Have you read A BRIDE FOR KEEPS by Melissa Jagears?

Purchase Link

About the book~
Everett Cline will never humiliate himself by seeking a mail-order bride. Not again. He’s already been jilted by three mail-order brides and figures a wife just isn’t in his future. However, a well-meaning neighbor hasn’t given up on seeing him settled, so she goes behind his back to bring yet another woman to town for him.

Julia Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiance. A mail-order marriage in faraway Kansas is a last resort, but she’ll do anything to leave her life in Massachusetts and the heartbreak she’s experienced there.

Although Everett doesn’t see how a beautiful, cultured woman like Julia could be happy sharing his simple life, he could really use a helpmate on his homestead. Determined to prove she’s more than just a pretty face, Julia agrees to a marriage in name only. Faced with the harsh realities of life on the prairie and hesitant to explore the tentative feelings growing between them, can Everett and Julia ever let each other in long enough to fall in love?

Sharing my thoughts~
Wow! A Bride for Keeps is one of those books that I wondered if the hero and heroine would actually find their happily ever after!

Poor Everett. Mail order brides never chose him, and he’d given up after four tries. So when his too-helpful neighbor persuaded her friend Julia to travel all the way from Boston to wed, Everett practically ignored her. Not only is he scared of rejection, but she’s so beautiful. She’d never make it through a Kansas winter, and he doesn’t want to give the town more reason for gossip.

Julia Lockwood’s father and ex-fiance were only concerned about her good looks, and used her as a commodity, with no regard for love or her feelings. When she arrived in Kansas, Everett’s features remind her of her ex-fiance, almost frightening her off. But she’d traveled all this way, and her friend wouldn’t lead her astray. Besides, without any other living relatives, she has no other options.

He needs help on the farm. She needs protection and a roof over her head. They strike a deal, and along the way Everett decides he wants this bride for keeps. This book is so much bigger than the romance, although it’s sweet, and at times, frustrating. A Bride for Keeps shows us that no matter the dark shadows of our past that continually rise up and taunt us, with God’s help, we can overcome. God covers us with forgiveness and healing, and breaks the chains of fear so we can move on with our lives. It’s about a loving God who never gives up on us and showers us with grace. A Bride for Keeps is a definite keeper for my kindle shelf!

Disclosure: Sending a big thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House Publishing for providing me with an advance review copy. The opinions expressed in this review are my own, and I received no monetary compensation.

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Have You Read GUNPOWDER TEA by Margaret Brownley?

Gunpowder Tea
by Margaret Brownley

About the book~
In a case that could change her career, Miranda uncovers a love that will change her life.

When Miranda Hunt sees the classified ad for an heiress to the legendary Last Chance Ranch, she knows assuming the identity of Annie Beckman is the perfect cover. As one of the finest agents for the Pinkerton Detective Agency, Miranda has been tasked with apprehending the Phantom – an elusive and notorious train robber thought to be hiding on the sprawling ranch.

But she isn’t the only one there with something to hide. Wells Fargo detective Jeremy Taggert is working the scene undercover as well. And although their true identities are a secret, it is impossible for Jeremy and Miranda to hide the spark that flares between them.

But neither is about to let romance interfere with such a huge case. Besides, Miranda hasn’t removed Jeremy from her list of suspects yet. The closer they come to uncovering the identity of the Phantom, the more dangerous he gets – and no one on the ranch is safe.

But neither are their hearts – the longer Miranda and Jeremy spends working together, the harder it becomes to keep their feelings in check. Their careers – and their lives – depend on solving this case. Love will have to wait.

My summary… 

After growing up in a household of brothers and feeling responsible for her mother’s untimely death, undercover operative Miranda Hunt tries to please her father and follows in his footsteps, determined to be the best operative Pinkerton employs. So when her boss assigns her to track down the Phantom, she’s thrilled about the “assignment of a lifetime.” Not so thrilled that she’s attracted to her prime suspect, David Branch, really Jeremy Taggert, an undercover Wells Fargo detective who infiltrated the Phantom’s robbery gang. 

“There should be a law against handsome thieves.”

My thoughts…

Wow! If you thought Waiting for Morning was fabulous (and I did!), wait until you read Gunpowder Tea! I can’t think of one element that could be improved. Not one. And don’t you just love the cover? It perfectly incorporates the tone of the book. Playful, yet suspenseful, combined with daily afternoon teas featuring a certain grumpy Miss Walker, the owner of the Last Chance Ranch, who says, 

“…of course I have enemies. Making enemies is so much easier than making friends, and they’re far less trouble to maintain.” ha!

Margaret Brownley hooked me with the opening chapter, laugh out loud funny, and kept me glued to the pages with a compelling, fast moving plot. When I closed the book, I was wearing a goofy grin. That’s just the kind of book I love to read! What about you?

And I always love a book more when it addresses certain sensitive topics, and this one did. Miranda came from a mixed heritage, an Indian mother and white father. 

“Her Indian heritage was first thing people saw. Many didn’t bother looking for anything else.” 
So many years later, are we really any better at 
appreciating and valuing every human being?

No worries about picking up Gunpowder Tea before the first two books in the series. Each book is fine to read as a stand alone. But now that I’ve been introduced to Margaret Brownley’s books, I can’t wait to scoop up the first book in the series, Dawn Comes Early. What are you waiting for -> Purchase Link

Disclaimer: Sending a big thank you to Margaret Brownley and Thomas Nelson Publishing for providing me with an advance review copy of Gunpowder Tea. The opinions expressed in this review are my own, and I received no monetary compensation.

Have you read Gunpowder Tea? 
Do you agree with my review? 
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Have You Read DARK ROAD HOME by Elizabeth Ludwig?

Dark Road Home by
Elizabeth Ludwig

About the book~
The nightmares of her past have found Ana Kavanagh an ocean away.
Ana Kavanagh’s memories of Ireland are mostly of fire and pain. As a girl she survived a blaze that left her an orphan, left her scarred, and left her angry at God. Now in New York, Ana finds a kindred spirit in Eoghan Hamilton, who’s struggling with his own anger. His twin sister, Cara, betrayed him by falling in love with his enemy.

Cast aside by everyone, Eoghan hopes to rejoin the Fenians, an organization pushing for change back in Ireland, by securing information against Rourke, the man his sister married. Ana, Cara’s friend, may be his best source, and despite the attraction he feels, Eoghan determines to use the girl’s sweet nature to his advantage.

Adding to the danger is a specter from Eoghan’s own past, one whose thirst for vengeance knows no bounds. Eoghan must choose which road to follow–bitterness or forgiveness–and where to finally place his trust.

My Summary…
Irish immigrants Ana Kavanagh and Eoghan Hamilton both vowed never to cross the threshold of a church again, but for different reasons. Beaten and bruised by the Fenians and bitter over his sister’s betrayal, Eoghan wakes, gazing up at a steeple, robbed of his last coin. Father Ed offers a meal in exchange for some work around the church. Ana blames God for the fire that ravaged her home, killing her mother and sister, and leaving her an orphan far away from her home. When Ana’s friend practically drags her to the church to help feed the women and children staying in the mission, Ana discovers Eoghan’s identity. While Eoghan barters to get back in the good graces of the Fenians, Ana hopes to reunite Eoghan with his sister. Neither of them are aware of the rippling effect one circumstance has on the other.  

My Review…

Typically, I’m not a huge history buff, but the author did a great job sparking my interest in 19th century life for Irish immigrants living in New York. 

As circumstances brought Eoghan and Ana together, each had to decide whether to stay bitter or forgive. This was especially true for Eoghan. Faced with a life or death situation, he was forced to choose who to trust. Their faith journey was totally realistic and organic to the story.

What an interesting, intense plot with layers of depth! This isn’t a book you’ll breeze through in a couple of hours. I savored it over a few nights, soaking up the history and the author’s delightful way with words. This was a new author to me, and I’ll definitely be keeping abreast of future books by Elizabeth Ludwig!

To note…

I definitely recommend reading the first book in the series, No Safe Harbor, before Dark Road Home. The plot started with No Safe Harbor and continues, I suspect all the way through the third book in the series. Also, had I read No Safe Harbor first, I believe that my questions about the Fenians would have been resolved sooner. 

Purchase Link

Disclaimer: Sending a big thank you to Elizabeth Ludwig and Bethany House Publishers  for providing me with an advance review copy of Dark Road Home. The opinions expressed in this review are my own, and I received no monetary compensation.

Have you read Dark Road Home? 
Do you agree with my review? What were your thoughts?
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