My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley: Lily’s Dilemma by Andrea Boeshaar

My Review

The My Heart Belongs series is fast becoming one of my favorite  go-to series for appealing and likeable, quick to read romantic history novels, and My Heart belongs in Shenandoah Valley continues the lore!

Lillyanna “Lilly” Laughlin is the oldest sister of two brothers, all three of whom are orphans. Mr. Silas Everett, her late father’s closest friend and confidante, takes on the guardianship of the three, convincing them, and a judge, it is their father’s wish. Yet, when Captain McAlister “Mac” Albright purchases land Lilly believes to be hers from Mr. Everett, she begins to question Mr. Everett’s altruism.

I enjoyed most of the interplay and teasing between Lilly and Mac, but at times it seemed a little too dramatic. However, I may be a little less sympathetic because I prefer honest, straightforward dialogue, even with myself, and felt Mac wasn’t always honest with himself.

My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley sheds light on problems those returning from the war of 1812, the second war of independence, encountered while trying to assimilate into society.

Andrea Boeshaar has written a charming, compassionate and at times heartbreaking story of life in 1816’s Shenandoah Valley.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Journey into the Shenandoah Valley of 1816 where…
With Very Little Left of the Family Farm, Lily May be Forced into a Loveless Marriage.

Captain McAlister “Mac” Albright has purchased land in the Shenandoah Valley. However, the land belongs to Lillyanna Laughlin—or so she erroneously thinks. Mac sets her straight and despite a poor start, the two become friends. . .if only he were financially stable to offer her more.

When Lily’s life is threatened and his whole future goes up in flames, Mac truly becomes a man without means, and Lily is forced to make the impossible choice between a loveless marriage with a man twice her age or the man who has shown her what true love could be. How can she choose between love and economic security? Her family is depending on her. Is her heart destined to break?

Journey into Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley of 1816 where a woman’s dreams and future happiness are on the line.

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Whispering Pines (The Langtry Sisters) by Scarlett Dunn

My Review

Rose Langtry’s trip home is anything but the expected. First, her brother is almost hung by her neighbor, Morgan LeMasters; then after securing her brother’s safety, Rose is injured in a horrific stage coach accident.

Morgan LeMasters can’t believe the injured beauty he rescues was once the little girl that feared him, nor that she so staunchly defends her cattle rustling thief of a brother.

I was instantly engrossed in Whispering Pines by Scarlett Dunn. The story doesn’t follow the usual formula of romance and love. Instead, it is compelling and eventful.  There are scenes of suspense, intrigue and revenge and also scenes of faith, forgiveness and love. Some scenes are horribly disturbing and grisly. However, they perfectly illustrate the depravity of one character. Also, a few segments are borderline risque.

I fell in love with “Granny,” Rose’s grandmother, who raised her. She is tough and resilient and loves those around her mightily. Most of the main characters’ love her too and call her Granny, even though they aren’t related to her.

Whispering Pines is the first book in The Langtry Sisters collection. In this novel, we briefly glimpse the other two sisters, Adelaide and Emma, creating anticipation for the next two installments.

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

Publisher’s Summary

In Scarlett Dunn’s heartfelt inspirational series, three sisters return home to beautiful, enigmatic Whispering Pines, Colorado, and discover the men who’ll claim their love . . .

As a young girl, Rose Langtry feared her gruff, handsome rancher neighbor. Coming back to Colorado after five years, she’s outraged to find Morgan LeMasters ready to hang her brother for rustling and theft. But when the resulting skirmish leaves her injured, Morgan’s tender care turns her unease to unexpected closeness . . . and admiration.

Stopping Frankie Langtry and his gang has long been Morgan’s priority, yet he can’t resist Rose’s pleas for mercy. As brave and spirited as she is soft-hearted, Rose needs support to keep her family farm from going under, and a marriage of convenience will provide it. Morgan hardly dares admit, even to himself, his longing for a deeper, truer union. But her brother’s grudge is bringing danger back to Whispering Pines, and it’ll take forgiveness, courage—and a bond built on faith—to create a family and a future together . . .

 

A Stranger at Fellsworth By Sarah E. Ladd

Publisher’s Summary

In the fallout of her deceased father’s financial ruin, Annabelle’s prospects are looking bleak. Her fiancé has called off their betrothal, and now she remains at the mercy of her controlling and often cruel brother. Annabelle soon faces the fact that her only hope for a better life is to do the unthinkable and run away to Fellsworth, where her estranged uncle serves as the school’s superintendent. Upon arrival, Annabelle learns that she must shed her life of high society and work for her wages for the first time in her life.

Owen Locke is unswerving in his commitments. As a widower and father, he is fiercely protective of his only daughter. As an industrious gamekeeper, he is intent on keeping poachers at bay even though his ambition has always been to purchase land he can call his own. When a chance encounter introduces him to Annabelle Thorley, his steady life is shaken. For the first time since his wife’s death, Owen begins to consider a second chance at love.

As Owen and Annabelle grow closer, ominous forces threaten the peace they thought they’d found. Poachers, mysterious strangers, and murderers converge at Fellsworth, forcing Annabelle and Owen to a test of fortitude and bravery to stop the shadow of the past from ruining their hopes for the future.

My Review

Annabelle Thorley is shocked when her brother, Thomas, starts selling off the furnishings in her home. However, that’s not the worst of what he does, and her shock sends her fleeing.

Owen Locke is the gamekeeper for Mr. Treadwell, owner of Bancroft Park, in the Fellsworth area. During Treadwell’s visit to the Thorleys, Locke meets Annabelle and sets off an unimaginable chain of events.

Sarah Ladd does a very good job of portraying the angst, anguish and anxiety suffered by Annabelle when she finds herself in an untenable position. Miss Ladd describes the time frame, situation and plot in a realistic and intriguing manner. The story draws you in and doesn’t let go, beginning when Annabelle discovers her family’s financial straits and her brother’s treachery. Then she figuratively pulls herself up by her bootstraps and devises ways to better herself and her financial condition.

I enjoyed reading about the time period, the disparities in the social classes and the way society, in general, was so different. The imagery is well depicted and enhances the story, richly illustrating the variations in clothing and even the distinctions between living in city and country living.

A Stranger at Fellsworth is novel three in the set of Treasures of Surrey. Nevertheless, the story works well as a stand-alone book.

I received a copy of A Stranger at Fellsworth from The Fiction Guild. However, I was under no obligation to provide a review.

The California Gold Rush Romance Collection

The California Gold Rush Romance Collection: 9 Stories of Finding Treasures Worth More than Gold by Amanda Barratt, Angela Bell, Dianne Christner, Anne Greene, Linda Farmer Harris, Cynthia Hickey, Pam Hillman, Jennifer Rogers Spinola and Jaime Jo Wright

california-gold-rush

About the Book

Rush to California after the 1848 gold discovery alongside thousands of hopeful men and women. Meet news reporters, English gentry, miners, morticians, marriage brokers, bankers, fugitives, preachers, imposters, trail guides, map makers, cooks, missionaries, town builders, soiled doves, and more people who take advantage of the opportunities to make their fortunes in places where the population swelled overnight. But can faith and romance transform lives where gold is king?

My Review

Everyone, from all walks of life, is caught up in gold fever during the California gold rush. The California Gold Rush Romance Collection richly captures a slice of life during this tumultuous and exciting time in American history.

Nine authors come together to give a unique perspective on the robust era of the gold rush.

Amanda Barratt pens the story of Lorena Quinn, in The Price of Love. Lorena is a struggling new reporter who jumps at the chance to cover the gold rush and to prove her boss wrong. Women don’t need men to take care of them, even if the woman is unbecoming with unfashionably red hair.

The Best Man in Brookside by Angela Bell focuses on Donovan, an Irish immigrant to England. However, Donovan had to flee England after being falsely accused of theft. He feels himself a failure for having to leave his little sister and wants to vindicate himself. So, he seeks his fortune in gold in America, hoping to free himself and his sister.

Civilizing Clementine by Dianne Christner, introduces us to Clementine Cahill, forced to return to San Francisco with her Chilean friends after her father is injured in a logging accident. Motherless Clementine begins to feel betrayed when her invalid father badgers her to clean up her grammar and start wearing dresses.

Ann Green’s story, The Marriage Broker and the Mortician, opens with the robbery of Eve Malloy, while she was at a boarding house. Rafe Riley, happening upon the scene 15 minutes later, offers to assist her and takes her to dinner when none of the multitudes of men at the boarding house seem to care.

Jo Bass is made known to us in The Lye Water Bride by Linda Farmer Harris. Jo and her brother Thaddeus run the local bank. However, Thaddeus falls ill, leaving Jo with the chore of caring for day-to-day operations.

Cynthia Hickey writes the story of Rose McIroy in A Sketch of Gold. Poor Rose is forced to cut her hair to hide her muliebrity. She can’t believe her father’s latest get rich quick scheme involves trying to pass her off as a male and call her boy all the time.

Pam Hillman’s tale, Love is a Puzzle, presents the story of Shanyn Duvall and her aunt who traveled from the tip of South America to Sacramento in the hopes of seeing Shanyn’s father. They learn he has passed away, and during this time, Sacramento is not a friendly town for two single women.

The Golden Cross by Jennifer Rogers Spinola centers on Ming and her uncle, who travel from China to California. Ming feels God called her to be a missionary to America, and her uncle is hoping they can find riches in the gold-rich state.

Golden Haven Heiress, by Jamie Jo Wright, is about Jack Taylor and Thalia Simmons, residents of a ghost town. Thalia, trying to escape her past, moved to Golden Haven to be left alone, then Jack shows up and disrupts her peaceful life.

The stories in the Gold Rush Collection differs in their seriousness of Biblical applications. However, each author does a fitting job of presenting Christian principles.

I thoroughly delighted in each story and each author’s interpretation of the gold rush time frame. I also enjoyed the ability to read as many or as few stories as I wanted in one sitting.

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

At Your Request by Jen Turano

at-your-request

About the Book

After her father lost the family’s fortune, Wilhelmina was cast out of the fashionable set and banished to the wallflower section. Taking a position as a social secretary to help support her family, she’s mostly come to terms with her new status. But when her old friend Edgar returns to New York society for the first time since she rejected his marriage proposal, she’s newly ashamed at how far she’s fallen–and how hastily she dismissed him years ago. Her strategy is to avoid a face-to-face encounter at all costs, but he seems to have other plans. Will Edgar take advantage of their now reversed positions and make her regret her refusal, or is there still hope for a friendship between them–or something more?

At Your Request is an e-only novella that gives an exciting introduction to Jen Turano’s new Gilded Age historical romance series, Apart From the Crowd! Includes an extended excerpt of the first full-length novel in the series, Behind the Scenes.

My Review

Jen Turano introduces us to Wilhelmina Radcliff and her friends in the novella, At Your Request. Wilhelmina, after her father’s fall from grace, has also fallen, from being a valued party and society participant to being banished to the wallflower section.

I laughed out loud several times at Wilhelmina and Permilia Griswold’s antics while falling in love with their stories.

Wilhelmina is a funny, enlightened and charismatic character, the story enchanting and delightful! I can’t wait to read the series being introduced by this novella, as I will get to see more of Wilhelmina and her entertaining friends.

Ms. Turano has managed to take a short story (only 105 pages) and makes you feel as if you are right there in the book. She richly describes the society snobs of New York, the feelings of despair and the joy of outsmarting the local social climbers.

At Your Request is a quick read, and it is currently free on Kindle (be sure to double check before clicking)! If you enjoy historical fiction with a dash of humor amongst a serious story, you are sure to enjoy this novella.

The Last Waltz by Murray Pura

I’m re-posting this because it has been awhile since I posted it and my post on Monday will be Return to Shirley Plantation-the first of the Civil War Series.

Murray Pura has woven a unique story transcending time and circumstances in The Last Waltz, Volume 2 of his Civil War Series.

Charity Davis, the wife of farmer Mitchell Davis, has been caring for the farm since he and their two sons joined the Army to fight in the Civil War.  They have been gone for two years, and her loneliness has become an ache.

One day Charity sees a regiment of soldiers and runs down the long road from her house to meet them, asking if any have seen her husband Mitchell.  Finally giving up, she heads back to the farm only to hear her name called. Turning, she sees her beloved Mitchell propped up on his horse between two other soldiers.

Charity is understandably upset over Mitchell’s wound, but she soon becomes happier when learning he will be able to stay overnight.

As they talk, Mitchell reads to Charity of King Hezekiah’s request of the Lord in Isaiah 38.  Mitchell shares how the passage prompted him to pray for one perfect day with Charity.

So begins their extraordinary day together before Mitchell returns back to his regiment.

Murray richly portrays their love and joy in each other throughout their amazing day together.  A day filled with laughter, love and foreshadowing, a day to cherish forever.

This book was given to me free of charge through The Book Club Network in exchange for an honest review.