All the Lost Places by Amanda Dykes

Thank you for joining me today as I feature All the Lost Places by Amanda Dykes on my blog, on tour with Austen Prose Tours!

Book Details

  • Title: All the Lost Places: A Novel
  • Author: Amanda Dykes
  • Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction
  • Publisher: ‎Bethany House Publishers (December 13, 2022)
  • Length: 400 pages
  • Format: Hardcover, Trade paperback, & eBook 
  • ISBN: 978-0764239502
  • Tour Dates: December 5 – December 19, 2022

Book Description

When all of Venice is unmasked, one man’s identity remains a mystery . . .

1807
When a baby is discovered floating in a basket along the quiet canals of Venice, a guild of artisans takes him in and raises him as a son, skilled in each of their trades. Although the boy, Sebastien Trovato, has wrestled with questions of his origins, it isn’t until a woman washes ashore on his lagoon island that answers begin to emerge. In hunting down his story, Sebastien must make a choice that could alter not just his own future, but also that of the beloved floating city.

1904
Daniel Goodman is given a fresh start in life as the century turns. Hoping to redeem a past laden with regrets, he is sent on an assignment from California to Venice to procure and translate a rare book. There, he discovers a city of colliding hope and decay, much like his own life, and a mystery wrapped in the pages of that filigree-covered volume. With the help of Vittoria, a bookshop keeper, Daniel finds himself in a web of shadows, secrets, and discoveries carefully kept within the stones and canals of the ancient city . . . and in the mystery of the man whose story the book does not finish: Sebastien Trovato.

About the Author

Amanda Dykes’s debut novel, Whose Waves These Are, is the winner of the prestigious 2020 Christy Award Book of the Year, a Booklist 2019 Top Ten Romance debut, and the winner of an INSPY Award. She’s also the author of Yours Is the Night and Set the Stars Alight, a 2021 Christy Award finalist.

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Exclusive Interview with Amanda Dykes

Advance Praise

  • “This lyrical dual-narrative historical from Dykes (Set the Stars Alight) dives into the histories of Venice, Italy, and Venice Beach, California.”— Publisher’s Weekly 
  • “Introspective, surprising, and achingly beautiful.”— Booklist starred review
  • “Dykes’s pen is fused with magic and poetry. Every word’s a gentle wave building into the splendor that is All the Lost Places, where struggles for identity and a place to belong find hope between the pages of a timeless story.”— J’Nell Ciesielski, bestselling author of The Socialite
  • “Luscious writing, authentic characters, and an ending that satisfies to the core of the spirit, this novel is another winner from Amanda Dykes.”— Heidi Chiavaroli, Carol Award-winning author of Freedom’s Ring and Hope Beyond the Waves

Purchase Links

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My Thoughts

Amanda Dykes has such a way with words!  She writes stories that are told in a beautiful manner, with words that jump off the page and capture you instantly.  Her prose is stunning and gorgeous!  I loved the setting of this novel.  It was remarkable how the setting (the canals of Venice) almost became a character in and of itself.  The descriptions of the scenes make it easy for me to be transported to the two historical timelines.  The characters are equally well written and I was instantly invested in their stories and their romance.  The Christian truths are unique and integrated flawlessly; I found myself reflecting often on the deep questions the characters ask themselves.  The struggle with identity is something most of us have also struggled with and these realistic thoughts made the characters more authentic.  Reading this novel is like reading poetry.  I cannot recommend it enough!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers, courtesy of Austen Prose Tours with Laurel Ann Nattress.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Thanks for stopping by!

The Sisters of Sea View by Julie Klassen

Thank you for joining me today as I feature The Sisters of Sea View by Julie Klassen on my blog, on tour with Austen Prose Tours!

Book Details

  • Title: The Sisters of Sea View
  • Series: On Devonshire Shores (Book 1)
  • Author: Julie Klassen
  • Genre: Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Inspirational Fiction
  • Publisher: ‎Bethany House Publishers (December 6, 2022)
  • Length: 448 pages
  • Format: hardcover, trade paperback, & eBook 
  • ISBN: 978-0764234262
  • Tour Dates: November 28 – December 12, 2022

Book Description

Some guests have come for a holiday, others for hidden reasons of their own . . .

When their father’s death leaves them impoverished, Sarah Summers and her genteel sisters fear they will be forced to sell the house and separate to earn livelihoods as governesses or companions. Determined to stay together, Sarah convinces them to open their seaside home to guests to make ends meet and provide for their ailing mother. Instead of the elderly invalids they expect to receive, however, they find themselves hosting eligible gentlemen. Sarah is soon torn between a growing attraction to a mysterious Scottish widower and duty to her family.

Viola Summers wears a veil to cover her scar. When forced to choose between helping in her family’s new guest house and earning money to hire a maid to do her share, she chooses the latter. She reluctantly agrees to read to some of Sidmouth’s many invalids, preferring the company of a few elders with failing eyesight to the fashionable guests staying in their home. But when her first client turns out to be a wounded officer in his thirties, Viola soon wishes she had chosen differently. Her new situation exposes her scars–both visible and those hidden deep within–and her cloistered heart will never be the same.

Join the Summers sisters on the Devonshire coast, where they discover the power of friendship, loyalty, love, and new beginnings.

About the Author

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. Her books have sold over a million copies, and she is a three-time recipient of the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and Christian Retailing’s BEST Award and has been a finalist in the RITA and Carol Awards. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Video Interview with Julie

Advance Praise

  • “Jane Austen fans will delight in this nimble series launch…Klassen excels at weaving her various story lines, each emphasizing the colorful qualities of her characters and allowing them the space to shine. Readers will be eager for the next installment.” —Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
  • “Julie Klassen delights with a winsome love story…” —Publisher’s Weekly, on A Castaway in Cornwall
  • “I couldn’t put it down! It you are a historical fiction fan you need this one on your radar! It was a spooky delight full of heart. ”—Anne Mendez, The Lit Bitch, on Shadows of Swanford Abbey
  • “…a wonderfully engaging novel full of intriguing characters and storylines. I highly recommend it and can’t wait for more in the series.” —Laura Gerold, Laura’s Reviews, on The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

Purchase Links

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My Thoughts

Another incredible novel by a truly talented writer, Julie Klassen pens a story that is captivating and mesmerizing.  I love the way this author tells stories by creating characters with realistic flaws, wonderful depth, and great growth that makes me feel like I get to know real people from long ago.  I enjoyed getting to know Sarah and Viola in this novel and their journey was something that I was easily invested in as I longed to find out if they had happy endings.  I am excited to read the next story in the series to see if each gets her happily ever after.  I really liked the exploration of both the physical scars and hidden scars of Viola and Jack.  The setting is perfect for the character growth and mysteries surrounding the characters.  I could also envision strolling along the sea with the sisters.  The spiritual truths are also well woven and do not feel preachy.  I really enjoyed this novel and cannot wait to read the next one in the series.  Most highly recommended!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers, courtesy of Austen Prose Tours with Laurel Ann Nattress.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

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Death on a Winter Stroll by Francine Mathews

Thank you for joining me on my blog today as I feature an excerpt from Francine Mathew’s newest novel, Death on a Winter Stroll, on tour with Austen Prose Tours!

About the Book

  • Title: Death on a Winter Stroll: A Merry Folger Christmas Mystery 
  • Series: A Merry Folger Nantucket Mystery (Book 7)
  • Author: Francine Mathews
  • Genre: Traditional Detective Mystery, Holiday Reading 
  • Publisher: ‎Soho Crime (November 1, 2022)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • Format: Hardcover, eBook, & audiobook 
  • ISBN: 978-1641292740
  • Tour Dates: November 14 – December 19, 2022

Book Description

No-nonsense Nantucket detective Merry Folger grapples with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and two murders as the island is overtaken by Hollywood stars and DC suits.

Nantucket Police Chief Meredith Folger is acutely conscious of the stress COVID-19 has placed on the community she loves. Although the island has proved a refuge for many during the pandemic, the cost to Nantucket has been high. Merry hopes that the Christmas Stroll, one of Nantucket’s favorite traditions, in which Main Street is transformed into a winter wonderland, will lift the island’s spirits. But the arrival of a large-scale TV production, and the Secretary of State and her family, complicates matters significantly.
 
The TV shoot is plagued with problems from within, as a shady, power-hungry producer clashes with strong-willed actors. Across Nantucket, the Secretary’s troubled stepson keeps shaking off his security detail to visit a dilapidated house near conservation land, where an intriguing recluse guards secrets of her own. With all parties overly conscious of spending too much time in the public eye and secrets swirling around both camps, it is difficult to parse what behavior is suspicious or not—until the bodies turn up.
 
Now, it’s up to Merry and Detective Howie Seitz to find a connection between two seemingly unconnected murders and catch the killer. But when everyone has a motive, and half of the suspects are politicians and actors, how can Merry and Howie tell fact from fiction?
 
This latest installment in critically acclaimed author Francine Mathews’ Merry Folger series is an immersive escape to festive Nantucket, a poignant exploration of grief as a result of parental absence, and a delicious new mystery to keep you guessing.

About the Author

Francine Mathews was born in Binghamton, New York, the last of six girls. She attended Princeton and Stanford Universities, where she studied history, before going on to work as an intelligence analyst at the CIA. She wrote her first book in 1992 and left the Agency a year later. Since then, she has written thirty books, including six previous novels in the Merry Folger series (Death in the Off-SeasonDeath in Rough WaterDeath in a Mood IndigoDeath in a Cold Hard Light, Death on Nantucket, and Death on Tuckernuck) as well as the nationally bestselling Being a Jane Austen mystery series, which she writes under the pen name Stephanie Barron. She lives and works in Denver, Colorado.

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Purchase Links

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Exclusive Excerpt

One of the perks of being police chief was the ringside seat Merry Folger commanded for certain critical moments. For instance, this Saturday morning—the first weekend in December, with the sun high in the sky and a brisk, cold wind driving whitecaps across the water as a Coast Guard cutter sailed toward Straight Wharf. 

Her white SUV with the distinctive navy and gray police markings was parked where no cars were allowed, within the Christmas Market barricades that blocked the wharf’s access to town. She and Peter were lounging against the bumper in their most festive winter gear. Merry’s father, John, was inside the car staying warm. They were waiting for Santa Claus to dock. 

Nearby was the Town Crier and some of the town’s Select- persons who would escort the Man in Red to his island sleigh, a vintage firetruck owned by the Nantucket Hotel. Santa would stand in the back, waving, while the Town Crier walked ahead, ringing his bell, announcing the glad tidings of great joy. 

“Look at that guy,” Peter muttered in her ear as a man roughly their age walked by, natty in sunglasses, a suit, and a knotted Stroll scarf. Nothing abnormal about that, except that the suit had red and green stripes with white death’s-heads and fists stamped all over it. 

“Kind of like North-Pole-meets-Venice-Beach-tattoo-parlor,” Merry suggested. “You prefer the blonde, I take it?” 

The blonde wore a minidress covered in hot pink sequins and thigh-high boots made of fake mink. She had a jingle bell on each boob. 

Every third person in the crowd—and there were about ten thousand people in town, jockeying for the best viewing spots— was dressed in ways bizarre or wonderful. The color and noise and exuberance were thrilling after the cheerless quarantine holidays, and Merry was grinning helplessly. She glanced over her shoulder and gave her dad a thumbs-up. John was drinking coffee laced with peppermint schnapps in his passenger seat. He saluted her with his mug. 

The sight of him sitting alone jolted her suddenly, as it did whenever she looked for her grandfather, Ralph Waldo Folger, and remembered he’s gone now. The freshness of loss stunned her each time like a blow to the face. 

Merry had known her eighty-nine-year-old grandfather was vulnerable in the pandemic. She and John had talked by phone daily about ways to keep Ralph safe. As a frontline worker exposed for the duration to a germ-laden public, Merry had stayed scrupulously away from her childhood home on Tattle Court throughout the first waves of sickness. Peter arranged for grocery deliveries twice a week and dropped supplies from Marine Home at John’s front door. And Ralph was healthy for nearly a year: social distancing on his daily walks, wearing a mask when he ventured into town. He contracted Covid nine days before he was scheduled for his first vaccine. 

Nantucket Cottage Hospital had five ventilators; Ralph never made it to one of them. Sickening on a Friday, he was delirious by Sunday and medevacked to Boston in the wee hours of Monday. Intubated, he lingered in a medically induced coma for four days. 

What dropped Merry to the floor when they got the news, sobbing and hugging her knees as though she’d been sucker punched, was the fact that her careful distance hadn’t mattered a darn. Ralph was alone when he died. And she hadn’t seen or touched him for a year before that. Of all the pandemic’s cruelties, this was the coldest. 

Her father thrust open the car door and stepped out to the paving beside her. “Boat’s in,” he said. 

She linked her arm through his as the cutter drew along- side. A couple of ensigns jumped off with sheets in their hands and moored the steel-gray vessel to the wharf’s stanchions. The Town Crier hailed the boat, Santa waved, horns blared, the drum corps drummed. Merry and Peter and John whooped along with everyone else. Despite the logistics and the responsibilities, she was nominally handling, despite her underlying grief, joy shot through Merry as she fell into step behind the Selectpersons and jauntered after Santa’s firetruck. For the length of Main Street at least, she was uncomplicatedly happy. 

It felt like the whole island celebrated with her. 

Chapter 10, pg. 69-71 From Death on a Winter Stroll © 2022, Francine Mathews, published by Soho Crime

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Under a Veiled Moon by Karen Odden

Thank you for joining me on my blog today as I feature an excerpt from Karen Odden’s newest novel, Under a Veiled Moon, on tour with Austen Prose Tours!

About the Book

Title: Under a Veiled Moon
Series: An Inspector Corravan Mystery (Book 2)
Author: Karen Odden
Genre: Historical Mystery, Detective Mystery, Victorian Mystery
Publisher: ‎Crooked Lane Books (October 11, 2022)
Length: 336 pages
Format: Hardcover, eBook, & audiobook 
ISBN: 978-1639101191
Tour Dates: November 14 – December 19, 2022

Book Description

In the tradition of C. S. Harris and Anne Perry, a fatal disaster on the Thames and a roiling political conflict set the stage for Karen Odden’s second Inspector Corravan historical mystery.

September 1878. One night, as the pleasure boat the Princess Alice makes her daily trip up the Thames, she collides with the Bywell Castle, a huge iron-hulled collier. The Princess Alice shears apart, throwing all 600 passengers into the river; only 130 survive. It is the worst maritime disaster London has ever seen, and early clues point to sabotage by the Irish Republican Brotherhood, who believe violence is the path to restoring Irish Home Rule. 
 
For Scotland Yard Inspector Michael Corravan, born in Ireland and adopted by the Irish Doyle family, the case presents a challenge. Accused by the Home Office of willfully disregarding the obvious conclusion and berated by his Irish friends for bowing to prejudice, Corravan doggedly pursues the truth, knowing that if the Princess Alice disaster is pinned on the IRB, hopes for Home Rule could be dashed forever.

Corrovan’s dilemma is compounded by Colin, the youngest Doyle, who has joined James McCabe’s Irish gang. As violence in Whitechapel rises, Corravan strikes a deal with McCabe to get Colin out of harm’s way. But unbeknownst to Corravan, Colin bears longstanding resentments against his adopted brother and scorns his help.
 
As the newspapers link the IRB to further accidents, London threatens to devolve into terror and chaos. With the help of his young colleague, the loyal Mr. Stiles, and his friend Belinda Gale, Corravan uncovers the harrowing truth—one that will shake his faith in his countrymen, the law, and himself.

About the Author

Karen Odden earned her Ph.D. in English from New York University and subsequently taught literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has contributed essays to numerous books and journals, written introductions for Victorian novels in the Barnes & Noble classics series and edited for the journal Victorian Literature and Culture (Cambridge UP). Her previous novels, also set in 1870s London, have won awards for historical fiction and mystery. A member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime and the recipient of a grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Karen lives in Arizona with her family and her rescue beagle Rosy.

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Purchase Links

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Exclusive Excerpt

Having finished writing my daily report, I left Wapping, walking past the London Docks to Sloane Street, where the Goose and Gander stood at the corner of Hackford. 

The sight of it brought back the afternoons Pat Doyle and I would come here, our spirits buoyed by the shillings in our pockets from working on the docks. We steered clear of most public houses—like the English Pearl, a few doors down, or the Drum and Thistle—but we two Irish stevedores found a welcome here, in this low-ceilinged room with a pair of rusted swords and a Celtic Cross over the mantle. Joining in on the bawdy choruses after a few pints made Pat and me feel like men—Irish men—and, for a while, as if we belonged. I’m not proud to admit it, but I liked it when someone who wasn’t Irish was scowled out of the place. 

Life was hard on the docks. The dockmaster, named Smithson, always hired Pat and me as a pair because he knew that together we could accomplish four times what any other single man could. It didn’t keep Smithson from treating us the worst, though. If there was a swan-necked cart with a wheel that wasn’t working properly, that would be ours for the day. If we took time to fix the wheel, our wages would be docked. Sometimes we didn’t get a cart at all and had to haul the goods on our backs. If a bag of tea burst because it was roughly handled or at the bottom of a heavy pile, we’d be blamed. Pat and I kept to ourselves, mostly, though after a time we banded with a few older Irishmen who were hired regularly. We did our work, held our heads down, stayed out of people’s way. Still, most days Smithson would shout at us for being feckin’ Irish eejits, which worried me because Pat was quick to throw down whatever bag he was toting in order to free up his fists, and I’d have to remind him that we needed the money more than we wanted Smithson to pay for his spite. I hated it too. But we had no choice but to stay and take it. 

It was the docks that taught me what being Irish meant because growing up in my part of the Chapel, Irish was all I knew. Like hundreds of others during the famine years, my parents sailed from Dublin to Liverpool, making portions of that city along the Mersey River more Irish than English. My father was a silversmith, and a skilled one, but there wasn’t enough work for all the silversmiths who had landed in Liverpool, so he and my mum came down to the Irish part of Whitechapel. With anti-Irish feeling running high, shops elsewhere in London wouldn’t hire a man with black hair and blue eyes named Corravan, with an accent straight out of County Armagh. My mum never told me so, but my father did what many Irishmen had to do—plied their trade sideways. He became a counterfeiter, making two-bit coins in a cellar somewhere, with fumes that clung to him when he came through our door at night. He died when I was three years old, too young to remember him well, but old enough that the odor of suet and oil and the bitter tang of cyanide had rooted itself in my brain. During one of my earliest cases in Lambeth, I walked into a house and recognized the smell straightaway, like I knew the smell of tea or hops or onions. That’s when I realized how my father had put bread on our table. 

The rancor against the Irish grates at me sometimes. Not to say we don’t deserve some of it. Four years ago, two Irishmen in Lambeth threw firebombs into one of Barnardo’s English orphanages, to protest that Parliament had just prohibited the Irish from setting up orphanages for our own. The next morning, the corpses of twenty-six children were laid out on the street and on the front page of every newspaper in London. For weeks after, shame hacked at my insides. I could barely meet anyone’s eye. 

But we Irish don’t all deserve to be tarred with the same brush, and it’s hard to bear the ugly opinions printed in the papers. Nowadays, I stop reading if I catch a hint of hatred in the first lines, but there was a time when I would read the articles and letters from “concerned citizens” and “true Englishmen” because I wanted to know the worst that could be said of us. That was before I realized that words could be infinitely malicious. There was no worst; there was only more. I still remember the conclusion of one letter because it seemed so preposterous: “The Irish are the dregs in the barrel, the lowest of the low. They kill their fathers, rape their sisters, and eat their children, stuffing their maws with blood and potatoes indifferently, like wild beasts.” 

Well, that wasn’t true of any of the Irish I knew. Indeed, as I laid my hand on the doorknob of the Goose and Gander, I was reasonably certain that inside I’d find Irish folks sitting, eating normal food, and playing cards. 

I pushed open the wooden door, greeted the barmaid, and asked if O’Hagan had been in. She shook her head. “Not yet. He usually comes around eight.”

Chapter 4, pp. 28-30 From Under a Veiled Moon © 2022, Karen Odden, published by Crooked Lane Books 

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Beneath His Silence by Hannah Linder – Austen Prose Blog Tour

Thank you for joining me today on my blog as I feature Beneath His Silence, on tour with Austen Prose Tours!

About the Book

  • Title: Beneath His Silence
  • Author: Hannah Linder
  • Genre: Historical Suspense, Regency Romance, Inspirational Fiction
  • Publisher: ‎Barbour Publishing (November 1, 2022)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • Format: Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook 
  • ISBN: 978-1636094366

Book Description

Will Seeking Justice Lead to Her Own Demise?
 
A Gothic-Style Regency Romance from a Promising Young Author
 
Second daughter of a baron—and a little on the mischievous side—Ella Pemberton is no governess. But the pretense is a necessity if she ever wishes to get inside of Wyckhorn Manor and attain the truth. Exposing the man who killed her sister is all that matters.
 
Lord Sedgewick knows there’s blood on his hands. Lies have been conceived, then more lies, but the price of truth would be too great. All he has left now is his son—and his hatred. Yet as the charming governess invades his home, his safe cocoon of bitterness begins to tear away.
 
Could Ella, despite the lingering questions of his guilt, fall in love with such a man? Or is she falling prey to him—just as her dead sister?

About the Author

Hannah Linder resides in the beautiful mountains of central West Virginia. Represented by Books & Such, she writes Regency romantic suspense novels. She is a double 2021 Selah Award winner, a 2022 Selah Award finalist, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Hannah is a Graphic Design Associates Degree graduate who specializes in professional book cover design. She designs for both traditional publishing houses and individual authors, including New York Times, USA Today, and international bestsellers. She is also a local photographer and a self-portrait photographer. When Hannah is not writing, she enjoys playing her instruments–piano, guitar, and ukulele–songwriting, painting still life, walking in the rain, and sitting on the front porch of her 1800s farmhouse. 

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Purchase Links

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My Thoughts

As someone who greatly enjoys Regency fiction, I was excited to try this new to me author. I really liked the suspense and mystery in the novel as it easily held my attention. The story flows very well and I had trouble putting it down! The book twists unexpectedly a few times and keeps the mystery alive in the story. The chapters are relatively short and I don’t think I would have minded a bit more descriptions here and there. I really liked Ella as she is tenacious and courageous, but also cares deeply for those she loves. I was invested in her from the very first page. Lord Sedgewick is the perfect brooding hero, too. The spiritual theme of forgiveness is well woven into the novel. I really enjoyed this novel and I highly recommend it to those who love Regency fiction! I am excited to read more by this author!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing, courtesy of Austen Prose Tours with Laurel Ann Nattress.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Advance Praise

  • “Fast-paced danger and suspense from an exciting newcomer to Regency fiction.”— Julie Klassen, award-winning author of A Castaway in Cornwall
  • “A strong story of loss and forgiveness, resentment surrendered to faith, and the mercy of God. Readers will enjoy this turbulent mystery with a smile-worthy ending.”— Kristen Heitzmann, Christy Award-winning author of Secrets and The Breath of Dawn
  • “This book has everything I love…a dark and broody hero, a spunky heroine on a mission, and a deeply delicious creepy manor home. Beneath His Silence is a rather gothic tale set in Regency England, filled with plenty of intrigue, danger, and romance to make for a very satisfying read.”— Michelle Griep, Christy Award-winning author of Lost in Darkness

Blog Tour Information

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Celebrate Lit Tour – The Bookshop of Secrets by Mollie Rushmeyer

About the Book

Book: The Bookshop of Secrects

Author: Mollie Rushmeyer

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction (Christian)

Release date: October 25, 2022

A collection of lost books holds the clues to her family’s legacy…and her future.

Hope Sparrow has mastered the art of outrunning her tragic past, learning never to stay anywhere too long and never to allow anyone control over her life again. Coming to Wanishin Falls in search of her family’s history already feels too risky. But somewhere in the towering stacks of this dusty old bookshop are the books that hold Hope’s last ties to her late mother—and to a rumored family treasure that could help her start over.

Only, the bookshop is in shambles, and the elderly owner is in the beginning stages of dementia and can’t remember where the books lie. To find the last links to the loved ones she’s lost, Hope must stay and accept help from the townsfolk to locate the treasured volumes. Each secret she uncovers brings her closer to understanding where she came from. But the longer she stays in the quaint town, the more people find their way into the cracks in her heart. And letting them in may be the greatest risk of all…

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Mollie writes contemporary fiction with a heart for history. What does this mean exactly? She loves to write inspirational fiction in contemporary settings with fascinating historical elements, people, objects, and stories woven throughout.

A modern girl herself– She wouldn’t want to go a day without modern plumbing and central air! But she’s always felt a special connection to the past. The legacies and lives left behind are like gifts waiting to be unwrapped, and she’s excited to share this blend of history and contemporary living with readers.

A born and bred Midwestern gal, Mollie Rushmeyer, makes her home in central Minnesota with her husband and two spunky, beautiful daughters. She is not only a bibliophile (the dustier the better, in her opinion), she’s a true anglophile at heart. Tea and coffee fuel her travels, by Google maps at least, and her passion for the written word.

More from Mollie

Since childhood, opening up a book unlocked a whole new world for me. Of possibilities and adventure, and made me care for people and places that didn’t exist. Like stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia, books transported me. It was like magic.

As I began dreaming up The Bookshop of Secrets in its early stages, I knew I wanted to create a character who loved books and was in awe of their transformative and transportive power as much as I am. Thus, Hope Sparrow, a human trafficking survivor and ultimate book lover, was born. I also wanted to honor my grandpa, who planted the seed—love of the written word—in my heart from the time I was very young. And so, Ulysses, the owner of Dusty Jackets Bookshop in the story, is based on my sweet grandpa who has since passed away. But I know he’d love this homage to all things literary.

Afterward, I didn’t know if I’d ever write again and I was more terrified of that than not gaining back the full strength of my left arm.

In the middle of writing this book, in 2018, I had a stroke. As with most medical emergencies, it was quite unexpected. I had a hole in my heart (that has been repaired, thankfully). Afterward, I didn’t know if I’d ever write again and I was more terrified of that than not being able to fully move my left arm again. My brain had to make new connections and it was so difficult, still is some days, to be creative. To find the right words.

But God. In the way that only He can, He brought this forgotten story, this project’s finish line that seemed to be at the summit of an insurmountable mountain within reach. I thought I had something to prove to myself. I begged God not to forget my dream to write. Like He could. But in the end, I just had to trust like my character Hope. Trust that He is good even when life hurts and is uncertain.

“Do you know what the opposite of fear is?”

“Bravery? Peace?” Dare she say her namesake, hope?

“The true counterpart of fear is faith. It takes faith to walk into the future, the unknown, with confidence. Secure in the love of the One who created you and those around you outweighs any hardship, real or imagined, that lies on the path ahead.”

I hope following Hope’s journey of healing and love in The Bookshop of Secrets truly blesses you.

My Thoughts

Captivating from the gorgeous cover to the intriguing characters to the mesmerizing plot, I had a hard time putting this book down!  The author does a great job of writing a story that draws you in with its complexity and depth and I connected with Hope’s struggles and tender heart early on in the story.  I loved the twists and turns in the novel and thought the suspense was fantastic!  The quaint small town is a perfect setting and of course I loved everything about the old bookstore.  The strong elements of faith are well woven and bring hope to the story.  I really enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit Tours.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 27

lakesidelivingsite, October 27

Inklings and notions, October 28

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 28

Simple Harvest Reads, October 28 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

An Author’s Take, October 29

The Write Escape, October 29

deb’s Book Review, October 29

Texas Book-aholic, October 30

Rebecca Tews, October 30

Blogging With Carol, October 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 31

Inspired by fiction, October 31

Life of Literature, October 31

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 1

Lily’s Book Reviews, November 1

Cover Lover Book Review, November 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 2

Losing the Busyness, November 2

For Him and My Family, November 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 3

Holly’s Book Corner, November 3

Mary Hake, November 3

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 4 (Author Interview)

Paula’s Pad of Suspense and Detection, November 4

Blossoms and Blessings, November 4

Sylvan Musings, November 5

Lily’s Book Reviews, November 5

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 5

A Reader’s Brain, November 6

Book Looks by Lisa, November 6

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 7

Truth and Grace Homeachool Academy, November 7

Story Craft, November 7

Through the fire blogs, November 8

Pause for Tales, November 8

Labor Not in Vain, November 8

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 9

To Everything There Is A Season, November 9

Lights in a Dark World, November 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Mollie is giving away the grand prize package of a eBook or signed paperback copy (paperback U.S. Only) of The Bookshop of Secrets and a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/226c7/the-bookshop-of-secrets-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Secrets of Emberwild by Stephenia H. McGee

About the Book

A gifted trainer in a time women are not allowed to race, Nora Fenton prefers horses to men. They’re easier to handle, they’re more reliable, and they never tell her what to do. After her father’s passing, Nora is determined to save her struggling horse farm, starting with entering her prize colt into the harness races at the 1905 Mississippi Fair. If she wins, she may have a chance at independence. But when a stranger arrives and starts asking disconcerting questions, she suspects he may have other motives than unseating her in the training job that is rightfully hers.

Silas Cavallero will do whatever it takes to solve the mystery of his father’s death–even if it means training an unwieldy colt for Nora, who wants nothing more than to see him gone. But when mysterious accidents threaten their safety and circumstances shrouded in secrets begin unlocking clues to his past, Silas will have to decide if the truth is worth risking ruining everything for the feisty woman he’s come to admire.

About the Author

Stephenia H. McGee is the award-winning author of many stories of faith, hope, and healing set in the Deep South. When she’s not reading or sipping sweet tea on the front porch, she’s a writer, dreamer, husband spoiler, and busy mom of two rambunctious boys. Learn more at http://www.stepheniamcgee.com.

My Thoughts

The gorgeous cover piqued my interest in this novel and the back cover blub about horses confirmed my desire to read it.  This is my first book by this author and I enjoyed the intriguing plot and twists and turns.  I thought the action was a little slow to start, but once it picked up, I had a harder time putting the novel down.  I thought the romance was well written and believable, and I enjoyed reading the perspectives of the two main characters, even though Nora’s naïveté annoyed me at times.  The research the author did about horses is clear as the details are interwoven well into the plot.  I thought the story wrapped up well.  I did overall enjoy this novel and look forward to reading more by this author.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Thanks for stopping by!

Anything But Plain by Suzanne Woods Fisher

About the Book

It’s not easy being the bishop’s daughter, especially for Lydie Stoltzfus. She’s not like other Amish girls, as much as she wishes she were. The only thing she does well is disappoint others. Leaving her family and church seems unbearable, but staying might be worse. 

Knowing Lydie is “between” jobs, the local doctor asks her to fill in at the front desk for a few months. To Lydie, this is a boon. It gives her time to figure out how she’s going to say goodbye to her neighbor, Nathan Yoder–the main reason she needs to leave Stoney Ridge. Nathan claims he’s in love with her, but she knows she’s not good enough for him. If in doubt, Nathan’s father reminds her frequently. 

As Dok spends time with Lydie, she recognizes symptoms of a disorder rare among the Amish. She offers treatment for Lydie. But will it be enough to make her stay? Or has help come too late?

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than 40 books, including The Sweet LifeThe Moonlight School, and A Season on the Wind, as well as the Three Sisters Island, Nantucket Legacy, Amish Beginnings, The Bishop’s Family, The Deacon’s Family, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series. She is also the author of several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and Amish Proverbs. She lives in California. Learn more at http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Facebook @SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor and Twitter @suzannewfisher.

My Thoughts

Once again, we return to the picturesque Stoney Ridge with some familiar characters from past novels; however, this particular book does stand well on its own.  I really enjoyed reading about Lydie, who feels like an outcast.  Her emotions were well written and it made it easy for me to feel connected with her in the story.  I also love the research that this author pours into her work.  It is clear that she puts much effort into the details and the stories are richer and better for it.  The topic of ADHD was interesting to read about from an Amish perspective and I thought the author handled it very respectfully.  The romance was endearing and sweet, but was also deep and realistic.  Amish fiction is not a genre I typically gravitate towards, but I always pick up a book by this author because she writes so well!  I recommend this wonderful read!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Thanks for stopping by!

The Premonition at Withers Farm by Jaime Jo Wright

About the Book

In 1910 Michigan, Perliett Van Hilton carefully balances the elements of faith she inherited from her father and the curiosity of the supernatural her mother embraces.  When a young lady is murdered in their small town and the killer appears to target Perliett next, she realizes that evil is very real.  Meanwhile, in present day, Molly Wasziak is struggling with grief and finding hope after tragic loss.  Less than thrilled with her husband’s purchase of a haunted farm, she grows increasingly concerned with the ghost-like activity around her new home.  Despite the separation of more than a century, as danger closes in on Perliett and Molly, both must face demons from the past and present in order to overcome the fear of the future.

About the Author

Jaime Jo Wright is the author of seven novels, including Christy Award winner The House on Foster Hill and Carol Award winner The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond. She’s also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas. Jaime lives in Wisconsin with her cat named Foo; her husband, Cap’n Hook; and their two mini-adults, Peter Pan and CoCo. Learn more at jaimewrightbooks.com.

Purchase Links

Amazon

Baker Book House

Barnes and Noble

Books-A-Million

Christian Book

My Thoughts

I think my heart is still pounding from reading this exciting novel!  With deliciously creepy supernatural events and unbelievably spine-chilling twists, this book will take you on a wild ride from beginning to end.  I had such a hard time putting the book down and indeed counted down the work hours until I could read once again.  I made the mistake of reading late into the night whilst home alone to finish this book and every creak of my own home made me jump in anticipation of a ghost around the corner.  In typical fashion, the supernatural has a logical explanation, but the journey of suspense kept me curled up under a blanket late into the night!  I absolutely love how this author does not shy away from tough subjects and she explores each with sensitivity and realistic circumstances that make the characters and their struggles so raw and real.  This book tackles depression, miscarriages, and loss and does so with great depth and emotion.  I felt connected to the characters for this reason and loved reading about their mental and spiritual growth throughout the story.  I also really liked the romance of two married individuals, as this is a unique romance for a modern story.  I think my favorite character was Sid; everyone needs a best friend who sticks by you when you think you see ghosts.  I loved everything about this novel and highly recommend it!  I cannot wait to see what this author comes up with next!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Favorite Quotes

I had a hard time picking just a few favorite for this novel! I highlighted about 20 more than I created. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

Falling for the Cowgirl by Jody Hedlund

About the Book

With four brothers, Ivy McQuaid is not a stranger to roping and riding with ranchers.  She saves earnings from her secret cowhand competitions with hopes that she can buy her own land someday.  However, her plans are thrown into jeopardy when Jericho Bliss rides back into town, a man who once broke her heart.  Jericho is afraid to get too close to Ivy as he fears he will put her life in danger, but he cannot help but be drawn to her beauty and bold spirit.  The danger draws closer and soon forces Jericho and Ivy to make decisions that involve their lives and their hearts.

About the Author

Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of over 30 historical novels for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards, including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Awards. Jody lives in Michigan with her husband, busy family, and five spoiled cats. Learn more at jodyhedlund.com.

Purchase Links

Amazon

Baker Book House

Barnes and Noble

Books-A-Million

Christian Book

My Thoughts

Ivy is a great lead character—strong, tenacious, intelligent, and bold.  I loved reading about her independent personality and her stubborn heart.  I enjoyed the enemies to lovers romance trope in this novel.  The struggles of Ivy and Jericho make them realistic and allowed me to connect with them well.  The author does such a great job of incorporating spiritual truths of forgiveness and trust.  And of course the romance was definitely swoon worthy while still being clean.  I liked the action and danger in the novel and the book easily kept from attention from start to finish.  I enjoyed reading about couples from past novels in this series and although this novel is a complete story on its own, reading the series in order does make it more fun to read about the past characters.  A highly recommend read by a talented author!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Favorite Quotes

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