Posted in 1940's, Bethany House, Book reviews

“An Hour Unspent” by Roseanna M. White ~ Book Review

An Hour Unspent (Shadows Over England, #3)

 

“An Hour Unspent” by Roseanna M. White

Book Three in the Shadows Over England Series

Review copy through the publishers

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

About the book:

 

Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge—and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger—and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape it.

 

My Thoughts:

 

Barclay. Barclay. And did I mention Barclay? Because yes. I want to reiterate how much I adored his character! His whole story. But okay. I suppose I should attempt to say more about this novel, right? Because it was all amazing! Barclay just greatly helped that factor. ;)

What a conclusion to the Shadows Over England series! But I am also so sad that it is over. Because these characters have become so real and the family so…familiar that is sad to say goodbye! I am very glad to know that the next series will still give us glimpses of these beloved characters, because I really am not ready to say goodbye. Each family member could have their own book and I would be very happy. ;)

The plot for this one was so well done, so well executed, and just perfect. I loved every piece of it. It held the right amount of intrigue, and mystery, while still not being too overwhelming. The only thing that frustrated me was a reaction of Evelina’s towards the end – understandable, but still I wanted her to do the opposite of what she did! XD Ah if we could only advise characters, right?

The setting was very good, and interwoven into the story so well that it was just part of it. I really enjoyed the clock making aspect of the book, and how the characters would relate it to God. Barclay’s faith was so real and very nicely portrayed, and encouraging. It wasn’t “perfect” because our faith does sometimes falter and we do sometimes question, but it is still strong.

And the relationships between Barclay’s makeshift family was darling to see.

I know I keep coming back to the characters but to me, a book is only as good as its characters and these really were so marvelous!! I loved them all so very, very much.

I just really loved this book. Its character, its setting, its lessons. A superb story for Barclay and Evelina <3

Posted in Book reviews

Book Review: “Lady Layne Disappears” by Joanna Davidson Politano

od's Peculiar Treasure Rae Reviews

 

“Lady Jayne Disappears” by Joanna Davidson Politano

 

Review copy from publishers through the author’s Launch Team

My rating: 5 out of 5  Stars

 

 

 

About the Book:

When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.

When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance–and perhaps even her father’s death.

Author Joanna Davidson Politano’s stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This is one of the most beautifully crafted novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a very long time. It was such a masterpiece of writing.
A story within a story, with twists and turns, and curiosities that leave you wondering but keep you oh-so absorbed in its pages.
Upon closing the final page, I had to sit back in a bit of awe. The author has a way with words, just as the main character Aurelie has. May I also say how much I love that name – Aurelie. So beautiful.
The characters were marvelous. I love real feeling characters, and these definitely filled that.  Aurelie: a most beautiful and unique heroine, Silas Rotherham: the perfect hero. And each of the side characters were brilliantly crafted as well.
Every scene was depicted so well, with so much feeling – you were definitely present in the novel. And the bit of mystery – goodness! I was entirely surprised by the culprit behind the murder. What murder you ask? Well, you’ll just have to read the book yourself to find out!
Truly, this was a lovely novel. The faith aspect was beautiful and poignant. The struggles felt by the characters were most real and relatable.
I wish I could give a review that would justly describe this book, but I am afraid I’m at a bit of a loss for words. I thoroughly enjoyed “Lady Jayne Disappears” and was very reluctant to leave its pages!
This stunning tale just sweeps you away with its beauty and richness. I definitely recommend, especially for fans of Charles Dickens (think Little Dorrit and Bleak House), Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre) and just excellent English/Gothic fiction that is inspiring and full of faith.

Below are graphics I made for this lovely book:

e Disappears
-A good book will enable you to both lose yourself and find yourself.- - Nathaniel Droll, Lady Jayne Disappears.
-I admit I'm an escapist when it comes to books. I become drunk on story, on words, as a buffer against reality.- If only she knew how often. If books were alcohol, he'd be the worst dru
Lady Jayne
It's always a choice, Aura Rose. Happiness is always a choice
-And the maiden found her escape into books, the worlds created by the pen of some stranger who would creep into her mind and rearrange the furniture.-
-Reading is the perfect way to engage and excite your mind while appearing to merely pass the time.-
-The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. I'd never had to depend so fully on the Lord before this, and it seemed now He was all I had.-
Posted in Book reviews, Books, Litfuse, Reviews

Litfuse Review: “The Headmistress of Rosemere” by Sarah E. Ladd

Title: “The Headmistress of Rosemere”
Author:Sarah E. Ladd
Number of Pages:312
Source of copy: Litfuse review copy http://litfusegroup.com/
My Rating: 4.5 stars

Book Description:

Patience Creighton has dedicated herself to the Rosemere School for Young Ladies. But the return of the enigmatic master of the estate puts everything she loves at risk.

Bright, sensible Patience knows what is expected of her. At twenty-five, her opportunity for a family of her own has passed, so she invests herself in teaching at her father’s school for girls. When her father dies suddenly and her brother moves away to London, she is determined to make the school successful.

Confirmed bachelor William Sterling also knows what is expected of him, but mistake after mistake has left him teetering on ruin’s edge. As master of Eastmore Hall he owns a great deal of property — including the land where Rosemere School is located — but possesses little money to manage its upkeep. When debtors start calling, he is desperate to find a new source of income, even if it means sacrificing Rosemere.

When a fire threatens the school grounds, William must decide to what lengths he is willing to go to protect his birthright. And when Patience’s brother returns with a new wife to take over management of the school, Patience suddenly finds herself unsure of her calling. After a surprising truth about William’s past is brought to light, both William and Patience will have to seek God’s plans for their lives-and their hearts.

My Review:

This is the second book in Sarah Ladd’s “Whispers on the Moors” series, but I think it could stand alone. It does relate to the first by characters and place, but you won’t be confused if you read this one without having read “Heiress of Winterwood”.

This book was very good. The story line was rich, and it all flowed pretty well. I really enjoyed the reading of it. I don’t read a lot of romances, and very few have me ‘happy and giddy and sighing’, but this one made one of the few. :)
I really liked the main character, Patience, and had an easy time relating to her. All the characters were pretty well constructed.
The plot was exciting, but not to the point where you’re frustrated – I don’t much care for those kind of books. :D I did have a hard time putting this one down though, as I did with the first in this series.
They’re just light Christian romances that are good. I appreciated the aspect of God being involved, though this second book didn’t deal with the relationship with God as much as the first.
I think this book is well-written and handled well with being in the Regency era.
The only thing I did not care for was the ending. It just did not jump out at me, and like the first, I didn’t care for the intimacy displayed. I think it was unrealistic and unnecessary.
I do warn that, with all romances, there is the need to be cautious, because it is oh-so easy to fall into day-dreaming and such about ones own ‘romantic dreams’.
I suppose that is my own opinion though. :)
Overall I did enjoy this book, and would probably read it again sometime! The rating I give it is 4.5 stars because of the ending not being as ‘innocent and correct’ as I should have liked.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/sgVC4

About the author: Sarah E. Ladd has more than ten years of marketing experience. She is a graduate of Ball State University and holds degrees in public relations and marketing. The Heiress of Winterwood was the recipient of the 2011 Genesis Award for historical romance. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing husband, sweet daughter, and spunky Golden Retriever.

Learn more about Sarah at: http://sarahladd.com

http://litfusegroup.com/author/sladd

Note: I received “The Headmistress of Rosemere” free from Litfuse in return for my honest and unbiased review.

Posted in Book reviews, Books, Litfuse, Reviews

Litfuse Review: “The Dancing Master”

Hello!
This is my first review for Litfuse. I hope it is done right :)

Title: The Dancing Master
Author: Julie Klassen
Number of pages: 424
Source: Litfuse http://litfusegroup.com/
The Rating I give this book: 4 stars

Book’s Description:

Finding himself the man of the family, London dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire, hoping to start over. But he is stunned to learn the village matriarch has prohibited all dancing, for reasons buried deep in her past.

Alec finds an unlikely ally in the matriarch’s daughter. Though he’s initially wary of Julie Midwinter’s reckless flirtation, he comes to realize her bold exterior disguises a vulnerable soul—and hidden sorrows of her own.

Julia is quickly attracted to the handsome dancing master—a man her mother would never approve of—but she cannot imagine why Mr. Valcourt would leave London, or why he evades questions about his past. With Alec’s help, can Julia uncover old secrets and restore life to her somber village . . . and to her mother’s tattered heart?

Filled with mystery and romance, The Dancing Master brings to life the intriguing profession of those who taught essential social graces for ladies and gentlemen hoping to make a “good match” in Regency England.

My Review:

This was the first book that I’ve read of Julie Klassen’s, but she is a favourite author of my elder sister, so I wasn’t too hesitant to read this book. :)
I did quite enjoy this book, though I didn’t necessarily fall completely head-over-heals in love with it. To me, it was just a nice light and kind of ‘fluffy’ read.
Don’t get me wrong – it was written very well, and I enjoyed Mrs. Klassen’s way of writing. I probably will read more of her books in the future. :)
I really liked the aspect of dancing and fencing; I found that all very interesting, and well, good!
I did not care for the main character, Julia, at first, but towards the end of the middle and in the end she improved and ‘grew on me’. I liked Aurora, Alec, Patience, Walter, and John Desmond probably the best.
I was a little disappointed though, with a couple things. One, was how it was more romance than Christian. The story line was good, but it really did not touch on deeper, spiritual matters, which I think is the most important and winning aspect of a book. It was only in the end that anything related to the Lord was really touched on.
Second, was how much, well to put it plainly, ‘deceit’ was going on between Julia and her mother, Lady Amelia. Julia was constantly going out behind her mother’s back and doing things Lady Amelia strictly warned against, as well as keeping many secrets. And that was never really put to right in the end. I was hoping, as I was noticing this, that Julia would realize just how wrong that was, and stop, but even in the end, she still did another incident of going behind her mothers back in secrecy and it was just ‘swept under the rug’ so to speak. I just didn’t like that.
Other than those two points, I think it was good.
The book was fairly long, and sometimes, drawn out. You didn’t learn things till the very end, which is okay. Like I said, I enjoyed how it was written, however, there were just times when I felt like it should be over by now. :D
Oh, and I really liked the fact that the Prologue and the Epilogue were written in first-person, like from Julia’s point of view; I thought that was neat.
I also found the quotes and such at the beginning of each chapter, interesting and fun.
Reading about English Dancing really made me wish I could attend an English ball of old. How fun that would be!

“The Dancing Master” is a good book, truly. I may not have adored it, but I did enjoy it. :)
And if you have any questions, or are wondering about anything particular about it, please do ask! I would be glad to try to answer any questions you might be wondering about. :)

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/s7Yl1

About the author: Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She is a three-time Christy Award winner and a 2010 Midwest Book Award winner for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.
http://www.julieklassen.com

http://litfusegroup.com/author/jklassen

Note: I received “The Dancing Master” free from Litfuse in return for my honest and unbiased review.