Sunday, July 23, 2017

To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander

Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father's name. One man holds the key to Sy's success--General William Giles Harding of Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks. 
Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville's society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he's found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison's fiancé--and has shattered her world. 
Struggling to restore honor . . . 
Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen's university in the United States. But family--and Nashville society--do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both.
Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy become unlikely allies. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even care for this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when Sy's roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor? 
Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn't count on is having to wager her heart to do it. 
What an interesting book.  The struggles of Sy and Alexandra are told in a very good way.  Alexandra is trying to overcome the death of her fiance while trying to escape her father's iron hand.  He wants her to marry a man old enough to be her father.  He gives her an ultimatum that is life altering.  Sylas wants nothing more than to clear the name of the man who is blamed for the disastrous train wreck that killed so many people.  Including Alexandra's fiance.

This book also highlights the struggle of the freedmen following the Civil War.  The slaves had been freed but there was still a lot of oppression.

I highly recommend this book.

Over Maya Dead Body by Sandra Orchard

FBI Special Agent Serena Jones arrives on Martha's Vineyard with her family, ready for a little bit of R&R and a whole lot of reminiscing as they celebrate the engagement of an old family friend. But crime doesn't take a vacation, and she's soon entangled in an investigation of a suspicious death tied to an antiquities smuggling ring.

When her investigation propels her into danger, Serena must stay the course and solve this case before anyone else dies. But just how is she supposed to do that when the two men in her life arrive on the scene, bringing with them plenty of romantic complications--and even a secret or two?

Another winner for Sandra Orchard.  This is the continuing story of Serena Jones.  Not only is she trying to solve the murder of an old family friend, but which of the two men in her life is she in love with.  Can she love them both?  They are both full of surprises.  Not only them but her spinster aunt has some surprises in store for us. 

This is the third book in the Serena Jones series.  It's not exactly necessary to read the first two books but it is helpful.  I really enjoyed this series and look forward to more books by Sandra Orchard.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck

Tenley Roth’s first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?

With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.

A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn’t know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.

Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase.

Tenley is struggling to write her next best seller.  Actually she is struggling to write anything.  So she packs up and goes to FL to take care of her mother.  She has left her Christian roots behind and struggles with her choices.

Birdie is from the Gilded Age.  It's appalling how she was treated and not given any choice in who she will marry.  It was quite an eye opener.

Rachel never disappoints in her books and this time she didn't either.  I highly recommend it.

I was given this book by the publisher for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any way.

Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander

Amid war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas - and of sacrificial love.
Recently widowed, Aletta Prescott struggles to hold life together for herself and her six-year old son.With the bank threatening to evict, she discovers an advertisement for the Women's Relief Society auction and applies for a position - only to discover it's been filled. Then a chance meeting with a wounded soldier offers another opportunity - and friendship. But can Aletta trust this man?
Captain Jake Winston, a revered Confederate sharpshooter, suffered a head wound at the Battle of Chickamauga. When doctors deliver their diagnosis, Jake fears losing not only his greatest skill but his very identity. As he heals, Jake is ordered to assist with a local Women's Relief Society auction. He respectfully objects.Kowtowing to a bunch of "crinolines" isn't his idea of soldiering. But orders are orders, and he soon discovers this group of ladies - one, in particular - is far more than he bargained for.
This story shows the sacrifices that were made by not only the men during the Civil War but by the women as well.  This is Aletta's story.  She lost her husband in a battle and now she has her son to raise as well as a baby on the way.  By God's grace she survives.  
As always Tamera rights a good story.  I'm looking forward to the next installment in this series.
I was given this book by the publisher for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any way.


Beloved Hope by Tracie Peterson

Hope Flanagan survived the massacre at the Whitman Mission, but at terrible personal cost. Safe now in Oregon City, she lives with her sisters, Grace and Mercy, and Grace's new husband, Alex. As she spends her days tending their flock of sheep, Hope's mind and soul are slowly healing. Yet, though she was once surrounded by suitors, she has no interest in giving her heart again after the man she loved died in her arms.

Hope's precarious new peace is shattered when those responsible for the massacre are captured and put on trial. She is asked to testify against them, but she's not sure she can bear to relive the events of those horrific days.

As Hope struggles to free herself from the pain of her past, Lance Kenner, an Army lieutenant, brings an unexpected ray of light into her life. But what will Lance think of her if he learns the truth behind her anguish? And what secrets lie in his past?

This is Hope's struggle with healing from the attack at the mission and the aftermath of her kidnapping.  She has hate in her heart for what was done to her.  Lance helps bring about the healing and self worth of Hope. Hope doesn't feel that any man will want anything to do with her after what was done to her. She has to rely on God to help her through this time in her life.

I was given this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  I was not compensated in anyway.