle ranchers don’t like the sheep either.

Carol Cox finishes the collection with The Wonder of Spring. Charlene Matkin and her grandfather, Jed have been trying to support themselves by selling eggs to the town grocer. In her spare time, Charlene writes stories based on her grandfather’s life. She realizes her dream when an out-of-town newspaper wants to publish her stories. However, there is a catch-she has to have a masculine pen name. Charlene is torn between her desire to write and earn enough money to supplement her meager earnings, and her aversion to creating a pen name, thereby perpetrating a falsehood. After much consideration, she decides on the pen name, Charlie.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Friday’s Fiction

Cactus Creek Challenge

The Cactus Creek Challenge by Erica Vetsch

About the Book

Anything he can do, I can do better. At least that was what Cassie Bucknell thought before she pinned on Ben Wilder’s badge and took to patrolling the streets of Cactus Creek, Texas. Cassie has been in love with Ben since primer school, but Ben treats her like a little sister. When they are picked to swap jobs for a month as part of the annual Cactus Creek Challenge in their Texas hometown, the schoolhouse is thrown into an uproar, the jail becomes a temporary bank vault, and Cassie and Ben square off in a battle of wills that becomes a battle for their hearts.

My Thoughts

The Cactus Creek Challenge has a charming and enchanting premise.  Every year in Cactus Creek, Texas, two people swap jobs for a month, but this year there is a new twist. Instead of only two people, there will be four, and women can enter the challenge, too. The townspeople (and the contestants’ families) are initially outraged and/or upset when they realize just what the winners must do. Cassie Bucknell, a schoolteacher, must swap jobs with Ben Wilder, her secret love and sheriff of the town. The other two contestants are Jenny Hart, the town baker, and Carl Gustafson, the town’s livery owner.

Ben’s sure he can wrangle a few schoolchildren.  After all, how much trouble can they get into? However, he’s not sure, nor is he happy, that Cassie can run the job of sheriff.

Erica Vetsch does an incredible job of showing the “challenges” each contestant faces, from Ben’s too cocky attitude toward the woman’s “easy” job of teaching to Carl’s bewilderment at the complexities of baking anything besides biscuits. There are many funny laugh out loud moments. All the same, Ms. Vetsch also shows how each character grows and comes to appreciate the other contestants’ unique skills.

For information about Erica Vetsch, you can visit her at: http://www.ericavetsch.com/

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.