Continuing the fun theme of “Austen in August”, I am sharing a list of books I would recommend to any fans of Jane Austen! For more Austen fun, check out the list of Austen-themed posts at The Book Rat.
Regency-era goodness! It’s an expertly crafted story of love and worth, drawing from the societal constraints to set up a unique situation for the heroine whose journey is even more life-changing than that of the Dashwood sisters at the start of Sense & Sensibility.
The Work of Art is a Regency masterpiece, pun intended! I can highly recommend it to fans of clean historical fiction, mystery, or stories in the vein of the classics (think Austen with a few more kissing scenes, of course).
Really, any Katherine Reay novel is a wonderful read for an Austen fan. She has books that give nods to Austen characters, too! (Lizzy & Jane, Dear Mr. Knightley, The Austen Escape) The Printed Letter Bookshop, though, is a story for true book lovers and looks at little ways reading influences our lives.
A contemporary retelling of S&S, Jane of Austin paints a trio of sisters in Texas with a dogs, tea, and a swoony Callum (Colonel Brandon) character. It also shows fresh perspective and “what-ifs” with the “Marianne” character as the heroine.
I have enjoyed all of the novels in Karen Barnett’s “Vintage National Parks” series for their wonderful natural settings and looks at life through varied park inhabitants – rangers, staff, tourists, guides, and artists. This series is more of a collection as each novel has told a unique, standalone story set in a different national park.
Vibrant historic Yellowstone National Park comes to life in this romantic mystery about a man hiding the truth, braving the west to become something more–and the woman who must confront his deception.
A man who can’t read will never amount to anything–or so Nate Webber believes. But he takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps, skirting the truth about certain “requirements.” Nate exchanges the harsh Brooklyn streets for the wilds of Yellowstone National Park, curious if the Eden-like wonderland can transform him as well.
Elsie Brookes was proud to grow up as a ranger’s daughter, but she longs for a future of her own. After four years serving as a maid in the park’s hotels, she still hasn’t saved enough money for her college tuition. A second job, teaching a crowd of rowdy men in the CCC camp, might be the answer, but when Elsie discovers Nate’s secret, it puts his job as camp foreman in jeopardy. Tutoring leads to friendship and romance, until a string of suspicious fires casts a dark shadow over their relationship. Can they find answers before all of their dreams go up in smoke?
The setting of Yellowstone
comes alive in this “vintage” story of dreaming by Karen Barnett. A
well-paced tale of friendship, strength, and a little adventure unfolds in a
picturesque setting that makes me want to visit ! I thought it was an
insightful and curious look at Depression era events and culture, too, with
characters I want to be friends with!
One small element of this story I really appreciate is the distinction between education as separate from wisdom and leadership abilities. One does not require the other. This is shown through a learning disability of one specific character. The way Karen Barnett presents this situation is considerate while it emphasizes the worth of this individual as a child of God.
I think Ever Faithful is a
flowing, easy to read story. Character driven at its heart, it shows the
journeys of Elsie and Nate as they experience a season of life with great
changes and possibilities. The setting is vivid and wonderfully essential to
bringing out the passion in the characters – Elsie’s desire to teach and Nate’s
quest to prove himself. When their paths intersect, they develop a friendship
that brings out the best in each other and shows them both their worth and God’s
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy. This is my honest review.
It’s time for a new edition of First Line Fridays hosted by the Hoarding Books blog!
I’ve recently learned of a delightful thing happening on the internet called “Austen in August”! There are several blogs and social media accounts hosting themed posts, link-ups, and all around Jane Austen fun. (Shoutout to my friend Kara for bringing this to my attention!)
Over at The Book Rat, you can find more info and see all the Austen posts & love.
In honor of this theme, I’m sharing the first lines from Katherine Reay’s The Austen Escape,a contemporary favorite that pays homage to Austen in themes and characters, though it tells a story of its own.
“How can I help”?
The world stilled. It wasn’t the first time I wondered how one voice, one presence, could quicken the air and simultaneously stop all motion.
With author Courtney Walsh’s latest release, we return to the fictional town of Harbor Pointe for a story of second chances, family, and romance. Just One Kiss is the third book set in this quaint town and reads as a standalone, though you will delight over learning more about the straightforward and bright teenager, Jaden, who had an important role in book 2, Just Let Go.
He broke her heart. Now, he’s back, and he’s determined to show her what they had isn’t over. . . and he can prove it with just one kiss.
Single mother Carly Collins likes predictability. However, when her son Jaden’s health is threatened, her neatly controlled world is tossed into a tailspin. Nothing is certain anymore, especially her feelings for Josh Dixon, Jaden’s father, her first love and the man responsible for shattering her heart sixteen years ago.
When Josh Dixon walked out of Harbor Pointe, he left behind his only shot at a real family. Now a successful tech mogul, the town rebel has found a cause—ensure his son’s recovery and prove to Carly and Jaden that he’s not the same guy he was back then.
Carly and Josh are forced to wade through messy emotions and questions that have gone unanswered for years, which would be easier if not for the pesky feelings, every bit as strong and impossible to ignore as they ever were.
Will forgiveness win, giving Carly and Josh a second chance at love . . . or will the past prove too much to overcome?
A small town romance about first love second chances and how our most beautiful life might look nothing like we planned.
Courtney Walsh never fails to make me smile, swoon over the romance, and cry over the deeply emotional moments in her stories. Just One Kiss is further proof! I loved it!
Part rekindled love, part family drama, and part small town charming, this story has no qualms with facing the hard questions of life, likes the “whys” and the challenges of extending grace for second chances.
I have read several reviews of this book noting it is Courtney Walsh’s best yet. While I can’t pick a favorite of her books (I have really loved them all!), I can say that Walsh is at the top of her storytelling game with Just One Kiss. The way it balances serious themes with lighthearted moments, just the right amount of drama and romance, surprises that really deepen the story, and even details like *showing* the backstory of Carly and Josh through flashback scenes all impress me. The combination of hallmark-like moments (dress shop!) with weighty moments in hospital waiting rooms and the vulnerability of opening your heart (letting go of anger) and offering someone a second chance all work to make this an impactful story.
Just One Kiss is a book I will return to and love just as much upon rereading. There is a relatable humanity in all of the characters, through their flaws, dreams, and questions, that makes it memorable and unique. Its message of forgiveness and the simplicity of grace is desperately needed in our world.
Thank you the the author for the review copy. This is my honest review.
I have seen this fun mid-year tag on a few blogs, most recently on my friend Kara’s. Even though the year is more than half over (gasp!), these are fun prompts so I’m weighing in! If you’d like to participate, consider yourself tagged!
Best Book You’ve Read
How the Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim is one of my top reads of the year. It’s fresh and riveting and oh-so-original.
Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett. SOON, I tell you! I have loved the other two books (and featured national parks).
Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of 2019
The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden, coming September 3. That COVER, y’all! Plus it’s a Camden novel, so I know it will be good!
I cringe to say any book is a disappointment. I like to think of books I don’t like as much as “object lessons for why Courtney does or does not like _______”. I have to go with Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter. Not my favorite from her, it just was too trope-ish. (The second book in the series, though, is a fav!)
After the Rain by Brandy Bruce. I didn’t think I’d like the heroine of this one because she was the slightly-unliked, nemesis character to the heroine of book 1. But oh my, this story drives home the point that everyone is the hero of his or her own story.
all of them?? My TBR is more like an island now. A few I want to read soon are: Tate by Susan May Warren, A Glitter of Gold by Liz Johnson, The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter by Mimi Matthews, Just One Kiss by Courtney Walsh, The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson, and Bethlehem by Karen Kelly.
Hidden away in rural Devonshire, Phyllida Satterthwaite has always been considered more odd than beautiful. But in London, her oddity has made her a sensation. Far worse, it’s caught the eye of the sinister Duke of Moreland—a notorious art collector obsessed with acquiring one-of-a-kind treasures. To escape the Duke’s clutches, she’s going to need a little help.
An Unlikely Hero…
Captain Arthur Heywood’s days of heroism are long past. Grievously injured in the Peninsular War, he can no longer walk unaided, let alone shoot a pistol. What use can he possibly be to a damsel in distress? He has nothing left to offer except his good name.
Can a marriage of convenience save Philly from the vengeful duke? Or will life with Arthur put her—and her heart—in more danger than ever?
“In her sixth historical romance, Matthews (The Pug Who Bit Napoleon; A Victorian Lady’s Guide to Fashion and Beauty) weaves suspense and mystery within an absorbing love story. Readers will be hard put to set this one down before the end. Highly recommended to historical romance and/or mystery buffs and especially animal lovers.” – Library Journal, Starred Review
Each new foray into historical England (and beyond!) with author Mimi Matthews is an immersive cultural and literary experience, brimming with historical accuracy to make any history nerd happy and a swoony romance to satisfy the heart. The Work of Art, Matthews’ first Regency novel, does this wonderfully as the unlikely friendship between Captain Arthur Heywood and Miss Philly Satterthwaite shifts into something more by necessity.
I absolutely loved witnessing these two characters shape each other and deepen their friendship. In particular, the way Arthur’s support gives Philly the security and happiness she has always wanted and the way she draws him out from what he sees as his inadequacies. The swoony moments in this story are thanks to Arthur’s protectiveness and care of her. He is a man of few words but oh, when Philly gets him to share, it is apparent that he feels deeply. His declarations of devotion are even more wonderful because his actions prove him to the true and faithful. *cue the heart eyed emoji*
The Work of Art is a Regency masterpiece to be appreciated. It has “much to recommend”, like its vividly portrayed setting, horseback rides, a pack of canines that prove the best of companions, gossip and the vanities of the social class, one heart-melting carriage ride, and a romance born of friendship and trust. I can highly recommend it to fans of clean historical fiction, mystery, or stories in the vein of the classics (think Austen with a few more kissing scenes, of course).
Content note for my blog audience: this book is a clean romance with some instances of very mild profanities.
Thank you to Netgalley and HF Virtual Book Tours for the review copy. This is my honest review.
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews (A Victorian Lady’s Guide to Fashion and Beauty, The Matrimonial Advertisement) writes both historical non-fiction and traditional historical romances set in Victorian England. Her articles on nineteenth century history have been published on various academic and history sites, including the Victorian Web and the Journal of Victorian Culture, and are also syndicated weekly at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes an Andalusian dressage horse, two Shelties, and two Siamese cats.
During the Blog Tour, one winner will receive a signed copy of The Work of Art! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to the US only. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.
I’m very excited to be participating the cover reveal for Pepper Basham’s third “Mitchell’s Crossroads” novel! It is a friends-to-lovers romance reminiscent of the classic Emma by Jane Austen (yay), and it releases on November 21! First , a little more about it…
About the Book
Emma Mitchell may enjoy sprinkling romance into the lives of others, but her own plans involve a single first-class ticket to culinary school in Europe.
When her best friend, Jon Noble, suddenly moves back to Ransom, Emma’s fairly certain her life can’t get any better…until her matchmaking schemes nosedive, her culinary future falls flat, and a life-long friendship begins to teeter on the brink of something unexpected.
With a little inspiration from Jane Austen’s classic and a touch of Blue Ridge charm, will Jon and Emma discover that what they need the most may be the last thing they’re trying to find?
About the Author
Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes historical and contemporary romance novels with grace, humor, and culture clashes. She’s a Blue Ridge Mountain native and an anglophile who enjoys combining her two loves to create memorable stories of hope. You can connect with Pepper over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley, her website, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter.