Book Review: The Reunion by Sara Portman

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

THE REUNION (Brides of Beadwell, #1) by Sara Portman is a wonderful character driven historical romance that had me hooked from the first chapter!

Lady Emmaline Shaw has grown from an uncertain girl into a strong, independent woman. She had to face the disappearance of her fiancée, John Brantwood, four years ago and not so long after that the death of her parents. She ignores the gossips, has a close circle of friends, and is living happily in the small village of Beadwell.

John Brantwood has returned to claim his family lands and title as the Duke of Worley. Everyone believed he had run off to war and been killed. Not so. Now he is back and needs to quickly find himself a bride. When he is reminded he already has a finacee, he remembers a shy, meek girl, who will not do for his plans, but Emma is no longer that girl and he finds himself liking and needing this strong woman.

A marriage of convenience is agreed upon, but can either keep their hearts uninvolved and safe?

This book is a wonderful introduction to this series and I can’t wait for many more. Ms. Portman has written characters that come to life on every page. Emma and John try so hard not to involve their hearts. The subplot of John’s sister, Charlotte trying to hide her American past was a great way to show the differences in cultures. The dialogue is witty and fun. The sex scenes are hot and steamy, but not over the top and placed perfectly to enhance John and Emma’s relationship.

Overall, just a wonderfully enjoyable historical romance!

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: The Lost Letter by Mimi Matthews

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

THE LOST LETTER: A VICTORIAN ROMANCE by Mimi Matthews is a beautifully written historical romance set in the Victorian era. The story flows between the hero and heroine, past and present, as they are given a second chance at love. The story is captivating and only a little longer than a novella. I just kept turning the pages and was done before I knew it in just one sitting.

Sylvia Stafford was the beautiful and charming daughter of a Baron. She had many suitors, but the man who claimed her heart was a dashing career Calvary officer and second son of an Earl. Before his return to India, Sylvia shares a chaste kiss with her dashing soldier and gives him a lock of her hair. As Sylvia waits for her word from her love, her father’s gaming debts become too much and he commits suicide leaving Sylvia with nothing and no one. Sylvia becomes a governess to a merchant family away from the society and friends she grew up with.

Colonel Sebastian Conrad returns from India a badly scarred and tormented man. He retreats to his family’s estate to hide. His father and older brother have died and that leaves Sebastian as the Earl. One day, his little sister is visiting and spies on Sebastian crying over a lock of hair and asks his man-servant who it belongs to and after some questioning finds where Sylvia now resides as a governess and invites her to Hertfordshire to help her stop her brother from doing something drastic.

The two are reunited, but under very different circumstances and each believes the other did not truly share the same feelings three years ago. As the two each learn truths about the intervening years, their love begins to grow once again, but will it be enough to clear up all the misunderstandings and let these two have their HEA?

This is an extremely romantic and emotional story in all its simplicity of plot. The characters are so realistic and just walk off the page and into your heart. This love story will stay in my memory for some time to come. This is a definite keeper that I can highly recommend.

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: Married In Montana by Jane Porter

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

MARRIED IN MONTANA (Paradise Valley Ranch Book 2) by Jane Porter is a wonderful historical romance that takes you back to 1890 Marietta, Montana. This book has a marriage of convenience storyline that focuses almost completely on the emotional growth of the hero and heroine without any trope scenes of external jeopardy or harm to force a sudden declaration of love. This story has a few references to Book 1 in the series, but can easily be read as a standalone.

Ellie Burnett is the pampered and spirited child of Archibald Burnett who is dying. To protect their large ranch and her father’s legacy, Ellie must marry and quickly. Though she can ride, shoot and run the ranch, her father wants her settled with an honorable man. What Ellie wants is to still be in control even after she marries.

Thomas Sheenan has come from Ireland to work hard and be his own man. The last thing he wants is a wife. He had to care for and bury his family in Ireland and he believes he is emotionally dead inside. When Ellie comes to him and proposes, he cannot turn her or the opportunity down, but he tells her he will never love her.

These two strong, independent and stubborn characters are then taken on an emotional journey by this author. Ellie starts out not knowing why anyone would not want the ranch and money that comes with her and an immature view of marriage. Thomas starts the marriage by taking complete control to gain the respect of the ranch hands and keep Ellie at a distance. The death of Ellie’s father devastates her and after months of depression, we begin to see small steps forward in understanding as Thomas forces her back into day to day living.

Ellie and Thomas are portrayed with strong emotions that continue to change and grow as the two become a couple. The sex scenes are well written and add to the growth of intimacy between Ellie and Thomas. These two start from very different places in life and yet deserve to find their HEA together.

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: Angelina’s Secret by Diane Merrill Wigginton

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

I love when I am asked to read a beloved genre book by a new to me author and can recommend it highly to others!

ANGELINA’S SECRET (Jeweled Dagger Series) by Diane Merrill Wigginton has everything I am looking for in a great historical romance read. A heroine who is true to her times, but independent and courageous set against a strong hero who is protective, but also values the heroine’s unique character and a plot and subplot that have adventure and intrigue twisting throughout the romance that keep you turning the pages.

Lady Angelina Stewart was born into a wealthy English aristocratic family that allowed her independence and to be as well educated as her beloved older brother, Jonathan in a time when most young ladies only cared about beauty and titles. Besides her education, two other things set Angelina apart. She has a bit of the sight, or a feeling when things are about to change in her life and she never wants to be wed. She is determined to never be owned by a man.

Captain Jude Deveraux is sailing the open seas as a French privateer for his king after receiving an award and title for bravery during battle. The Captain is also the Duke of Bayonne. He and his best friend Honore’ steal and plunder from unsuspecting ships and live for the adventure. A trap is set for the unsuspecting ship belonging to Angelina’s father. The trip is a birthday gift for Angelina from her father with her uncle to trade for their company. When the feisty Angelina stands up to the Captain pirate sparks begins to fly. A wager is made for the return of Angelina’s family ship and crew with safe passage if the cards favor Angelina.

Win or lose, Jude does not plan on letting the entrancing Angelina out of his life.

These two are meant to be together! Ms. Wigginton has written a hero and heroine that will be remembered long after the book is done. The secondary characters are also well developed and interesting. Set in the 18th century, my only slight problem with historical references was the white wedding gown. (Although possible, the white wedding gown didn’t become popular until the 19th century when Victoria wore one.)

This is a well written and entertaining historical romance, full of action, adventure and great characters. This is definitely a book and author to read and follow!

Book Review: Isabella: Bride of Ohio by Debra Parmley and Robert Arrow

bride of Ohio

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

ISABELLA: BRIDE OF OHIO (American Mail-Order Brides Series, #17) by Debra Parmley is part of an interesting writing project. Fifty authors are writing a fifty book American Mail-Order Bride series that releases one book a day for fifty days.

Isabella Britta Stolt arrives from Sweden with her parents only to have them quarantined on Ellis Island and die. On her own at seventeen, she hears of work in a factory in Massachusetts. It is long and tiring work, but she has a roommate from Sweden and a few friends. Then the factory burns down. Luckily Isabella and her friends make it out alive, but now they must all make decisions for their futures.

A mail-order bride paper is passed around the factory girls and they decide to try their luck with the gentlemen they find to write to. Isabella writes to Donald Jenks, who seems to be a successful accountant in Yellow Springs, OH looking for a wife. His description of his home and life is everything a future bride would want, so she begins her journey to Ohio.

On the train to Ohio, Isabella meets two men; one who will try to kidnap her and one who will save her more than once. Thomas “Tom” Allenby is an undercover Pinkerton man working a case of missing women from the train. He is instantly taken with Isabella and comes to her rescue. He knows she is taken, but he will cross paths with her again in her future home.

This is not the typical mail-order bride romance where they live happily ever after. This groom is not who he seems and the story takes a major twist. There is a forced sex scene, but it is mostly described and not played out in present time description. Isabella is a woman of her time with few choices, but she has the resilience and strength to always move forward. I loved Isabella and was so glad she got the HEA she deserved in the end.

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: Ethan’s Heart by Vickie King

ethan's heart

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

It has been quite a while since I have read a historical cowboy romance. I am very glad that I tried this first in a series by a new to me author, ETHAN’S HEART (The Blackwood Brothers, #1) by Vickie King. The Blackwood family, a runaway with a sick baby and secrets, posses, outlaws, and Missouri in 1855 all come together for a great read.

Ethan Blackwood is a widower with two little girls. His beloved wife, Elizabeth was killed during a bank robbery. Grief has turned into a powerful need for revenge instead of justice for this sheriff, but first he has to find someone to take care of his little girls so he can go on the hunt for her killers.

Annabelle “Annie” Holt is on the run from St. Louis with little baby Lily. She has to abandon the wagon train due to Lily’s health and is helped by the town’s doctor, Andrew Blackwood. Annie needs to stay in town for Lily, but she has no money and considers accepting the job as the laundress for the salon girls. Andrew believes he has the perfect solution for Annie. She needs a home and security and his brother, Ethan needs a new wife to care for his home and girls.

Ethan and Annie marry and when Ethan makes it clear it is not for love, Annie has some rules of her own. It isn’t until he comes in with his star on his vest that Annie realizes she has married the town’s sheriff. It is now more important than ever to keep her secrets.

I loved Annie! She was so strong and loving even with all that had happened to her and what could happen if the truth of her past became known. The love and care she showed for everyone was wonderful to read. Ethan was a good and honest man who was being eaten alive by his need for revenge and how Ms. King dealt with his change of heart was very well done. I really enjoyed reading this story, even though at times it was predictable, because the familiar and HEA is what I am looking for in a good romance genre book.

Thank you to Salt Run Publishing LLC and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the brothers’ stories!