Tag: Historical Romance

#ThrowbackThursday | With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden

It’s Throwback Thursday! That means it’s time for me to revisit a review of an older book I enjoyed. Today I’m resharing my review of With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden, one of my favourite Christian historical romance authors. I especially love the way she weaves real-life historical events into her stories.

Elizabeth Camden has done it again

Elizabeth Camden is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. She’s won well-deserved RITA and Christy awards with her previous novels, and she just keeps getting better.

Kate Norton lost her chance to go to college in 1879 when Trevor McDonough won the scholarship they were both competing for. She has worked as a statistician at the census bureau since then, but is now offered a new opportunity working for Dr T M Kendall at Washington Memorial Hospital, analysing data and predicting trends in health. She is shocked to find Dr Kendall is her high school nemesis, but soon finds there is more to him than she knew.

Trevor is attempting to find a cure for tuberculosis, an infectious and misunderstood disease.

He’s convinced that rest, good diet and sunshine are key, but a series of malicious newspaper articles bring the project under scrutiny, and he and Kate have to work together.

I thought everything about With Every Breath was excellent—the characters (especially the brilliant but socially awkward Trevor), the plot, and especially the writing, which was a masterful exercise in restraint in the way so much was happening beneath the text. With Every Breath is Christian fiction, although the faith elements are understated.

The information around tuberculosis gate a poignant and bittersweet note to With Every Breath, because I knew Dr Kendall wasn’t going to discover the cure. My great-grandfather, a postman, died of pulmonary tuberculosis and exhaustion on Christmas Day 1925, and Her Daughter’s Dream by Francine Rivers (and based on her family history) featured a character suffering from the disease in the early 1950’s. Reading this made me thankful for the men and women like Kate and Trevor who have dedicated their lives to finding cures for horrible diseases over the years. Recommended.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Elizabeth Camden

Elizabeth Camden is a research librarian at a small college in central Florida. Her novels have won the coveted RITA and Christy Awards. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband near Orlando, Florida.

Find Elizabeth Camden online at:

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About With Every Breath

In the shadow of the nation’s capital, Kate Livingston’s respectable life as a government worker is disrupted by an encounter with the insufferable Trevor McDonough, the one man she’d hoped never to see again. A Harvard-trained physician, Trevor never showed the tiniest flicker of interest in Kate, and business is the only reason he has sought her out now.

Despite her misgivings, Kate agrees to Trevor’s risky proposal to join him in his work to find a cure for tuberculosis. As Kate begins to unlock the mysteries of Trevor’s past, his hidden depths fascinate her. However, a shadowy enemy lies in wait and Trevor’s closely guarded secrets are darker than she ever suspected.

As revelations from the past threaten to destroy their careers, their dreams, and even their lives, Trevor and Kate find themselves in a painfully impossible situation. With everything to lose, they must find the strength to trust that hope and love can prevail over all.

Find With Every Breath online at:

Amazon US | Goodreads | Koboicon | Koorong

Read the introduction to With Every Breath below:

And click here to check out With Every Breath and other great Christian fiction in my Amazon shop.

Quote from The Lieutenants Bargain: Jack knew that nothing happened in life that God didn't allow, but that didn't mean that everything had a purpose. Sometimes it was just dumb luck.

Book Review | The Lieutenant’s Bargain by Regina Jennings

Hattie Walker doesn’t want to get married.

She wants to be an artist, Her parents have given her two months to prove herself and get a painting in a reputable Denver exhibition, so she’s travelling to Colorado to try and make her mark in the art world. Otherwise, it’s go home to Van Buren, Arkansas, and plan for her future. A stagecoach shootout leaves Hattie as the only survivor … and therefore the only eyewitness to murder. But that’s nothing compared to being kidnapped by Indians for who knows what nefarious purpose.

Lieutenant Jack Hennessey has never been interested in marriage.

The only girl he was ever interested in never showed the slightest sign of liking him. But now he’s rescuing the survivor of a stagecoach robbery, and it turns out to be his childhood sweetheart. Anxious to impress, he asks the village Chief to arrange a ceremony … and ends up married.

Oops. Not quite the impression he wanted to make.

It’s a great set-up: a marriage that’s neither mail order bride nor marriage of convenience, but marriage all the same. And between two people who know and like each other, although that doesn’t mean they actually want to be married. It makes for a fun story, with a lot of great scenes as the two get to know each other and consider their options.

Parts of the novel show the hopefully well-meaning but almost certainly misguided colonialism, with the attempts to integrate the local Indian tribes into the white man’s world (and isn’t that phrase telling: the white man’s world. Not the white world. That’s still a distinction we’re all fighting for). Some Native American readers may say this history is sanitised and sugar-coated, and they’d probably be right.

However, this novel is intended as light entertainment, not a serious treatise on the faults of colonialism (of which there are many). On that level, it works.

The Lieutenant’s Bargain is the second book in the Fort Reno series, but can easily be read as a standalone novel. Recommended for fans of Christian Western historical romance … especially those who like a little humour in their romance.

Thanks to Baker Books and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Regina Jennings

Regina JenningsRegina Jennings is the winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award, a two-time Golden Quill finalist and a finalist for the Oklahoma Book of the Year Award. A graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a minor in history, Regina has worked at the Mustang News and at First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She lives outside of Oklahoma City with her husband and four children when not traveling the world.

Find Regina Jennings online at:

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About The Lieutenant’s Bargain

Hattie Walker dreams of becoming a painter, while her parents want her to settle down. As a compromise, they give her two months to head to Denver and place her works in an exhibition or give up the dream forever. Her journey is derailed when a gunman attacks her stagecoach, leaving her to be rescued by a group of Arapaho . . . but she’s too terrified to recognize them as friendly.

Confirmed bachelor Lieutenant Jack Hennessey has long worked with the tribe and is tasked with trying to convince them that the mission school at Fort Reno can help their children. When a message arrives about a recovered survivor, Jack heads out to take her home–and plead his case once more.

He’s stunned to run into Hattie Walker, the girl who shattered his heart–but quickly realizes he has a chance to impress her. When his plan gets tangled through translation, Jack and Hattie end up in a mess that puts her dreams in peril–and tests Jack’s resolve to remain single.

Find The Lieutenant’s Bargain online at:

Amazon US | Amazon AU | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Read the introduction to The Lieutenant’s Bargain below:

Me and Mercy might not make the best kidnappers around, but I bet we could fashion us a good plot if we tried real hard.

Book Review | Caught by Surprise by Jen Turano

I’m usually a huge fan of Jen Turano’s witty dialogue and bordering-on-ridiculous plots. But Caught by Surprise didn’t work for me. It has many strengths: strong characters who are definitely individuals. Quirky individuals. A romance plot. A mystery/suspense subplot. Plenty of humour. A Christian message that’s clear yet understated and not at all preachy. All delivered in Jen Turano’s unique writing style.

And yet it didn’t work for me.

This could be a sign of the times. #MeToo remains in the news, and it’s hard to find anything amusing about a society that forced a man and woman to marry simply because they’d been caught in a compromising position. (Specifically, being together for longer than a millisecond without a chaperone).

Sure, Gilbert Cavendish believed he was doing the honourable thing in offering to marry Temperance Flowerdew. But that’s only because he was being portrayed as an honourable man. It’s not much of a stretch to see a woman in a similar situation being forced to marry her abuser. Or (as almost happened) an honourable man being forced into marriage with a naive young woman being manipulated by selfish parents, sacrificing her at the altar of their position in society and requirement for an influx of cash to boost their coffers.

Maybe I’m overthinking this.

But then we get to Alice and Charles Cavendish. This subplot also had uncomfortable #MeToo echoes. We don’t know the history behind their relationship. We only know that Charles is old enough to be Alice’s father and they somehow got married (another overambitious father, perhaps?), only to discover they loathe each other.

Sure, that wasn’t uncommon for the time (witness the marriage of Mr Collins and Charlotte Lucas in Pride and Prejudice). But did Alice choose to marry Charles, or was she forced? Or was it the marriage of a flighty young girl blinded by the idea of being a countess, and not realising that meant providing the aging earl with the obligatory heir and a spare?

Leaving these issues aside, I also found the breakneck pace and non-stop dialogue left me feeling as though there was never time to breathe.

Things kept happening. (This is a novel,so things happening is good.) But there was never a chance to have a break and gather my thoughts and decide if Temperance and Gilbert were really meant to be together. They both seem to have come to that conclusion, as does everyone of their (fictional) aquaintance, but I’m not convinced.

Oh, I’m sure they’ll have an eventful marriage and I’m all for marriages based on friendship that builds into love (as opposed to attraction that builds into lust). But perhaps that was what was missing—the tripping from friendship into attraction. After all, it takes both to build a successful marriage. I suspect it was in there.

But it was buried beneath that non-stop dialogue and breakneck pace. Not to mention plenty of misunderstandings and bullets.

Jen Turano fans will want to buy and read this to round out the series. But those who haven’t read and loved Behind the Scenes and Out of the Ordinary will probably prefer to begin at the beginning. Otherwise they have very little chance of following the quirks of the many characters in Caught by Surprise.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Jen Turano

Jen TuranoA USA Today Best-Selling Author, Jen Turano has written the critically acclaimed Ladies of Distinction series, and A Class of Their Own series, published through Bethany House Publishers. Her novel, After a Fashion, was chosen as a top pick from Romantic Times, as JenTuranowell as being named a top ten romance of 2015 from Booklist. It is also a nominee for Romantic Times 2015 Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her book, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, was chosen as a top ten romance by Booklist in 2013. Her seventh book, Playing the Part, released in the spring of 2016, and will be followed by a new four-book series, Apart from the Crowd. When she’s not writing, Jen spends her time outside of Denver with her husband and neurotic Cattle Dog, enjoying herself as an empty-nester since her son recently abandoned her for the college life.

Find Jen Turano online at:

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About Caught by Surprise

Miss Temperance Flowerdew is on her way to work when a stranger suddenly grabs her off the street and sends her on a Chicago-bound train before she can figure out what happened.

When Mr. Gilbert Cavendish is called upon to rescue a missing woman, he follows the trail to Chicago only to discover that the woman is his good friend Temperance. Before they can discover who was behind the abduction, they’re seen alone together by a New York society matron, putting their reputations at risk.

Gilbert is willing to propose marriage–except Temperance will have none of it. She’s finally stepped out of the shadow of her relations and won’t give up her independence. But when it becomes clear the misunderstanding in Chicago has escalated into a threat on her life and followed her to New York, accepting Gilbert’s help in solving the mystery may lead to more than she ever could have dreamed.

Find Caught by Surprise online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

As a woman, she didn't need to be blissfully happy. She just needed to be secure, safe, and provided for.

Book Recommendation | An Unexpected Groom by Nerys Leigh

Nerys Leigh’s Escape to the West series is unique.

All the books run concurrently, which means the stories can be read in any order as none comes first. Each book follows one of five women who have come west to California as a mail-order bride.

The Unexpected Groom is the fourth book in the Escape to the West series.

Louisa has been raised to believe she must marry well in order to be happy. She’s arrived in California to marry Jesse Johnson, an accountant with the local bank—a man with the right kind of social standing for Louisa. But when she arrives, she finds Jesse’s letters neglected to tell her one significant fact …

Jesse Johnson is used to women calling off relationships when they find out what’s wrong with him. So, despite his better judgement, he agrees when his friend Adam suggests he doesn’t mention his problem. Instead, let the lady arrive and get to know the real Jesse before making a decision.

Louisa is taken aback at first, but agrees to stay for two weeks, to get to know Jesse. But she finds more than bargained for and has to make the difficult decision to follow her parents, follow her heart … or follow God.

The Unexpected Groom was an excellent romance.

I loved the growing romantic tension between Lousia and Jesse almost as much as I loved the Christian element. It was great to see a character really consider their Christian faith and deepen their relationship with God, even over the relatively short timeframe of this novel (a few weeks).

The one problem with the story was the excess of run-on sentences (Leigh uses British spelling and grammar, which explains Britishisms like gammon, but run-on sentences are wrong in all versions of English). But these didn’t detract from the excellent story, and the great use of humour:

A proper lady knows that breaking a leg is one thing, but allowing anyone to see it is far, far worse.

Recommended for fans of Western Christian historical romance.

Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review.

About Nerys Leigh

Nerys LeighNerys Leigh writes thoroughly romantic Christian historical love stories. She loves heroes who are strong but sweet and heroines who are willing to fight for the life they want.

She’s from the UK, which you would think puts her in a unique position to not write about mail order brides in the American west, but the old adage of writing what you know has never appealed to her. She has an actual American read each book before publishing to make sure she hasn’t gone all English on it.

No One’s Bride is the first in the Escape to the West series which tells the stories of a group of women willing to travel across America to find happiness, and the men determined to win their hearts.

You can find Nerys Leigh online relaxing and generally enjoying the view at:

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About The Unexpected Groom

When heart and mind pull in opposite directions, which way do you turn?

Louisa Wood’s parents have always taught her that appearance is everything, and to behave like a lady because one day she would marry a man who could make her one. But without money or social standing, New York society has proved beyond Louisa’s reach. The answer? Go where no one knows who she is.

A young accountant advertising for a mail order bride seems the perfect solution, until Louisa arrives in California to find that Jesse Johnson has been keeping a secret and isn’t at all what she’s expecting. What he is, however, is charming and handsome, and she agrees to stay for two weeks despite knowing she will likely return home at the end.

But as a mystery at the bank where Jesse works draws them closer and her heart wakes to new possibilities, for the first time in her life Louisa finds herself doubting everything she’s been raised to believe.

Find The Unexpected Groom online at:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads