Saturday, May 20, 2017

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


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

About:
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. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Victorian-Era Comedic Adventure: Behind the Scenes, by Jen Turano

                               


Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: Book one in the Apart from the Crowd series

Rating: Three out of five hearts ❤❤❤

About:

Miss Permilia Griswold never asked to be thrust into society, with all its rules and regulations. In fact, she knows more about guns and swordplay than dancing and pleasantries- and being a wallflower wasn't in the plan, either. However, wallflower status does have its advantages- like hearing all the behind the scenes talk that are perfect for her society column, where her pseudonym is "Miss Quill".

 It is during one of these society events that Permilia happens to hear what she never expected- a threat on the life of one of the city's leading businessmen, Asher Rutherford. However, Asher doesn't believe the story she brings him, so what will she have to do to keep him safe?

My Review:

Permilia and Asher are the newest characters in Mrs. Turano's collection of comedic novels, and while I preferred Lucetta Plum and Bram Haverstein from Playing the Part, Asher and Permilia hold their own. Permilia's preference for swords and helping the poor versus balls and everything the social life brings made her interesting and slightly dangerous- especially since she can get pretty riled when provoked. I did feel that she was a bit too peculiar for my tastes, though it might just be our opposite personalities that made me not able to understand her. As for the hero of the story, Asher Rutherford- he is, perhaps, too city-like for me- however, I think that's the kind of character Permilia got on well with, and they were both good for each other. And Asher is not to be underestimated- he's not a simple dandy, but has a heart and will to be tough and formidable (although I'm not sure he'll ever get that far). The other very quirky characters also made for interesting reading, and although they were all sometimes too quirky and unusual for me (which made things frequently seem unrealistic), I did enjoy them pretty well. I have to say, Mrs. Davenport, Harrison Sinclair and Permilia's fellow wallflowers did make for fun characters- they were probably some of my favorites in the story.

 The writing style did seem to over-explain things a bit too much, which, coupled with the sometimes too silly characters, wasn't that great. Also, I wasn't overly fond over the way the story started. The story starts off at a grand ball- very interesting, but it went on for way too long, and I began to wish for it to end.  I felt that I would have liked to have read about Permilia alone first, find out her personality under normal circumstances  and all about her family and friends, get all that established, and then move on with the story and the events that are going to take place.
 The mystery, however, was interesting, and I thought the conclusion and all that progressed was a very fulfilling, slightly funny and altogether a good ending for the story. The storyline in and of itself was, I thought, unique and original, just like its characters, and  I only wish I could have gotten into it more, to give it a better review. 
 It was also interesting to read about this time period from the point of view of such a unique character. The beauty of the time period is represented, along with its frustrating and sometimes confusing rules and the ways it could have stood improvement. 
On the whole, (despite my dislike for some of the elements in the book) it was enjoyable reading a lighthearted comedy for a change (since I don't normally read a lot of that type of book) and I look forward to perhaps reading the next books in the series. 

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