Posted in Book reviews

“Cameo Courtships” – Barbour Publishing Collection Book Review


“Cameo Courtships” by Susanne Dietze, Debra E. Marvin, Jennifer Uhlarik, and Kathleen Y’Barbo

Novella collection

Review copy through author

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars



About the book:

Image result for cameo courtships by susanne dietz

A Family Heirloom Inspires Romance
In 1851, a special cameo is gifted by Queen Victoria to Letitia Newton, who though considered an old maid, meets the perfect gentleman minutes after donning. Told by the Queen the cameo is to be shared, Letitia gifts the “Victoria Cameo” to a woman in her family, hoping adventure and romance will follow each of its subsequent wearers.

1851 – Pittsburgh, PA
After receiving the Victoria Cameo, aspiring journalist Clara Newton works to expose a smuggler, but reporter Byron Breaux must break the story first or lose his job. Working together is out of the question until they learn secrets that threaten Clara’s father. . .and her heart.

TAMING PETRA by Jennifer Uhlarik
1875 – Colorado Territory
Trouser-wearing frontierswoman Petra Jayne Hollingsworth has no intention of donning the heirloom cameo, but when a crooked brothel owner steals the treasure, securing its return becomes Petra’s highest priority. Assisting her, Reverend Dustin Owens is appalled to learn the price of its ransom is that Petra must work in the brothel. He may save the woman’s virtue, but can he help Petra regain her cameo and rediscover her faith?

MEET ME AT THE FAIR by Kathleen Y’Barbo
Spring 1885 – New Orleans during the 1884 World’s Fair and Cotton Exposition
It takes a Pinkerton to find a Pinkerton, and Ethan Butler has been charged with finding Elizabeth Newton. Just when he locates her, the cameo he is to deliver is stolen. It appears his previous case has discovered his presence in New Orleans, but he can’t return to that case until the cameo is found. With Miss Newton as a reluctant partner in crime fighting, can Ethan Butler locate the cameo and its thieves without losing his heart?

LENDING MY HEART by Debra E. Marvin
1895 – Pittsburgh, PA
The arrival of a handsome Scottish administrator ruins Miss Bertie Hart’s dream to oversee the new Carnegie Library children’s department. Yet bristly Mr. Russell Smart’s working-class determination and his love of books make him the perfect partner to better the lives of Pittsburgh’s poor. As for a partner in life? Not even her Victoria Cameo can narrow the social chasm he and her father keep between them.



My Thoughts:


This is such a beautiful collection! First off, the cover is delightfully gorgeous. One you definitely ought to hold in your hands to properly enjoy. ;) I love that the front cover opens to reveal a wider image – so pretty.
The inside stories are delightful as well! Each unique and special in their own right. It starts out with a prologue, showing us how the treasured cameo came to be, and then the first novella starts right away after – and it was so lovely! A perfect beginning for this collection. Main character, Clara, in “Pinned Above Her heart” was so soft-hearted, and Byron was such a great mix of a strong and gentle hero. The faith message in this first novella was refreshingly sweet and I loved how important it was to the story!
The second novel, “Taming Petra”, was full of adventure and danger. I loved the main characters name – Petra. So unique and pretty. This story was a Western and it was fun to see how it unfolded. The faith message wasn’t as strong in the second novella, even though the hero was a Reverend. The message was still present, just more underscored than the first story.
The third novella, “Meet Me at the Fair:, brought mystery and intrigue. The romance was very sweet and the history fascinating! This novella was clean and enjoyable, though there was no message of faith included which I was rather bummed about. However, it was an engaging story.
And the last novella, “Lending My Heart”, was so lovely, with spirited characters and a sweet plot! How its own prologue started out… I was immediately drawn in and the story indeed captured me! Main characters, Bertie (Roberta!) and Russel find themselves at odds upon first meeting, but their relationship is so endearing to watch, and the truths they discovered about themselves were very lovely as well. At one point, Bertie was attending church and the sermon given was beautiful and meaningful. I appreciated that, and really liked seeing how it affected and worked into the character’s lives! (Also must note that of course I loved Russel. He’s Scottish. ;))
The collection comes to a conclusion with an epilogue, bringing all the characters together, and that was such a nice touch, a sweet ending. All in all a beautiful collection. For me personally, the first and last stories were my favorites!
“Lord, help me. I don’t want to be hurt again, but my heart is as open to him as it was four years ago. That’s why I’m watching for him, isn’t it?” – Pinned Above Her Heart by Susanne Dietze
“Even nicer would be praise for her efforts and accompishments. What was the point of a lovely coif if her brain deserved no regard?” – Lending My Heart by Debra Marvin
“All else disappeared, but he continued toward her {Bertie} and his makeshift office as if it wasn’t unusual to have visitors. As if she’d been the last thing on his mind. If he could avoide falling victim to those eyes, he might manage his way through telling her his decision.” – Lending My Heart by Debra Marvin
“Roberta Hart was confident and skilled, yet he found himself overwhelmed by the desire to take her sadness, to offer her his shoulder. To be someone she turned to in need. Clearly a thought he must banish.” – Lending My Heart by Debra Marvin
“I know Miss Hart. She…” What? She’s my cousin? She’s my assistant? She’s made a mess of everything I’m working for because, like Mr. Darcy, I have fought feelings for her since the first moment we met?” – Lending My Heart by Debra Marvin




I am a peculiar treasure who is passionately in love with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I love writing, reading, knife/tomahawk-throwing, and letter-writing, among other things. :)

2 thoughts on ““Cameo Courtships” – Barbour Publishing Collection Book Review

  1. Thanks so much for the wonderful, thoughtful reviews, Raechel! I too loved the way the epilogue (written by Susie) pulled these stories all to a sweet end… or was it? Who owns that cameo now? haha.

    1. My pleasure!! Thanks for reading and commenting, and sharing the book in the first place!! <3
      Yes! That's what I thought – it could keep going!! :D Such a fun story.

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