Tag Archives: Revell

A Rumored Fortune

A Rumored Fortune

By Joanna Davidson Politano

The Story

Welcome to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England

Tressa Harlowe’s father kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Now Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it.

It doesn’t take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they’re really up to. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune–before someone else finds it first.

(Back cover summary from Revell)

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Joanna Davidson Politano once again swept me away on an intriguing and insightful adventure, this time departing from the city streets to a country estate.

I love, love, love how unique this author’s writing style is! There is a vast array of books out there, and somehow she is able to stand apart from all the rest.

I will admit, it did take me a few pages to get into this story. I had to submerse myself into their world, and then I was hooked. Tressa and Donegan are compelling characters. Tressa’s lack is that of her father’s presence in her life. It’s something she longs—yearns—for, and it marks her life indelibly. Donegan is harnessed by guilt to past mistakes, he’s blunt and gruff, but somehow turns out to be the sweetest hero. I loved how Ms. Politano brought some of her own love story into this novel.

The search for the hidden treasure in this book also kept me going, but at the end, I found the true treasure was this novel. Somehow Ms. Politano spoke to me where I was at, and beckoned me closer with her subtle analogies to the Vine and the Branches (which I LOVED), her exploration of our fathers and the Father, and the connection we all long for that is only truly fulfilled in One.

If you’re willing to take the plunge, I promise you, you will not go away unchanged from A Rumored Fortune.

About the Author

Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at www.jdpstories.com .

(Biography from Revell)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

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The Theory of Happily Ever After

The Theory of Happily Ever After

By Kristin Billerbeck

The Story

According to Dr. Maggie Maguire, happiness is serious–serious science, that is. But science can’t always account for life’s anomalies, like why her fiancé dumped her for a silk-scarf acrobat and how the breakup sent Maggie spiraling into an extended ice cream-fueled chick flick binge.

Concerned that she might never pull herself out of this nosedive, Maggie’s friends book her as a speaker on a “New Year, New You” cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Maggie wonders if she’s qualified to teach others about happiness when she can’t muster up any for herself. But when a handsome stranger on board insists that smart women can’t ever be happy, Maggie sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way she may discover that happiness has far less to do with the head than with the heart.

Filled with unforgettable characters, snappy dialogue, and touching romance, The Theory of Happily Ever After shows that the search for happiness may be futile–because sometimes happiness is already out there searching for you.

(Back cover summary from Revell)

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I have to start off with the cover of this book. It is so cute and different! I liked the colors and felt that it really pinpointed the feel of this book overall.

The Theory of Happily Ever After is definitely a unique book. I don’t think I’ve ever read another book that had a scientist who specialized in the field of happiness science. I loved the idea of this book and was often grinning at the antics of the characters. However, as much as I wanted to love The Theory of Happily Ever After, it just wasn’t for me.

Maggie’s friends annoyed me more often than not. That may have been part of the intent, but I really started to not like them the further I got into the story. Maggie is a great character, but her internal thoughts took up a lot of the story at times, and I felt like it slowed the story down too much.

I did enjoy the dialogue between Maggie and Sam. I also loved the growth in Maggie’s character as she understood more about herself and her relationship with God. I also loved the realism in these characters. Their insecurities and the tangles of life are very down to earth, and I appreciated that.

However, as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t quite get into the flow of this book.

About the Author

Kristin Billerbeck is the bestselling, award-winning author of several novels, including What a Girl Wants, Perfectly Dateless, and Perfectly Invisible. A Christy Award finalist and two-time winner of the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year, Billerbeck has appeared on The Today Show and has been featured in the New York Times. She lives with her family in Northern California.

(Biography from Revell)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

The Lacemaker

The Lacemaker

By Laura Frantz

The Story

It is the eve of a new age of freedom in the colonies.

But can a proper English lady dare hope for her own independence?

Lady Elisabeth “Liberty” Lawson has nearly everything a lady of her position could want. Daughter of the British lieutenant governor of the Virginia Colony and a darling of fine society in a rugged land, she is anticipating an advantageous marriage. That her betrothed is a rake and love is lacking is of little consequence–or so she tells herself.

Though her own life seems in order, colonial Williamsburg is a powder keg on the verge of exploding, and her fiancé’s cousin Noble Rynallt carries the flame of revolution in his heart. Those with connections to the British nobility are suspected as spies, and Liberty soon finds herself left with a terrible choice. Will she stay true to her English roots? Or side with Noble and the radical revolutionaries?

(Back cover summary from Revell)

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What starts as a sweet stroll through colonial Williamsburg soon picks up speed in Laura Frantz’s latest novel, The Lacemaker.

Whether racing across the Kentucke Territory or waltzing through the ballrooms of Williamsburg, Laura Frantz delivers multi-layered stories packed with romance, rich historical detail, and intricate plots. Frantz has been my go-to author for years now. Her novels are ones that I’ve visited again and again when in need of an all-encompassing read.

The Lacemaker is set to a different speed than her previous novel, A Moonbow Night. It’s more a sweet, moonlit, oft fraught with danger, stroll across Virginia. It’s slow and thoughtful at times, brisk and heart-racing at others. I loved the personal journey that Liberty had to walk, how she grew and learned, was tested and tried. It gave even more depth to this novel.

As usual, the romance between these two main characters was spot-on. As detailed and painstaking as lacemaking, their relationship was unhurried, but beautiful.

The faith elements that Laura Frantz always brings in were also encouraging.

While I can’t deny that I love her Kentucke Territory wilderness novels, I still enjoyed this novel and its unique, just-right pacing.

About the Author

Laura Frantz is a Christy Award finalist and the ECPA bestselling author of several books, including The Frontiersman’s Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, The Colonel’s Lady, The Mistress of Tall Acre, A Moonbow Night, and The Ballantyne Legacy series. She lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky. Learn more at www.laurafrantz.net .

(Biography from Revell)

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.

Honor Redeemed

urlBook Review: Honor Redeemed

Author: Christine Johnson

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Revell Publisher’s website for Honor Redeemed:

Her future–and her heart–hang in the balance.

Two years ago, Prosperity Jones waved farewell to her beloved David as the army sent him to faraway Key West. Now with her parents gone, she has but one prospect for the future: make the dangerous journey from Nantucket to Key West to reunite with David and secure a happier life.

But when Prosperity arrives penniless in the South, she is dismayed to find David has not been eagerly awaiting their reunion. In fact, he is married to someone else. Scrambling to survive and nursing a broken heart, Prosperity gains the friendship–and the affection–of a kind doctor. Could he be the answer to her loneliness? Or will her life be upended by circumstance yet again?

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            Christine Johnson’s second book in the Keys of Promise series focuses on new characters, but adds in some old ones that will be familiar to readers of the first book. I liked this book in some ways, but in others it fell short for me. I was frustrated multiple times by Prosperity. She would jump to conclusions that just didn’t seem logical. Obviously emotions were running high in the book, but it was still annoying for me. The story was interesting, and the side note of mystery with the supplies disappearing from the worksite was intriguing, so I enjoyed that. I also really enjoyed the setting of Key West, and the different spin the author put on the island by focusing on some of the hospital issues. However, along with that, the fever that comes into play at the end of this book seemed very similar in circumstances and results to that of the first book. The characters did have some emotions that seemed very real, but overall the characters didn’t seem overly authentic or unique to me. The whole issue with Oliver and the prejudices involved was intriguing, and the ending of the book was satisfying. Overall, not my favorite book, but I did enjoy some parts of it.

About the Author

Biography from Revell Publisher’s website: Christine Johnson is the author of several books for Steeple Hill and Love Inspired and has been twice named a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® award. When not writing, she loves to hike and explore God’s majestic creation. These days, she and her husband, a Great Lakes ship pilot, split their time between northern Michigan and the Florida Keys.

I was given a review copy of Honor Redeemed from the publisher. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

The Magnolia Duchess

51ri8vEvWqL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Book Review: The Magnolia Duchess

Author: Beth White

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from Revell’s description of The Magnolia Duchess:

As the War of 1812 rages across the newly formed United States, another war rages in Fiona Lanier’s heart–one that threatens to tear her family apart.

Fiona can scarcely take in the news of her brother’s capture and imprisonment by the British Navy. It is almost as unbelievable as the half-drowned British sailor who is washed ashore on the beach of Navy Cove.

Charlie Kincaid claims to have no memory of his life before being discovered by Fiona, but in a world that seems saturated with treachery, she cannot be sure he is telling the truth.

As Charlie’s memory returns in agonizing jags and crashes, he and Fiona discover that falling in love may be as inevitable as the tide. But when political allegiances collide, they’ll each have to decide where their true loyalty lies.

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            I’ve been reading a lot of books lately with ‘Duchess’ in the title by people with the last name of ‘White’. J It hasn’t taken me long to realize that Beth is an author to keep an eye on if you love historical romances. The story, setting, and characters are always fabulous, but even the way she puts down words is a joy to read.

While The Magnolia Duchess didn’t suck me in quite as much as The Creole Princess, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. Both Fiona and Charlie are unique, stubborn, loyal characters. Fiona is impulsive, but intelligent, not the baby her family believes she is. Charlie is loyal to a fault, but compassionate. I loved how Beth chose a different route than maybe I would have taken, keeping Charlie loyal to his duty to the core. I could only admire him for that, even though it was frustrating as all get out!

I love history, and this book is packed full of it. It’s set during the war of 1812, and has many colorful real-life people on the scene. As far as wars in our nation’s history, I am least familiar with the war of 1812, so it was very interesting for me to read about that. I guarantee, you will learn something when you read this book.

I can’t wait to see what Beth has next.

About the Author

Biography from Revell’s website: Beth White’s day job is teaching music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. A native Mississippian, she writes historical romance with a Southern drawl and is the author of The Pelican Bride and The Creole Princess. Her novels have won the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, the RT Book Club Reviewers’ Choice Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. Learn more at www.bethwhite.net.

I was given a review copy of The Magnolia Duchess from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

The Mistress of Tall Acre

9780800720445Book Review: The Mistress of Tall Acre

Author: Laura Frantz

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from Revell’s website description of The Mistress of Tall Acre:

There can be only one mistress of Tall Acre . . .

The American Revolution is finally over, and Sophie Menzies is starved for good news. When her nearest neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy, finally comes home to Tall Acre, she hopes it is a sign of better days to come. But the general is now a widower with a small daughter in desperate need of a mother. Nearly destitute, Sophie agrees to marry Seamus and become the mistress of Tall Acre in what seems a safe, sensible arrangement. But when a woman from the general’s past returns without warning, the ties that bind this fledgling family together will be strained to the utmost. When all is said and done, who will be the rightful mistress of Tall Acre?

Triumph and tragedy, loyalty and betrayal–you will find it all in the rich pages of this newest novel from the talented pen of Laura Frantz.

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As usual, Laura Frantz pulled me into this story with her signature talent for bringing to life a world long passed. I felt as if I were truly living during the tumultuous time that followed the Revolutionary War. The Mistress of Tall Acre was set farther East than some of Laura’s novels, but that didn’t mean that the adventure in the story was diminished. Instead, the adventures and trials that these characters faced were just as dangerous and threatening, just of a different kind.

I enjoyed Sophie’s character. She was lively and spirited, yet when faced with mishaps, she wasn’t eternally (and sometimes unrealistically) strong as some heroines are portrayed to be. A little more down-to-earth, which I enjoyed. I honestly thought that the marriage was going to happen a lot sooner in the story, but anticipating that event actually compelled me to continue reading, as if I needed any encouragement. Lily Cate was a character I absolutely loved, and one I wouldn’t mind reading about in later books (please?). Seamus was a grand hero, though he does have his own share of flaws. The struggle and fight in this story to reach that happy ending was long and grueling at times, a true battle of Revolutionary War proportions for the characters. The twist at the end was unexpected and left me dreading that the story wouldn’t turn out right, which of course it still did. I loved how as Sophie and Seamus faced different difficulties they were pointed to God and His ability to help them, in realistic and natural ways. Sophie’s spiritual journey, and her need to cling to God alone, and leave Seamus in his hands, was moving to read.

The Mistress of Tall Acre had a feel that made me think of Jane Eyre, to a point, which wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but wasn’t a bad thing. I was glad that this novel didn’t have quite such a bittersweet ending as Jane Eyre. If you’ve enjoyed Laura’s other novels, you’ll enjoy this as well. It’s a little different, what with the story set in civilized society, not the Frontier. But the rich settings, vivid characters, and sweeping stories that’s she’s known for carry through to The Mistress of Tall Acre.

About the Author

Biography from Revell: Laura Frantz is a lover of history, is the author of The Frontiersman’s Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, and The Colonel’s Lady, and currently lives in the misty woods of Washington with her husband and two sons. Learn more at http://laurafrantz.net/

I was given a review copy of The Mistress of Tall Acre from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Hope Harbor

51-cykMBlOL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Book Review: Hope Harbor

Author: Irene Hannon

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from Revell’s website description of Hope Harbor:

Come home to Hope Harbor—where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.

Tracy Campbell never wanted to leave Hope Harbor, Oregon, or the idyllic three-generation cranberry farm where she grew up. But life–and love–altered her plans. Now she’s home again–with a floundering farm to run . . . a tragic secret . . . and a wounded heart. Romance is not on her agenda. Nor is it on Michael Hunter’s. The visitor from Chicago has daunting secrets and devastating regrets of his own. But when Tracy recruits him to help with a project that is close to her heart, winds of change begin to sweep through Hope Harbor, bringing healing, hope, and love to countless lives–including their own.

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Hope Harbor is the first book I’d read from Irene Hannon, so I was excited to give a new author a try. Unfortunately, I picked a busy time to try to read this book. I’m currently back at college, where reading anything aside from the assigned textbooks is rather difficult. So, I’m sad to say, I struggled to finish this book. Here’s what I liked:

Cranberry farming is something I know nothing about. Zilch. Nada. So reading about a cranberry farmer as the heroine of the story was really interesting. I love novels that I can learn something from and Hope Harbor was one of those for me. The complexities of the characters and the past failures and current dilemmas were all well thought-out. Irene took her characters on a difficult journey. Guilt can be very difficult to eradicate, depending on the past experience, but Irene handled this in a wonderfully realistic and hopeful way.

As far as things I didn’t like…there really wasn’t anything in particular. Part of the reason I had a difficult time finishing this book was the busyness of the season. I also lost interest as I neared the end of the story, which may be because of the time I had to spend away from the book when life got in the way of my reading time.

In all, I did enjoy Hope Harbor and I am glad I tried out a new author.

About the Author

Biography from Revell: Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than forty-five romantic suspense and contemporary romance/women’s fiction novels, including the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series, along with That Certain Summer and One Perfect Spring. Her books have garnered dozens of honors, including two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America. She is also a two-time Christy Award finalist. Find her online at http://www.irenehannon.com

I was given a review copy of Hope Harbor from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.