Friday, March 29, 2024

A Great Country by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (Bibliolifestyle Book Tour)


Thank you, Partner @bibliolifestyle @marinerbooks for the review copy of A Great Country by Shilpi Somaya Gowda.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Have you ever moved to a new area, or do you live where you grew up?  I grew up in a small town in Michigan, but I now live in a small town in Wisconsin.  There are some differences and some similarities.

Another question, have you ever had something go wrong even though you’ve done everything correctly in life?  I feel like we’ve all had that moment where life suddenly goes wrong.  That is what happens for the Shah family in A Great Country.  They have moved to the prestigious Pacific Hills area in California and things seem to be going well for the family.  Suddenly one night, the Shah parents, Ashok, and Priya, receive a call while at a dinner party.  Their 12-year-old son has been arrested.  How can this be and how can they help their son?  How can this happen to model minorities?

My thoughts on this book:

·       Wow!  This book packed a lot of important and thoughtful topics in a relatively short book.  It would make an excellent book club pick and would provide a lot of discussion points.

·       I liked the thoughts on being a model minority and what that means.  The Shah family has been in the United States for twenty years, worked hard and built a successful business.  Does that protect them from being perceived in a biased manner?

·       This novel also turned bias around the other way.  Does the Shah family hold biased views against other groups?  What is the difference between them and another family who had their young son killed?

·       Do you need a new fancy house in a new fancy neighborhood to be successful?

·       It turns out that their 12-year-old son, Ajay, is on the spectrum.  Ashok does not want his son labeled and has not had him evaluated or tried to receive any help for him. Culturally he believes that children should be perfect. He thought things were fine until Ajay did not react the way the police think he should react.  I liked the thoughtful look into realizing that it is okay if your child has problems, and it is okay to get help for those problems.

·       As a mother, I thought this entire scenario was very scary, but also very important to think about.  Do you think, well, that will not happen to my children because they are of a certain ethnicity or a certain religion?  Is that okay?

·       I also liked the thoughtful look at the police.  Just like people, there are good and bad police.  And even the so called “bad police” may have had experiences that make them have certain bias or perceptions that they use to protect themselves. In this case, one of the police was a veteran that had seen young children used as weapons for terrorism in Afghanistan.

·       It had an interesting look at the caste system in modern day India and how that may trickle over into immigrants in America and how they treat others.

·       The ending was satisfactory to me, but I’m sure some will think it ends too tidy.

·       I have read and enjoyed Secret Daughter by this author in the past.  This reminds me that I should read her other novels.  She is an excellent author.

·       If you enjoyed reading Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, I highly recommend this novel.

Favorite Quotes:

“He’s at a tender age, your brother.  Losing his innocence.  Seeing the ugliness of the world.  But he’ll get through it. You all will.”

“An immigrant-rich country like ours makes for a complex fabric.  These are tricky things to navigate in our society, which is something Vikram’s learning as well.  We are all here too help you.”

Overall, A Great County by Shilpi Somaya Gowda is a book that I will think about for a long time.  It’s an important and timely read.

Murder at the Blarney Bash by Darci Hannah


Do you like to read books that are set during holiday seasons?  I love holiday themed books!

It’s St. Patrick’s Day in the small town of Beacon Harbor, Michigan that is located on the shores of Lake Michigan.  Lindsey Bakewell, amateur sleuth, and baker, is cooking up all sorts of St. Patrick’s day delights to celebrate the opening of the Blarney Stone, a new Irish import store.  It’s a dangerous time in Beacon Harbor during the holidays.  When a leprechaun is murdered, Lindsey is on the case. 

My thoughts:

·       I love the holiday theme to this book; I haven’t read that many St. Patrick’s Day books.

·       The quant setting in a small Lake Michigan town is a lot of fun.  I also enjoy all of the characters.

·       This is the fifth book in the Beacon Bakeshop mystery.  I have read the fourth book and this one.  You can read them as stand-alone novels, but it is nice to get to know the characters.  I need to go back and read the first three books!

·       I love that this book is self-aware. 

o   “‘We’ve been known to investigate murders before around here.’’And are there many murders?’ she asked, looking rather frightened at this.  ‘I was under the impression that this was a friendly village.’”

o   “What was I doing?  Was I really hosting a town hall meeting over possible sightings of a man dressed as s leprechaun...who’d been brutally murdered . . . possibly by Rory’s uncle?  Was I insane?  Had I reached rock bottom?  Is this what living in a small village on the frozen shores of Lake Michigan did to people?”

o   Moments like these made me laugh out loud.

·       The story did move a bit slowly for me.

·       I love how food was discussed throughout the stories and there were tasty looking recipes at the end.

Overall, Murder at the Blarney Bash was a fun holiday themed cozy mystery.

Book Source:  Review copy from NetGalley. Thank-you!  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Pride and Preston Lin by Christina Hwang Dudley (Austenprose PR Book Tour)


What is your favorite retelling of a classic story?  From fairy tales to Jane Austen, I love when classic stories are rewritten into a modern setting.

Pride and Preston Lin by Christina Hwang Dudley is a truly delightful Pride and Prejudice retelling.  Lissie a college student working in her family’s Chinese restaurant.  When she accidentally serves a patron, a dish she is allergic to, she almost unwittingly takes down her Aunt and Uncle’s entire business.  One of the patron’s friends, Preston Lin, wrote a scathing article about the incident, citing the restaurant by name.  Now business is down, and Lissie is desperate to help her family.  She despises Preston Lin.  Unfortunately for her, Preston Lin keeps appearing wherever she goes.  Can Lissie and Preston both get over their pride and initial misconceptions of each other to find love?

My thoughts on this novel:

·       This retelling worked well as Christina Hwang Dudley kept the major bones of the classic story, but made it her own with the setting, and modern tweaks to the storyline.

·       I liked the inventive names Christina Hwang Dudley used to keep the names similar, but with a Chinese American twist.

·       I really loved the Asian American representation and spin on the classic story.

·       The San Francisco Bay setting was perfect.  I also liked how Preston attending Stanford and coming from a wealthy family was juxtaposed with Lissie attending San Jose State and her family owning a restaurant. 

·       Lissie and her sisters Jenny and JoJo are orphans, but their Aunt and Uncle have stepped up to parent them.

·       Lissie takes over taking her little sister JoJo to swim lessons where she meets the attractive Coach Wayman Wang who has a mysterious past with Preston Lin.

·       The characters are great.  Lissie has a quick wit and is a strong woman.  Preston seemed like a stuck-up prick, but he grew to be a nice guy by the end.  The side characters were also well developed.

·       Mini Spoiler Alert, I appreciated that the tragedy at the end that brings Preston and Lissie together has to do with Coach Want having inappropriate relationships with the mothers of the students rather than inappropriate relationships with the students themselves.

·       This book would be classified as New Adult rather than a romance.  Preston Lin and Lissie don’t have much of a romance in this novel.  They just realize that they like each other and have a kiss, and the book ends. 

·       I would love a second book to give Jenny and Charles more time to develop their romance, and to find out what happens to Lissie’s play and other open storylines.

·       This book just was a happy book that kept me entertained during a very stressful week.

Overall, Pride & Preston Lin is an enjoyable modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in the Chinese community in San Francisco Bay.  This story is timeless, and it works across so many settings, time periods, and cultures.

Book Source:  Review copy from Third State Books for being a part of the Austenprose PR Book Tour. Thank-you!  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

In this modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice, the quick-witted and contrarian Lissie Cheng must navigate societal pressures and her growing attraction to the rich and enigmatic Preston Lin.

Lissie is the middle of three sisters, orphaned and taken in by their aunt and uncle. Both she and her older sister, Jenny, work in the family restaurant while pursuing their education and career dreams. When Lissie accidentally serves a dish containing shellfish paste to an allergic customer, she runs afoul of the wealthy Lin family. Their golden boy, Preston, star swimmer and Stanford Ph.D. student, is as handsome as he is self-righteous. Lissie hates him and everything he stands for, but circumstances keep bringing them together. Can she overcome her pride and her initial misgivings about Preston Lin and his condescending mother? Will love prevail, and will these enemies turn into lovers?

Pride and Preston Lin by popular Regency romance writer Christina Hwang Dudley is a hilarious and earnest contemporary riff on Jane Austen’s classic work. And readers will undoubtedly root for Lissie Cheng, a sassy new Elizabeth Bennet for our times, to find lasting love and happiness.


Christina Dudley's books have been called "enchanting," "sparkling" and "swoon-worthy" by reviewers like Austenprose and Austenesque Reviews. She's authored two award-winning Regency series: The Hapgoods of Bramleigh and The Ellsworth Assortment, as well as PRIDE AND PRESTON LIN, a contemporary riff on Austen's classic which was chosen as a February 2024 Editor's Pick by Kirkus Reviews Magazine and received starred reviews from both them and Booklist. She and her family live in Bellevue, Washington.

"In a world with so many Pride & Prejudice adaptations, a new one has to be truly special to stand out, and this one is. Dudley’s contemporary debut is faithful to its source material but finds clever ways to make it work in a modern setting, while also adding an authentic Chinese American perspective on the beloved story. A warm, sweet story with all the witticisms Austen fans savor."— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Like Crazy (not) Rich Asians meets Jane Austen, Pride and Preston Lin is a delightful retelling of a beloved classic that had me smiling from page one."— Evelyn Skye, New York Times bestselling author of The Hundred Loves of Juliet

Monday, March 25, 2024

The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder by C.L. Miller


Title: The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder

Author: C.L. Miller

Narrated by:  Emilia Fox

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Length: Approximately 11 hours and 3 minutes

Source: Review Copy from Simon & Schuster Audio.  Thank you @simonandschuster @BookClubFavorites #BookClubFavorites for the free books!

Do you collect antiques?  I love antiques and have enjoyed going to antique shops since I was a kid.  I live in a historic home now, so the gathering of antiques continues.

Freya Lockwood is a woman in her forties and an empty nester.  After a traumatic experience in her twenties, she put away her beloved career as an antique hunter to live a quiet nondramatic life in the background.  While she regrets her “safe” marriage, she doesn’t regret her beloved daughter.  After her mentor Arthur is murdered, she discovers that Arthur has left her a mysterious job assessing antiques.  Will this lead her to Arthur’s killer?

My thoughts on this delightful mystery:

·       I really enjoyed the unique angle of antique hunting that is tied in with the mystery. It made this book a lot of fun.

·       The characters are great.  I especially loved eccentric Aunt Carole.  She is a hoot!

·       The primary setting of this novel is at a remote English manor which gave this an Agatha Christie mixed with the Antiques Road Show vibe.

·       There were multiple viewpoints, but the main narrator is Freya throughout the novel.

·       I enjoyed that the two main leads were older ladies.  Although I feel pained saying older ladies as Freya is my contemporary!

·       I did not guess the ending of this mystery which is always enjoyable for me.

·       Emilia Fox is an excellent audiobook narrator.  I have enjoyed her narration in the past.

·       There is an interview with the author at the end of the audiobook that was very enjoyable.  The author’s mother is an expert with BBC’s Antique Roadshow.

·       I also was excited that in the interview, it was announced that there will be a follow-up to this book.  It did set up the ending perfectly to continue in the second book.

Overall, The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder by C.L. Miller is an enjoyable cozy mystery that has an Agatha Christie mixed with the Antiques Road Show vibe.  I loved the characters of Freya and Aunt Carole and I can’t wait for their next adventure!

Saturday, March 23, 2024

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie


Title:  The Secret Adversary

Author:  Agatha Christie

Narrated by:  Emma Fenney

Publisher: Dreamscape Media

Length: Approximately 8 hours and 33 minutes

Source: Checked out with Hoopla through the Kewaunee Public Library.  Thank-you!


Do you have any favorite spy novels, shows, or movies?  I always enjoy watching the James Bond movies.

I read The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie in February for #ReadChristie2024.  #ReadChristie2024 has a theme this year of through the decades.  January – March are books written by Agatha Christie in the 1920’s.  The Secret Adversary was Agatha Christie’s second novel published in 1922 and the first novel featuring the detective solving pair, Tommy and Tuppence.  Christie wrote a novel or short story collection about this crime solving duo each decade of her writing career and they aged along with her.  I have read their first two books and I can’t wait to read the rest of their adventures!

The Secret Adversary is set right after the first world war or “The Great War.”  Friends Tommy Beresford and Prudence “Tuppence” Cowley run into each other in London in 1920.  They  discover they are both searching for a job.  They start the “young adventurers” to solve cases.  A man overhearing them talk asks for their help in in finding the missing Jane Finn who disappeared when the  Luisitana sank about five years before and may have had secret government documents with her.  They are off on an adventure that includes foreign agents, the mysterious Mr. Brown, amnesia, kidnapping, proposals, and more.  Will they find Jane and the missing documents?

I really like Tommy and Tuppence and their capers.  This was a fun adventure with witty banter, evil villians, and a lot of action.  It was a lot of fun to me, but it isn’t like her “typical” Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple novels.  I really like the Agatha Christie wrote such different types of mysteries.  I also liked the romance between Tommy and Tuppence.  She wants to marry a rich man and I enjoyed how they both realized their feelings for each other and that they didn’t want her to marry rich when given the chance.  This wasn’t my favorite mystery of Christie’s, but I did really like the fun and adventure.

I really liked the opening line of this novel, “It was 2 p.m. on the afternoon of May 7, 1915. The Lusitania had been struck by two torpedoes in succession and was sinking rapidly, while the boats were being launched with all possible speed.”  I thought it was interesting that this book used an event that had happened not too long before it was published.  I was also intrigued to learn that Tommy served in the military and Tuppence was a nurse during the Great War.

I listened to The Secret Adversary on audiobook and Emma Fenney was a great narrator!

Friday, March 22, 2024

Maude Horton’s Glorious Revenge by Lizzie Pook


Title: Maude Horton’s Glorious Revenge

Author:  Lizzie Pook

Narrated by:  Genevieve Gaunt

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Length: Approximately 9 hours and 31 minutes 

Source: Review Copy from Simon & Schuster Audio.  Thank you @simonandschuster @BookClubFavorites #BookClubFavorites for the free books!

Do you have any favorite stories, books, or movies that focus on revenge?  Whenever I think about revenge, I think about The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas and the excellent movie.

The first chapter of Maude Horton’s Glorious Revenge starts with the execution, and it says it’s starting at the end of the story.  Who is being executed?  I thought this was a very engaging introduction.

Maud’s sister, Constance, dressed a s a boy and left Victorian London on a ship that was going to the Artic to rescue another ship.  She does not return alive, and her sister Maude wants answers.  

My thoughts on this book:

The book alternates between Maude, her sister Constance’s diary, and Edison, a man that Maude suspects murdered her sister.

London is swept up in a “murder mania.”  Edison has started tours to bring people on trips to public executions.  Maude joins these tours to investigate him.

The public executions were very morbid, and Edison is very creepy.

Although the executions haunted me, I was even more haunted by the sad story of the death of a baby artic fox and its mother.  It illustrated how Edison did not have any empathy.  Animals were not treated kindly during the Victorian age.

Questions kept me going through the book such as will Maud get her revenge?  How did her sister die?  Who was her sister’s great love?  Will Ellison get his comeuppance?

This book had a great twist at the end.  

Maude and Constance were both great characters and extraordinarily strong women.  They were well developed, and I was fully engaged in their stories.

I liked this unique plot.

Genevieve Gaunt was a great narrator and I enjoyed listening to this audiobook.

I really need to read Lizzie Pook’s other novel, Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter.

Overall, Maude Horton’s Glorious Revenge is a great gothic Victorian historical fiction suspense novel with great characters and a unique plot.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Braving the Thin Places by Julianne Stanz


Title:  Braving the Thin Places: Celtic Wisdom to Create a Space for Grace

Author:  Julianne Stanz

Narrated by:  Remie Michelle Clarke

Publisher: Loyola Press

Length: Approximately 4 hours and 57 minutes

Source: Purchased from 

Do you have any local authors that you like to read?  I was surprised and happy to learn that an acquaintance was also an author.  I felt called to put together a children’s liturgy program at my church and I taught it for thirteen years.  Author Julianne Stanz’s children were active participants in the program, and I was always happy to see them.  Luckily I didn’t know Stanz’s position in the church or that she was a renowned speaker and writer at the time.   That would have made me nervous!

Braving the Thin Places:  Celtic Wisdom to Create a Space for Grace seemed like a perfect read for both St. Patrick’s Day and the Lenten season.  Braving the Thin Spaces is a beautiful book that really spoke to me.  It discusses our moments of being in a thin place.  What is a thin place?  “Have you ever held a loved one’s hand as they slipped from this life and into the next?  Birthed a child and felt the thin edges of God’s presence inside your being?  Beheld such beauty that it took your breath away?  Or been moved to tears by an image or a piece of music?  If so, you have stood at the edge of a thin place, a place where God and humanity meet in a mysterious way.  These moments open us to places of rawness and beauty.  Something seems to break open inside us, and words are inadequate to describe what we are experiencing.  We feel a sense of breakthrough as we break free of the ordinary and into the extraordinary.”  I think we all have had our moments of being in a thin place.

My thoughts:

·       This book had the perfect mix of Celtic tradition and wisdom, personal experience, and Christian philosophy. 

·       I would end my reading really thinking about the chapter I had just read and pair it with my personal experiences. 

·       Each chapter ended with a thoughtful page that helped you to put your thoughts together and reflect with a breaking open, breaking through, and breaking free discussion and reflection questions.  Breaking free usually also contained a Bible verse.

·       My Great Grandma was Irish, and I enjoyed the tidbits about Stanz’s native Ireland and her descriptions of Celtic traditions. 

·       As I have been doing lately, I read this as both a physical book and as an audiobook.  I listened to the audiobook while driving, but I also liked reviewing the chapter and favorite sections in the physical book.

·       It was fun when tidbits about Northeast Wisconsin were in the book as well.

·       I enjoyed the chapter on your “soul friend.”  I think everyone is a lucky person when you are able to find a “soul friend” in life.

·       I also in particular enjoyed the thoughtful chapter on prayer “Prayers change us, not God, for we are the ones in need of change.”

I feel like I am not doing this book justice, but it touched me deeply.  It also gave me a lot to reflect on and had great words of wisdom.  This will be a book that I will reread and take something new away each time.  It was the perfect book to read during the Lenten season.


Monday, March 18, 2024

The Berlin Letters by Katherine Reay (Austenprose PR Book Tour)


Title:  The Berlin Letters

Author:  Katherine Reay

Narrated by:  Saskia Maaleveld, Anne Marie Gideon, P.J. Ochlan

Publisher: Harper Muse

Length: Approximately 11 hours and 48 minutes

Source: Audiobook review copy from NetGalley.  Thank-you Harper Muse and Austenprose for the review copy of the physical book.

Do you like to send or receive letters? I love to send letters. My best friend and I still write letters to each other, although sometimes I am slow on getting my letters out!

The Berlin Letters is a compelling novel about the Cold War. In 1961, as the Berlin wall was going up, Monica Voekler threw her young daughter Luisa over the barbed wire to her parents on the west side. She was unable to cross herself. Luisa grew up in America, believing that that her parents died in a car accident. She works at the CIA cracking codes in secret. After her grandfather’s death, she finds a secret stash of letters from her father. Reading them, she discovers that her grandfather and father had been sending each other coded letters. Her father is still alive, and she will stop at nothing to rescue him.

My thoughts on this novel:

·       The first chapter was gripping and pulled me right into the novel. I never thought about how sudden the wall went up and how families could be separated forever. 

·       This was a page turner and I kept wanting to read/listen to this book to find out how it would all end.

·       The story kept me engaged throughout.  I liked the narrative with the chapters alternating between Luisa in the present, and Haris (her father) in the past leading up to the present (1989).

·       This story had everything – mystery, suspense, family drama, codes to crack, spies and even a bit of romance.

·       The characters were all compelling and I particularly identified with Luisa and her story.

·       I thought it was remarkably interesting to read about how the communists were very unhappy when John Paul II became the pope as they had spies in the Vatican before that time. 

·       Also interesting was a tidbit that the Soviet Union was on the verge of invading Poland until President Reagen was shot and the United States put itself on alert. The Soviets decided to back down at that point.

·       I always find it so strange how different east and west Berlin were from each other.  Haris has a time where he is walking the streets looking at buildings that were bombed out during World War II and how they still are not repaired after almost forty years.  He thinks about how there are certain areas that tourists are allowed and how they are kept looking nice.

·       Speaking of the present, I was a child of the eighties and felt old remembering the events of 1989 and 1990 in this historical fiction novel.

·       As I have been doing with a lot of books this month, I started this one as a physical book and then switched to the audiobook as I have had a lot of driving time to listen to audiobooks.  I really liked the different narrators in this book to narrate. I especially liked P.J. Ochlan’s accent as Haris Voekler.

·       I enjoyed the author’s note at the end of the novel that detailed her research into this time period.

·       There are also terrific book club discussion questions at the end of the book.  I think this would provide a book club plenty of good tidbits to discuss at a group meeting.

·       I would love to see this book made into a movie.

Overall, The Berlin Letters is a fascinating historical fiction book on the Cold War.  The story of father and daughter, Haris and Luisa put a face on the heartbreak that so many people had to endure during that time period.


Bestselling author Katherine Reay returns with an unforgettable tale of the Cold War and a CIA code breaker who risks everything to free her father from an East German prison.

From the time she was a young girl, Luisa Voekler has loved solving puzzles and cracking codes. Brilliant and logical, she’s expected to quickly climb the career ladder at the CIA. But while her coworkers have moved on to thrilling Cold War assignments—especially in the exhilarating era of the late 1980s—Luisa’s work remains stuck in the past decoding messages from World War II.

Journalist Haris Voekler grew up a proud East Berliner. But as his eyes open to the realities of postwar East Germany, he realizes that the Soviet promises of a better future are not coming to fruition. After the Berlin Wall goes up, Haris finds himself separated from his young daughter and all alone after his wife dies. There’s only one way to reach his family—by sending coded letters to his father-in-law who lives on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

When Luisa Voekler discovers a secret cache of letters written by the father she has long presumed dead, she learns the truth about her grandfather’s work, her father’s identity, and why she has never progressed in her career. With little more than a rudimentary plan and hope, she journeys to Berlin and risks everything to free her father and get him out of East Berlin alive.

As Luisa and Haris take turns telling their stories, events speed toward one of the twentieth century’s most dramatic moments—the fall of the Berlin Wall and that night’s promise of freedom, truth, and reconciliation for those who lived, for twenty-eight years, behind the bleak shadow of the Iron Curtain’s most iconic symbol.


Katherine Reay is a national bestselling and award-winning author who has enjoyed a lifelong affair with books. She publishes both fiction and nonfiction, holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University, and currently lives outside Chicago, Illinois, with her husband and three children. You can meet her at

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Finding Jane Fairfax by Robbin J. Peterson (Austenprose PR Book Tour)

Title:  Finding Jane Fairfax

Author:  Robbin J. Peterson

Narrated by:  Noah Wall

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Length: Approximately 10 hours and 8 minutes

Source: Purchased from  Thank-you Covenant Corporation and Austenprose for the review copy of the physical book.

Have you ever wanted to know the back story of a secondary character in a novel?  If so, which character and novel?

I have always been intrigued by Jane Fairfax in Emma by Jane Austen.  She was an orphan that was raised by her father’s wealthy friend from the military.  Although she was raised with his daughter as a lady, she has no dowry or prospects of her own.  In Emma, she is quiet, beautiful, and accomplished, all of which makes Emma dislike her.  How does Jane’s secret engagement to Frank Churchill come about?

My thoughts on this novel:

·       I LOVED this regency romance.

·       The story was told through Frank and Jane’s alternating viewpoints.

·       Frank and Jane have a great friends to lovers’ vibe and also have some great witty banter.

·       I’ll admit that I liked them both much more in this novel than I did in the original Emma novel.

·       Jane and Frank were both raised by others.  Frank still has a father, but he gave him to rich relatives to raise after his mother died.  They are both troubled by their situations in life and how they are not in control of their own destinies.

·       While Jane was raised well by a happy family, Frank was raised by a distant aunt and uncle who taught him to look down on people.

·       I enjoyed how Jane and Frank bonded over poetry.

·       I also enjoyed getting to know Mr. Dixon and Cassandra (Miss Campbell).  They were both delightful secondary characters, although I felt so bad about their unrequited love story.  Cassandra loved Mr. Dixon, but he loved Jane.  There was hope at the end though that Mr. Dixon would grow in his love for Cassandra.  She was much more suited to him.

·       I thought it was interesting to see the anti-Irish sentiment against Mr. Dixon.

·       The overall question in this novel was should you marry for love or for wealth and security?  This was an all-important question in this time period.

·       This prequel really made me see how this romance between Jane and Frank will work and how much they have in common.

·       I want this to be a trilogy.  Book two can take place during the events with Emma through their marriage.  Book three can take place after their marriage and be a romance between one of their children and the children of the Dixons or Knightleys.

·       I enjoyed the author’s note about the song “The Irishman” that was used in the story.

·       As I have been doing lately, I started this physical book and then finished it on audiobook as I have had a lot of driving time for work.  This story worked well in both formats.

Overall, Finding Jane Fairfax by Robbin J. Peterson is a riveting prequel to Emma that finally gives Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill the story they deserve.

Jane Fairfax knows she is truly fortunate. Most orphans face lives of hardship, whereas she was adopted by doting surrogate parents who elevated her place in Society and love her as their own. Yet even they cannot shield her from the grim realities of life without a suitable marriage. In moments of despair, Jane comforts herself with a well-worn memory: that of a young man whose kind words when they were children once soothed her heartbreak. But now that boy has grown into a dashing gentleman―and their lives could not be more distant.

Frank Churchill is a prisoner of his station. His inheritance is held in the balance by his demanding aunt, and the weight of her expectations is suffocating him. But when a chance encounter brings the lovely Miss Fairfax back into his life, he discovers what it is to truly live. As the pair secretly become acquainted amid the confines of Society’s strict rules, their friendship blossoms into love. But in a world ruled by unyielding traditions, endeavoring to build a life together would mean inviting a scandal that would shake the very foundation of the ton.

Robbin J. Peterson is the author of Going Home, Conviction, and 13 Days of Girls Camp. She earned her degree in English literature from Utah State University and her associate of arts degree from Snow College. She has six kids, plays the viola, and works as an elementary school librarian.