Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Adventurous and Sweet: Heart on the Line, by Karen Witemeyer

Genre: Historical Romance

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Series: Book two in the Ladies of Harper's Station series- you can read my review of book one, No Other Will Do, here


Telegraph operator Grace Mallory has spent the last few months sequestered away in the women's colony of Harper's Station, hidden from the man she believes killed her father. She finds that her hiding place has been found out, however, when she receives a warning message over the telegraph lines and knows- he's coming for her. Grace is not safe anymore, and neither are the women of Harper's Station whom she's grown to love. 

 Amos Bledsoe isn't your ordinary hero. He prefers bicycles to horses and and works of the brain rather than brawn. However, anyone who would take the time to get to know him would discover the brave, caring person within. Those qualities are proven when he overhears the message meant for his "telegraph-pal", known to him only as "Miss G". He's already grown attached to her- as a friend, yes, but maybe also as something more? So this message sends him into action- he's going to make sure Miss G is all right - in person- if he has to walk to Harper's Station himself. 

When these two meet up, they find that they are as close in real life as they are over the telegraph wires. But there's danger lurking for Grace, and anyone who helps her, in this 
western historical romance. 

My Review:

I've been eagerly awaiting this book, and was so excited to get my hands on another Karen Witemeyer novel. Grace is more quiet than some or her other heroines, and I could definitely relate to her struggle to express her feelings to those she cares about. While not the most quirky, bold, or endearing heroine around, she is witty and brave, and wise to see that not all heroes wear guns. As for Amos, while not the normal hero, he is just as special as any other heroes in Mrs. Witemeyer's books, and infinitely as charming as any of them (maybe even more). So what if Amos isn't your typical hero? I can think of many heroes out there who don't wear a gun or wield a sword (which makes me think of that → quote from The Andy Griffith Show and his sweet, playful, chivalrous behavior makes him a winner. 
I also appreciated the fact that while many bookish, bespecled heros are clumsy and awkward (and yes, Amos was, at times) he didn't conform to that stereotype. He's a hero through and through, and to Grace, especially- they were so sweet together! I loved their witty exchanges (wit being the aspect of Amos' personality I loved the most) and the way they first connected- for two such solitary (and somewhat lonely) people, it was just about perfect. 

The adventure and plot didn't latch on  to me from the very beginning, but I eventually began to get much more invested in the story, especially once new characters entered... tensions heightened... new developments occurred... One character in particular I didn't find all too endearing, and began to get somewhat frustrated and bored once their side of the story began to be told in their point of view, but soon began to see the necessity and to appreciate it and her role in the story. I even started to enjoy her side of Heart on the Line almost as much as I did Amos or Grace's.

I've enjoyed each and every one of Karen Witemeyer's novels for their humor, adventure, mystery, romance and fun, and this one continues on in her typical style. While the first part of the book took a bit longer for me to get into than normal, once I did, I wanted to keep going. The good storytelling made it a believable, realistic read, and the adventure and danger lurking for Grace and her friends made me want to keep reading, to see good conquer evil (because I knew there had to be a happy ending for Grace and her friends). My only sorrow is that this is the last book in the Ladies of Harper's Station series, so there will be no more reunions with those charming, thoroughly engaging characters. 

Note: I got this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

An Inspiring Historical Romance: A Love So True, by Melissa Jagears

Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Book two in the Teaville Moral Society series- Engaging the Competition (a novella) and A Heart Most Certain (book one)

Evelyn Wisely has a heart for the orphans of Teaville and works at a local mansion that rescues children out of the town's red-light district and gives them a place to live. But her desire to help isn't limited to orphans. The owner of the mansion, Nicholas Lowe, is willing to help her try to get the women working in prostitution out of the district as well--if she can gain the cooperation and support of local businessmen to go against the rest of the community. 

David Kingsman has recently arrived in Teaville from Kansas City to help with one of his father's companies in town. While he plans on staying only long enough to prove his business merit to his father, he's shown interest in Evelyn's work and is intrigued enough by her to lend his support to her cause.

They begin with the best of intentions, but soon the complications pile up and Evelyn and David's dreams look more unattainable every day. When the revelation of a long-held secret creates a seemingly insurmountable rift between them, can they trust God still has a good plan for them despite all that is stacked against them?

Description from Amazon.com

My Review:
To others, Evelyn appears to be passionate and driven, yet distant and reserved, and that is partly the way I saw her, even though I (the reader) was privy to all her thoughts and feelings- it was kind of hard to "get to know" her. However, she carries secrets, and once they were brought to the light, I understood and sympathized with her much more. Her slightly reserved, driven personality was a wonderful contrast to David Kingsman's happy, less driven one. He lends a lightness and joy to her, and she, in turn, complements him and shows him perseverance and drive. To read the end of the novel and then glance back at the beginning, to see how all the characters had grown and progressed, was very fulfilling. Also, Evelyn and David were so sweet together, and I loved their relationship! It was so refreshing, in light of  all the bad relationships in books and movies you see out there today. 
Book one in the Teaville Moral Society series left a few stories unfinished, and while also forging a new one, A Love So True fills you in on some of them (and I have a feeling the next book[s] will continue to do so). This way, the stories are different, yet inevitably similar, which I love. Readers also a fan of Nicholas and Lydia (book one) will get plenty of great chances for catching up.
I also appreciated the cover photos. They look both beautiful and faithful to the time period, as well as staying true to the book. Gotta love a cover that achieves all that!

As a side note, the novella (or even book one, for that matter) is not vital to reading and enjoying this Teaville Moral Society novel; however, it is much more fulfilling and entertaining when you do so. I know I enjoyed A Love So True much more because of them. 
 So what's next for the members of the Teaville moral society? I'm eager to find out!

 Note: I got this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.