Book Recommendation ~ The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller

Book Description:

Handsome appearance counts for naught unless matched by good character and actions.

That’s the firm opinion of not-so-meek minister’s daughter Lavinia Ellison. So even though all the other villagers of St. Hampton Heath are swooning over the newly returned seventh Earl of Hawkesbury, she is not impressed. If a man won’t take his responsibilities seriously and help those who are supposed to be able to depend on him, he deserves no respect from her. In Lavinia’s pretty, gray eyes, Nicholas Stamford is just as arrogant and reckless as his brother–who stole the most important person in Livvie’s world.

Nicholas is weighed down by his own guilt and responsibility, by the pain his careless brother caused, and by the legacy of war he’s just left. This quick visit home to St. Hampton Heath will be just long enough to ease a small part of that burden. Asking him to bother with the lives of the villagers when there’s already a bailiff on the job is simply too much to expect.

That is, until the hoydenish, intelligent, and very opinionated Miss Ellison challenges him to see past his pain and pride. With her angelic voice in his head, he may even be beginning to care. But his isn’t the only heart that needs to change.

These two lonely hearts may each have something the other needs. But with society’s opposition, ancestral obligations, and a shocking family secret, there may be too many obstacles in their way.

Fans of Georgette Heyer, Lori Wick, and Julie Klassen will enjoy the spirited exchanges between the bluestocking minister’s daughter and the bruised war hero as they move past pride and presumption to a humbled appreciation of God’s grace and the true strength of love.

Narelle’s thoughts:

I really enjoyed reading The Elusive Miss Ellison, Book 1 in the Regency Brides series. The regency era is one of my favourite historical romance time periods, and it was a pleasure to read Carolyn Miller’s excellent debut novel.

Lavinia Ellison has a heart for the poor people who live in her village. Her faith inspires her to care for the poor and needy, even if there’s a personal cost to her own welfare. Lavinia has lived with the trauma from witnessing the accident that killed her mother when she was a young girl. She was raised by her church minster father and devoted aunt who encouraged her to pursue her love for music. 

Nicholas Stamford never expected to become the seventh Earl of Hawkesbury, a title he inherited after the death of his irresponsible older brother. A former soldier, Nicholas is a handsome and honourable man who is adjusting to his new life and responsibilities. 

Lavinia is on a mission to convince the Earl that he needs to repair the dilapidated village homes. She is wary of him, knowing that his brother was involved in the accident that killed her mother. Lavinia is convinced that Nicholas’ questionable character, lack of faith, and higher social standing rule him out as a potential suitor. 

Nicholas is intrigued by Lavinia, charmed by her beauty, and appreciative of her sharp wit. His mother is scheming to match him with a lady of means who will add to the family fortune and maintain their social status. A delightful twist in the story changes everything, forcing both Nicholas and Lavinia to move in a different direction and question their long held values and beliefs.

The story is beautifully paced with lively banter and plot twists that raised the stakes and kept me turning the page. Nicholas and Lavinia develop a friendship and the rules of society dictate how they relate to each other. The faith element is a natural part of the story and we journey with Lavinia and Nicholas as they grow in their faith.     

I highly recommend The Elusive Miss Ellison to regency romance fans who enjoy a fast paced and entertaining Christian romance. Book 2, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, will release on June 27, 2017.

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

Book Recommendation: Secrets of the Heart by Jillian Kent

Book Description:

Madeline Whittington, daughter of the deceased Earl of Richfield, emerges from English society’s prescribed period of mourning in the winter of 1815. Madeline believes that she no longer belongs in a world of gossip and gowns; instead she wants to help the orphans living within the walls of Ashcroft Insane Asylum. Once there, she discovers a dark secret within the asylum walls.

Because of his elder brother’s unexpected death, Devlin Greyson becomes Earl of Ravensmoore and struggles between two worlds: one of affluence and privilege and one of poverty and disease. Torn between his desire to become a doctor and the numerous responsibilities of his title, he wrestles with God’s will for his future. Will he be able to honor this God-given gift and win the woman he falls in love with in a society that does not value gentlemen who work? And will Lady Madeline Whittington be able to honor her father’s memory when she is attracted to the one man who could destroy the promise she made to her father?

Narelle’s Thoughts:

Secrets of the Heart is Jillian Kent’s debut Regency romance and Book One in The Ravensmoore Chronicles. A compelling romance set in 1817, with elements of intrigue and suspense that delves into the darker side of life in Regency England.

Devlin Greyson inherits the title of Earl of Ravensmoore after the unexpected death of his father and elder brother. He continues studying medicine at a hospital in York, despite strong disapproval from society and his peers.

Lady Madeline Whittington is grieving the loss of her beloved father and younger siblings, and she is distressed by her mother’s attraction to the mysterious Lord Vale. Lord Vale claims to be an old friend of her father’s, and Madeline distrusts Lord Vale’s intentions toward her mother.

Lord Ravensmoore aka Doctor Greyson provides medical assistance to Madeline after her horse stumbles during a hunt. She is drawn to Devlin but later recalls that he was the attending trainee doctor at the hospital when her father died, and Madeline holds Devlin responsible for her father’s death.

Devlin is smitten with Lady Madeline, but he is holding his own secrets that jeopardise a potential match between them.

Madeline shows kindness to a disturbed girl she comes across in the woods, and who she later learns is an escapee from the nearby Ashcroft Lunatic Asylum where Lord Vale is a benefactor.

Secrets generating from Ashcroft Lunatic Asylum threaten to destroy both Devlin and Madeline’s lives. Danger lurks and their faith is challenged as they fight for what is right in a world where polite society would prefer to ignore the plight of the mentally ill.

Secrets of the Heart provides an insightful and honest look into life in a nineteenth century lunatic asylum. Human rights take second place to the agendas and greed of those in authority. The powerful story has engaging characters and exciting plot twists that will keep you turning the page until the very end. I highly recommend this book to those looking for a thought provoking regency romance that addresses the tough issue of mental illness.

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

Book Recommendation ~ The Country House Courtship by Linore Rose Burkard

Book Description:

Linore Burkard’s fans devoured her first two Regency novels Before the Season Ends and The House in Grosvenor Square. Now, as her third novel opens, the year is 1818 and Miss Beatrice Forsythe is determined to marry well. After all, her sister, Ariana, married The Paragon, Mr. Phillip Mornay, five years earlier–which all but guarantees that she, Beatrice, can also make a famous match to a wealthy man.

But her sister and husband have disappeared from high society as they raise a family at their country estate. Can Beatrice persuade them to chaperone her in London?  And what about Beatrice’s business with the curate, Mr. O’Brien, whom she rashly promised to marry years earlier. At seventeen now, she has no wish to marry a mere clergyman—despite his agreeable countenance and gentle, understanding ways.

When Mr. Tristan Barton becomes the tenant of the Manor House, Beatrice’s hopes seem to have found their object. But when Ariana falls gravely ill, secrets come to light, motives are revealed, and the pretenses that are easy to keep up in the darkness begin to crumble. Hearts are bared, truths uncovered, and when all is said and done, a country house courtship like no other has occurred!

As always, Linore Burkard delivers “spirited romance for the Jane Austen soul.”

Narelle’s Thoughts:

The Country House Courtship is the third book in Linore Rose Burkard’s delightful Inspirational Regency Romance series. A spirited romance for the Jane Austen soul is an accurate description for this entertaining story.

Miss Beatrice Forsythe, younger sister of Ariana Mornay, is seventeen and wants to experience her first Season in London high society. Five years earlier her elder sister married Phillip Mornay, known as The Paragon and personal friend of The Regent. Beatrice desires a similar match and hopes she can convince her sister and brother-in-law to take her with their young family to their fashionable London home in Grosvenor Square.

Whilst enjoying her stay at Aspindon House, the Mornay country estate, Beatrice is stunned by the arrival of Mr. Peter O’Brien, recommended to Mr. Mornay for the vacant Curate position in his local parish of Glendover. At the tender age of twelve, young Beatrice impetuously promised to marry the handsome churchman, and she hopes he’s forgotten the whole incident now she’s determined to marry a wealthy man of higher station. Mr. Tristan Barton and his sister, Anne, lease the Manor House neighbouring Aspindon House. The Regent enlists a personal favour from Mr. Barton, in order to confirm a date for Mr. Mornay to take up The Regent’s offer of a viscountcy. Mr. Barton catches Beatrice’s eye, and she starts to believe he could make a suitable husband.

Illness strikes and secrets are revealed, along with the true nature of certain characters during times of trial. Beatrice experiences a roller coaster ride as she discovers where her heart truly lies.

The ensemble cast of characters from earlier books in the series, Before the Season Ends and The House in Grosvenor Square, add to the authentic Regency flavour of the story. The story sparkles with fascinating plot twists and the inspirational element is artfully woven into the story. The Country House Courtship provides an interesting insight into the theology and church life of Regency England. I would recommend this book for those looking for a light hearted and exciting story set in the Regency period.

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

Book Recommendation ~ A Necessary Deception by Laurie Alice Eakes

Book Description:

When young widow Lady Lydia Gale helps a French prisoner obtain parole, she never dreamed he would turn up in her parlor. But just as the London Season is getting under way, there he is, along with a few other questionable personages. While she should be focused on helping her headstrong younger sister prepare for her entré into London society, Lady Gale finds herself preoccupied with the mysterious Frenchman. Is he a spy or a suitor? Can she trust him? Or is she putting her family in danger?

Readers will enjoy being drawn into this world of elegance and intrigue, balls and masquerades. Author Laurie Alice Eakes whisks readers through the drawing rooms of London amid the sound of rustling gowns on this exciting quest to let the past stay in the past and let love guide the future.

Narelle’s Thoughts:

A Necessary Deception is Book One in Laurie Alice Eakes’ The Daughters of Bainbridge House regency romance series. Lydia is a complex character who I wanted to see overcome both past and present obstacles to rescue her often wayward family members and find her place in a world where women often had limited choices.

I really enjoyed the political intrigue and suspense element in the story that kept me guessing until the end. The historical backdrop of the wars with the French and Spanish, and the trouble brewing in America, added an authenticity to the story. The regency period is often glamorised and this story takes a different slant as it looks at the regency era through the eyes of a Frenchman. I highly recommend this story to those looking for an exciting and captivating regency romance.

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

Friday Weekend Escape to Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA with Shirley Raye Redmond

I’m delighted to welcome my author friend, Shirley Raye Redmond, to my blog today. We’re going to escape for the weekend with Shirley to her home town of Los Alamos in New Mexico, USA. Enjoy!

Los Alamos, New Mexico: Where Discoveries are Made

By Shirley Raye Redmond

I am blessed to live in Los Alamos, a snug little community nestled on a plateau in the Jemez Mountains of northern New Mexico. If you know anything at all about Los Alamos, you will recall that it was once a “secret city,” where scientists during WWII were frantically working to develop the atom bomb before the Germans did so. WGN has recently aired a television drama Manhattan (referring to the top secret Manhattan Project) that depicts life (sort of) as it was on top of “the Hill” in those frantic war days. Today, Los Alamos is the home of Los Alamos National Laboratory, where scientists from around the world pursue advances in everything from nuclear energy to biotechnology.

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

 

Omega Bridge spans the canyon that separates the laboratory site from the town site.

Omega Bridge spans the canyon that separates the laboratory site from the town site.

Although my new Christian regency, PRUDENCE PURSUED, takes place in 1806 in Bath, England, I realized, after a bit of reflection for this blog post, that Los Alamos and Bath actually have a few things in common.

(1) Both Bath and Los Alamos boast ruins. Today’s city of Bath in Somerset is built on top of and around the ancient ruins of the Roman town of Aquae Sulis. The Pajarito Plateau where Los Alamos now stands was once home to the Anasazi and Bandelier National Monument is a popular tourist destination for those interested in cliff dwellers.

Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier National Monument

(2) For centuries after the Romans vacated, the British have gone to Bath to soak in the famous hot springs and, like Jane Austen and her contemporaries, to drink the medicinal waters in the Pump Room. I did that when I visited Bath some years ago and much prefer soaking in the hot springs which we have in abundance here too. We also have the Aquatic Center, a high altitude Olympic size swimming pool, which attracts swim teams from all over the country.

Fuller Lodge, in the heart of downtown, is a national historic landmark.

Fuller Lodge, in the heart of downtown, is a national historic landmark.

(3) Bath and Los Alamos are both great towns for history buffs. While UNESCO named a World Heritage Site in 1987, the U.S. Congress is presently considering the viability of a Manhattan Project National Park here. We already have a wonderful history museum and a science museum. And LIVABILITY recently named Los Alamos the #1 Best Small Town in America!

Come visit—and enjoy the world’s best green chile bacon extra cheese breakfast burrito!

The town where discoveries are still being made!

The town where discoveries are still being made!

AP Pru

At the advanced age of twenty-seven, vicar’s daughter Prudence Pentrye is on the shelf. Content to occupy her time by attending meetings of Mr. Wilberforce’s Abolition Society and helping her father administer vaccines in an effort to prevent a small pox epidemic, Prudence is resolved to see that her younger cousin Margaret does not share her own unmarried fate.

But Margaret is plain and shy. She is repulsed when a swashbuckling baronet, Sir James Brownell, makes her an offer of marriage. With his sunburned skin, eye patch, and indifference to fashion, Sir James is not Margaret’s idea of a romantic suitor. Nor does Margaret enjoy his tales of fighting against Malay pirates and trekking through tropical jungles on the island of Borneo in hopes of capturing a living orangutan.

Prudence, however, finds herself secretly smitten. Will she maintain control of her traitorous heart or will she trust God to make her life richer and more rewarding than the one she had planned for herself?

Shirley Redmond

SHIRLEY RAYE REDMOND is an award-winning author of children’s books and sweet romance. Her Lewis & Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President (Random House) was a Children’s Book of the Month Club selection. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, the Faith, Hope and Love Chapter of RWA, Southwest Writers and Women Writing the West. Prudence Pursued is her second inspirational romance novel. Connect with her via her facebook author page or at www.shirleyrayeredmond.com

Her titles are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.