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A Lady in Attendance by Rachel Fordham

About the Book

Title: A Lady in Attendance

Author: Rachel Fordham

Publisher: Revell

Released: June, 2021

Genre: Historical Romance

Five years in a New York state reformatory have left a blemish on Hazel’s real name. So when she takes a job as Doctor Gilbert Watts’s lady in attendance in 1898, she does so under an alias. In the presence of her quiet and pious employer, Hazel finds more than an income. She finds a friend and a hope that if she can set her tarnished past in order, she might have a future after all.

As Gilbert becomes accustomed to the pleasant chatter of his new dental assistant, he can’t help but sense something secretive about her. Perhaps there is more to this woman than meets the eye. Can the questions that loom between them ever be answered? Or will the deeds of days gone by forever rob the future of its possibilities?

Rachel Fordham pens a tender tale of a soft-spoken man, a hardened woman, and the friends that stand by them as they work toward a common purpose–to expunge the record of someone society deemed beyond saving–and perhaps find love along the way. 

My Impressions


Reading the author’s “why” behind one of the main characters made me love this story all the more. Rachel Fordham certainly accomplishes what she set out to do… make a quiet, unassuming, often brunt-of-jokes character into a sympathetic, greatly caring, and deep personality! How I loved him, and I believe most readers will connect well with Gil as he slowly emerges from his self-made cocoon.
The leading lady that is so opposite Gil and draws him out? Readers won’t be able to help but love Hazel, either, as we gradually are able to compare the amazing person she is, with the persona she exhibited for so many years.


Fordham fleshes out the story with some friends of Gil and Hazel I grew to love. They showed more depth than I would have credited them. Which, by the way, was one of the major themes of the novel- judging people based on looks, their pasts, or societal relegations. And, oh, that we could all learn the forgiveness that would set us free. Several characters must choose what degree of forgiveness they will offer-or receive- and that will make ALL the difference.
Loved the inclusion of art, corn harvest, dental practice, reformatory life, and more. Just a powerful story.
I received a copy of the book through Revell Reads. I was not obligated to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own, voluntarily submitted. 

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!! Powerful Story!!

About the Author

Rachel Fordham has long been fascinated by all things historical or in the words of her children “old stuff”. Often the historical trivia she discovers is woven into her children’s bedtime tales. Despite her love for good stories she didn’t attempt writing a novel until her husband challenged her to do so (and now she’s so glad he did). Since that time she’s often been found typing or researching while her youngest child naps or frantically writing plot twists while she waits in the school pick-up line. In addition to her passion for storytelling she enjoys reading, being outdoors and seeing new places. Rachel lives with her husband and children on an island in Washington state.

Learn more about current projects at rachelfordham.com 

Books by Rachel:

A Life Once Dreamed
The Hope of Azure Springs
Yours Truly, Thomas

A Lady in Attendance

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Pint of No Return, #1 Shake Shop Mystery by Dana Mentink

About the Book

Book:  Pint of No Return

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Release date: May 25, 2021

The first in new dessert cozy mystery series! A murder in town is bound to shake things up…

After her divorce from her thrice-married embezzler husband, Trinidad Jones is finally ready for a fresh start. So when she’s left one of ex’s businesses in Upper Sprocket, Oregon, she decides to pack up her dog, cash in her settlement, and open her dream business: the Shimmy and Shake Shop, introducing the world to her monster milkshakes. And even with a couple sticky situations underway, namely that the other two ex-wives also call Sprocket home, Trinidad’s life seems to be churning along smoothly.

That is, until she discovers her neighbor, the Popcorn King, head down in his giant popcorn kettle. When one of Trinidad’s fellow ex-wives is accused of the murder and Upper Sprocket descends into mayhem, it’s going to take a supersized scoop of courage to flush out the killer.

Click here to get your copy!


My Impressions

“Sometimes I feel like damaged goods, like I have to pay a price forever just because I believed the wrong man.”
Unfortunately, not only has Trinidad Jones been married to a cheater and a liar, but life has also now forced her to start her new shake business in the same town where her ex’s other two exes live. Ooh, the gossip this starts. And the connections just get better or worse, depending on who you ask. First, Trinidad’s first friend is an unbelievable person. Then she has barely gotten settled when she finds a dead body. When she investigates with the help of the few friends she makes, the police chief is not a fan.
“I am still more than annoyed to find you popping up in this investigation at every turn. You’re like a human-sized whack-a-mole.”


I loved Trinidad’s special dog, Noodles. He is such an important part of the novel. And the relationship between brothers Doug and Quinn. What a joy to see that play out. Plus, Papa Luiz. Everyone needs a Papa Luiz in her life. Fortunately for us, we get to see more of Papa Luiz in the next book. Clean, no bad language, cute, prominent dog, quirky characters, special needs character, plus an amateur sleuth who honestly works her yummy business. Get Pint of No Return, #1 Shake Shop Mystery by Dana Mentink, now.


I wish to thank the author for a copy of this book via Celebrate Lit. I also purchased my own copy. No positive review was required. All thoughts were left voluntarily, and are solely mine.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! — All the Great Cozy Elements

About the Author

Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is the Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harvest House, and Poisoned Pen Press. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the nutty terrier, and a chubby box turtle. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

More from Dana

Freakshakes. The name says it all, right? Allow me to explain. A freakshake is a milkshake festooned with so many extras (sprinkles, cookies, candy, donuts, cake, slabs of pie) that it is hardly liftable. It is the stuff my sugar fantasy dreams are made of! Now picture a freakshake shop called the Shimmy and Shake in the quaint and quirky town of Upper Sprocket in Eastern Oregon. Known as the “Swiss Alps” of Oregon, this fictional place is the new home to a woman named Trinidad Jones, a lady starting out on the second phase of her life after her husband’s betrayal. Sprinkle in a dose of Papa Luis, her darling Cuban grandfather (inspired by my own Cuban grandfather) who drives a classic Buick, and a devoted service dog flunk out named Noodles. You know what’s missing? A murder, of course! That happens shortly after Trinidad opens her new shop, and from there on out it’s a sticky, spine tingling, sweet and satisfying and slightly funny adventure in mystery land. I had an absolute blast writing the first installment in this series, and I’m knee deep in the second as I write this. Thank you for coming along on the adventure and I hope it’s as satisfying as a monster milkshake!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 25

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 25

The Avid Reader, June 25

The Write Escape, June 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 26

Texas Book-aholic, June 27

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 27

Blogging With Carol, June 27

Inklings and notions, June 28

Genesis 5020, June 28

Among the Reads, June 29

Daysong Reflections, June 29

Bigreadersite, June 29

For Him and My Family, June 30

Betti Mace, June 30

Worthy2Read, July 1

deb’s Book Review, July 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 2

Through the Fire blogs, July 2

EmpowerMoms, July 2

Blossoms and Blessings, July 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 3

Lighthouse-Academy, July 4

Labor Not in Vain, July 4

Tell Tale Book Reviews, July 5

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, July 5

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 6

Vicky Sluiter, July 6

Simple Harvest Reads, July 6 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

She Lives To Read, July 7

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, July 7

KarenSueHadley, July 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 8

GIVEAWAY

To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize of a a signed copy of Pint of No Return, an ice cream bowl and spoon set, and a $30 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10e05/pint-of-no-return-celebration-tour-giveaway

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The Elnora Monet, by Rachel Skatvold

About the Book

Book:  The Elnora Monet

Author: Rachel Skatvold

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: April 27, 2021

The Elnora Monet

Islanders call him the Elnora Monet.

Is that island speak for “pompous, arrogant jerk?”

When Carly Mulligan volunteered to make house calls on Elnora, she never imagined treating the richest cat on the islands. What other feline has his own wing in a mansion like the Belshaw Estate?

After a wrong turn in the mansion, Carly stumbles across a secret room—one filled with incredible paintings. Perhaps there’s something more to the man than she first thought.

Most people envy Jean-Luc Belshaw’s position. The heir to a lucrative business and family fortune, he should have everything he could dream of.

But Luc dreams of days past. Days when he traveled the world with his wife and painted the breathings of his soul disappeared with Angeline’s passing.  Faith and inspiration gone, he wonders if returning to France to take his place in his father’s business is the right thing to do.

Carly has a few relational demons of her own, and she’s reluctant to trust him, but Luc’s paintings draw her in even as his story touches a long-empty place in her heart.

Only God can transform two broken pasts into a work of art.

The Elnora Monet continues the Elnora Island romances of the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.
The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“‘…this isn’t normal, sir.’” Outspoken, spontaneous, and fun-loving vet assistant Carly Mulligan discovers that billionaire Jean-Luc Belshaw, Jr., needs some help returning to “normal.” She meets Luc on a house call for a very spoiled cat named Descartes. Appalled at his lack of interest in his pet, Carly wonders what story lies behind Luc’s tortured eyes.
The Elnora Monet, by Rachel Skatvold, quickly intrigued me as a fun-to-read, well-written contemporary romance with a poor girl meets rich guy trope. The major part animals play in the story shows Skatvold has a good understanding of feline and canine behavior. With the emphasis of the art style being French Impressionism and Monet specifically, readers attracted to that style will sit up and take note. And a chance to revisit Elnora Island, plus a trip to Paris? Be still my beating heart! A great faith thread is incorporated, and I should have loved the book.


But a mental block appeared. The book was good, even great, but for me, stopped short of magnificent. Deniable plausibility, that wonderful phrase, struck early on and I couldn’t let go. One of Carly’s important actions early in the book felt inconsistent with what she already knew. This may not be a problem for anyone else but me, and I would definitely encourage readers who like Christian contemporary romance with a poor girl-rich guy trope to give this novel a try.
My thanks to the author and publisher, Celebrate Lit, for providing a copy of this book. No positive review was required, and all thoughts are solely my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Life has no meaning for an artist who’s not creating…no matter what form of art it might be.”

“I’d rather spend my life trying and risk failing, than doing nothing to change the situation.”

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great!

About the Author

Rachel Skatvold is a Christian author and stay-at-home mom from the Midwest. She enjoys writing inspirational romance and encouraging blogs. Rachel completed her first series, the Riley Family Legacy Novellas in 2014 and is now working on the Hart Ranch Series, set in the Montana wilderness and the Ladies of Ardena Series, set in medieval times. She is also a contributing author in the Whispers in Wyoming and Brides of Pelican Rapids Series. Other than writing, some of her hobbies include singing, reading and camping in the great outdoors with her husband and two young sons. You can find more information about Rachel and her books on her website: http://www.rachelskatvold.com.

More from Rachel

Thank you for helping celebrate the release of The Elnora Monet by following this Celebration Tour hosted by Celebrate Lit. I hope you enjoy learning a little more about the characters and what inspired the story. Please follow the other stops on this tour and don’t forget to enter in the giveaway. Thank you!

It has been a wonderful experience working with the talented authors and editors in the Independence Islands Series. Each of these stories has a heartwarming message of faith and the characters always teach me something new. Ever since writing Kendall Mulligan’s story in Her Merriweather Hero, I’ve been excited to share her free-spirited younger sister’s story.

Carly had many struggles in the first book, questioning what purpose God had for her life. This time around, her feet are more grounded, but she still has some growing to do when it comes to faith. Carly has been a fun character to write about because of her witty extroverted personality and some of the humorous predicaments she ends up in…one of them including getting caught snooping around a billionaire’s mansion.

While not outspoken as Carly, I can relate to the character’s search for direction. Sometimes it is difficult learning to trust, especially during troubling times, but we can rely on God’s promises. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence. Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight.” This verse means so much to me because I know even when I can’t understand something, He is behind the scenes guiding me in the right direction. For Carly, it leads in a direction she never expects, but it is worth it in the end.

Certain parts of the story were inspired by my mom. If you have read Her Merriweather Hero, you know the Mulligan sisters are originally from New England, close to where my mom grew up. I love hearing about her memories of spending time at Nantasket Beach, drinking orange pop, and putting chips in her sandwich so they wouldn’t blow away. Even though I grew up in the Midwest, I still put chips in my own sandwich because of watching her do the same thing and her fridge is always stocked with orange pop to this day. Little bits of my mom’s childhood are weaved into this story, making it close to my heart.

I hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about characters and story behind The Elnora Monet. Now continue reading for a summary of the book and giveaway. Blessings!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 10

Lakesidelivingsite, May 10

Rebekah Reads Lit, May 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 11

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, May 11

She Lives to Read, May 12

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 12

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 13

deb’s Book Review, May 13

Texas Book-aholic, May 14

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, May 14

Inklings and notions, May 15

CarpeDiem, May 15

For Him and My Family, May 16

Cultivating Us, May 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 17

Books and Everyday Live, May 17

Blossoms and Blessings, May 17

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 18

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 18

Lots of Helpers, May 19

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 19

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 20

Blogging With Carol , May 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 21

Godly Book Reviews, May 21

Kayem Reads, May 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 22

Connect in Fiction, May 22

Splashes of Joy, May 23

Simple Harvest Reads, May 23 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10bb3/the-elnora-monet-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, New-to-Me Author, Purchase

The Secret of the 14th Room, #1 The Granton House by Rebecca Hemlock

About the Book

Book:  The Secret of the 14th Room

Author: Rebecca Hemlock

Publisher: Bluecap Publishing

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: March 16th

Memories can be a killer.

When Levi Corbin returns to Granton, Tennessee after the death of his beloved grandmother, it sets off a chain of events he’d rather have avoided. Claiming his inheritance should have been a piece of cake, but a cousin appears, threatening to steal it all.

Even worse (and better, too), he’s falling for the girl he just met and now must team up with her to try to stop his cousin. Their quest for his inheritance uncovers secrets frozen in time—and one might just be the answer to save his grandmother’s home.

Things go from worse to completely out of hand when a freak fire threatens it all. Add to that a nosy old woman and a battered runaway, and Levi can’t help but wonder what is going on!

As circumstances rekindle his faith and new love spurs him onward, Levi races against time and odds to save Grandma’s house from certain destruction, but the result might just mean saving himself as well.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

I had never read anything by Rebecca Hemlock before, but I had barely started Secret of the 14th Room when I knew I’d discovered a treasure.
From the first scene of Dorothy Corbin’s death to the epilogue, I was glued to the page, not willing to miss a single word. Why you ask? For starters, Hemlock has penned a cozy that takes place in small-town Tennessee, rife with a history dating to the Civil War. The author depicts the town so well I felt like I was the one walking the streets. For genealogy buffs, there are many ancestry references. For those who understand the value of family, the wonderful relationships between Levi Corbin and his grandmother are highlighted, as well as Abigail’s close relationship with her parents. For lovers of old houses and architecture? You’ll love this old town. Nefarious evildoers? Check. Faith? Smoothly integrated into the story. Action and twists abound. The best part is, there is a sequel coming! I. Can’t. Wait!


I received a copy of the book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. I am voluntarily leaving my thoughts, which are solely my own.

My Rating

Magnificent!! I absolutely adored this one!!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

About the Author

Rebecca lives in Eastern Kentucky with her husband and children. She absolutely loves mysteries. Rebecca has been writing stories for many years and enjoys reading, painting and spending time with her family. Her favorite times to write are early in the morning when the sun is coming up and at sunset. She has worked as a freelance journalist for 4 years and is a member of Sisters in Crime and American Christian Fiction Writers. Rebecca has earned a degree in English and an Appalachian Studies certificate in Creative Writing.

More from Rebecca

Looking for new ideas is my favorite part of writing because it comes with talking to interesting people and exploring antique shops all over the country.

This book not only captures my love for American history and riveting romantic suspense, but it also captures how old wounds of the heart can be healed.

Levi Corbin in The Secret of the 14th Room learns this the hard way after carrying his broken heart for most of his adult life. He has to discover the real meaning of family and family pride. Levi must face the past so that he can move on to a brighter future.

Granton, Tennessee, is a town I hope you fall in love with, just as I did when I created it. There are so many delightful characters, some with a dark secret or two. This story has been brewing for a while, and I am glad that I finally have the opportunity to share it with you.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 21

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 22

Genesis 5020, April 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 23

A Novel Pursuit, April 23

Texas Book-aholic, April 24

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, April 24 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, April 25

Blogging With Carol, April 25

Betti Mace, April 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 26

For Him and My Family, April 27

Godly Book Reviews, April 27

deb’s Book Review, April 28

CarpeDiem, April 28

Older & Smarter?, April 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 29

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, April 30

Simple Harvest Reads, April 30 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Tell Tale Book Reviews, May 1

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 1

KarenSueHadley, May 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 3

Mary Hake, May 3

Through the Fire Blogs, May 4

Adventures Of A Travelers Wife, May 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rebecca is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
https://promosimple.com/ps/10b6a/the-secret-of-the-14th-room-celebration-tour-giveaway

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The Indebted Earl, #3 Serendipity and Secrets, by Erica Vetch

About the Book

Title: The Indebted Earl

Series: #3 Serendipity and Secrets

Author: Erica Vetch

Publisher: Kregel

Released: March 2021

Can Captain Wyvern keep his new marriage of convenience all business–or will it turn into something more?

Captain Charles Wyvern owes a great debt to the man who saved his life–especially since Major Richardson lost his own life in the process. The best way to honor that hero’s dying wish is for Wyvern to escort the man’s grieving fiance and mother safely to a new cottage home by the sea. But along the way, he learns of another obligation that has fallen on his shoulders: his uncle has died and the captain is now the Earl of Rothwell.

When he and the ladies arrive at his new manor house in Devon, they discover an estate in need of a leader and a gaggle of girls, all wards of the former earl. War the new earl knows; young ladies and properties he does not. Still wishing to provide for the bereaved Lady Sophia Haverly, Charles proposes a marriage of convenience.

Sophie is surprised to find she isn’t opposed to the idea. It will help her care for her betrothed’s elderly mother, and she’s already fallen in love with the wayward girls on the Rothwell estate. This alliance is a chance to repay the captain who has done so much for her care, as well as divert her attention from her grief. When Wyvern returns to his sea commission, she’ll stay behind to oversee his property and wards.

It sounds so simple. Until the stalwart captain is arrested on suspicion of smuggling, and Sophie realizes how much he’s come to mean to her. Now she’ll have to learn to fight, not only for his freedom but also for his love.

Click here to read an excerpt.

My Impressions

Erica Vetch is one of those authors whose name has been publicized in my reading groups as a Christian Regency author not to miss.
I finally got the opportunity to taste Ms. Vetch’s ability in this last book of the series, The Indebted Earl, #3 Serendipity and Secrets.
I loved Sophie from the moment I met her. Sweet, strong, and determined to take care of her almost-mother-in-law who is settling into dementia, Sophie has a loveable, calming influence on those around her. She is also fiercely loyal.


The captain was not quite so easy to love, but Vetch doesn’t set out to make him super loveable. He’s rigid, unbending, operating with military-like precision, and not good at showing affection. So, Vetch pulls off a coup as she convinces the reader to love him and root for this marriage of convenience between Sophie and Charles.
Both Sophie and Charles are realistic individuals. They struggle with God’s will going against their own carefully constructed plans. Vetch allows both Charles and Sophie to question God, to cry out to Him, to wonder where He is in the valley of suffering. “Why, God? Why did You allow this to happen? How can this possibly be Your will?”
Eventually they will stretch and grow through their trials.
For those who have read previous books, characters from former novels put in appearances, but I enjoyed the book as a standalone. (However, I do plan to rectify that situation.)
Several twists move the storyline along in surprising directions and a bit of suspense kept me eagerly reading.


My attention was especially captured by the young children, all three with unique personalities. I adored each of them. Will Sophie and Charles attach themselves to these orphans or wash their hands of them?
Vetch touches on the subject of suicide (briefly), and deals tenderly with dementia.
For me, The Indebted Earl lived up to its hype. Highly recommended.
I received a copy from the author and publisher through Read with Audra. I am voluntarily leaving my thoughts, which are solely my own.

My Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!!

About the Author:

Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, who she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate. 
 
Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks.
 
A self-described history geek, she has been planning her first research trip to England.
 
Learn more about Erica Vetsch and her books at www.ericavetsch.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@EricaVetschAuthor)Instagram (@EricaVetsch) and Pinterest (Erica Vetsch).

Click the link below to enter:

https://promosimple.com/ps/10ba3/the-indebted-earl

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Framed in Death Valley, #1 Desert Justice by Dana Mentink

About the Book

Book:  Framed in Death Valley

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Inspirational Suspense

Release date: March 1, 2021

framed in death valle

Framed for a murder he didn’t commit, firefighter Beckett Duke gave up on everything—including his marriage to spirited Laney Holland. That is, until Laney’s life is threatened. Knowing the real killer is still at large, Beckett now has one purpose: protecting the woman he loves…and their unborn child. But sometimes an innocent man’s second chance comes with a deadly price.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

They call him “Monster, a title he’d earned in high school.” Now, Beckett Duke can’t outrun his past or present nightmarish realities. Instead of starting over with his new wife, Laney, he feels forced to give up… right after he warns her of the danger she now faces.
Laney Duke thought she finally found a forever family in Beckett when they married a few weeks ago. Little did she know life would become so ghoulish and dangerous.
Mentink brings two characters together that you want to nurture and rescue right from the start. Then she piles on unjust disasters, enemies, and an unforgiving environment. What could be more unforgiving than a small town and Death Valley?!


I really enjoyed this nerve-wracking, nail-biting novel from page one. Mentink deftly weaves God’s unconditional, accepting love into a very temperamental, mercurial environment. Highly recommended.
My fave quote:
“You are who God says you are.”


I received a copy of the book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit, plus I bought my own copy. I am voluntarily leaving my thoughts. All opinions are solely my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!!

About the Author

Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is the Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Poisoned Pen Press. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the  nutty terrier, and a chubby box turtle.

More from Dana

What’s up in Death Valley?

As the desert vistas opened up in front of Papa Bear and me, I felt an amazing sense of peace. Mind you, we were visiting Death Valley in the fall. No braving the 130 plus summer temperatures for this couple! I simply cannot describe to you the wonder I felt, as a  suburbanite from a bustling, noisy Northern California city. There is never a moment at home when I see only open horizon, when I hear nothing but quiet breezes. I was, quite simply, stunned.

I had done some research about places to visit as potential series settings, and Death Valley was at the top of the list. The websites did not disappoint. Artist’s Palette, the gorgeous peak painted in a rainbow of rock colors? Check! Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, glistening with salt and not so lifeless as one might think…check! How about my favorite moment…jouncing along the precarious trail through Titus Canyon? Check! Would all of these incomparable locations be suitable for a six book suspense series? Roger that!

It’s ironic that I felt so welcomed by such an inhospitable locale. Visiting is one thing, but it takes a certain rugged breed of individuals to live in such a hostile climate. What fodder for fiction! I simply could not wait to get home and start creating the Duke family. And you know what? When this pandemic is over, Death Valley is the first place I want to return…in the fall, of course! Do you have a place near and dear to your heart? What’s first on your travel list after the world opens up again?

Blog Stops

Hebrews 12 Endurance, March 16

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 16

Among the Reads, March 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 17

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 17 (Author Interview)

For the Love of Literature, March 18

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 18

Genesis 5020, March 18

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 19

Betti Mace, March 19

Lighthouse Academy, March 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 20

Bizwings Blog, March 20

Texas Book-aholic, March 21

Reviewingbooksplusmore, March 21

Inklings and notions, March 22

Remembrancy, March 22

Simple Harvest Reads, March 22 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

For Him and My Family, March 23

Blogging With Carol, March 23

Older & Smarter?, March 24

Fiction Book Lover, March 24 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

KarenSueHadley, March 24

She Lives To Read, March 25

deb’s Book Review, March 25

Through the Fire Blogs, March 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 27

Labor Not in Vain, March 27

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 28

Pause for Tales, March 28

Blossoms and Blessings, March 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 29

Daysong Reflections, March 29

Hallie Reads, March 29

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away  the grand prize of a $30 Amazon gift card, a set of six mini cactus candles, and a signed copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1093d/framed-in-death-valley-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Favorite, Purchase

Sing in the Sunlight, #2 Chaparral Hearts, by Kathleen Denly

About the Book

Title: Sing in the Sunlight

Series: #2 Chaparral Hearts

Author: Kathleen Denly

Publisher: Wild Heart Books

Released: March 2021

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Richard Stevens isn’t who he thinks he is. Neither is the woman who now claims his last name.

Disfiguring scars stole Clarinda Humphrey’s singing career, her home, and her family, but she refuses to let her appearance steal her future. While attending The Young Ladies Seminary in 1858 Benicia, California, she finds a man who promises to love and cherish her. Instead he betrays her, leaving her with child, and Clarinda must take drastic measures to ensure her child doesn’t suffer for her foolishness.

Richard Stevens’s life hasn’t turned out as he expected, and when a shocking letter turns even his past into a mystery, he travels to San Francisco in search of guidance. On the way, he encounters a mysterious young woman hiding beneath a veil. That night he experiences a dream that sends him on a quest to find the bride God has chosen for him. He never imagines she’s already told everyone they’re married.

Unwilling to lie, nor accept a marriage of mere convenience, Richard wants the real thing. Yet Clarinda’s not interested in love, only a chance to save her child. Can he help her rise above the pain that runs deeper than her scars to accept a love worth every risk? 

My Impressions

Wow! Sing in the Sunlight, by Kathleen Denly, was so much more than I expected! Set in California in 1857, Clarinda Humphrey feels like neither people nor God views her as loveable or acceptable following a horrible childhood event. Denly uses Clarinda’s character to show how God is faithful even in hard times. Richard is an amazing example of Christ’s love for His bride.
While I expected a sweet, clean historical western with a Christian worldview, I got so much more from this book. God brought this book to me just at the time He was dealing with a certain area of my life and I was really convicted about my wrong attitude, much like Clarinda’s.


I couldn’t believe how many sudden twists Ms. Denly wove into the story that threw me for a loop. How many times I thought, “I didn’t see THAT coming.” These unforeseen turns heightened my enjoyment of the book immensely. There was a lot of plausible, exciting action in this tale. Denly managed to include some pretty amazing historical facts in her love story.
On the strength of this book, I have pre-ordered Denly’s last book of the series, Harmony on the Horizon (Chaparral Hearts Book 3), which includes the story of Clarinda’s cousin.
I received a copy of this book from the author. I am voluntarily leaving these thoughts, which are solely my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

About the Author

Kathleen Denly lives in sunny Southern California with her loving husband, four young children, and two cats. As a member of the adoption and foster community, children in need are a cause dear to her heart and she finds they make frequent appearances in her stories. When she isn’t writing, researching, or caring for children, Kathleen spends her time reading, visiting historical sites, hiking, and crafting. 

Kathleen is the award-winning author of Chaparral Hearts, a three-book series of stand-alone novels set in nineteenth century Southern California (plus a prequel novella available exclusively to her newsletter subscribers).

Kathleen would love it if you visited her website at KathleenDenly.com.

You can also connect with her on social media: 

Instagram & Twitter @KathleenDenly
Facebook Author Page: KathleenDenly.author
FB Group: Armchair Adventure Krew

To see photos that inspired her novels, follow her on Pinterest.

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Purchase

Soon the Dawn, A Valley of Promise Novella by Linda Brooks Davis

About the Book

Book:  Soon the Dawn

Author: Linda Brooks Davis

Genre: Historical fiction

Release Date: February 9, 2020

Ella thought becoming a mother to five daughters a month after marriage would be difficult.  Sixteen years later, letting go is even harder.  What should be a joyous time of Amaryllis spreading her wings as she graduates from the College of Industrial Arts… isn’t.

Ella fears that Amaryllis will lose a grip on her faith, her upbringing, and the goals Ella believes she should have.  Will Ella’s mother-in-law’s high society friends puff up the girl until Amaryllis loses sight of what’s important?  If Amaryllis stays away, can Ella trust that the Lord will keep the girl safe? Can she trust Him with her daughter’s well-being period?

Of course, she can!  But will she?

When everything begins to crumble around her, Ella must decide where she will place her trust—in her own capable hands or in the Lord’s sovereign ones.

Click here to get your copy!


My Impressions

Soon the Dawn, A Valley of Promise Novella, by Linda Brooks Davis, receives 5 stars from me based on the last half of the book. The first half quietly depicts the setting of Oklahoma and the beginnings of the family of Andrew and Ella Evans in the 1900-the 1920s. What an unusual beginning it was! Ella loves her daughters and worries about their futures while her gentle husband reminds her the Heavenly Father can be trusted, come good or bad. In the second half of the book, the bad comes as if invited in on a whirlwind. I cried. Lots. I hurt for poor Ella. The novel is quite an emotional experience for any mother. I had strong negative feelings for her mother-in-law while loving her father-in-law and formerly estranged sister. Will Ella curl up and curse God, or will she trust that she is sheltered beneath His wings, come what may?


The book may seem a little preachy to some, but is written to people of faith, encouraging them to trust the Father.
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher via Celebrate Lit. I am voluntarily leaving these thoughts, which are solely my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

About the Author

Linda’s debut novel, Amazon best-selling The Calling of Ella McFarland, Book One in the Women of Rock Creek series, is set in 1905 Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood. It won Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel in 2014 and subsequently, ACFW’s Carol award for debut novel 2016. The sequel novella, A Christmas to Remember, is set in 1908 Oklahoma. A second novella, A Christmas Measure of Love, is set in 1910 and is the prequel to Linda’s second full-length novel, which is set in 1914, Amazon best-selling The Mending of Lillian CathleenBook Two. The third novella, A Christmas Tale for Little Women, releases in 2020 and is set in 1912. It is a prequel to Book 3 in The Women of Rock Creek series, The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, which is set in 1918.

Linda and her beloved husband Al worship and minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio and dote on six grandchildren. Readers may contact Linda through her website, www.lindabrooksdavis.com.

More from Linda

When the Backstory Is Tragic

Family lore abounds in my family tree, much of it tragic. There’s the Boyd Irish crystal heiress who forsook her heritage for love in 1747 colonial America. The Billingsley American patriot hanged in his front yard by Tories in 1776. The Brooks great-grandfather who lost his three brothers in the Civil War and its aftermath. And the De Graffenried Swiss baron who brought a group from Switzerland to establish New Bern, North Carolina in 1711 and was captured by Indians.

Among the most tragic stories is how my grandmother, Ella Pyle Banks, buried 5 daughters and 2 husbands. Mama Ella and Papa Tribble’s story has waited years to be told. Part of it is the inspiration for my latest novella release, Soon the Dawn.

Ella Jane Pyle met William Tribble Banks in Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood. They married in Elmore City in 1904 and welcomed seven girls over the next 18 years. Papa Tribble, a kind and sensitive one-armed man, farmed. And Mama Ella, known for her salt-of-the-earth character and neighborliness, was the one folks called on to tend their sick and prepare their loved ones’ bodies for burial. She possessed a will of iron, but her voice was whisper soft. I love the story about how Papa tried to kiss her while they were courting, and she responded with a slap. “No kiss from me until you’ve proposed.”

When I decided to write for publication, I knew I would create stories based on my family’s experiences. There are transatlantic stowaways, rejection by Quaker brethren, murder of a groom at his wedding reception, prisoners of war, deaths by lightning, fortunes won and lost, and more disease and death than I can imagine. With such drama hanging on the various branches, how could I not include these stories?

What’s an author to do with such tragedy?

Tragedy and loss are integral parts of life on fallen Earth, but triumph invariably attends each loss. Wellness follows disease. Light peeks through the darkness. Blessings attend tragedies. And life follows death. It’s the space between the two that intrigues me as a storyteller.

My task, then, in creating a story inspired by Papa Tribble and Mama Ella’s experiences was to find the colorful strands among the black, the shining light amid the darkness, and the blessings tucked into the folds of the woe.

Soon the Dawn contains dark and light strands and many colors between. But it’s the stitching—Jesus—who binds the strands together. He turns an ordinary morning into a hint of the “Sweet By & By.” As the delicate aroma of the Rose of Sharon, He scents the sultry stillness before a summer storm. And He wraps the bitterness of grief and failure in the richness of His incomparable grace.

I offer Soon the Dawn to Jesus as a tale that reaches beyond the ordinary to the extraordinary because of His grace.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 22

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 23

Sara Jane Jacobs, February 23

Texas Book-aholic, February 24

Lighthouse Academy Blog, February 25 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Rebecca Tews, February 25

Inklings and notions, February 26

Betti Mace, February 27

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 27

For Him and My Family, February 28

Connie’s History Classroom, March 1

Bizwings Blog, March 1

deb’s Book Review, March 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 3

Artistic Nobody, March 3 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 4

She Lives To Read, March 5

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 6

Pause for Tales, March 7

CarpeDiem, March 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize of a handmade 8×12 wooden cross suitable for shelf or hanging with winner’s personalized engraving on back!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1086b/soon-the-dawn-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, Purchase

Bookers on the Rocks:#1 Elnora Island: #7 Independence Islands, by Chautona Havig

About the Book

Book:  Bookers on the Rocks

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

If it ain’t broke, why’s she so intent on fixing it?

Tessa Booker hates romance.

For twenty-five years, Tessa Booker has insisted that romance is something Hollywood cooked up to sell books and movies. Yes, she knows the word existed before movies.  She doesn’t care. That’s her story, and she’s sticking to it.

So when Ross gets a gentle nudge from Mallory Barrows to look into what Tessa’s doing every day while he’s at work, he discovers a romance in the works–one that sounds a little too “ripped from the pages” of his life!

Who is this woman, and what has she done with his wife? 

Armed with advice from 101 Ways to Romance Your Wife and a copy of the manuscript he printed while she was napping, he’s determined to figure out what’s up with his wife… and if maybe a little romance wouldn’t be a good thing after all.

In a twist of the “on the rocks trope,” this book introduces the next island in the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to get your copy!


My Impressions

Romance is only for books, (the kind she’d rather not read) not for real-life after marriage, opines Tessa Booker. Determined to prove her point, Tessa is convinced to write a book. Strange things happen as Tessa secretly sets out on this journey. Her husband hardly recognizes the changes in her, a desperate woman needs help, and life takes an unforeseen loop.


Chautona Havig has penned a thought-provoking novel, Bookers on the Rocks, as part of the Independence Islands series. Entertaining, suspenseful, and reflective, this novel can set standards for both those eventually contemplating marriage and those already in a marital union.
Mallory Barrows is a faithful friend who uses her resources (her business, The Book Barrow,) to help her friends find themselves.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher. I am voluntarily leaving my thoughts, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great!

About the Author

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

Who Needs Romance? My Marriage Is Great as It Is!

Writing a book about a couple who are in love, devoted to each other, and don’t have marriage problems is… challenging. Let’s face it. Most books about married couples, especially ones “on the rocks,” are going to have fights, an affair (at least of the emotional variety), or some big thing threatening to send them straight to divorce court.

Mine doesn’t.

In fact, Bookers on the Rocks shows what happens when couples become too comfortable in their routines—so comfortable, in fact, that they become blind to each other’s needs. If you asked Tessa Booker if anything is wrong in her marriage, she’d say no. If you asked her if she wanted anything different, she’d say no. The age old, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality.

Still, if you look at stories in Scripture, you see deep love and even romance in some places. Elkanah, who loved his wife enough to say, “Am I not more to you than ten sons?” Jacob who worked fourteen years to marry the woman he loved. Solomon and his love for the Shulamite woman. While the first two do not make me squirm, Solomon does. That book… oh, that book.

What I think Song of Solomon does is remind us of the Lord’s wooing of His people and how invested the Shulamite woman was in being delighted in her beloved—in all of him. If that isn’t a picture of how we should devote ourselves to our Lord, I don’t know what is.

In Bookers on the Rocks, I explore the possibility that those of us who aren’t naturally romantic might just be missing a vital ingredient in our marriages. A body can look and feel perfectly healthy for years—even decades. But if some essential nutrient is missing in a person’s diet, eventually that body will show it in some way. A lack of calcium can create brittle bones. No one sees the problem until a slight stumble turns into a nasty break.

Did it change how I view my marriage? No… not yet. Then again, yes it did, too. I’m more… aware of what is going on in my marriage these days. I doubt candlelight and roses will ever become a thing in our relationship, but translating what romance might mean and look like to my husband has become something I do think about from time to time. That probably means more Wienerschnitzel and less broccoli, but hey. He did a lot of dishes, dinner, and diapers (my perfect three Ds of romance) when our kids were small. I can endure a hot dog or three thousand, right?

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 10

Livin’ Lit, February 10

lakesidelivingsite, February 11

Sara Jane Jacobs, February 11

She Lives to Read, February 12

Texas Book-aholic, February 12

Book of Ruth Ann, February 12

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, February 13

Rebekah Reads, February 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 14

Batya’s Bits , February 14

Inklings and notions, February 15

Simple Harvest Reads, February 15 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 16

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 16

Robin’s Nest, February 16

Lots of Helpers, February 17

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, February 17

Splashes of Joy, February 18

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 18

Artistic Nobody, February 19 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, February 19

For Him and My Family, February 20

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 20

CarpeDiem, February 20

deb’s Book Review, February 21

Connect in Fiction, February 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 22

Blogging With Carol, February 22

Blossoms and Blessings, February 23

Godly Book Reviews, February 23

Pause for Tales, February 23

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10740/bookers-on-the-rocks-celebration-tour-giveaway

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley, PB, Purchase

Shadows of the White City, #2 The Windy City Saga by Jocelyn Green

About the Book

Title: Shadows of the White City

Series: #2, The Windy City Saga

Author: Jocelyn Green

Publisher: Bethany House

The one thing Sylvie Townsend wants most is what she feared she was destined never to have–a family of her own. But taking in Polish immigrant Rose Dabrowski to raise and love quells those fears–until seventeen-year-old Rose goes missing at the World’s Fair, and Sylvie’s world unravels.

Brushed off by the authorities, Sylvie turns to her boarder, Kristof Bartok, for help. He is Rose’s violin instructor and the concertmaster for the Columbian Exposition Orchestra, and his language skills are vital to helping Sylvie navigate the immigrant communities where their search leads.

From the glittering architecture of the fair to the dark houses of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods, they’re taken on a search that points to Rose’s long-lost family. Is Sylvie willing to let the girl go? And as Kristof and Sylvie grow closer, can she reconcile her craving for control with her yearning to belong? 

My Impressions

I’ve never been to a World’s Fair, but after reading Jocelyn Green’s Shadows of the White City, I felt like I had. Ms. Green vividly describes the setting so well. I can almost see the massive buildings, feel the pressing of the huge crowds, hear the violin and orchestra music and smell the food aromas of the many countries represented on the Midway. Green tells us the Museum of Science and Industry is one of the original 1893 World’s Fair buildings, so I can only imagine what the whole fair settlement must have been like, teeming with crowds.
Into this surreal setting Green inserts Sylvie Townsend, single, middle-aged Mimi to 17-year-old Rose. While Rose is longing to spread her wings and is searching for her biological family, Sylvie is holding on to her daughter tightly enough to suffocate her. As Sylvie struggles to sort out her relationship with Rose, she leans heavily on her neighbor, concertmaster Kristof. Kristof, in turn, struggles with his talented but slothful brother. We also see Meg, Sylvie’s sister, who is more prominent in the first book.
Sylvie has a lot of re-evaluating of her life attitudes to do. Will she emerge bitter at God, Jozefa, and Rose, or will she be better? Kristof is a bit of a stuffed shirt, albeit with a tender heart. He makes a journey of self-discovery as he helps Sylvie and tries to deal with Gregor. He is a romantic, fluid character to cheer on he begins to view life through different eyes.


Green’s poetic description of the orchestra music is entrancing. She obviously understands music well. Her research is impeccable, shown in her incredibly detailed descriptions.
Twists are subtle. In several places, I felt like I knew what would happen, but a bit of a change causes the story to flow differently than expected.
This book can stand on its own, but you will get so much more out of it if you read book one first.

Notable Quotables:

“It wasn’t Father’s timepiece I wanted. It was his time.”

“…you can stop striving to earn a place you’ve already been given. You’re already a beloved child of God. You can’t perform your way into or out of His family.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher. All opinions are my own, unsolicited.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

About the Author

Jocelyn Green is a former journalist who puts her investigative skills to work in writing both nonfiction and historical fiction to inspire faith and courage.

The honors her books have received include the Christy Award in historical fiction, and gold medals from the Military Writers Society of America and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Complex and nuanced characters, rich historical detail and twisting plots make her novels immersive experiences. Her fiction has been praised by Historical Novel Society, Romantic Times, Library Journal, historians specializing in her novels’ time periods, as well as popular and acclaimed authors Laura Frantz, Lori Benton, Jody Hedlund, Sarah Sundin, Joanne Bischof, Julie Lessman, and more.

Jocelyn loves Broadway musicals, the color red, strawberry-rhubarb pie, Mexican food, and well-done documentaries. She lives in Iowa with her husband, two children, and two cats she should have named Catticus Finch and Purrman Meowville.

Visit her at jocelyngreen.com.

More from Jocelyn

(Provided courtesy of Jocelyn’s blog and Bethany House)

  1. Shadows of the White City takes place in Chicago during the World’s Fair of 1893. What is so special about this setting?
    The World’s Fair itself was spectacular. With my heroine, Sylvie Townsend, acting as a part-time tour guide, readers get an inside look into many aspects of the Fair. Part of what made it such an amazing place was that, in addition to six hundred acres of the world’s most
    impressive accomplishments and inventions, people from all over the world connected in one place. The Midway, especially, played host to cultures from across the globe, opening people’s eyes to other perspectives they’d never considered before. Now add to all of this the
    fact that, outside the dazzling fairgrounds, Chicago and the entire nation were in the midst of a financial depression. The juxtaposition of splendor and hardship is always a poignant one.
    1. What kind of research went into this book?
      So much. There is a ton of information available on the World’s Fair. Aside from reading every book and article that seemed relevant for my story (and then some), I toured Chicago with a guide who designed a tour based specifically on what I wanted to know and see before I started writing the novel. On the same trip, I spent time in the Chicago
      Historical Society’s archives and the Newberry Library, reading primary source material. A second trip to Chicago gave my daughter and me a chance to experience other aspects
      important to the novel, such as a concert with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a visit to the Art Institute, and a stop at the Palmer House hotel.
  2. In what ways do you relate to the character of Sylvie Townsend?
    Sylvie is a book-loving introvert who doesn’t like crowds but enjoys public speaking when the topic interests her. That’s me, completely. On a deeper level, I understand Sylvie’s tendency to keep a tight rein on her daughter, Rose. As a parent of a teenager, I identify with
    that struggle to find the right balance of letting my daughter make her own decisions and mistakes as part of growing up and wanting to protect her from them. As Sylvie finds out in the novel, that desire to protect can lead to both a grasping for control and the realization of
    how very little we do control. I relate to all of this.
  3. This is your second novel in The Windy City Saga series. We’ve gotten to know sisters Meg and Sylvie pretty well by now. Who will be the focus of the third book?
    Book 3 in the series will pick up with Meg’s adult daughter Olive in 1915, which is when the Eastland Disaster took place in the Chicago River. You’ll meet Olive as a child in Shadows of the White City, and she’ll be twenty-nine when we focus on her story. Each book in this
    series explores a seminal part of Chicago’s history and how the Townsend family overcomes in the face of change and trials.
  4. Are the novels in this series classified as mysteries?
    Readers will discover that these novels have an element of mystery to them, but they remain firmly in the historical fiction genre. The main priority of the story, as ever, is given to the developing characters and the history-in-the-making around them.