Saturday, January 29, 2022

The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie


Title: The Man in the Brown Suit

Author: Agatha Christie

Narrated by:  Alison Larkin

Publisher: Alison Larkin Presents

Length: Approximately 8 hours and 23 minutes

Source: Review Copy from Alison Larkin Presents.  Thank-you!

Agatha Christie continues to delight me.  The Man in the Brown Suit is the January selection for the #ReadChristie2022 challenge with the theme “Inspired by Agatha’s Travels.”  Agatha Christie used incidents and settings from her around the world trip with her first husband as inspiration for this novel.  I had no idea what this novel was about and found it was a fun travel novel filled mystery that I greatly enjoyed. 

 Anne Beddingfeld has recently lost her father and is trying to determine how to move forward in life.  After witnessing the death of a man on the train line, she starts to investigate the crime.  She uses her very small inheritance to purchase a ticket on a ship to South Africa.  Along the way she meets a motley crew of characters.  Will she be able to solve the mystery and how is everyone else involved?

 Anne is a delightful character and is the primary narrator of the novel.  She is looking for adventure and romance.  Alison Larkin is one of my favorite audiobook narrators and she brings a unique voice and humor to Anne’s narration.  Sir Eustace Pedler’s diary entries break up Anne’s narrative.  Larkin had a different voice for these entries, and they were hilarious as well.  Sir Eustace was very full of himself.  The novel also introduces Colonel Race who appears in three more Christie novels, including Death on the Nile.

 The Man in the Brown Suit was published in 1924 and is one of Christie’s early works.  I enjoyed it.  It was different than her other novels that I’ve read.  I would call this one more of a romantic thriller than a detective story.  I loved the adventure, the settings, the romance, and the humor.  Are any of Christie’s other novels similar to The Man in the Brown Suit?

 Overall, I enjoyed The Man in the Brown Suit, and this audiobook version was a charming narration of the story.


Friday, January 28, 2022

The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews (Austenprose PR Book Tour) Review and GIVEAWAY


What are your favorite outdoor sports or hobbies?  I love to go for walks, hikes, and bike rides.  When I was younger, I also loved to climb trees and read in them.  In this novel, the heroine loves horseback riding.

Evelyn Maltravers knows that her future hangs by a thread.  She is an orphan and the family hopes had all been placed on her beautiful older sister.  After her sister has scandalously run off with a neighbor, Evelyn knows it’s up to her to find a suitable match to help out her younger sisters.  She travels to London to stay with her uncle.  She decides to stand out from the crowd, that she will order a beautiful riding habit and show off her riding skills.

Half-Indian tailor Ahmad Malik has made a name for himself designing beautiful and unique riding habits for the Rotten Row’s infamous “Petty Horsebreakers.”  His dream is to own his own shop and he is trying to get unique gowns worn by someone in society to market his skills.  When Evelyn Maltravers stops by his shop to order a new riding habit, he realizes that she may be the person who can market his designs.  As he gets to know her, he discovers that he has feelings for her.  Will these two be able to pass the hurdles that society places on them to find their destinies?

I LOVED this novel.  In particular items I enjoyed included:

-        The cover is gorgeous, and it also matches that description in the novel.

  • -        Evelyn is an independent and unique character. As I also wear glasses, I love that she wears them and tells people the truth that she actually wants to be able to see.
  • -        Speaking of glasses, I love that Ahmad designed Evelyn’s dresses with pockets so that she could put her glasses in them.  I want functioning pockets on all of my clothing now and can’t always find them!
  • -        Ahmad Malik is a unique and honorable character.  I loved his artistic vision, but also his caring for his family and friends.
  • -        The book faces the fact that as a half Indian man in Victorian England, Ahmad faced prejudice and had a harder time trying to build a business and find love. 
  • -        Evelyn also makes it clear that trying to catch a husband is a serious affair.  She is not just a giggly girl.  Having a husband is the only way she as a woman during the Victorian era, can make sure that her and her sisters have support.
  • -        The book also looked at double standards.  Her neighbor, Anthony, ran off with her sister, Fenny, and hasn’t married her to keep his inheritance. Anthony’s family won’t let him marry her because she has lived with a man that is unmarried – Anthony! The hypocrisy with the situation is shocking, but also sad because this was how things worked in that time.
  • -        Evelyn loves to ride horses and trained her horse herself.  She is proud of it and doesn’t shy away from her strengths.
  • -        Lady Heatherton was a great villain.  She only thinks about herself and her needs and is ruthless.
  • -        The spiritualism subplot was interesting.  I know it was very in vogue during that time period in England and the United States.  Poor Evelyn is not amused by her uncle’s obsession with it.
  • -        I loved the author’s note which detailed the real history that was used in the novel.  I also thought the discussion questions looked interesting.  This would make a great book club book.
  • -        This is the start of a new series, the Belles of London, and I want to read more.  Evelyn’s friends were all interesting and unique and I want to learn more about them.  I in particular also loved the mysterious Captain Blunt in this novel.  I was excited to see in the excerpt for the new novel (The Belle of Belgrave Square) found at the end of this book, he will be prominently included!
  • -        The Siren of Sussex is a clean read. 

Overall, The Siren of Sussex is an engaging new historical romance with great characters, romance, historical details, and conflict.  I highly recommend it.

Book Source: Review Copy from Berkley Publishing as a part of the Austenprose PR Book Tour. Thank-you.  I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


·       Title: The Siren of Sussex: Belles of London (Book 1)

·       Author: Mimi Matthews

·       Genre: Historical Romance, Historical Fiction

·       Publisher: Berkley Romance (January 11, 2022)

·       Length: (432) pages

·       Format: Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook 

·       Tour Dates: January 10-30, 2022


Victorian high society’s most daring equestrienne finds love and an unexpected ally in her fight for independence in the strong arms of London’s most sought after and devastatingly handsome half-Indian tailor.

Evelyn Maltravers understands exactly how little she's worth on the marriage mart. As an incurable bluestocking from a family tumbling swiftly toward ruin, she knows she'll never make a match in a ballroom. Her only hope is to distinguish herself by making the biggest splash in the one sphere she excels: on horseback. In haute couture. But to truly capture London's attention she'll need a habit-maker who's not afraid to take risks with his designs—and with his heart.

Half-Indian tailor Ahmad Malik has always had a talent for making women beautiful, inching his way toward recognition by designing riding habits for Rotten Row's infamous Pretty Horsebreakers—but no one compares to Evelyn. Her unbridled spirit enchants him, awakening a depth of feeling he never thought possible.

But pushing boundaries comes at a cost and not everyone is pleased to welcome Evelyn and Ahmad into fashionable society. With obstacles spanning between them, the indomitable pair must decide which hurdles they can jump and what matters most: making their mark or following their hearts?


“…a tender and swoon worthy interracial, cross-class romance in Victorian London…Readers will delight in this paean to women’s fashion and horseback riding.”— Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Matthews brings the Victorian era to vivid life with meticulously researched details and an impossible romance made believable and memorable.”— Booklist, starred review

“Matthews deftly underscores racial and gender discrimination in Victorian London in this excellent start to ‘The Belles of London’ series; rather than overshadowing, it propels the romance. Romance aficionados who love fashion and animals will delight in this tender romance and will be excited to see Evelyn’s friends in future installments.” — Library Journal, starred review

"Unflinching, tender, and moving, the delicately crafted The Siren of Sussex might just be my favourite work from Mimi Matthews; it certainly is one of my favourite historical romance reads this year."— Evie Dunmore, USA Today bestselling author of Portrait of a Scotsman




USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, and Kirkus, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a retired Andalusian dressage horse, a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats.




Mimi has generously offered a fabulous giveaway package that book tour participants can add to their posts and on social media. Here are the details:

Timeframe: Jan 4 - Feb 7, 2022

Terms & Conditions:

Giveaway hosted by Mimi Matthews. No Purchase Necessary. Entrants must be 18 years or older. Open to US residents only. Void where prohibited.

The Giveaway Package:

1 winner (selected at random by Rafflecopter) receives the following:

Signed print copy of The Siren of Sussex

Horse scarf

Pewter sidesaddle brooch (made in Sussex, England!)

The Siren of Sussex tote bag

Three candles in scents: Fresh Hay, New Saddle, and Winter Ride

Box of Ahmad Tea (60 count, assorted flavors)

The Siren of Sussex bookmark

The giveaway is open from 12:01 am Pacific time 1/4/22 until 11:59pm Pacific time on 2/7/22.

The winner will be announced on Mimi's blog - – at 8:00 pm Pacific time on 2/8/22.

: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Waverly by Sir Walter Scott


Title:  Waverly

Author: Sir Walter Scott

Narrated by:  David Rintoul

Publisher: Naxos Audiobooks

Length: Approximately 17 hours and 9 minutes

Source: Purchased from (Audible)

Have you ever heard of the Waverly novels?  I first heard of them when I was a kid and read how Laura Ingalls Wilder read them in The First Four Years.  I later learned that Jane Austen enjoyed them.  The first of the Waverly novels, Waverly, was chosen as one of the January selections for the Northwoods JASNA Book Club.

I started to read this as a novel, but realized I needed an audiobook to help with the “old fashioned” language.  Switching to audio really helped out. Even better David Rintoul was the narrator.  He played Mr. Darcy in the 1980 Pride and Prejudice adaptation.  He had a great voice for audio.

Waverly is credited as being the first historical fiction novel.  The subtitle is “’Tis Sixty Years Since” and it is set during the Jacobite uprising of 1745.  If you are an Outlander fan, this should be a familiar setting.  Edward Waverly is the heir to an estate through his uncle.  He has decided to join the army right before the Jacobite uprising.  He is stationed in Scotland and travels through the country on the way to his post.   Through a series of misunderstandings, he loses his commission in the army and finds himself amongst the rebellion.  He even meets Bonnie Prince Charlie.  He also meets two beautiful, but very different women, Anne and Flora.  Which one will he choose and how will he survive the uprising?

This book was very popular in its day.  I think the romance, adventure, and uniqueness drew people to the novel.  I found it difficult to keep my interest in as the story rambled and went off into areas that were not important for the plot.  Edward Waverly, was a poor hero.  He didn’t stand for any one cause and just seemed to float through the novel observing the action and heroics of others.  This was Sir Walter Scott’s first novel.  Does his writing style get better in his later famous works Ivanhoe and Rob Roy?  Unfortunately, none of the other book club members could get into this book.  I think it’s lucky I switched to audio.

Monday, January 24, 2022

A Scoundrel of Her Own by Stacy Reid (TLC Book Tour)


As a child, Lady Ophelia Darby was involved in a terrible carriage accident that washed her downstream.  Luckily a young peasant boy jumped into the river to save her.  They stayed together in a cabin in the woods for days until they were rescued.  They promise to wed each other someday.  But how can a peasant boy marry the daughter of a Marquess?

Now an adult, Lady Ophelia moves through her regular society events during the day but sings as Lady Starlight in the shadowy underworld at night.  She wants to find the answer to her father’s dark secret, and also to discover more about the mysterious Devlin Byrne, master of the underworld.  When she discovers that Devlin was the young boy who saved her, she is intrigued.  As the two get to know each other, how can they move forward into the future with such different pasts?

I was engaged by story immediately.  I loved how it started as a childhood love.  I loved a story of two star crossed lovers from different backgrounds trying to figure out how to make it work.  I also loved the mysteries in the romance that had to be solved.  I loved how Lady Ophelia was an independent woman who wanted to marry for love, and I loved how Devlin supported her.  I just loved a lot about this romance novel.  There were a couple of steamy scenes in the novel, but it didn’t go overboard.

This was the third book in the Sinful Wallflowers series, but it read well as a stand-alone.  I want to check out the rest of the series now!

Favorite Quotes:

“We all have a bit of madness in our hearts; we’ve just learned to hide it.  I admit I might sparkle a little brighter because, according to my father, I have been overindulged.”

“He made her feel safe. . . cherished, and Ophelia inexplicably knew he would stand before any storm that came her way.  His loyalty was unswerving, and she felt undeserving.”

Overall, A Scoundrel of Her Own was a delightful Regency romance novel.

Book Source:  Review Copy from Entangled Publishing for being a part of the TLC Book Tour.  Thank-you.  I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer


What is your favorite genre to read?  My favorite genre is historical fiction.  We recently read The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer in my Rogue (FLICKS) Book Club.

The Things We Cannot Say is a dual novel set in WWII era Poland and contemporary Florida. Alina Dziak is engaged to her childhood sweetheart Tomasz.  While he is away at college, the Nazis invade and take overtake their small Polish village.  Will she survive and will she be able to find Tomasz?  Alice is a stay-at-home Mom in modern day Florida, busy taking care of her autistic son and brilliant daughter.  When her dying grandmother asks her to find answers to her questions from the past, Alina travels to Poland.  Will she be able to find the answers her grandmother seeks?

This was an engaging novel.  I especially liked Alina’s story.  I did not know much about how people were treated by the Nazis in a conquered Poland.  I had a harder time with Alice’s story at first as she seemed like she was being a martyr.  Only she could take care of the kids and she was obsessed with how life wasn’t fair that she chose to not have a career to take care of her kids.  I was concerned that her husband didn’t know how to take care of their kids.  Really?  It seemed like a dysfunctional marriage, but luckily, they are able to pull through it and it made me enjoy the novel more.   I liked figuring out the mystery of Alice’s grandma’s past, although some of it didn’t quite make sense to me (really – you would wait until you are in your nineties to find out answers?).  While I enjoy WWII books, I think I’m experiencing a bit of burn out reading them and need to read about some other time periods.  I did really enjoy the author’s note at the end of the novel that included pictures of the author visiting her grandmother’s village in Poland.

Favorite Quotes:

“Hatred spreads—it doesn’t burn out with time. Someone needs to stand up and stop it.”

“To destabilize a group of people is not at all difficult, not if you are willing to be cruel enough.”

“Life has a way of reminding you that you are at the mercy of chance, and that even well-thought-out plans can turn to chaos in an instant.”

“Our family life is never going to be easy, but that can’t stop any one of us from reaching for our dreams.”

Overall, The Things We Cannot Say is an engaging WWII novel set in Poland.

Book Source:  Checked out from the Kewaunee Library.  Thank-you!

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray


Have you learned about any interesting historical figures lately? 

Belle de Costa Greene was the personal librarian of J.P. Morgan in the early 1900s.  She was a young librarian at Princeton who came to the attention of Morgan’s nephew.  What no one knows about Belle de Costa Green is that she is African American passing as white.  As she becomes one of the most powerful women in New York City, she always has to be on her guard so that no one will guess her secret.  Will she be able to find satisfaction in life?

I was fascinated by Belle’s story.  I had never heard about her before and was riveted that she was a real person in our history.  This was the January selection for the Page Turners Book Club at the Kewaunee Public Library.  We met last week and discussed this book. Even better, Carol the librarian showed us the pictures online of what this beautiful library looked like. It was so interesting. Belle was able to use almost unlimited purchasing power to build a world class collection of books for J.P. Morgan.  She was also able to use her influence to ensure the collection would be able to be used by the citizens of New York.

I was saddened by her story of never being able to be her true self.  She had a wonderful childhood in Washington, D.C., but her mother took her family to New York City to pass for white.  Her mother wanted her children to have good opportunities that she felt they couldn’t have as African Americans.  Her father was the first black graduate of Harvard and worked towards civil rights.  He left the family after they started to pass.  Belle never got over the loss of her father. Belle had a great love in art collector Bernard, but he really annoyed me.  He seemed very self-centered.  I enjoyed Belle’s triumphs but felt sad for all that she had to give up.

Overall, The Personal Librarian was a very interesting book about a new figure in history for me.  It also got me ready to watch The Gilded Age on HBO.  Is anyone else excited about this new series?

Book Source:  Kewaunee Public Library.  Thank-you!

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Dinner on Primrose Hill by Jodi Thomas


What are your favorite meals to share with family and friends?  Do you cook the dinner, is it a potluck, do you go out to eat?

I read Dinner on Primrose Hill by Jodi Thomas in November for the Brenda Novak Book Group.  This delightful romance takes place in Honey Creek, Texas and focuses on three couples.  Benjamin Monroe teaches chemistry at the local college and has his life planned out and orderly.  When his new colleague, Virginia Clarke, arrives, his routines are thrown to the wind. He also feels like he has met her somewhere before. Where could it have been?

One of Benjamin’s students, Ketch Kincaid, has retired from military service and is earning his college degree.  He is shocked when his fiancée dumps him.  Can he find love again when he meets Tuesday, a local waitress, who shares his old soul? 

Millie is the college librarian, and she is hit by local pastor’s son, Hank, while crossing the road.  With no family in town to help her, Hank helps her out in her recover.  While Millie is a button up librarian, everyone in town knows that Hank is the wild son of the pastor who has just recently returned to town.  Will these two be able to get past trust issues?

When pipe bombs are discovered around town, will these couples be able to work together to solve the mystery? 

I really enjoyed the cozy romances in this story and the humor.  I enjoyed all three couples, and the small college town setting.  I also really loved Tuesday’s historic home, its history, and how Ketch helped her with fixing it up.  I want an entire novel focused on the house!  I did enjoy the second chance romance theme of this novel.  This was part of a series, but I read it as a standalone novel and that worked for me. 

Favorite Quotes:

“Hank hoped he was wrong, but sometimes it seemed all the people in the world were broken somehow.  Everyone held a story they would never voice.”

Overall, if you are looking for a good second chance romance, Dinner on Primrose Hill is the perfect novel.

Book Source:  Review Copy from NetGalley.  Thank-you! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James


Title:  The Portrait of a Lady

Author: Henry James

Narrated by:  John Wood

Publisher: Audible

Length: Approximately 23 hours and 55 minutes

Source: Purchased from 

 Has a second read of a book changed the way your have perceived a novel?

 The Portrait of a Lady was the October selection of the Back to the Classics Book Club at the Kewaunee Public Library.  I had previously read this novel when I was in college.

 The Portrait of a Lady follows the journey of Isabel Archer as she comes to England to meet her Uncle and Cousin and decide what she wants to do with life.  She has a variety of suitors and choses the wrong one. 

 I had a hard time with The Portrait of a Lady this time around.  It was a very slow book to read.  I thought it would help to listen to it on audiobook, but even on audiobook, it really dragged for me.  When I got to book club, it seemed that we were all in agreement that this book was very slow.  I could see why Ernest Hemingway was considered to be so innovative.  James really needed to cut down on his prose.  I really enjoyed Washington Square by Henry James as well as The Turn of the Screw.  Shorter works better for him.  The Portrait of a Lady was first published in the Atlantic Monthly and it seems like it was stretched out because it was a periodical.

 I think a problem that I had with it as well as other book club members is that we are constantly told that Isabel is quite special and has such potential, but it is hard to see it in the novel.  Why exactly is she special?  She seems to make very poor choices.  It’s almost like she picked the man to marry because he was the only one that seemed to be indifferent to her.  The ending of the book made me very angry.  Is she a lady because she chooses to stay with a man that treats her badly instead of getting a divorce?  I don’t know.  The meaning of it all was not working for me. 

 Henry James was writing about a woman, but it seemed almost that he didn’t like women and thought them foolish in their decisions.  He didn’t really seem to understand women.

 What am I missing?  Why did I like this book when I was in college?  Is there anyone that would like to tell me why this is a classic and beloved?


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Christmas at Thompson Hall & Other Christmas Stories by Anthony Trollope


What genre would you like to read more of?  I would like to read more classic authors and novels this year.  With the Back to the Classics Book Club fired up again at the Kewaunee Public Library, I’m hoping that helps me to meet my goal!

Christmas at Thompson Hall by Anthony Trollope was one of the December selections for the Back to the Classics Book Club.  I read this on Christmas Day and found it to be quite delightful.  I have read and enjoyed a few of Trollope’s novels in the past, but I have not read any of his short stories until now.  This collection had a few gems.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the humorous short stories made me laugh out loud a few times.  They are set in the nineteenth century, mostly in England, but one is during the American Civil War.  They really show Trollope’s wit and his excellence at writing great characters.  My favorite story was the title story, Christmas at Thompson Hall.  It is a story of mistaken identify in the British upper classes as one woman struggles to return from France to her family’s estate Thompson Hall for Christmas.  We all enjoyed the story.  I think it would make a great Masterpiece Theatre movie.

Overall, if you are looking for a good way to experience the writing style of Anthony Trollope, or you are looking for a humorous light Victorian story, I highly recommend this collection.

This is my last Christmas review for the season, although I may be tempted to read another Christmas book yet this winter.

Book Source: I received this as a Christmas gift last year.

Monday, January 10, 2022

A Christmas Legacy by Anne Perry


What is your favorite historical time period for novels?  I love reading about all time periods, but Regency, Victorian, and Medieval times are my favorite.   A Christmas Legacy by Anne Perry is set during the Victorian era at the start of the twentieth century.

Gracie, the former maid to Thomas and Charlotte Pitt, spends the Christmas season helping out Millie, the daughter of a late friend.  Millie is sure something isn’t right in the household that she works in, and Gracie takes her place as a maid to investigate.  Once there, Gracie realizes that there is a mysterious presence hidden on the upper floor.  Why is someone hidden in the house?  And why does Millie think items are disappearing?

This was a sad and touching story.  I was appalled by the treatment of the mysterious person in the household but touched that the household staff pulled together to try to help out as they can.  The ending of this story was very satisfying.  This book works as a standalone novel.  I read this right before Christmas, and it put me in the Christmas mood.  I’ll be reading another Anne Perry mystery next year.

Book Source:  Review Copy from NetGalley.  Thank-you! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

The Christmas Dress by Courtney Cole


Meg Julliard has big dreams of breaking into the fashion world in New York City.  After her father’s death, she leaves her job in NYC to return to her hometown of Chicago to manage her father’s apartment building.  It doesn’t take long for her to realize that the building is in bad shape, and there is not any money to update it.  As she gets to know the residents, Meg realizes that it is a special building, and also that the residents don’t have the funds for a rent increase.  She befriends a wonderful older woman named Ellie who has a beautiful and special dress.  Ellie gifts the dress to Meg who uses it as an inspiration to start her own line of classic beautiful dresses.  Will she be able to win a fashion contest with her new designs?  Will she be able to get the money to rehabilitate her old building?  Will the cute handyman, Logan, who seems to be keeping the building together, be able to help her out?

I loved this cute story.  There were so many elements that I enjoyed.  I loved that the building had a very interesting and mysterious past that was discovered throughout the book.  I also like that Meg had to figure out what she really wanted in life and how to make it happen.  I adored the romance between Meg and Logan.  Logan helped Meg on her adventures and helping her to make her dreams come true.  The dress was magical, and I enjoyed the story of the dress itself.  I loved the relationship between Meg and Ellie, and how they both helped each other come to terms with their pasts. The community of the building felt like a community that cared about one another and was unique.   This book was a clean and enjoyable read.

Favorite Quotes:

“Life isn’t a fairy tale.  But sometimes, it’s still beautiful.”

“You never know what is happening behind the masks people wear.”

Overall, if you are looking for a heartwarming and sweet novel, I highly recommend The Christmas Dress.

Book Source:  Review Copy from William Morrow.  Thank-you! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Mistletoe Christmas by Eloisa James, Christi Caldwell, Janna MacGregor, Erica Ridley


What is your favorite Christmas genre for movies or shows?  Romance, mystery, or other?  I have a favorite subgenre, Christmas Regency Romance. 

Mistletoe Christmas is a very enjoyable Christmas anthology of novellas. I really loved how it was set up.  All of the novellas exist in the same world at the Duke of Greystoke’s Christmas Revelry in 1815.  The Duke’s Revelry is famous for the snow grotto, dancing, plays, and scandals.  Everyone wants to be on the guest list. The four novellas focused on four different women, and all have interconnecting characters.

Lady Cressida is the Duke’s youngest daughter and unbeknownst to most, she the person who actually runs the Revelry.  Her father expects her to continue to run this after his passing and to have no life of her own.  Does Lady Cressida want a different path in life?  Lady Isabelle Wilkshire loves the theatre and is directing a play at the Revelry.  It brings her back together with her former fiancé.  Will she be able to find love again?  Lady Caroline Whitmore is unhappily married but needs to show the Duke that she is happily married in order to get access to her inheritance.  Will she be able to find happiness with her husband?  Miss Louisa Harcourt is being directed by her mother to marry for money before she becomes an old maid, but what if she wants to marry for love?

All four of these ladies had a very interesting story and great character growth.  I loved the setting, the interconnection, and the love stories.  I highly recommend this book!

Book Source:  Review copy from Avon Books. Thank-you! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Dreaming of Christmas by T.A. Williams


Title:  Dreaming of Christmas

Author: T.A. Williams

Narrated by:  Anne Marie Piazza

Publisher: Saga Egmont Audio

Length: Approximately 7 hours and 59 minutes

Source: Review Copy from NetGalley.  Thank-you!

 Zoe Lumsley was dumped on Christmas Eve by her long-term boyfriend Grant.  It’s taken her a year, but she is starting to put her life back together.  She gets an invitation from her old college friend turned IT entrepreneur, Billy, to spend Christmas in the Alps with her college friends.  Unfortunately as Bill is a reclusive Tech millionaire, her boss wants her to write an exclusive piece on Billy to keep her job.  Also unfortunately, Grant will be attending. While Zoe enjoys her time with her friends, will she be able to move on from Grant?  What will she do about the article her work wants her to write?

 I loved the atmosphere of this book.  The descriptions of the Austrian ski trip were delightful.  I am ready for a Christmas trip to Austria!  I also loved how Zoe was the friend that all of the other friends talked to, and we got to learn their stories.  I also enjoyed Zoe’s growth and she put together what she wanted out of life and love. 

 Anne Marie Piazza had a soothing voice and was a good narrator. I loved her British accent!

 SPOILER ALERT – What I didn’t like was that it seemed pretty apparent early on who the love interest would be, but it was very confusing as he was married.  It turned out to be a “fake marriage.”  It didn’t really make sense to me at all.  If he was in love with Zoe and wanted to win her love, why would he show up with a fake wife?  This was the only thing I didn’t like about the story, but it was a pretty major flaw.  – SPOILER END

 Overall, Dreaming of Christmas is a fun Christmas story with a great setting and interesting characters.  The romance didn’t work for me as well as it could have.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Threads of Magic by Monica Fairview

What would happen if Darcy and Elizabeth lived in a magical world?  Threads of Magic picks up right where the first novel in the series, Dangerous Magic left off.  I would recommend reading Dangerous Magic first.  It’s been about a year since I’ve read it and it took me a bit to remember the details and get back into the story.  Once I was back in though, I couldn’t stop reading this story!

The French have attacked the Mages’ Hall with a giant fireball, but Elizabeth was able to connect with others and stop the attack.  Unfortunately that has left Bingley and the two others as a walking shell.  Unable to verify that the attack took place, people are wary of Elizabeth and think her type of magic is dangerous.  Darcy and Elizabeth are newlyweds but must learn to work together to make their Twin Janus powers stronger.  In order to hide from the French, the Mages lease Netherfield Hall.  Soon, Darcy and Elizabeth realize there is an enemy within their, and it is bound and determined to get rid of them.  Who is the enemy on the British side? Will they be able to determine who their French prisoner is and why they were attacking?  Will Bingley be restored to normal?

I love this fantasy world and the inventive tale.  I really liked the action and the mystery of who was after Elizabeth and Darcy.  I love that we get to see some of our favorite characters, in a new way.  Fairview is great at writing Austen characters, and they stay true to their source characters.  I really love how Elizabeth and Darcy had to focus on building their relationship.

Favorite Quotes:

“There was something particularly poignant about having Bingley immobile in a ballroom.  Bingley loved dancing, and the glittering crystal chandelier about him seemed to mock his inertness.”

“That was what marriage was about.  A lifetime of possibilities together.”

“People believe what they choose to believe. Evidence has little bearing on the matter.”

“You always think the best of people, even when evidence points to the contrary.”

Overall, Threads of Magic by Monica Fairview and the Dangerous Magic series is a great new magical Regency fantasy series starring some of the best characters from literature.

Book Source:  Review Copy from author Monica Fairview.  Thank-you! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.