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A Not So Convenient Marriage by Sandra Merville Hart Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: A Not So Convenient Marriage

Author: Sandra Merville Hart

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release date: November 8, 2022

A spinster teacher…a grieving widower…a marriage of convenience and a second chance with the man she’s always loved.

When Samuel Walker proposes a marriage of convenience to Rose Hatfield so soon after the death of his wife, she knows he doesn’t love her. She’s loved him since their school days. Those long-suppressed feelings spring to life as she marries him. She must sell her childhood home, quit her teaching job, and move to a new city.

Marrying Rose is harder than Samuel expected, especially with the shadow of his deceased wife everywhere in his life. And he has two young children to consider. Peter and Emma need a mother’s love, but they also need to hold close the memories of their real mother as they grieve her loss.

Life as Samuel’s wife is nothing like Rose hoped, and even the townspeople, who loved his first wife, make Rose feel like an outsider. The work of the farm draws the two of them closer, giving hope that they might one day become a happy family. Until the dream shatters, and the life Rose craves tumbles down around them. Only God can put these pieces back together, but the outcome may not look anything like she planned.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Sandra Merville Hart, award-winning and Amazon bestselling author of inspirational historical romances, loves to discover little-known yet fascinating facts from American history to include in her stories. Her desire is to transport her readers back in time. She is also a blogger, speaker, and conference teacher. Connect with Sandra on her blog, https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/.

More from Sandra

There are some stories that must be told. A Not So Convenient Marriage is one of them for me.

I don’t know what it is about this story, but once I began writing it over a dozen years ago, the characters wouldn’t leave me alone.

I wrote the first draft of this book a few years before my first book—another book, A Stranger on My Land—released, so I was still learning about the writing journey. I’m certain that my first draft of A Not So Convenient Marriage wasn’t ready for publication because it was rejected.

But the characters in my imagination wouldn’t allow me to let this one go. I edited and reedited, using skills I learned at writing conferences. Then I tried again with another editor. Another rejection.

Discouraged, I worked on other writing projects and met with a little success. When my first Civil War romance published, I decided to follow my heart and continue writing about that turbulent time period.

This book was set aside.

Still, every morning I woke up thinking about the characters in A Not So Convenient Marriage. In my mind, I’d rewrite a scene from the book as I lay, trying to sleep, in the middle of the night. Or the story would haunt me before falling asleep at night, keeping me awake an hour or two.

This happened almost daily for years.

Finally, I pulled up the manuscript again. It had been written in my early days so it required a lot of modification. I asked my agent to begin showing my updated proposal for the book. She was happy to do this because she always believed in this book. In fact, she decided to represent me after reading for proposal for it.

By the way, the story was still keeping me awake as I waited to sign a book contract.

Last year, I was thrilled when Misty Beller, Wild Heart Books, offered me a contract for a three-book series for this novel. Not only that, she also gave me a three-book contract for my “Spies of the Civil War” series, that published this year. (I invite you to read the whole “Spies of the Civil War” series beginning with Book 1 Avenue of Betrayal, Book 2 Boulevard of Confusionand Book 3 Byway to Danger.)

Misty told me that she cried when reading my manuscript for A Not So Convenient Marriage—the first time that had ever happened for a submission. That touched my heart.

I’m happy to say that scenes from the book no longer keep me awake at night…for now the story will be told.

My Impressions

“Which was worse, marrying a man who didn’t love her or growing old alone?”

I easily connected with Rose Hatfield, spinster teacher, whose desire to comfort a former classmate over his wife’s death leads to a marriage of convenience. A Not So Convenient Marriage is such a fitting title for this book that dragged my emotions back and forth with Rose’s and Samuel’s relational ebb and flow. Sometimes their feelings shifted so fast, I felt dizzy! Sandra Merville Hart truly presents a hard situation made worse by busybodies, untimely occurrences, and an inability to communicate well.

I loved Charlie. Definitely my fave secondary character! Charlie has weathered a lot of life, and has gleaned much wisdom. Yet, he doesn’t spout it out freely, but offers it gently when needed. Fortunately, he is a little stronger with Samuel, who needs a strong motion to the posterior region!

Rose slowly learns to turn from resentment over her own hurt to prayers for the hurt of others, (whose hurt she actually understands.) Perspective and prayer makes all the difference in our own attitudes, but I like that as we see with Rose, it is a decision that must be repeated many times before it becomes easier.

I received a copy of the book from Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! I love this book for the heart-wrenching story, but my takeaway truth clenches it for me: A lot of life and circumstances aren’t fair, but being willing to see them from a different perspective can make a huge difference in my attitude!!

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, November 1

For Him and My Family, November 1

lakesidelivingsite, November 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 3

Holly’s Book Corner, November 3

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 4

deb’s Book Review, November 5

Blossoms and Blessings, November 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 6

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 7

Inklings and notions, November 7

Connie’s History Classroom, November 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 9

Through the Fire Blogs, November 9

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 10

Pause for Tales, November 11

To Every BOOK There is a Season, November 11

Bizwings Blog, November 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 13

Mary Hake, November 13

Vicky Sluiter, November 14

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sandra 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/2244d/a-not-so-convenient-marriage-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, New-to-Me Author, Wild Heart Books

Byway to Danger by Sandra Merville Hart

About the Book

Book: Byway to Danger

Author: Sandra Merville Hart

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: July 19, 2022

Everyone in Richmond has secrets. Especially the spies.

Meg Brooks, widow, didn’t stop spying for the Union when her job at the Pinkerton National Detective Agency ended, especially now that she lives in the Confederate capital. Her job at the Yancey bakery provides many opportunities to discover vital information about the Confederacy to pass on to her Union contact. She prefers to work alone, yet the strong, silent baker earns her respect and tugs at her heart.

Cade Yancey knows the beautiful widow is a spy when he hires her only because his fellow Unionist spies know of her activities. Meg sure didn’t tell him. He’s glad she knows how to keep her mouth shut, for he has hidden his dangerous activities from even his closest friends. The more his feelings for the courageous woman grow, the greater his determination to protect her by guarding his secrets. Her own investigations place her in enough peril.

As danger escalates, Meg realizes her choice to work alone isn’t a wise one. Can she trust Cade with details from her past not even her family knows?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Sandra Merville Hart takes us deep into the dangers of the Civil War in Byway to Danger. In Richmond, Meg Brooks, a former Pinkerton, visits with relatives and works in a bakery, but most importantly, looks for intelligence to pass to the North. Her bakery boss, Cade Yancey, is also a Northern sympathizer. Like Meg, he spies for the North. As they grow closer, Meg doesn’t reveal much of her business or history to Cade, thinking what he doesn’t know, he can’t tell. Cade is even more tight-lipped about his past and connections. Can they work together to further freedom, or will their secrets drive them apart?

This book is the third of a trio, but stands alone nicely. It started slowly for me. I had a hard time initially becoming invested in the characters. Fortunately, by the end of the book, I was quickly thumbing pages, eager to discover the future of Meg and Cade and others. I set the finished book aside with a satisfied sigh.

My favorite secondary characters were Aunt Trudy and her servants, Clara and Harold. All three are wise, kind, and willing to go out of their way to help others. All had reasons they could have refused to do so.

If you’re looking for a clean, Faith-based historical romance based on Civil War times, I recommend Byway to Danger by Sandra Merville Hart.

I received a copy of the book from the author through Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Hard to say what turns some men into animals, as if they turned their backs on the sense the Good Lord gave them.”

“How can you, a man of few words, know just what to say?” She smiled to lighten the moment. Mournful blue eyes met hers. “Because I lived it.”

“Their relationship felt as if they had waltzed into a courtship without discussing it.”

“And my greatest hope for him is that he learns that he’s cherished by his Savior.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great! I recommend this suspenseful Civil War novel.

About the Author

Sandra Merville Hart, award-winning and Amazon bestselling author of inspirational historical romances, loves to discover little-known yet fascinating facts from American history to include in her stories. Her desire is to transport her readers back in time. She is also a blogger, speaker, and conference teacher. Connect with Sandra on her blog, https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/.

More from Sandra

In Byway to Danger, Book 3 of my “Spies of the Civil War” series, both Cade and Meg—our hero and heroine—are Union spies living in Richmond, the Confederate capital in 1862. As if this isn’t dangerous enough, Meg is also a former Pinkerton spy. One Pinkerton spy was hanged in the spring and three others now sit in Richmond jails.

Meg works as an assistant in Cade’s bakery. The strong, quiet man keeps a secret from Meg to protect her, for he’s a conductor on the Underground Railroad. He provides food, clothing, and a safe place to stay until he’s able to take them on to the next stop several miles outside the city. Cade has done this for years before the Civil War and continues as the war rages, a perilous mission.

Historically, early in the war on May 23, 1861, three men escaped slavery and fled to Fort Monroe. Frank Baker, Shepard Mallory, and James Townsend had worked on Confederate fortifications before escaping on a rowboat. They sought the safety of Union soldiers at the fort. The men informed Union Major General Benjamin F. Butler that they escaped from Confederate Colonel Charles K. Mallory of the 115th Virginia Militia.

The next day, Confederate Major John B. Cary arrived at Fort Monroe under a flag of truce. Cary met with Butler and requested he return the enslaved men to Mallory as required by the Fugitive Slave Act.

Butler did some fast thinking. Since the three men had been building fortifications for war, they could be seized as “contraband of war” and didn’t have to be returned. His refusal to return the men was a pivotal decision and sparked a future law that protected fugitives who sought the protection of Union camps.

Dozens of fugitive men, women, and children had joined Baker, Mallory, and Townsend at Fort Monroe within three days. Many others fled to the fort in the following months. “Grand Contraband Camp” was established about three miles from Fort Monroe on the charred remains of Hampton to accommodate the hundreds of fugitives.  It was the nation’s first self-contained black community. By 1865, thousands lived in this camp.

Part of my research for this novel involved a trip to Virginia’s Fort Monroe. (If you love history and have never visited Fort Monroe, I recommend it!) Though I wasn’t certain of my story at the time of my visit, I was so inspired by the fort’s history that I knew it had to be part of my story. And it is!

Avenue of Betrayal, Book 1, is set in the Union capital of Washington City (Washington DC) in 1861, where a surprising number of Confederate sympathizers and spies lived. Boulevard of Confusion and Byway to Danger are set in Richmond, the Confederate capital in 1862. Actual historical spies touch the lives of our fictional family.

Through both real and fictional characters, this series highlights activities spies were involved in and some of the motives behind their decisions.

I invite you to read the whole “Spies of the Civil War” series beginning with Book 1 Avenue of Betrayal, Book 2 Boulevard of Confusion, and Book 3 Byway to Danger!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 22

Spoken from the Heart, July 22

Bizwings Blog, July 23

Inklings and notions, July 24

Betti Mace, July 25

Book Looks by Lisa, July 25

Texas Book-aholic, July 26

For Him and My Family, July 27

Connie’s History Classroom, July 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 29

deb’s Book Review, July 30

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 31

Vicarious Living, July 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 2

Blossoms and Blessings, August 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sandra 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/1f7f8/byway-to-danger-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, Purchase, Wild Heart Books

Harmony on the Horizon by Kathleen Denly Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Harmony on the Horizon

Author: Kathleen Denly

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: January 4, 2022

Harmony-on-the-Horizon-Kindle

Her calling to change the world may be his downfall.

On the heels of the Great Rebellion, Margaret Foster, an abolitionist northerner, takes a teaching position in 1865 San Diego—a town dominated by Southern sympathizers. At thirty-seven years of age, Margaret has accepted spinsterhood and embraced her role as teacher. So, when Everett Thompson, the handsomest member of the School Board, reveals his interest in her, it’s a dream come true. Until her passionate ideals drive a wedge between them.

After two decades of hard work, Everett Thompson is on the verge of having everything he’s dreamed of. Even the beautiful new teacher has agreed to his courtship. Then two investments go south and a blackmailer threatens everything Everett has and dreams of.

As Everett scrambles to shore up the crumbling pieces of his life, Margaret unwittingly sets off a scandal that divides the small community and threatens her position as teacher. With the blackmailer still whispering threats, Everett must decide if he’s willing to risk everything for the woman still keeping him at arm’s length.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Wow! Harmony on the Horizon, Kathleen Denly’s third book in her Chaparral Hearts series, is just amazing!! While Harmony is set in 1865 San Francisco and San Diego, the issues presented are just as relevant today as they were then. Prejudice in many forms, false rescuer mentality, gossip and mob pressure, self-importance, and the list goes on. I could not believe how many issues Denly covers, including salvation, while creating a very riveting and action-packed storyline.

Fletcher Johnson is one heroic, young man we meet, whose aim in life is to right wrongs, one person at a time. Fletcher believes the end justifies the means, as he defends the downtrodden. Sometimes I liked Fletcher, and other times I really wanted to set him straight.

Katie Mizedale, a hapless, daydreaming maid, shares my sentiments about Fletcher. Katie’s faith is astounding, especially given her background.

Enter center stage the main heroine of the novel, Margaret Foster. Bravely coming west from Boston to teach, the year she ends up with in no way resembles what she had been expecting.

Part of that is due to Everett Thompson, who is determined to build a great city out of San Diego. A floundering businessman, he finds that the school teacher he hires may be more than he bargained for.

A historical western romance not to be missed!!

I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

Several children rushed past her to pick up jellyfish and toss them into the water, but Rosa hung back, wringing her hands. “But they’re so dirty and gross.” Margaret bent low to meet the girl’s eyes. “Sometimes we have to get messy to show that we care.”

God’s changes don’t imprison us, they set us free. They help us to become better and give us strength and joy, even when the world would try to steal those things from us.

Why must doing right so often come at great cost?

How could these people hear God’s Word and yet be so hardened as to nurture hatred in their hearts? Did they not know they were in the presence of the One who offered unconditional love?

The story was at complete odds with Fletcher’s idea of God as an angry judge waiting to criticize and condemn everyone for failing to live up to His impossible standards…Had he misunderstood who God truly was?

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!! Historical Western Romance Not to be Missed!!

About the Author

Kathleen Denly lives in sunny California with her loving husband, four young children, and two 

Kathleen Denly Headshot 3

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.

More from Kathleen

Who Invented Romance?

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but romance novels are sometimes viewed as the black sheep of the fiction industry. For various reasons, some people view romance stories with a disdainful eye. Knowing this, I still choose to write romance stories and some may wonder why.

First and foremost, I’ve had a passion for romance for as long as I can remember. I was absolutely one of those typical little girls who played dress-up in her mother’s clothes (or in my case, her lingerie. Eek! I had no idea. LOL) and planned my future wedding day. For reasons I can’t explain, the idea of a man and woman falling in love and pledging their life to one another has always enthralled me.

Or perhaps I can explain.

You see, I was raised in a Christian family and have always been exposed to the Bible. Have you ever looked at your Bible from a romantic perspective? When you stop to consider it, there is more than enough romance in God’s Word to justify placing it on the Romance Novel shelf in a bookstore. At least there would be if novels weren’t inherently fiction and the Bible wasn’t entirely true. (And aren’t we grateful that the Bible is completely true?)

So, in a way, one could say that God is the first romance author. After all, what is more romantic than a groom sacrificing his life for his bride? It even has the requisite happy ending, because He rose from the dead and will return for His bride.

The thing is, God isn’t just a romance author, He’s the inventor of romance. He was the first to demonstrate what love truly is. He is the one who defines it and describes its fruits so that we can recognize it when we see it. It’s His love that gives us life.

And the thing about romantic love is that it has a unique power to change people, to break down their emotional walls in ways that might not happen otherwise. There is a reason God designed man and woman to be together. Many reasons, in fact. But I am convinced that one of them is His ability to use that beautiful relationship to draw His children closer to His own heart.

So yes, some may look down on romance novels and those who read or write them, but I stand tall and proud, because I know that true romance–the kind God authors–is something to cherish and honor. I am blessed to be able to share God’s truths through the wondrous stories of two hearts joining together as one.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 6

Bizwings Blog, January 7

Austen’s Angle: Jane Austen’s Influence in Modern America, January 7

Texas Book-aholic, January 8

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 9

The Christian Fiction Girl, January 9

Inklings and notions, January 10

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 11

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 11

deb’s Book Review, January 12

For Him and My Family, January 13

Mary Hake, January 13

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 14

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, January 15

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 16

Blossoms and Blessings, January 16

Connie’s History Classroom, January 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 18

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 19

Book Butterfly in Dreamland, January 19

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize package of a Kindle Fire HD8 Plus, a custom Harmony on the Horizon Kindle case, a Harmony on the Horizon altered notebook, a Chaparral Hearts pen, a pair of earrings, a pin, and a scripture keychain!!

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/17190/harmony-on-the-horizon-celebration-tour-giveaway