One Enchanted Noel by Melissa Tagg

One Enchanted Noel book cover

Seb Pierce returns to Maple Valley, Iowa, to work for his wealthy grandfather after a fifteen year absence, facing old family conflicts in the process.  But he is willing to do it in order to get an early draw on his inheritance and save the old rancher he has been working for in Texas for the past fifteen years from losing his land.  He does not expect to be renovating a dilapidated theater or to run into a woman he never thought he would see again.  After a reckless lifestyle and a burden of failures, Leigh Renwycke is finally back in Maple Valley working towards a stable life.  She accepts Seb’s offer to work on the old theater, hoping that the project will restore her reputation.  But she does not except the secrets surrounding Seb—or her heart’s reaction to him.

I have really enjoyed all three of Melissa Tagg’s Christmas novellas set in Maple Valley.  This particular installment once again contains characters with realistic flaws and passionate dreams mixed among the charming setting of a small Midwest town during the Christmas season.  She writes with details that remind you of a full-length novel and creates a depth that is more that what is typically expected in a novella. This is the perfect story to curl up with a cup of hot chocolate near the fireplace around the holidays. Highly recommended!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Holding the Fort by Regina Jennings

Holding the Fort book cover

Louisa “Lola” Bell has earned her living singing in a dance hall. But when she receives word that her only brother is in trouble at Fort Reno and she loses her job all in one day, she decides to make a big trip west to Indian Territory. She arrives to learn she’s mistakenly thought to be the new governess to the commanding officer’s daughters. Realizing that she needs a job and can use this opportunity to get close to the commanding officer and sway him to her side to help her brother, Louisa goes along with the plan, hoping she can fake her way through the job long enough to survive. What she doesn’t count on is the commanding officer’s widow status and his surprisingly attractive qualities. Louisa soon finds herself torn between her heart and her head, hoping she can pick a solution that will save her family and her future.

Regina Jennings has yet again written a spunky, quirky heroine opposite a dashing, albeit sometimes clumsy, hero. There are laugh out loud moments and more serious romance sprinkled among historical events and plot twists. I did not love Louisa as much as I think I was meant to, but I did enjoy Daniel greatly. It was fun to read their interactions and Daniel’s hilarious attempt to figure out Louisa’s plans. I enjoyed this story and look forward to more books in this series!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers/Regina Jennings in exchange for an honest review.

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage book cover

Miss Rachel Ashford has survived the stigma of her father’s failures, the loss of her family, and the humiliation of being driven from her home by distant relatives. She is determined not to rely on the gracious generosity of her hostess Mercy Grove but instead to earn her livelihood. Encouraged by her friends to open a circulating library, Rachel is tentatively excited to share her father’s extensive library collection with the community. As strange events begin to occur, she enlists the help of an old friend to help her unravel old mysteries. Along the way, Rachel’s heart may become more entwined than she had intended.

I enjoyed the first novel in this new series by Julie Klassen and was excited about the continuing story. The writing style is reminiscent of a novel by Jane Austen with its tender and rich sentences and well-written style. I had a little trouble getting into the book initially as it was slow to start, but true to her other novels, the story soon had multiple layers of mystery that drew me in and kept me interested. It was also wonderful to catch up with characters from the first novel. I would read the series in order, but it should be no hardship to read the first book, as it is just as good. I recommend this series and cannot wait for book number three!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.