Book Review: “In This Moment” by Gabrielle Meyer (Timeless #2)

Books with wholly unique concepts are rare treats. In This Moment by Gabrielle Meyer is the second book in her Timeless series which unites historical romance with a time crossing concept– but this one has a contemporary year setting, too! Read on for more about the book and my spoiler free review.

While this stands alone as Maggie’s complete story, I highly recommend reading book 1, When the Day Comes, to learn her mother’s story and more behind how Meyer’s time-crossing concept works.

About the Book

Maggie inherited a gift from her time-crossing parents that allows her to live three separate lives in 1861, 1941, and 2001. Each night she goes to sleep in one time period and wakes up in another. Until, that is, she turns twenty-one, when she will have to forfeit two of those lives–and everyone she knows in them–forever.

In 1861, Maggie is the daughter of an influential senator at the outbreak of the Civil War, navigating a capital full of Southern spies and wounded soldiers. In 1941, she is a Navy nurse, grappling with her knowledge of the future when she’s asked to join a hospital ship being sent to Pearl Harbor. And in 2001, she’s a brilliant young medical student, fulfilling her dream of becoming a surgeon, yet unable to use her modern skills in her other paths.

While Maggie has sworn off romance until she makes her final choice, an intriguing man tugs at her heart in each era. The mysterious British gentleman. The prickly, demanding doctor. The charming young congressman. She’s drawn to each man in different ways, only complicating the impossible decision she must make, which looms ever closer.

With so much on the line, how can Maggie choose just one life to keep and the rest to lose?

Goodreads | Amazon


In This Moment by Gabrielle Meyer has a fascinating concept + compelling heroine! I loved getting another glimpse into Meyer’s story world and, this time, 3 different significant historical eras on the brink of wars. Surprises and twists abound, and I was not quite sure how it would end up until the last few chapters, especially concerning the possible love interests.

I cannot elaborate too much on the various storylines of Maggie’s life because I don’t want to spoil some of the best surprises and constructs of the story. One aspect I can share I absolutely loved is the way the reader sees life through Maggie’s eyes. Like the best crafted stories, this insightful look at a character’s experiences allows the reader to shift perceptions as she learns, grows, triumphs, and even grieves parts of her life that change.

I had to jump on the #BookFaceFriday trend with this one!

This is a historical romance, but I feel that the romance threads are secondary to the overall personal journey Maggie undertakes. A significant part of her journey, through all of her eras, is a gained awareness that God is present and active in every circumstance, even when it’s harder to discern His role.

Maggie has three different love interests: one charming, one brooding, and one enigmatic — except I immediately liked two of them better for her. In other circumstances such a setup could feel like a love triangle (rectangle?), but I never felt that way about the writing of these characters thanks to the sensitive way it is approached and even considered in Maggie’s mind as she lives her days contemplating her different timelines. I was unsure until I was deeply into the story which was going to be favored by Maggie, and I’m quite happy with the ending and the ultimate hero — he is lovingly aware of Maggie at a selfless level the others didn’t quite reach.

If you enjoy historical romances or the occasional mind bending time travel concept, you should consider adding Gabrielle Meyer’s Timeless novels to your reading list.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the review copy. This is my honest review.

Mini Book Review: “The Gold In These Hills” by Joanne Bischof

Today I’m sharing about a book that had been on my TBR for way too long! The Gold in These Hills is absolutely worth reading, and I’m so glad I took the time for the audiobook as it is a great experience, too. Read on for more about the book and my brief review.

About the Book

One wild and mysterious ghost town. Two second-chance love stories. And the century-old legacy that binds them together.

Upon arriving in Kenworthy, California, mail-order bride Juniper Cohen is met by the pounding of the gold mine, an untamable landscape, and her greatest surprise of all: the kind and loving man who awaits her. But when the mine proves empty of profit, and when Juniper’s husband, John, vanishes, Juniper is left to fend for herself and her young daughter in the dwindling boomtown that is now her home.

Juniper pens letters to her husband but fears she is waiting on a ghost. Perhaps worse, rumors abound claiming the man she loves could be an outlaw. Surviving in a ghost town requires trusting the kindness of a few remaining souls, including the one who can unlock the mystery of her husband’s disappearance—and Juniper’s survival depends not only upon these friends but also the strength of heart she must fight to maintain.

Present day. Trying to escape the heartache of his failed marriage, Johnny Sutherland throws himself into raising his children and restoring a hundred-year-old abandoned farmhouse in what was once known as Kenworthy, California, in the San Jacinto Mountains. While exploring its secrets he uncovers Juniper’s letters and is moved by the handwritten accounts that bear his name—and as a love story from the past touches his own world, Johnny might discover yet that hope and resilience go hand in hand.

With The Gold in These Hills, acclaimed and beloved author Joanne Bischof returns with an absorbing masterpiece of faith, perseverance, and love that changes the course of history.

Goodreads | Amazon


The Gold in These Hills is a beautiful look at understanding the past, its relevance, and its ties to now. Author Joanne Bischof does contemporary and historical stories so well, it is not surprising she writes a split time narrative with equally compelling storylines — and a bit of romance to satisfy my reader heart. The historical one is beautiful in and of itself, with Juniper its complex and endearing protagonist, but Johnny’s present day story amplifies the timeless experience of grief, resilience, and restoration — all concepts Juniper and Johnny both encounter in their own time. I particularly love the way Johnny’s perspective emphasizes the importance of honoring the past and hoping in the future.

Thank you to Netgalley for an ebook copy. I voluntarily purchased an audiobook copy for my own collection. This is my honest review.

Book Review: “The Castle Keepers” Collection by Aimie K. Runyan, J’nell Ciesielski & Rachel McMillan

Snapshot of The Castle Keepers book cover on a tablet, posed with two feet and socks for a #SockSunday IG post

Thanks for stopping by to read my review of The Castle Keepers, a collection of three novella-length historical romances by Aimie K. Runyan, J’nell Ciesielski, and Rachel McMillan all connected by generations of a single family and a Northumberland castle setting.

About the Book

Leedswick Castle has housed the Alnwick family in the English countryside for generations, despite a family curse determined to destroy their legacy and erase them from history.

1870. After a disastrous dinner at the Astor mansion forces her to flee New York in disgrace, socialite Beatrice Holbrook knows her performance in London must be a triumph. When she catches the eye of Charles Alnwick, one of the town’s most enviably-titled bachelors, she prepares to attempt a social coup and become the future Marchioness of Northridge. When tragedy and scandal strike the Alnwick family, Beatrice must assume the role of a lifetime: that of her true, brave self.

1917. Artist Elena Hamilton arrives in Northumberland determined to transform a soldier’s wounds into something beautiful. Tobias Alnwick’s parents have commissioned a lifelike mask to help their son return to his former self after battle wounds partially destroyed his face. But Elena doesn’t see a man who needs fixing—she sees a man who needn’t hide. Yet secrets from their past threaten to chase away the peace they’ve found in each other and destroy the future they’re creating.

1945. Alec Alnwick returns home from the war haunted but determined to leave death and destruction behind. With the help of Brigitta Mayr, the brilliant young psychoanalyst whose correspondence was a lifeline during his time on the Western Front, he reconstructs his family’s large estate into a rehabilitation center for similarly wounded soldiers. Now Alec’s efforts may be the only chance to redeem his family legacy—and break the curse on the Alnwick name—once and for all.

Goodreads | Amazon


The Castle Keepers is an enjoyable story collection which shares story elements and a fascinating Northumberland family castle setting. Through three different generations all affected by war (the Bhutan War, WWI, & WWII), the men of the Alnwick family battle trauma and a family curse to find their way to happiness and love with three influential, strong heroines.

1870 – The Truth Keepers by Aimie K. Runyan

This story set on the cusp of the Gilded Age features an American heiress or “Dollar Princess” seeking position and personal solace on a new continent: England. It introduces the Alnwick family well and sets up a legacy which has great influence on the subsequent stories in the collection. I like the balance of practicality and independence Beatrice finds in a match with Charles, though their early challenges are tricky and full of intrigue.

1917 – The Memory Keepers by J’nell Ciesielski

The Memory Keepers has an artist of a heroine, Elena, trying to aid in the WWI aftermath with her skills in painting masks for disfigured soldiers. Sent on a mission to the north and to assist a reclusive heir to Leedswick Castle, she instead finds Tobias Alnwick to be her match in wits and camaraderie, offering him a compassion that draws him out of his dark place and into a vibrant world. Ciesielski’s voice shines in this situation, depicting a Downton Abbey-like era with aplomb and a bit of an adventure while Elena and Tobias banter AND contend with some foreboding visitors.

1945 – The Dream Keepers by Rachel McMillan

I have two names for you: Alec and Brigitta! Alec Alnwick is just returning from WWII and dealing with all the mental strain that entails. His letters exchanged with Brigitta, a lovely, intelligent aspiring psychoanalyst, are the beginning of a relationship leading to a respite spent at his home, the castle. While Alec’s fellow soldiers gather in an effort to restore and adjust to civilian life, Brigitta’s presence is a balm to all as she offers her expertise in analysis to all — and a wonderfully deeper friendship and connection to Alec besides. In true McMillan style, this story checks all her boxes to include a friends-to-lovers romance that compliments and strengthens, music and waltzes, a Viennese element (Brigitta herself), a cat!, and a reference or two to churches :).

One of the things I love most about this whole collection is the inclusion and influence of a heroine with a different cultural background in each tale (the men of the British Alnwick family unite the stories). Beatrice is an American heiress, Elena an English citizen but her upbringing on the Continent has make her a product of a Bohemian lifestyle, and Brigitta a science-y Viennese psychoanalyst. I especially love the way each story weaves hope and romance together in a voice unique to each author. As a huge fan of J’nell and Rachel already, reading The Castle Keepers is a treat — and I now have a particularly soft spot for Sigmund the cat.

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy. This is my honest review.

Book Review: “The Broken Hearts Bakery” by Carla Laureano

Welcome to my blog and to my review of The Broken Hearts Bakery by Carla Laureano, the first installment in her new indie-released contemporary romance “Haven Ridge” series. She has self-published novellas in the past, but this is her first foray with a full length series through independent publishing.

Laureano introduces readers to this story world through a series-starter novella, The Brick House Café, which is a free ebook for her email newsletter subscribers and available in paperback. See my thoughts on this prequel here!

About the Book

Sometimes the town that broke your heart is the only place that can heal you.

When Gemma left her hometown of Haven Ridge, Colorado, she swore she’d never return. And she’s kept that promise, leaving old shadows behind and building her reputation as one of LA’s preeminent family law attorneys. But when her lifelong best friend begs Gemma to come stay with her teen stepdaughter while she’s on a business trip, she doesn’t have the heart to refuse. She’ll simply keep a low profile, do her honorary aunt duties for Taylor, and be gone before anyone notices.

But Haven Ridge seems to have a mind of its own, and before she knows it, Gemma finds herself caught up with new friends and old rivalries. When Taylor is targeted by teen bullies, Gemma does the only thing she knows how to do: ply her honorary niece with baked goods and words of affirmation. Soon her temporary lodgings are ground zero for teenage girls seeking sugar and consolation for shockingly adult problems—which the girls soon dub the Broken Hearts Bakery.

Complicating matters is an unexpected reunion with Gemma’s high school sweetheart, Stephen, who is determined to change her mind about him, the town, and the nature of love itself. Because as it turns out, her niece isn’t the only one nursing a broken heart.

Goodreads | Amazon


The Broken Hearts Bakery is a story of hope and second chances, told in Laureano’s charming voice that instantly pulls the reader into the lives of the main characters. I especially enjoy the way this second chance romance is deeply emotional and brings with it a maturity the years between have wrought in the lives of Gemma and Stephen.

Gemma’s unplanned return to her hometown brings about circumstances that make her ponder her bitterness and old wounds in a different light. Her interesting career (family law) contrasts with her roots, but it shows how Gemma treasures autonomy in a great way — an admirable aspect of her personality she holds onto even as she grows in this story. As she has some insightful interactions with Stephen, her first love, and some opportunities to indulge in her baking passion and influence her niece, she begins to find a new fit into a community that is more welcoming than she ever thought before. Stephen is a patient contrast to her strong will, and his friendly approach draws her in as he comes to a realization that he’s pined for her for YEARS! Their dynamic reminds me how much I enjoy a well-done second chance romance.

With a few hints of magic to the town of Haven Ridge, Laureano brings the southern Colorado setting (a favorite destination of mine, both in fiction and reality!)to life with a near love-letter type reverence for the mountain air and sky. She is also the queen of details as mannerisms and aspects of the characters lend an inherent relatability to this novel. More things to love: Gemma’s baking adventures (that make me want to try my hand at some eclairs), Stephen’s rustic cabin and penchant for literature, Gemma’s sister-like friendship with Liv and “niece” Taylor, and a memorable cast of secondary characters. I’m very excited to return to Haven Ridge in upcoming stories — this is definitely a series to check out, especially for fans of Becky Wade and Courtney Walsh!

“…there’s a difference between someone making a mistake and who someone actually is.”

-Chelsea (unexpectedly) in chapter 29

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy. This is my honest review.

About the Book

Carla Laureano is the two-time RITA® award-winning author of sixteen books, spanning the genres of contemporary romance and Celtic fantasy. A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked in sales and marketing for more than a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write full-time. In 2022, she founded Sophisticated Fiction to provide editorial, critique, and coaching services to authors of all levels. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, two sons, and an opinionated tortoiseshell cat named Willow.

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Book Review: “Return to Satterthwaite Court” by Mimi Matthews

My love for Mimi Matthews and her stories knows no bounds. She has catapulted to the top of my list of all-time favorite authors. She does the historical romance genre SO WELL and stands out with her Regency and Victorian depictions in a sea of other books with those settings. Her new novel that’s out today (!!!) is an indie-released story that links two of her previous novels with a new generation and a story world that’s (excitingly) set to continue on.

Return to Satterthwaite Court is the third book in her Somerset Stories series, uniting the children of the main couples of the previous two epics, The Work of Art and Gentleman Jim.

About the Book

A reckless Victorian heiress sets her sights on a dashing ex-naval lieutenant, determined to win his heart as the two of them embark on a quest to solve a decades-old mystery in USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews’s sequel to her critically acclaimed novels The Work of Art and Gentleman Jim.

Lieutenant Charles Heywood has had his fill of adventure. Battle-weary and disillusioned, he returns to England, resolved to settle down to a quiet, uneventful life on an estate of his own. But arranging to purchase the property he desires is more difficult than Charles ever imagined. The place is mired in secrets, some of which may prove deadly. If he’s going to unravel them, he’ll need the assistance of someone as daring as he is.

At only twenty, Lady Katherine Beresford has already earned a scandalous reputation. As skilled with pistols as she is on horseback, she’s never met an obstacle she can’t surmount—or a man she can’t win. That is, until she encounters the infuriatingly somber Lieutenant Heywood. But Kate refuses to be deterred by the raven-haired soldier’s strong, silent facade. After all, faint heart never won handsome gentleman.

From the wilds of rural Somersetshire to the glittering ballrooms of early-Victorian London, Charles and Kate embark on a cross-country quest to solve a decades’ old mystery. Will the greatest danger be to their hearts—or to their lives?

Goodreads | Amazon


Satterthwaite Court is truly a return to a favorite story world, now fully in the Victorian era, with a new generation stirring up adventure. It matches the adult children of beloved characters in a heart-stirring romance that unearths the past and thematically explores honor and commitment.

From the destined meet-cute involving a scrappy dog (appropriately so for the son of Philly from The Work of Art), Charles Heywood and Kate Beresford have a certain magnetic connection. It’s delightful seeing Charles’s world shaken by the prospect of an assertive, attractive female. His honorable nature is adorable and makes him appear almost grumpy, but in truth he is just reserved and careful with expressing himself. And, Kate holds her own as a forward-thinking woman who has a spark of adventure making her more suited to her country life than the high society of London. It’s enjoyable to see her wonderfully comfortable with her family (her brothers are endearing) and how her mother has passed on certain daring skills.

The whole story has nods to the previous two books, so I highly recommend reading Gentleman Jim and The Work of Art first to appreciate the entire story world. 

Thank you to the publisher for providing an early review copy. This is my honest review — and I have happily purchased a copy for my shelves!

Book Review and Content Guide: “Jane & Edward” by Melodie Edwards

Thanks for dropping by to read my thoughts on Jane & Edward: A Modern Reimagining of Jane Eyre by Melodie Edwards. It’s a just-released contemporary romance from publisher Berkley.

I’m including a content guide at the end of my review with my blog audience in mind. I mostly review and feature inspirational or CBA fiction, so I want to give my readers a head’s up that this is a general market book with some mature content, detailed below. The context of my review focuses on the story merits and the content is something I consider separately. The content note also highlights a few mild story spoilers.

About the Book

This powerful reimagining of Jane Eyre, set in a modern-day law firm, is full of romance and hope as it follows the echoing heartbeats of the classic story.

A former foster kid, Jane has led a solitary life as a waitress in the suburbs, working hard to get by. Tired of years of barely scraping together a living, Jane takes classes to become a legal assistant and shortly after graduating accepts a job offer at a distinguished law firm in downtown Toronto. Everyone at the firm thinks she is destined for failure because her boss is the notoriously difficult Edward Rosen, the majority stakeholder of Rosen, Haythe & Thornfield LLP. But Jane has known far worse trials and refuses to back down when economic freedom is so close at hand.

Edward has never been able to keep an assistant–he’s too loud, too messy, too ill-tempered. There’s something about the quietly competent, delightfully sharp-witted Jane that intrigues him though. As their orbits overlap, their feelings begin to develop–first comes fondness and then something more. But when Edward’s secrets put Jane’s independence in jeopardy, she must face long-ignored ghosts from her past and decide if opening her heart is a risk worth taking.

Goodreads | Amazon


I really, really loved Jane & Edward as a retelling of Jane Eyre set in present day Toronto. The plausible workplace romance situation and fitting history of the characters are high points, but what really gets me about the themes and feel of the original are the emotional revelations and depth of the characters, especially the empathy stirred for “Rochester”.

Jane is immediately likable. Reading her point of view throughout is an experience in watching her grow into herself with confidence and expression of her personality. Her childhood in the foster system is an appropriate background for her emotional state and emphasis on self-reliance, making it all the more poignant as she learns to navigate a new workplace, a few genuine friendships, and a romantic attraction to her boss, Edward.

Edward’s mercurial behavior and snarky humor are depicted in such a way that the reader can understand his magnetism (I can practically hear his voice calling for Jane from his office!). His past, too, holds tragedy and contrasts with Jane’s — both of them have struggled to overcome, and both of them tackle life and problems in different ways. Their chemistry is almost immediate, and as their professionalism gives way to friendship and a tentative romance, it’s a bittersweet experience to read of their joys and know his secrets threaten to upend Jane’s world.

Author Melodie Edwards has impressively brought timeless concepts from the original classic of trust, ethics, and faithfulness, into a modern framework and it works! Her authorial voice is unique and she paints the characters as her own, too, with their own personalities and dreams. It is not a derivative or a direct retelling, but a what-if modern imagining that highlights the best parts of its basis text and brings to light aspects of Jane and Rochester one might notice in a different light upon reading Jane Eyre or watching a movie adaptation again.

Content guide: the book does have a love scene, but it is handled in text as an almost closed door scene (kissing and just a little more are hinted at before it fades to black). There is a moderate amount of explicit language throughout, including use of the f-word and a few instances of pairing God’s name with a swear word. Per the story’s source and basis (Jane Eyre), a man does withhold the truth/the existence of a wife, in effect participating in an adulterous relationship.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the review copy. This is my honest review.

Book Review: “Memory Lane” by Becky Wade

Photo of the paperback copy of Memory Lane by Becky Wade, displayed on the top of a shelf with a tree figurine the the background

I’m truly delighted to share my review today of author Becky Wade’s latest contemporary romance, Memory Lane, the first book in a new Sons of Scandal series. Fun fact: this is Becky’s first indie published novel! She’s currently offering a fun giveaway on her website that’s open for a few more days.

About the Book

After surviving a trauma several years back, Remy Reed relocated to a cottage on one of Maine’s most remote islands. She’s arranged her life just the way she wants it, spending her time working on her wood sculptures and soaking in the beauty of nature. It’s quiet and solitary—until the day she spots something bobbing in the ocean.

Her binoculars reveal the “something” to be a man, and he’s struggling to keep his head above water. She races out to save him and brings him into her home. He’s injured, which doesn’t detract from his handsomeness nor make him any easier to bear. He acts like a duke who’s misplaced his dukedom . . . expensive tastes, lazy charm, bossy ideas.

Remy would love nothing more than to return him to his people, but he has no recollection of his life prior to the moment she rescued him. Though she’s not interested in relationships other than the safe ones she’s already established, she begins to realize that he’s coming to depend on her.

Who is he? What happened that landed him in the Atlantic Ocean? And why is she drawn to him more and more as time goes by?

There’s no way to discover those answers except to walk beside him down memory lane.

Travel to the rocky coast of Maine for “opposites attract” banter, witty humor, a fascinating mystery, and destiny-changing love. This sweet contemporary romance kicks off Becky Wade’s new Sons of Scandal series!

*A Note from Becky: For a list of sensitive topics in Becky’s novels, visit and click the link you’ll find at the top of the “My Books” page.

Goodreads | Amazon


Becky Wade works magic with tropes, and this story is additional proof. With Memory Lane, she has taken a situation that could be completely cliche and made it original, interesting, and the furthest thing from predictable! Gosh I love the hero and heroine, and all of their adventure, journey, chemistry 😍, healing, and even a bit of a mystery they find!

film stills from Knight and Day with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. He's explaining a "with me, without me" scenario in which she will do better with him.
a tiny moment in the banter between Remy and J makes me think of this scene from Knight and Day!

Remy is a strong person and has amazing perspective on life and, eventually, in understanding the hero and his circumstances (for the sake of keeping it spoiler free, we’ll call the hero “J”). She’s not without a growth arc, though, which I appreciate in Becky’s characters because they are always relatable emotionally or stir a deep empathy for individuality. Her past, once revealed, is heartbreaking and handled with sincerity within the story and with such tenderness by J, flummoxing Remy in the best way.

J and his search for his memories, along with a new attachment to Remy, gains a new perspective because of his ordeal. It’s fascinating to see his reassessment process for life as his old self collides with a “J 2.0”, making him seek healing and closure for part of his past and making him certain of his honor towards Remy. His personality is plain FUN, and his flirty-then-sincere combo is genuine hero material for Remy. And whew, when their romantic tension ramps up, it goes into classic Wade territory that’s tasteful yet still-so-sexy — especially that one scene where he’s the controlled experiment. I’ll say no more 😉

Through the memories and search for closure, and even the tiny bit of suspense that surrounds a mystery thread, Remy and J are remarkable in their chemistry and complimentary opposites. Author Becky Wade ties it all together with a satisfying ending, and just enough of a hint about the hero of her next book to have me eagerly waiting for publishing news.

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy. This is my honest review.

Book Review: “The Sound of Light” by Sarah Sundin

Welcome to my stop on the Revell Reads blog tour for The Sound of Light by Sarah Sundin! This standalone WWII novel explores themes of hope, resilience, and restoration within an occupied Denmark setting.

If you’re a fan of historical romance, I highly recommend checking out Sarah Sundin’s two most recent novels that have a connection with this one: When Twilight Breaks and Until Leaves Fall in Paris.

About the Book

When the Germans march into Denmark, Baron Henrik Ahlefeldt exchanges his nobility for anonymity, assuming a new identity so he can secretly row messages for the Danish Resistance across the waters to Sweden.

American physicist Dr. Else Jensen refuses to leave Copenhagen and abandon her research–her life’s dream. While printing resistance newspapers, she hears stories of the movement’s legendary Havmand–the merman–and wonders if the mysterious and silent shipyard worker living in the same boardinghouse has something to hide.

When the Occupation cracks down on the Danes, these two passionate people will discover if there is more power in speech . . . or in silence. Bestselling author of more than a dozen WWII novels, Sarah Sundin offers another story of ordinary people responding to extraordinary circumstances with faith, fortitude, and hope for a brighter future.

Goodreads | Amazon


The Sound of Light concludes Sarah Sundin’s recent group of standalone historical romance novels with WWII European settings, all linked in a small way by a group of three Harvard classmates (the heroes of each story). This story delves into the true-life Nazi occupation of Denmark (I learned so much!) and the brave men and women who resisted oppression and chose perseverance in the face of evil.

As in several other Sundin novels I’ve enjoyed, the professions of the protagonists are important and fascinating. In this case, Else’s physicist role makes me want to know more about the real history and science of her time.

Central to this novel of Light are the hero and heroine and their romance, both keeping secrets of roles in resistance and both with an undeniable attraction rooted in friendship. I like the pace of their friendship as it develops, quietly and with honor. Henrik’s secrets limit his communication and openness with Else much of the time, but her ability to see his integrity and fall for the *heart* underneath it is a beautiful, endearing element of the story. And oh, when truths come out, they have some great romantic moments (ahem kisses) in the middle of the danger. Their journey to each other and a happily ever after is fraught with realistic threats and a sense of the triumph and importance of hope.

Beyond the romance aspect, a tale of resilience and restoration emerges through threads of challenge (spies and Gestapo and sabotage!) and through secondary characters (Else’s Jewish friends and Henrik’s estrangement from his father). These themes tie together neatly — and readers of Sundin’s other 2 preceding stories will be happy to see the brief glimpse of those beloved characters.

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy. This is my honest review.

Book Review: “The Rose and the Thistle” by Laura Frantz

Today I’m sharing a review by the queen of 18th century stores — Laura Frantz, that is. Her latest is an escape from the England to the Scottish Lowlands with a heart-stirring romance: The Rose and the Thistle.

About the Book

In 1715, Lady Blythe Hedley’s father is declared an enemy of the British crown because of his Jacobite sympathies, forcing her to flee her home in northern England. Secreted to the tower of Wedderburn Castle in Scotland, Lady Blythe awaits who will ultimately be crowned king. But in a house with seven sons and numerous servants, her presence soon becomes known.

No sooner has Everard Hume lost his father, Lord Wedderburn, than Lady Hedley arrives with the clothes on her back and her mistress in tow. He has his own problems–a volatile brother with dangerous political leanings, an estate to manage, and a very young brother in need of comfort and direction in the wake of losing his father. It would be best for everyone if he could send this misfit heiress on her way as soon as possible.

Drawn into a whirlwind of intrigue, shifting alliances, and ambitions, Lady Blythe must be careful whom she trusts. Her fortune, her future, and her very life are at stake. Those who appear to be adversaries may turn out to be allies–and those who pretend friendship may be enemies.

Goodreads | Amazon


Laura Frantz is adept at her 18th century epics, and The Rose and the Thistle features a change of setting as all of it is abroad (no American colony or frontier). Her immersive style paints a fresh view of the moors and medieval castles, lending the 1700s story an older air as the antiquity of the setting mirrors the noble and honorable hero and heroine. Intrigue and duty are interwoven in this lush historical tale with a romance at its center.

And what a remarkable romance it is! It’s enough of a slow burn that the reader has a sense of Everard and Blythe, and the ways they will suit, even before they meet on page. This makes it a bit of an adventure to see them verbally spar at first because of their opposites (faith traditions and cultural upbringings), even as the reader knows their sameness of spirit in loyalty and intelligence. From an initial prickliness to a shared devotion to Everard’s littlest brother, Orin, they find common ground in friendship and elements of faith even as they cautiously venture toward a romantic possibility despite political dangers and opposition. When the romance does progress, wow, is it breathtaking in its telling. Everard is the best combination of fierce protector with a tender heart, while Blythe exhibits compassionate strength and humility.

The often-surprising plot, vibrant secondary characters (the Hume brothers!), and formidable Scottish Lowlands settings (Wedderburn Castle! Edinburgh!) all combine to heighten the stakes and add immeasurable depth to the tale. Orin, in particular, is a favorite, with a precocious and candid nature. Another small element of the story I love is the ongoing presence of birds — Blythe has a pet sparrow and Everard engages in falconry.

Through the ups and downs Everard and Blythe face, their story unfolds as more than just a romance, but as a story of honor and mutual respect. Both admirably cling to their faith in different ways. The Rose and the Thistle is the kind of story I wish I could read again for the first time — and I believe I will find new depths and facets upon each reread.

Thank you to the publisher for my review copy. I voluntarily purchased an ebook copy. This is my honest review.

Book Review: “The Blackout Book Club” by Amy Lynn Green

I’m sharing a review of Amy Lynn Green’s latest historical novel, one with strong BOOKISH elements (much discussion of beloved literature): The Blackout Book Club.

About the Book

An impulsive promise to her brother before he goes off to the European Front puts Avis Montgomery in the unlikely position of head librarian in small-town Maine. Though she has never been much of a reader, when wartime needs threaten to close the library, she invents a book club to keep its doors open. The women she convinces to attend the first meeting couldn’t be more different–a wealthy spinster determined to aid the war effort, an exhausted mother looking for a fresh start, and a determined young war worker.

At first, the struggles of the home front are all the club members have in common, but over time, the books they choose become more than an escape from the hardships of life and the fear of the U-boat battles that rage just past their shores. As the women face personal challenges and band together in the face of danger, they find they share more in common with each other than they think. But when their growing friendships are tested by secrets of the past and present, they must decide whether depending on each other is worth the cost.

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The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green is a great story of friendship and community, all centered on a favorite thing: books! The coastal setting and WWII home front elements make for a very interesting backdrop.

This is a historical story with elements of women’s fiction and a little romance, with four main ladies and their POVs central to the story. I enjoy how they offer perspective and variety in class, profession, and personality yet all contribute to the story of enduring trials and joining together to support each other and the community. A small lending library happens to be the thing which brings them together, but they soon find common ground and develop strong friendships outside of their book club. One favorite element of the story is the continued “notebook” of notes from each book club meeting. They are often hilarious and show the characters in a unique light.

This is the first of Green’s novels I have read, but I am happy her previous two are on my shelves for me to go back and experience now. I recommend this story for fans of bookish fiction and authors like Jocelyn Green and Katherine Reay.

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy. This is my honest review.