Engaging Deception by Regina Jennings

About the Book

Olive Kentworth is secretly passionate about architecture, but as a woman in the late nineteenth century, she hides her architectural knowledge behind her cousin Amos, who agrees to pose as a builder for her to work on a home expansion project.  She accepts a position as a nanny to further hide her secret involvement in the project and finds herself working for none other than an architect himself, Maxfield Scott.  Maxfield may find his new nanny intriguing, but he is frustrated by the mysterious builder on one of his projects, leading to some tension between him and Olive.  As Maxfield and Olive grow closer, their secrets may threaten to tear them apart.

About the Author

Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She has worked at The Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City with her husband and four children.

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My Thoughts

A delightful novel, this book is packed full of fun characters, an interesting plot, and rich topics.  I really enjoyed the interactions of Olive and Maxfield; they are a fun couple to read about as their relationship is full of spirited banter, but also is deep enough to encounter a few tough spots that make them realistic too.  I really love smart, strong heroines and Olive definitely fits that bill.  I also enjoyed reading about how devoted Max is as a father.  Among the fun moments, the author dives into some deeper spiritual truths, including trusting God through grief and learning to become confident in who He made you.  I found the time period, setting, and architectural details wonderfully interwoven into the plot and these great details made the book interesting to read.  I highly recommend this book, and this whole series!

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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Proposing Mischief by Regina Jennings

About the Book

Maisie Kentworth, annoyed with events at her parents’ ranch, explores an idle mine at the edge of their property, only to discover a fascinating treasure.  However, the mine is partially managed by Boone Bragg, a man stuck between pleasing a work associated and avoiding a marriage.  Boone makes Maisie a proposal, but the consequences of this proposal instead causes more chaos than good, forcing Maisie to try to set things right.

About the Author

Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a minor in history. She’s the winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award and a finalist for the Christy Award and the Oklahoma Book of the Year Award. She lives outside of Oklahoma City with her husband and four children and can be found online at http://www.reginajennings.com.


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My Thoughts

I loved Maisie!  She has gumption, determination, and grit, but she also is fun, real, and authentic.  She’s the perfect counterpart to Boone and their relationship develops in such a great way in the novel.  The story flows very well and kept my attention with ease; indeed, I had a hard time putting the book down.  The conversations felt natural and the storyline was entertaining.  I also loved how Maisie grew through her insecurities and Boone learned to work as a partner, both changes that evolved gradually and realistically.  I have really been enjoying this series and look forward to the next book!  I definitely recommend this 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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Courting Misfortune by Regina Jennings

Calista York is assigned to find the kidnapped daughter of a mob boss in order to prove her worth as a Pinkerton operative.  However, the case takes her to Joplin, Missouri, home of her extended family, family who insist on meddling and therefore jeopardizing her mission.  Matthew Cook is in Joplin as a missionary and is focused on stopping the spread of evil in the town, putting him directly in Calista’s path.  Calista is trying not to blow her cover, but Matthew is making her job increasingly difficult with his interference.  Nonetheless, she is determined to do her job and save the young kidnapped lady who is depending on her.

I really enjoyed this book!  I think my favorite part of this novel was the characters.  They are spunky, independent, fierce, and endearing and I liked Calista and Matthew instantly.  Their banter throughout the story is entertaining and fun to read.  I liked their interactions and their growth.  The addition of the mystery and suspense of the novel only serves to make the story even richer and deeper, and some of the levity is broken up with the hilarious scrapes that Calista finds herself in throughout the story.  The spiritual theme of finding God’s calling is clear in the novel and really applicable to my own life.  I greatly enjoyed this novel and look forward to more in the series!  There is a novella that preludes this book but it is not absolutely necessary to read that first.  However, I highly recommend both the novella and this new novel!

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

The Kissing Tree by Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, and Nicole Deese

“Broken Limbs, Mended Hearts” by Regina Jennings

Bella Eden would like to forget the embarrassment that happened at the old oak tree in town just before her eighteenth birthday.  But when the man who witnessed her humiliation comes to town 3 years later, Bella is mortified that he remembers that day.  Furthermore, he is determined to introduce an invention to the town that threatens her job.  Bella desperately hopes that she can prove her worth and overcome her fears despite her past.

What a delightful novella! I love that this short story allowed the characters to fully develop and grow despite the shorter amount of pages. I enjoyed getting to know Bella and Adam and liked that they had a past first before reconnecting several years later. There was realistic conflict and unpredictability to the plot that was interesting and kept my attention.  I liked the incorporation of the spiritual theme of trusting God to work out the details.  I definitely recommend this novella!

“Inn for a Surprise” by Karen Witemeyer

Phoebe Woodward is determined to build an inn that caters to couples, despite the fact that many do not believe in her vision.  Her father sends a property manager to assist her, but Phoebe finds Barnabas’s practicality stifling to her dream.  As she and Barnabas spend more time butting heads and discussing options, Phoebe begins to feel love tug on her own spinster heart.

Karen Witemeyer is a gift storyteller, no matter the length of the book!  This novella has fun characters that I found myself immediately invested in, there was spunky conflict that strengthened the plot, and, as with all her books, the romance was sizzling yet clean.  I greatly enjoyed reading this novella and loved the small connections to the first novella in the series.  I liked how Phoebe grows in her faith too as she learns to rely more on God and His plan.  I read through this story quickly as it was hard to put down.  Another highly recommended novella!

“From Roots to Sky” by Amanda Dykes

Luke Hampstead is comforted during World War II by letters he reads from the sister of a lost compatriot. He travels to Texas to thank the mysterious woman only to find that she is not what he expected.  Despite obligations elsewhere, Luke begins to question if the connection he has to her may be worth staying in Texas to explore further.

Amanda Dykes has a lyrical voice in fiction and reading her stories is always delightful.  I love how she is able to craft a deep and moving story in a short novella as well.  Her characters in this story are captivating and their relationship and interactions were easy to become invested in throughout the novella.  I loved their camaraderie and their romance is believable. The growth of the characters both in their relationship with God and with each other is sweet and touching.  I greatly enjoyed this novella and definitely recommend this story!

“Heartwood” by Nicole Deese

Abby is determined to preserve the old oak tree in her town.  She soon realizes that the only way she is going to save the tree is to join forces with a man she is determined to dislike after he left town years ago.  As Abby struggles with her past and maintaining the history of the tree, she begins to recognize that perhaps her future will not be quite as she predicted.

I have not had the pleasure of reading anything by Nicole Deese until this novella and her enchanting writing was a delight to read!  I found myself engrossed in the story and read through the novella in one sitting. I liked the characters a lot and enjoyed their romance throughout the story.  I enjoyed the spiritual theme of connecting God’s nature with the people living in the town and loved reading about Abby’s growth in the novella.  I am excited to read more by this author and recommend this novella!

Overall, this collection of novellas was a joy to read.  I loved how the stories all connected with The Kissing Tree and truly enjoyed each one of the individual novellas.  I highly recommend this collection!

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

The Major’s Daughter by Regina Jennings

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Caroline Adams dreams of adventure, and finding outlaw Frisco Smith and hearing his persuasive talks of the land run, she thinks she has found the perfect opportunity for something new and exciting.  Frisco Smith is focused on finding a permanent home, ready for the land run with a hidden piece of property he found earlier.  He does not expect the feisty Caroline to suddenly be the one vying for his property—and perhaps maybe also for his heart.


If you are looking for great fiction with fun characters, fascinating history, and animated romance, then look no further than The Major’s Daughter!  I love Regina Jennings’s writing because she can write depth of the characters and plot while also making the story amusing and interesting. I liked the characters in this story a lot and their banter and interactions were entertaining to read.  I have enjoyed this whole series, but I think this is my favorite!  You do not have to read the stories in order, but they are all fantastic and it gives you a bit more background on the characters.  The story has some unpredictable parts that keep the story moving. I liked the spiritual aspects woven among the plot as well.  I loved this book and I really cannot recommend it enough!

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

Serving Up Love by Tracie Peterson, Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, and Jen Turano

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Harvey Houses, scattered along the railway at the turn of the twentieth century, operated on only the strictest of standards, with women of exemplary character employed as waitress. These Harvey girls are independent and adventures, ready for any serving catastrophe, but not quite expecting the romance they each encounter.

A Flood of Love by Tracie Peterson – Gretchen Gottsacker returns to New Mexico for the first time in years, never expecting to find her old long lost love, now a widower, in the small town.  Determined to avoid him, she does not plan on befriending his young daughter—or the romance that flourishes once again.

Neatly written, this novella brings forth a lovely story from start to finish.  I liked that the characters were friends in the past, because it made the quicker progression of their relationship more realistic.  The addition of a spunky young girl is a great secondary character.  I enjoyed learning more about the tiny town of San Marcial, New Mexico as well. Overall, I liked this story!

More Than a Pretty Face by Karen Witemeyer – Rosalind Kemp is determined to escape her past mistakes, accepting a job as a Harvey girl in Texas with hopes of someday transferring to California.  She is not expecting a young, handsome, regular customer at the Harvey House to begin to draw her out of her shy shell.  However, as Rosalind gets closer to him, her past begins to catch up to her and threatens to destroy all she holds dear.


How is it possible for an author to write such an emotionally gripping story in such a short amount of words?  I was so excited to read more about Rosalind, who we met as Abigail’s sister in More Than Words Can Say.  She has made past mistakes but has matured into a wonderful young lady.  She is poised and pretty but also has gumption and strength that is admirable.  There are spiritual themes of forgiveness and mercy that are relatable and applicable to any reader.  I really liked the historical aspect of the story and learning more about the Harvey Houses.  I also found myself connecting with the characters almost immediately and definitely cried a time or two for Rosalind as she struggled and grew throughout the story. I really, really enjoyed this novella and highly recommend it!  The author has penned another winner!

Intrigue a la Mode by Regina Jennings – Willow Kentworth never imagines that she will be caught in the middle of a dangerous situation at one of the elegant Harvey Houses.  Even more so, she does not expect that the busboy, who seems to be keeping a secret of his own, becomes a confidant and a friend—and perhaps something more.

What a great read!  I definitely read this novella in one sitting, as I eagerly turned the pages to figure out the mystery of the story. Even though this may be a novella, the story develops well and contains quite of bit of content for such a short story. I really liked the characters and their relationship as they become friends, then partners as they solve a mystery, and finally fall in love.  I learned even more about the Harvey Houses from the historical tidbits.  I definitely recommend this novella!

A Grand Encounter by Jen Turano – Myrtle Schermerhorn becomes a Harvey girl to escape the embarrassment of a broken engagement in New York.  She has sworn off men forever—or at least until she meets the intriguing Jack Daggett.

Jen Turano always pens such fun stories, full of wit and humor that are intermingled with true character depth and development.  Her great writing style carries into even this short novella!  This story had time to develop with twists in the relationship despite its length.  I really enjoyed the setting and history, the intermixed bits of spirituality, and the budding romance.  I loved this novella and definitely recommend it!

Overall, this was such a fun collection of novellas that seemed to connect with the theme of the Harvey girls in such a unique way!  I really liked this book and highly recommend it!

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

The Lieutenant’s Bargain by Regina Jennings

The Lieutenant’s Bargain book cover

Lieutenant Jack Hennessey is tasked with approaching the Arapaho tribe to negotiate the safe transfer of Hattie Walker, a childhood friend who is attacked while traveling by stagecoach to Denver.  Hattie is determined to prove to her parents that she is not ready to settle down and marry; instead, she strikes a deal with them to allow her to paint for several months before returning home.  However, her detour with the attack and rescue delays her plans, which are delayed yet again when a communication error with the Arapaho force her to spend more time at Fort Reno with the handsome Lieutenant.

I really enjoyed this book! The story has spunky characters, fun dialogue, real faith, and sprinkles of surprises and danger to make an interesting read.  I enjoyed the history associated with the setting and the interactions with the neighboring Indians.  The plot flowed well and was easy to read.  I liked the conflicts and flaws that made the characters more realistic. You do not have to read the first book to enjoy this one, although I do recommend both of them and I look forward to the next book in the series!

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

Hearts Entwined by Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, and Melissa Jagears

Hearts Entwined Novella book cover

The Love Knot—Claire is expecting a much different package when her sister insists on sending her a gift by rail. She is even more surprised by the man who delivers the package. Claire has to sort through new challenges and her life is suddenly changed forever.

The Tangled Ties That Bind—Maggie is determined to move past rejection when Conner left her in her small town. She is thrilled with an opportunity to become a doctor and help others. Conner returns home just as her career is taking off and Maggie is suddenly faced with a decision between her job and her first love.

Bound and Determined—Bradley Willis is forced to endure a trip across the desert on the oddest form of transportation, all because he was attempting to fight off a gang of outlaws. He is not expecting to have to also manage the headstrong Ambrosia, who is equally determined to stop the herd from making it to Texas.

Tied and True—Marianne is in love with Calvin. The only problem is that he refuses to marry her because of her wealth. Stubborn and tenacious, Marianne turns away from all that is familiar and takes a job at a mill to prove to Calvin that she will do anything for their love.


What a charming set of four novellas! I love the strong, independent nature of all the women. If you have read other novels by these authors, you will also note that many of these characters are familiar. It was fun to see them all get their own happy endings. There were moments that made me laugh of loud (who ever heard of crossing camels across the United States) and moments that touched my heart (welcoming a young baby into their home). There is enough variety that appeals to all sorts of different audiences but also a central theme that allows the novellas to easily flow from one to the next. I hope these authors collaborate again! I definitely recommend this delightful book.


I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers/Regina Jennings 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.

For the Record by Regina Jennings


Betsy Huckabee is motivated to submit articles to a big city newspaper in order to support her budding career as a writer. The only issue is that her sleepy town of Pine Gap, Missouri, does not have enough unique excitement to sell her stories. That is, until the dashing Deputy Joel Puckett arrives in town. His goal might be to establish the law and show the masked marauders who is boss, but he is surprised when a feisty female is the one who seems to be resisting his methods. As Betsy attempts to elaborate Joel’s attributes in order to sell stories, she soon realizes that her stories may harm those she loves and entangle her heart in a messy situation.

I like strong heroines in novels so I was excited to read this story, as Betsy has spirit and gumption to carry her through all sorts of adventures. Her independence, however, never overshadows her desire to help her family, a trait I can admire. There were several surprising twists and the villain in the story keeps you guessing. This particular novel can be read alone as the story develops entirely in this book. I expected a little more humor to the dialogue, but I did still enjoy the characters, the setting, and the overall plot. The main protagonists both grow up a little in the novel and I enjoyed watching their friendship and eventual romance develop. I recommend this novel to lovers of historical fiction!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers and the generous author, Regina Jennings, in exchange for an honest review.