A Tender Hope by Amanda Cabot

A Tender Hope by Amanda Cabot book cover

Thea Michener accepts a position as a midwife in Cimarron Creek after being left destitute by a dead husband and stillborn baby.  She is not expecting an abandoned baby dropped off at her doorstep, and certainly not by a handsome Texas Ranger, but she is not sure she has the strength in her broken heart to make room for them.  Ranger Jackson Guthrie finds Thea intriguing, but his motives for finding her in Cimarron Creek are bigger than a pretty face—and as he seeks the truth to his brother’s murder, he hopes that she can help him find the answers that he needs.

Once again, readers return to Cimarron Creek for a sweet story, as romance blossoms among a historic small town.  There are many characters and storylines with this novel and it is a little distracting from the main storyline at times.  However, the romance is clean and the characters are enjoyable to read.  There is a bit of mystery and intrigue woven among the pages that keep the plot interesting.  It is a good book for those who like simple, historical romance.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

A Stolen Heart by Amanda Cabot

A Stolen Heart book cover

Lydia Crawford follows her love to Cimarron Creek, Texas, from central New York, but she is not expecting the hostility she discovers towards Northerners in the Deep South. Even more of a shock is when Lydia arrives in Texas, expecting to be excitedly reunited with her fiancé, only to learn that not only has he disappeared, but also he has left a pregnant wife in his wake. Disappointed but uncertain where else to go, Lydia is grateful to befriend the wealthy and enigmatic Aunt Bertha, who takes Lydia under her wing without question and coaxes her to open a candy shop, convinced that fudge and other treats will sweeten the attitude of the townspeople towards Lydia. But when items began disappearing from the town’s shops and secrets abound, Lydia once again faces hostility from her neighbors, who suspect she may be the culprit.

This novel has a mix of romance, mystery, betrayal, suspense, and Biblical themes. I thought that the beginning was a little slow. I also was grateful for the genealogy chart in the front of the book as there were a lot of names introduced in the first few chapters, but once I was able to get into the story a little more, I found it was enjoyable. I liked that not every part was predictable and there was a bit of mystery sprinkled throughout. I thought some of the parts seemed unrealistic and worked out a little too perfectly, and I found it a little difficult to connect with the characters for this reason, but nonetheless the storyline is interesting. I am looking forward to hopefully delving deeper into their lives in books 2 and 3!

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

On Lone Star Trail by Amanda Cabot

On Lone Star Trail book cover

Gillian Hodge’s dream of becoming a concert pianist is ruined when a motorcycle accident crushes her hand. Feeling depressed, she tries to find solace by heading to Rainbow’s End Resort, a charming reprieve in the rolling hills of Texas. However, a thunderstorm on her journey to the resort causes an accident right in front of her car, and of a motorcycle, no less. Lost and wandering after his wife’s death, TJ Benjamin travels around the country with no real purpose or direction. A busted bike forces him to spend some time at Rainbow’s End Resort with a most reluctant rescuer, a woman who wants nothing to do with any men who ride motorcycles.

This novel returns readers to the Rainbow’s End Resort, allowing us to catch up on some past characters. However, this book may also stand alone. The plot flowed smoothly in this particular novel and the relationships felt more real than in previous stories. Certain aspects of the book were unrealistic, but that is perhaps due to the shorter timeline of the novel. I think this author improves her writing with each novel and I look forward to reading more from Amanda Cabot. This book is recommended for those who enjoy a light contemporary romance.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

In Firefly Valley by Amanda Cabot

Marisa St. George moves back home to Dupree, Texas, after a job loss and financial ruin force her to accept a position at Rainbow’s End resort. She is not pleased to be back in the place where too many memories of her childhood as the daughter of the town drunk exist. However, she finds a friend in the resort’s only guest, Blake Kendall, which soon has her believing in true love and happy endings once more. But Blake harbors his own secrets that could potentially destroy any relationship between them.

There were definitely positive themes about forgiveness and moving forward in this book, which I appreciated and respected. However, I did not become overly fond of the characters and did not connect with them very well. Certain aspects of the story were sweet, but I did not care for Marisa’s judgmental attitude, regardless of the fact that she was dealing with her own share of burdens from her past. I also did not like the annoying perfection of Blake and his money near the end of the book. I honestly enjoyed the subplot better than the main characters. I did appreciate the peaceful setting of the book, however, and perhaps other readers will enjoy the characters more that I did.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

At Bluebonnet Lake by Amanda Cabot

Kate Sherwood is accustomed to a fast-paced, challenging career. So when her beloved grandmother decides they both need an extended vacation, she is not sure she is prepared for the slow pace of Dupree, Texas. Especially when after arriving, the resort that her grandmother claims is a special location is run-down, old, and in need of lots of work. Fortunately, things begin to get a bit more interesting when she meets the unofficial handyman of the resort, Greg. Greg may be charming, cute, and kind, but he is hiding a few secrets of his own and running from a several unresolved issues from his past. As the two spend more time together, they realize that their lives may have been very different, but the circumstances that brought them together only serve to allow them to better understand each other. Rainbow’s End Resort, despite its untidy appearance, may have a way of changing both of their lives for the better.

At Bluebonnet Lake is a sweet, simple Christian romance. Several characters may be endearing, but the storyline is rather predictable, leaving little suspense to the novel. The plot also moves very slowly as many portions of the book contain unnecessary explanations and drawn-out points. However, there are subtle Christian references and the author does a nice job of setting the stage for future books in the series as she introduces a few key characters. Overall, the story was nice but certainly not one that cannot be set aside for a more engaging book. Its themes and uncomplicated storyline make this book one that will be readable without much effort. This novel is recommended for those who enjoy Christian romances and would like a story that is simplistic and pleasant.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Sincerely Yours by Jane Kirkpatrick, Amanda Cabot, Laurie Alice Eakes, and Ann Shorey

Sincerely Yours is a novella collection of four short stories in which four young women find their lives changed after receiving a letter signed with the valediction, “sincerely yours.”  This common theme ties the four stories together nicely, despite the very different time periods and plots.  The new paths of each woman entail exciting adventures among rivers, drawing rooms, inns, and hospitals and will perhaps even lead to everlasting love.

Moonlight Promise by Laurie Alice Eakes

Camilla Renfrew responds to a letter from a friend who offers protection after a false accusation leaves her running from the law.  She finds herself drawn to the mysterious captain of a steamboat bound for her destination.  The setting of the first story is interesting and the dangers involved for both characters make the plot exciting.  However, the flow of this novella is a little choppy and forced, pushing the characters toward each other in an awkward fashion.  Although not uncommon for a novella, the ending was a bit too neat and unrealistic.

Lessons in Love by Ann Shorey

Marigold Montgomery Bentley uses her initials when writing articles for a popular magazine, causing everyone to assume she is a man.  However, when the editor writes her a letter asking to meet, M. M. Bentley finds herself desperately trying to continue the rouse to save her writing career.  This is the most well-written and enjoyable of the four novellas.  The characters are likable and the plot is entertaining even as it gives its readers a glimpse into women’s roles in the late nineteenth century.  As is the case with most novellas, the romance is quick and tidy, but the inward strength of the characters and their complimentary life goals makes their love believable and sweet.

One Little Word by Amanda Cabot

Lorraine Caldwell receives a letter from her brother for the first time in several years and the note of pleading in his tone causes her to join him at the remote and beautiful Lilac Inn.  Instead of spending a short time with her brother as intended, Lorraine instead discovers she is attracted to the mystifying carousel carver and thus extends her stay as she discerns what matters most in life.  This particular novella is fascinating as it details the unique process of creating a carousel.  The descriptions allow the reader to visualize the beautiful colors and hard work involved in the creation of the carousel.  The love between the characters develops quickly and the ending is rather unrealistic in its neatness, but the short story is enjoyable.

A Saving Grace by Jane Kirkpatrick

Grace Hathaway travels to save her friend from a remote and mysterious hospital after the woman’s young daughter sends a letter begging Grace for help.  Upon her arrival, Grace discovers the hospital promises rapid healing but instead only serves to harm the patients; she thus seeks the help of a doctor who has a secret of his own.  Although this novella at first seems mysterious and exciting, it quickly becomes almost creepy as Grace discovers the horrible practices used to “cure” the patients.  The plot is not enjoyable and the horrifying conditions and physiological mind games of the hospital do not create a pleasant scene for romance.  This short story could stand alone as the tone was so different from the lighthearted and sweet storylines of the first three novellas. (This author is offering a giveaway! See the details here: http://janeswordsofencouragement.blogspot.com/)


I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.