Top 10 Best Christian Romance Books of 2018

Top 10 Christian Romance Books Blog Post Image - 2018

As the year comes to a close, I thought I’d share with you the ten best books I read this year. . . That was the plan. If you pay close attention, however, you’ll notice that I squeezed in a bonus book which I just couldn’t bring myself to cut out. So you’re getting eleven, okay? I know the graphic up there says, “Top 10” but I’m going to go out on a limb and trust that you won’t be mad at me for giving you one additional awesome book to add to your TBR. And let me tell you, just narrowing my favorites down to such a small number was no easy feat. The process got downright painful. Every book on this list fought for its position here. If there are any titles on this list that missed your To Be Read List this year, I earnestly suggest you remedy that oversight!

(In order by author’s last name)

 

Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett

Book Quote - Where the Fire Falls - Waterfall Surrender

Stunning Yosemite National Park sets the stage for this late 1920s historical romance with mystery, adventure, heart, and a sense of the place John Muir described as “pervaded with divine light.”

Watercolorist Olivia Rutherford has shed her humble beginnings to fashion her image as an avant-garde artist to appeal to the region’s wealthy art-collectors. When she lands a lucrative contract painting illustrations of Yosemite National Park for a travel magazine, including its nightly one-of-a-kind Firefall event, she hopes the money will lift Olivia and her sisters out of poverty.

After false accusations cost him everything, former minister Clark Johnson has found purpose as a backcountry guide in this natural cathedral of granite and trees. Now he’s faced with the opportunity to become a National Parks Ranger, but is it his true calling?

As Clark opens Olivia’s eyes to the wonders of Yosemite, she discovers the people are as vital to the park’s story as its vistas–a revelation that may bring her charade to an end.

My ReviewAmazon

 

When You Look at Me by Pepper Basham

 

Book Quote - When You Look at Me - Pregnant

An unexpected mother-to-be
A romance-leery composer
And a forgotten melody from the past that holds the keys to their futures

When Julia Jenkins’ great aunt dies and leaves her a Victorian mansion with decades of secrets, Julia never expects to unearth a World War 2 espionage mystery. Struggling with her own past since an assault left her pregnant, her future as a solo parent leaves her dreams uncertain. The inheritance from her great aunt gives Julia the ability to take a step back into her future, but also sends her into the discovery of a love story she’d never anticipated. As she goes through her aunt’s treasured possessions, Julia uncovers some oddly written piano music with a musical code she can’t decipher on her own. Not to worry, introverted Englishman and composer, Henry Wright, is thrust on the scene by a pair of homespun matchmakers who know the ‘right’ man for Julia’s wounded heart.

Henry arrives in Pleasant Gap with the task of composing the soundtrack for his best mate’s newest film. The Jenkins’ family’s southern welcome and gregarious personalities set his reticent nature on edge, but he’s inexplicably drawn to his gentle and music-loving hostess, Julia. Uncertain how to build a friendship with the wounded woman, and rather hopeless in communicating well through words, the bond of music becomes a bridge between her uncertainty and his awkwardness.

But her broken past and his families’ expectations build a wall much greater than the cultures that separate them. As they work together to solve a musical mystery from the grave, will an unlikely romance from the past inspire their hearts to trust in a God who’s written the perfect melody for their lives?

My Review | Amazon

 

The Tory’s Daughter by Angela K Couch

The Tory's Daughter

Burying his wife is the hardest thing Joseph Garnet has ever done—until he’s called to leave his young son and baby daughter to fight Iroquois raiders. When one of the marauders tries to steal his horse, the last thing he expects is to end up tussling with a female. The girl is wounded, leaving Joseph little choice but to haul her home to heal—an act that seems all too familiar.

Though Joseph doesn’t appear to remember her, Hannah Cunningham could never forget him. He rode with the mob that forced her two brothers into the Continental Army and drove her family from their home—all because of her father’s loyalties to The Crown. After five years with her mother’s tribe, the rebels and starvation have left her nothing but the driving need to find her brothers.

Compelled by a secret he’s held for far too long, Joseph agrees to help Hannah find what remains of her family. Though she begins to steal into his aching heart, he knows the truth will forever stand between them. Some things cannot be forgiven.

My Review | Amazon

 

The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham

The Hope of Azure Springs

Seven years ago, orphaned and alone, Em finally arrived at a new home in Iowa after riding the orphan train. But secrets from her past haunt her, and her new life in the Western wilderness is a rough one. When her guardian is shot and killed, Em, now nineteen, finally has the chance to search for her long-lost sister, but she won’t be able to do it alone.

For Azure Springs Sheriff Caleb Reynolds, securing justice for the waifish and injured Em is just part of his job. He’s determined to solve every case put before him in order to impress his parents and make a name for himself. Caleb expects to succeed. What he doesn’t expect is the hold this strange young woman will have on his heart.

Debut author Rachel Fordham invites historical romance readers to the charming town of Azure Springs, Iowa, where the people care deeply for one another and, sometimes, even fall in love.

My Review Amazon

 

A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter

A Defense of Honor

When Katherine “Kit” FitzGilbert turned her back on London society more than a decade ago, she determined never to set foot in a ballroom again. But when business takes her to London and she’s forced to run for her life, she stumbles upon not only a glamorous ballroom but also Graham, Lord Wharton. What should have been a chance encounter becomes much more as Graham embarks on a search for his friend’s missing sister and is convinced Kit knows more about the girl than she’s telling.

After meeting Graham, Kit finds herself wishing things could have been different for the first time in her life, but what she wants can’t matter. Long ago, she dedicated herself to helping women escape the same scorn that drove her from London and raising the innocent children caught in the crossfire. And as much as she desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, revealing the truth isn’t worth putting him and everyone she loves in danger.

My Review | Amazon

 

A Chance at Forever by Melissa Jagears

A Chance at Forever

In early 1900s Kansas, Mercy McClain, determined to protect Teaville’s children from the bullying she experienced as a child, finds fulfillment working at the local orphanage and serving on the school board. When Aaron Firebrook, the classmate who bothered her more than any other, petitions the board for a teaching position, she’s dead set against him getting the job.

Aaron knows he deserves every bit of Mercy’s mistrust, but he’s returned to his hometown a changed man and is seeking to earn forgiveness of those he wronged. He doesn’t expect Mercy to like him, but surely he can prove he now has the best interests of the children at heart.

Will resentment and old wounds hold them back, or can Mercy and Aaron put the past behind them in time to face the unexpected threats to everything they’re working for?

My Review | Amazon

 

Engraved on the Heart by Tara Johnson

engraved on the heart cover photo

Reluctant debutante Keziah Montgomery lives beneath the weighty expectations of her staunch Confederate family, forced to keep her epilepsy secret for fear of a scandal. As the tensions of the Civil War arrive on their doorstep in Savannah, Keziah sees little cause for balls and courting. Despite her discomfort, she cannot imagine an escape from her familial confines—until her old schoolmate Micah shows her a life-changing truth that sets her feet on a new path . . . as a conductor in the Underground Railroad.

Dr. Micah Greyson never hesitates to answer the call of duty, no matter how dangerous, until the enchanting Keziah walks back into his life and turns his well-ordered plans upside down. Torn between the life he has always known in Savannah and the fight for abolition, Micah struggles to discern God’s plan amid such turbulent times.

Battling an angry fiancé, a war-tattered brother, bounty hunters, and their own personal demons, Keziah and Micah must decide if true love is worth the price . . . and if they are strong enough to survive the unyielding pain of war.

My Interview with Tara Johnson | Amazon

 

The Reluctant Groom by Kimberly Rose Johnson

The Reluctant Groom

When everything goes wrong, can two friends discover true love?

When Ray O’Brien’s world is turned upside down, Katie Fairchild wants to help, but the personal cost is high. Neither desires a marriage of convenience, but when Katie blurts the first thing that comes to her mind Ray can’t dismiss her offer of marriage. It would solve all his problems except for one thing—they aren’t in love.

Can these two friends team up for the greater good and perhaps find love along the way, or are their expectations impossible?

My Review | Amazon

 

The Ruby Knot by Jane Josephs

The Ruby Knot

Graphic Designer Katie Ryan is about to have a baby, the consequence of a romantic encounter with Navy Special Forces “boat guy” CJ Jansen in Las Vegas. Back home in San Diego, Katie is determined to get her life back on track, and finds herself drawn to pastoral intern Noah Davidson. But CJ isn’t about to ignore his son, and soon Katie finds herself torn between her feelings for two very different men. With her son’s future at stake, Katie is faced with a choice: should she stay with the plan she’s made, or follow her heart?

My Review | Amazon

 

Three Words and a Kiss by Sondra Kraak

Book Quote Image - Three Words and a Kiss - Unconventional Notion - 1

When a big-hearted debutante collides with a small-town blacksmith set in his ways, it can mean only one thing—a war of hearts has come to Pine Creek.

Washington, 1892

Cameron Wallace thrives as both the blacksmith and the minister in his community of Pine Creek. Out of the fires of a chaotic childhood, he’s forged a peaceful life filled with safe relationships and predictable routines. But when the smithy he’s been renting is sold out from under him, the impulsive woman who buys it stokes the embers of emotions he’d rather keep unlit—and even has the audacity to lend a helping hand to his smithy work.

Samantha Klein has never been afraid to push boundaries when it comes to helping those whom society—and God—have overlooked, be they orphans, immigrants, or injured animals. When her latest attempt to aid a group of Chinese women lands her in a newspaper scandal, her high-society family sends her packing from Seattle. Setting out on her own, she purchases the Pine Creek smithy and hatches another plan for helping her immigrant friends. But only weeks after arriving in Pine Creek, her plan turns to ashes, and she’s overwhelmed by needs she can never hope to meet, including her own need to be seen and cared for. And the one who seems to understand her is the man who won’t let her anywhere near his heart, no matter the attraction that burns between them.

As Cameron struggles to find a new normal, and Samantha yearns for someone to share her burdens, old hurts and dangerous secrets make them both terrified to admit that what they need—and what God has planned for them—just might be each other.

My Review | Amazon

 

More Than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer

More Than Meets the Eye

Many consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Orphaned at a young age and possessing a pair of mismatched eyes–one bright blue, the other dark brown–Eva has fought to find her way in a world that constantly rejects her. Yet the support of even one person can help overcome the world’s judgments, and Eva has two–Seth and Zach, two former orphans she now counts as brothers.

Seeking justice against the man who stole his birthright and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in 1880s Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his father’s death. Only instead of finding a solitary ruthless gambler, he discovers a man not much older than himself with an unusual family. When Zach’s sister, Evangeline, insists on dousing Logan with sunshine every time their paths cross, Logan finds his quest completely derailed. Who is truly responsible for his lost legacy, and will restoring the past satisfy if it means forfeiting a future with Evangeline?

My Review | Amazon

 

I hope you enjoyed this look back at the books I most enjoyed reading in 2018. Be sure to subscribe to my blog so you won’t miss my upcoming post, “Top Ten Christian Romance Books of 2019,” when I’ll be sharing with you the book releases I’m most eagerly anticipating in 2019.

Are you a Kathleen’s Readers’ Club member? It’s free (of course) and KRC members receive exclusive content, are eligible for exclusive seasonal book giveaways, and more! Join Today!

 

Let’s Chat!

Which of these books will you be adding to your TBR today? Which book did I leave out that you think should be added to this list? Tell me in the comments below!

 

TWEETABLE:

Check out this list of Top 10 Best Christian Romance Books of 2018! #BookReview #ChristFic #TopTen @KathleenDenly https://bit.ly/2SY2SgF

2 GIVEAWAYS + Debra Marvin Guest Posts & First Line Friday – 5.11.18!!!

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If this is your first time visiting a First Line Friday post, you’re in for a treat! For First Line Friday, we normally grab the book nearest us and share the first line. But today is extra special because I am also sharing a special guest post by author Debra E. Marvin and a chance to enter not one but TWO giveaways!!!

To get us started, here is the first line from Debra’s novella, A Heart So Tender, which is included in The Backcountry Brides Collection (description below):

Fort Niagara 
Monday, July 10, 1764

A Lake Ontario breeze trifled with the Union Jack overhead, but failed to cool Lieutenant Archibald Waters’ frustration.

Don’t forget to leave your first line in the comments below!


The Backcountry Brides blog tour

Welcome to the blog tour and giveaway for The Backcountry Brides Collection, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

the backcountry brides collectionTitle: The Backcountry Brides Collection
Author: Angela K. Couch, Debra E. Marvin, Shannon McNear, Gabrielle Meyer, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Jennifer Hudson Taylor, Pegg Thomas, and Denise Weimer
Publisher: Barbour Books
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction collection

Travel into Colonial America where eight women seek love, but they each know a future husband requires the necessary skills to survive in the backcountry.

Living in areas exposed to nature’s ferocity, prone to Indian attack, and cut off from regular supplies, can hearts overcome the dangers to find lasting love?

PURCHASE A COPY: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | CBD | Book Depository


ABOUT THE NOVELLAS

Shenandoah Hearts by Carrie Fancett Pagels
1754 – Great Wagon Road, into the Shenandoah Valley (Virginia)
As the French-Indian War commences, Magda Sehler wonders if Jacob Owens lost his mind to have abandoned his Philadelphia business and moved to the Shenandoah Valley. Or has he lost his heart?

Heart of Nantahala by Jennifer Hudson Taylor
1757 – (North Carolina)
Joseph Gregory plans to buy a lumber mill, but Mabel Walker becomes a formidable opponent. When she’s forced to make a painful decision, she must choose between survival and love.

Her Redcoat by Pegg Thomas
1763 – Fort Michilimackinac (Michigan) during Pontiac’s Rebellion
Laurette Pettigrew grew up in the northern frontier. Henry Bedlow arrived against his will. Their chance meeting changes everything. Will a deadly clash of cultures keep them from finding happiness?

A Heart So Tender by Debra E. Marvin
1764 – (New York)
As thousands of Native warriors converge on Fort Niagara, jaded British Lieutenant Archibald Walsh and idealistic schoolmistress Susannah Kimball learn the greatest risk lies in guarding their hearts.

A Worthy Groom by Angela K. Couch
1771 – Sapling Grove settlement on the Holston River (Tennessee)
The Cowden temper has been Marcus’s lifelong bane. A trait Lorinda Cowden curses. Now, winning the heart of his bride hinges on fighting a war without raising a fist.

Across Three Autumns by Denise Weimer
1778-1780 – (Georgia)
Fighting Loyalists and Indians, Jenny White settles for strength over love . . .until Scottish scout Caylan McIntosh leads her family on a harrowing exodus out of Georgia’s Revolutionary “Hornet’s Nest.”

The Counterfeit Tory by Shannon McNear
1781 – (South Carolina)
Tasked with infiltrating an infamous Tory gang, Jed Wheeler has no wish to endanger the leader’s cousin, Lizzy Cunningham. He risks not only his life. . .but his heart.

Love’s Undoing by Gabrielle Meyer
1792 – Fur Post on the Upper Mississippi River (Minnesota)
When Englishman Henry Kingsley meets Abi McCrea, the daughter of a Scottish fur trader and Indian mother, will their worlds keep them apart, or have they finally found somewhere they truly belong?


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

b390c-carrie2bfancett2bpagelsCarrie Fancett Pagels is an ECPA bestselling and award-winning author of Christian historical romance. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! She resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia, which is perfect for her love of history. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time!

TO CONNECT WITH CARRIE: websitefacebooktwitter


jennifer hudson taylorJennifer Hudson Taylor is an award-winning author of inspirational fiction set in historical Europe & the Carolinas. She provides keynotes and presentations on the publishing industry, the craft of writing, building an author platform & digital marketing.

Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Communications/Journalism. When she isn’t writing, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, visiting historical sites, horseback riding, cycling, long walks, genealogy and reading.

TO CONNECT WITH JENNIFER: website | facebook | twitter


pegg thomasPegg Thomas lives on a hobby farm in Northern Michigan with Michael, her husband of *mumble* years. A life-long history geek, she writes “History with a Touch of Humor.” An avid reader and writer, she enjoys fiction stories threaded through historical events and around historical figures. Civil War and Colonial are her favorite eras.

Pegg is a regular blogger at both QuidProQuills.com and ColonialQuills.com. When not working on her latest novel, Pegg can be found in her garden, in her kitchen, at her spinning wheel, tending her sheep, or on her trusty old horse, Trooper. See more at PeggThomas.com.

TO CONNECT WITH PEGG: website | facebook | twitter


gabeGabrielle Meyer lives in central Minnesota on the banks of the Mississippi River with her husband and four children. As an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society, she fell in love with the rich history of her state and enjoys writing fictional stories inspired by real people, places, and events. She loves connecting with readers!

TO CONNECT WITH GABRIELLE:website | facebook |twitter


angela couchTo keep from freezing in the Great White North, Angela K Couch cuddles under quilts with her laptop. Winning short story contests, being a semi-finalist in ACFW’s Genesis Contest, and a finalist in the International Digital Awards also helped warm her up. As a passionate believer in Christ, her faith permeates the stories she tells. Her martial arts training, experience with horses, and appreciation for good romance sneak in there, as well. When not writing, she stays fit (and warm) by chasing after three munchkins.

TO CONNECT WITH ANGELA: website | facebook | twitter


denise weimerDenise Weimer holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. She writes time slip romantic suspense, as well as both contemporary and historical romance.

A wife and swim mom of two daughters, Denise always pauses for coffee, chocolate, old houses, and to write any story God lays on her heart.

TO CONNECT WITH DENISE: website | twitter


shannon mcnearAfter more than two decades in the South, Shannon McNear now makes her home on the windy northern plains with her husband, four of their eight children, two German Shepherds, four cats, several chickens, and a noisy flock of guinea fowl. She serves in worship and youth ministry, and has been writing novel-length fiction since age 15. Her first novella, Defending Truth, from A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® nominee.

When not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the Dakota prairies

TO CONNECT WITH SHANNON: website | facebook |twitter


Debra E Marvin photo 2016Debra E. Marvin tries not to run too far from real life but the imagination born out of being an only child has a powerful draw. Besides, the voices in her head tend to agree with all the sensible things she says. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, and serves on the board of Bridges Ministry in Seneca Falls, NY. She is published with WhiteFire Publishing, Forget Me Not Romances, Journey Fiction, and Barbour Publishing…and a judge for the Grace Awards for many years.

Debra works as a program assistant at Cornell University, and enjoys her family and grandchildren, obsessively buying fabric, watching British programming and traveling with her childhood friends

TO CONNECT WITH DEBRA: website | facebook | twitter

 


GUEST POST by Debra E. Marvin

Debra E. Marvin

Using an actual event for my novella, A Heart So Tender, didn’t leave me a lot of wiggle room! And that was fine. I love doing the research and in this case there was a fair amount of documentation that took a long time to gather.

 

Colonial soldiers at Fort Niagara (My grandsons)
Colonial soldiers at Fort Niagara (Debra’s grandsons)

 

A Heart So Tender takes place in July of 1764 during the event known as The Great Gathering. At the time, Sir William Johnson, a popular and effective “Indian Agent for the Crown”, living in the Mohawk Valley, requested all Indian tribes (from far and wide) to come to Fort Niagara for peace talks.  This wasn’t just talks between the settlers/soldiers and the native peoples, but to encourage talks and treaties between some of the tribes as well.

 

2017 French and Indian War Weekend
2017 French and Indian War Weekend

 

Fort Niagara is a wonderful place to visit and ‘imagine’ the past.  I knowingly changed a few details. The existing redoubts (blockhouses/guardhouses) were actually built a few years after my story to replace the previous lookouts.  The third floor of The French Castle didn’t have rooms as it does in my story, as it was used almost as a ‘gun deck’ and storage area for the building.

 

IMG_2826
Fort Niagara

 

Of course I made up the names of my leads and the commanding officers, but the names of the regiments were accurate. Unfortunately, the Massacre at Devil’s Hole was real and became the driving backstory for my hero’s journey.

At Devil's Hole Park

In every historical novella I’ve written, I’ve centered around an actual event and done as much as possible to incorporate the facts. This could never be done without the aid of online resources (Google books tends to have really great and obscure books!) and finding a historian, librarian or ‘expert’ to overwhelm with questions!

I can’t speak for every Barbour Collection but I know that the authors of THE BACKCOUNTRY BRIDES Collection are all consummate lovers of history and that means we all love the research. Plus research is more fun than facing that ugly first draft!

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Because I placed my story in upstate New York, I can say that I’ve been gathering details since I first studied New York State history.  Sir William Johnson was such a ‘big name’ character, there are plenty of resources about him, including his own records.

 

Artist at the French and Indian War Encampment
Artist at the French and Indian War Encampment

 

Johnson did employ tutors such as Mr. Kimball in his village, so creating Susannah and her family wasn’t much of a stretch.  If I have one regret, it is that authenticity in a historical context means use of terms such as Indian, redskin, savage when I would have preferred not to. Even the name Iroquois, which is so very common and designates the native people of this region is not their preferred name, but in the interest of the story, I had little choice.  What I hope happens is that readers find our stories a spark for looking into the frontier history of their own regions with a new eye.

Thanks so much for hosting me, Kathleen! I’d love to hear from your readers.

What fictional stories have driven you to dig deeper into history?

For more about Debra, look for Debra E. Marvin in various places. She tends to genre hop between historical romances and historical mystery. New Subscribers to her newsletter in May, June and July will be in a drawing for a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card.

She likes to hang out on Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest and chats with her readers on her Facebook Author Page.

Debra blogs at the group blog Inkwell Inspirations where both authors and reviewers bring bookish news almost daily, or at Colonial Quills blog.

 


GIVEAWAY #1

backcountry brides blog tour giveaway

(1) Winner will win a prize pack consisting of one print copy of The Backcountry Brides Collection, a pair of handmade earrings from Carrie Fancett Pagels and book swag plus CHOICE of (1) copy of any book by Carrie Fancett Pagels OR a $25 Amazon (or Barnes & Noble) gift card. (US only, however the gift card is also open to international winners except where prohibited by law. Giveaway is subject to policies found here.

To enter click on the image below. Be sure to stop at every post on the tour for additional entries!

Enter Here Button

GIVEAWAY #2

During the month of May 2018, the authors of The Backcountry Brides Collection are also hosting a giveaway that includes a print copy of the novel, a Kindle Paperwhite, and lots of Colonial-themed goodies!

To enter click on the image below.

BCC Rafflecopter Giveaway


tour schedule

Launch Page @ JustRead

May 8th
Book by Book
A Baker’s Perspective

May 9th
Remembrancy
Singing Librarian
Reading Is My SuperPower

May 10th
Fiction Aficionado
Jami’s Words

May 11th
For the Love of Books
Kathleen Denly


What’s Next?

Click HERE to follow Kathleen’s blog and make sure you don’t miss out on any of her upcoming reviews and other fun posts!

Are you a Kathleen’s Readers’ Club member? KRC members receive exclusive content, are eligible for exclusive seasonal book giveaways, and more! Join Today!

Now it’s your turn to grab the book nearest you and leave a comment with the first (or your favorite) line.

And don’t forget to answer Debra’s question:

What fictional stories have driven you to dig deeper into history?

Then head over to Hoarding Books to see who else is participating in First Line Friday:

First Line Friday – 2.16.18

first-line-friday-3

Welcome to First Line Friday! Each Friday I pick a book and share the first line with you. In return, I hope you’ll share with me a first line from whatever book you have at hand!

Today I’m sharing the first line of Mail Order Revenge by Angela K Couch. I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while now and I am so glad that I finally found the time to read it last month! This was such a fun read, I didn’t want to put it down. With a decidedly unique twist on the mail order bride theme, this story will keep you wondering what is going to happen next. If you haven’t already, I definitely recommend finding the time to read this book.

Mail Order Revenge

Here is the first line:

New York, 1882

It had to be him.

about-the-book-2

Elizabeth Landvick knows of one man to blame for her family’s loss of fortune and her parents’ deaths. Now, she will stop at nothing to take her revenge and recover their wealth. Even travel across the country to marry the man’s son.

With his focus on his sprawling Arizona ranch, Axel Forsberg has little time for wooing a woman, so when his father finds him a bride from the east, he trusts he won’t regret the convenience. Until horses go missing, barns burn to the ground, a range war begins…and he loses his heart.

 

Now it’s your turn to grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first (or your favorite) line!

Then head over to Hoarding Books to see who else is participating:

Hearts At War Giveaway Winner!

Hearts At War Giveaway Image - WINNER

Thank you so much to everyone who entered this Hearts At War series Giveaway! The deadline for entries was midnight last night and a winner has been chosen!

Here’s how:

Congratulations:

lelandandbecky

You are the winner of this giveaway! Please be sure to contact me within 24 hours at writeKathleenDenly@gmail.com to confirm your acceptance of this prize which will be sent to the email you provided when entering the giveaway.

For those of you who didn’t win, here are the (non-affiliate) links to purchase your own copy of these highly recommended books:

The Scarlet Coatthe-scarlet-coat-cover-image

The Patriot and The Loyalist 

the patriot and the loyalist cover image

My thanks, again, to Angela, for chatting with me during our interview and for providing the winner’s copy of The Patriot and The Loyalist!

Author Interview – Angela K. Couch

Author Interview Blog Title Image - Angela K Couch

As promised, today I have the delightful pleasure of interviewing Angela K. Couch, whose latest release, The Patriot and The Loyalist, was released earlier this month as the second installment in her Hearts at War series. (Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! Tomorrow is the last day!)

about-the-book-2

the patriot and the loyalist cover image

Completing his three years in the Continental Army, Daniel Reid still has no desire to return home—not after losing the woman he loves to a British Captain—so he volunteers to ride south through enemy lines and deliver a message to Colonel Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. With his temper needing a release and a dark haired beauty finding her way into his broken heart, Daniel decides to join the Swamp Fox’s efforts against the British. Little does he know the British still have the upper hand.

Lydia Reynolds has learned that love comes at a price, and she refuses to pay. Better to close her heart to everything and everyone. When her brother-in-law won’t grant her passage to England, where she hopes to hide from her pain, New Englander, Daniel Reid, becomes her only hope—if she can induce him to give her information about the notorious Swamp Fox and his troops. When the British grow impatient and Daniel evades her questions, Lydia must decide how far to take her charade. The poor man, already gutted by love, hasn’t grown as wise as she. Or so she supposes…

Until the truth is known, the muskets are loaded…and it is time to decide where true loyalties lie.

My full reviews for The Scarlet Coat (book1) and The Patriot and The Loyalist (book 2) may be read by clicking on the linked titles.

 

A little about Angela

angela-k-couch-picTo keep from freezing in the Great White North, Angela K Couch cuddles under quilts with her laptop. Winning short story contests, being a semi-finalist in ACFW’s Genesis Contest, and a finalist in the International Digital Awards also helped warm her up. As a passionate believer in Christ, her faith permeates the stories she tells. Her martial arts training, experience with horses, and appreciation for good romance sneak in there, as well. When not writing, she stays fit (and warm) by chasing after three munchkins.

the-interview

Welcome, Angela. I have to tell you, your books are wonderfully written, historically rich, and truly entertaining. I am so pleased to be having a chat with you today!

Let’s start with a fun one. If you could spend one week living the life of any character, whom would you choose to be?

I think I would have to choose Lydia, the heroine of The Patriot and the Loyalist for this one. Mostly because I would love the chance to live in the grand southern Colonial home her father had built for his daughters. Plus her father’s library is full of some great classic reads. I could spend most of the week hanging out in there…while I try NOT to get in trouble with the British!

LOL Yes. Much better to be reading about trouble than actually living it! Speaking of that grand southern Colonial home:  In prep for this interview, I was exploring your Pinterest board for this book and noticed that your inspiration for the Reynolds home was this beautiful old plantation home in North Carolina, and I happened to find a virtual tour of the property which I think our readers will enjoy: 

I’ve heard so many different answers to this question, I’m curious:  When did you first view yourself as a writer?

Probably as soon as I finished my first manuscript at sixteen. Not that I should have qualified as a “writer” but it was when I realized writing was a huge part of who I was and always would be.

I am seriously impressed that you finished a complete manuscript so young! 

Angela K Couch Author Interview - Writer Quote

Can you share with us a unique quirk in your writing routine?

I’m not sure if there is much about my writing routine not quirky. I have three kids under 6 at home with me all day so most of my writing happens in and around play and snacks and “using mommy as a playground”. I’ve gotten good at setting writing aside and picking it back up at any given moment.

Oh, I cannot count the number of times I have said, “Mommy is NOT a playground, can you please stop trying to climb me.” LOL I absolutely love the image of you doing this while trying to write, and I am seriously impressed with the amount and quality of your completed works while having three kids under 6! That is no easy feat! Well done!

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what music do you listen to?

I sure do! With lots of noise (usually happy squeals and laughter) in the house, and lots of disruptions in the middle of writing scenes, I love my mood music to keep, or get, myself back in the groove of the story. Writing romance, I listen to a lot of love songs. Things like “Book of Love” by Peter Gabriel, or Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes”. For The Patriot and the Loyalist I listened to Tiffany Alvord’s cover of“Beneath Your Beautiful” a few times.

I admit, I had to look those up. They both seem very calm and serene. I can see how that would work for writing. 

Angela K Couch Author Interview - Music Quote

How did you come up with the idea for this series?

There were originally only two “hearts at war”. The Scarlet Coat started out as a stand-alone. One of the first full manuscripts I finished years ago. Not until more recent rewrites, did I start thinking maybe Daniel Reid needed a chance to fully redeem himself and find love. I mentioned the idea of a second book or possible series in my proposal, and my publisher wanted to know more. They signed me on a two book contract, including the idea that had grown for The Patriot and the Loyalist.

By the time I finished the first draft of this book, I had the next two plots mapped out in what was now the Hearts at War series, and signed another two book contract. I’m very excited about The Tory’s Daughter, and The Return of the King’s Ranger! With how well this series has come together, I can only assume God had plans for it long before I!

I am so glad you gave Daniel his chance at redemption and I am very excited to know there are two more books coming out in this series! However, I must admit to being saddened a bit when I discovered who the hero will be for The Tory’s Daughter. Nevertheless, I am eager to read and see where you take him. 

Can you share with us how you went about doing the research for The Patriot and the Loyalist?

I’ll start by saying how much I LOVE the internet! My first manuscripts – which have not yet seen the light of day – were set during WWII and I well remember my hauls from the library back in the day! Now I have access to everything from Museums to someone’s Master’s theses. A professor in Revolutionary history actually compiled day by day, month by month slides of Colonel Francis Marion’s movements. Gold! With great resources at my fingertips I was able to map The Patriot and the Loyalist off actual history, day by day as the hero assists in the fight against the British in South Carolina.

I completely agree. My local librarians already know me by name in the history departments. Thinking of doing all this historical research without the internet makes me cringe. Wow. What a treasure to have that professor’s detailed records to work with! I was so intrigued when you first told me the Swamp Fox and his nephew, Gabriel, were true historical figures. It definitely added something to your story. 

One of the things I love the most about great fiction is how it can challenge us to take another look at our own lives and values. In The Patriot and the Loyalist, your characters’ must decide where their loyalties truly belong. Can you share a time when your own loyalty was tested?

First I have to decide what I was loyal to in the first place! 😉 I’m very politically opinionated…but I don’t think we want to go there today. And I’m not very much into sports. I think usually my loyalties are tested when it comes to people. I would never do anything to hurt anyone, but I would probably cut ties before letting them be a negative influence on my family.

Good call avoiding the political. 😉 I also think that’s a smart line to draw for protecting your family. 

What are you currently reading?

I actually have a couple books on the go. One on my kindle and one in print…so I have a book for any circumstance! At the moment, I am quite enjoying Amber Lynn Perry’s So Fair a Lady, also set during the American Revolution, and I just started a contemporary romance by Glynna Kaye, The Nanny Bargain.

It used to be I could only read one book at a time, but these days I’m usually reading 2 or 3 as well. 

Well, that’s all the questions I have for you today. Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us!

Thank you graphic

 

Okay readers, what are your thoughts? Did you enjoy the interview? And I’d love to read YOUR answer to the question:  If you could spend one week living the life of any character, whom would you choose to be? Let me know in the comments below!

psst

Don’t forget to stop by my review post for The Patriot and The Loyalist and enter the GIVEAWAY to win your own copies of the first two books in the Hearts at War series!Hearts At War Giveaway Image

All entries must be complete by 11:59pm PST on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017(That’s TOMORROW!). Winner will be announced Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

TWEETABLES

“I love my mood music to keep, or get, myself back in the groove of the story.” ~ @AngelaKCouch #authorinterview

When did you first view yourself as a writer? @AngelaKCouch answers #authorinterview

The helpful resource that helped @AngelaKCouch write #ThePatriotandTheLoyalist

“I realized writing was a huge part of who I was and always would be.” ~ @AngelaKCouch #authorinterview

First Line Friday – 4.28.17

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It’s Friday, which means I’m sharing with you the first line from a book near me and I’m hoping you’ll share the first line of the book nearest you!

Today’s book has been sitting impatiently on my TBR (to-be-read) list for months and I’m expecting to get to it in the next few weeks! It’s Under A Blackberry Moon by Serena B. Miller, author of one of the few books I have read more than once, The Measure of Katie Calloway.

Under the Blackberry Moon

Don’t you just love that cover? Here’s the first line:

Bay City, Michigan
May 15, 1868

“Whose squaw are you, girl?”

I am so excited to be reading this soon!

Now it’s your turn! Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Then head on over and share your first line with these friends:

Andi @ Radiant Light

Carrie @ Reading Is My Super Power

Rachel @ Bookworm Mama

Sydney @ Singing Librarian Books

Robin @ Robin’s Nest

Katie @ Fiction Aficionado

Bree @ Bibliophile Reviews

Beth @ Faithfully Bookish

Amanda @ With A Joyful Noise

Jessica @ A Baker’s Perspective

Heather @ Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Sarah @ All the Book Blog Names are Taken

Lauraine @ Lauraine’s Notes

My Review & GIVEAWAY! – The Patriot & the Loyalist

My Review The Patriot & the Loyalist
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The Patriot & the Loyalist is the second book in the Hearts at War series by Angela K. Couch. (My review of the first book, The Scarlet Coat, may be read HERE.)

Completing his three years in the Continental Army, Daniel Reid still has no desire to return home—not after losing the woman he loves to a British Captain—so he volunteers to ride south through enemy lines and deliver a message to Colonel Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. With his temper needing a release and a dark haired beauty finding her way into his broken heart, Daniel decides to join the Swamp Fox’s efforts against the British. Little does he know the British still have the upper hand.

Lydia Reynolds has learned that love comes at a price, and she refuses to pay. Better to close her heart to everything and everyone. When her brother-in-law won’t grant her passage to England, where she hopes to hide from her pain, New Englander, Daniel Reid, becomes her only hope—if she can induce him to give her information about the notorious Swamp Fox and his troops. When the British grow impatient and Daniel evades her questions, Lydia must decide how far to take her charade. The poor man, already gutted by love, hasn’t grown as wise as she. Or so she supposes…

Until the truth is known, the muskets are loaded…and it is time to decide where true loyalties lie.

Why This Book:

The hero of this book, Daniel Reid, was a secondary character in The Scarlet Coat and left quite an impression on me. Thus I was very interested to see where the author would take his story.

Opening Line(s):

South Carolina, November 1780

Daniel Reid slowed his horse and sucked air into his lungs as he reined to the road’s grassy edge. Blood pulsated behind his ears but in no way drowned out the pounding hooves of the approaching soldiers, the green of their coats almost deceptive. 

First Impressions:

This book wastes no time throwing its readers straight into the action. From the first page, the hero’s life is in danger and that tension never lets go. Our heroine enters on page 6 and it is clear from the first that we have two very strong-willed, intelligent, passionate characters whose goals are at odds in a very real and dangerous way. Shortly thereafter, we realize that our heroine, too, is playing at a very perilous game – one that could cost her her life.

The Patriot & The Loyalist - Quote Image 1

Characters:

If you’ve read, The Scarlet Coat, you know that Daniel Reid has trouble controlling his temper. To say the least. While the consequences of his actions in the previous book continue to haunt him in The Patriot and the Loyalist, and his temper is far from gone, Daniel is certainly a changed man. Like many of us, he is aware of his character flaws but still struggles to overcome them. He is also plagued with self-doubt in the area of women which only serves to complicate matters in his relationship with Lydia.

Lydia Reynolds is nearly the last survivor of her family which has seen more than its share of tragic loss over the years. This loss has left her fearful of emotional attachment and desperate to flee the memories which haunt her home in Georgetown. Though a highly astute and intelligent woman, her desperation has set her on a one-way track and pushes her to make decisions without always fully considering the consequences.

Gabe Marion & Colonel Francis Marion – Gabe is Francis’ nephew. Both are actual figures from history, and members of the rebel army. It is interesting to see them brought to life through the author’s skillful writing.

As always, there are a few more characters I could mention here, but I don’t wish to reveal their unexpected importance to the story.

Emotional Engagement & Pacing of the Story:

Confession:  I lost several hours of sleep to this book!

If you’ve ever read a book where the suspense is so great you cannot put it down, yet the writing is so well-done – every word so important to the story – that you don’t even consider skipping a single word to hurry ahead, then you’ll understand the powerful read that is this book. There is no urge to skip ahead because there is never a moment where something important isn’t happening.

The Patriot & The Loyalist - Quote Image 2

Elements I especially liked/disliked:

It is extremely evident that this author has done her research! Every detail was so rich and realistic, I felt I now knew what it might have been like living in Georgetown during the revolutionary war. Every movement of either army which was relevant to the story was relayed in such a way as to feel organic and easily understandable. Never once did I sense a notorious “info dump” or get the slightest impression of a history lesson. Yet, I still feel as though I learned something about the war which birthed our country.

I also very much enjoyed the true historical characters involved in the story and seeing their lives play out as a thread woven into the lives of the fictional characters. Again, it felt natural to have this bit of actual history included. They were written so well, that had I not known they were true historical figures, I would not have been able to separate them from the fictional characters.

BONUS: Although the Lydia in this novel is entirely fictional, did you know there was a real revolutionary war spy named Lydia?

Themes:

The Patriot and the Loyalist grapples with issues of truth, deceit, trust and, of course, loyalty. In a setting where right and wrong can seem blurry, these characters are not cookie-cutter people. They face authentic, difficult choices and don’t always make the best decisions. In fact, they often make poor ones, which naturally lends itself to the topic of forgiveness and the struggles involved with moving on after being hurt or hurting others.

Ending:

When the book was over I was disappointed not because the ending wasn’t satisfying (it was!) but because I didn’t want to leave Daniel and Lydia’s world. All the important threads were tied up, and those which shouldn’t realistically be tied were left undone (i.e. the war continued). I felt joy and satisfaction in this ending and couldn’t wait to tell others about the book. There isn’t much more you can ask from a novel.

Additional Thoughts:

As I mentioned, I was reluctant to leave Daniel and Lydia’s world. So, I am so excited to note that this is not the end of the Hearts at War series! Angela K. Couch has another book in the series, The Tory’s Daughter, coming out soon!

Overall Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

Be sure to check back on Monday, May 1st to catch my upcoming interview with Angela K. Couch! 

Have you read any of Angela K. Couch’s books? Which part of this novel most appeals to you?

(none of the links in this review are affiliate links)

TWEETABLES:

Confession:  I lost several hours of sleep to this book! ~ @KathleenDenly #bookreview 

“And I would hardly mistake you for a gentleman.”  #bookreview @KathleenDenly

Richly written & thoroughly researched, this historical romance has it all! ~ @KathleenDenly #bookreview 

Spies! Battles! Love! A can’t miss read! #bookreview ~ @KathleenDenly

Psst! Feel free to borrow any of the photos in this post for sharing on social media and remember to tag me @KathleenDenly !

Materials Note:  I purchased my own copy of this book, for my own reading pleasure.

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As a special thank you to our readers, Angela and I have decided to offer a giveaway!

The winner will receive BOTH of the Hearts at War books!:

  • 1 digital copy of The Scarlet Coat by Angela K. Couch
  • 1 digital copy of The Patriot & The Loyalist by Angela K. Couch

Already own The Scarlet Coat? Not to worry! The winner’s copy of The Scarlet Coat will be emailed in gift card form, so that if you already own it, you can exchange it (btw Angela has another book out) or regift it to a friend who hasn’t read it yet.

HOW TO ENTER:

  1. Sign up to become a member of Kathleen’s Readers’ Club HERE. (Which automatically makes you eligible for my exclusive KRC giveaways!)
  2. Sign up to receive Angela’s newsletter for information on new releases HERE.
  3. Comment on this post with the answer to this question:  Which part of The Patriot & The Loyalist most appeals to you?

Make sure to use an email address you check frequently. If you win, I will use the email address you provided when signing up for my KRC to contact you and send you your prizes.

All 3 of the above steps must be completed to count as your ONE original entry.

BONUS ENTRIES:  If you share this giveaway on any social media, reply to your original comment with the link to your post/tweet and it will count as an extra entry – but ONLY if you have already completed the first 3 steps. Each share will count as an extra entry. IMPORTANT: We don’t want to spam your friends, so you may only share to each social media site once per day!

The Rules:

You MUST complete ALL 3 STEPS to enter. Multiple entries are allowed, providing they fulfill the above entry requirements. All entries must be complete by 11:59pm PST on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017. Winner will be announced Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017 on http://www.KathleenDenly.com and contacted directly within 24 hours via the email address they used to sign up for Kathleen’s Readers’ Club. Winner must acknowledge the congratulatory email within 48 hours, otherwise an alternate winner will be chosen. I’m excited to say that since this giveaway involves no shipping, it is open to both U.S. AND International entries. Void where prohibited.

How it works:

I will assign a number to each entry (1 number per original comment, plus 1 number for each bonus entry).  I will then enter those numbers into Random.org‘s Random Sequence Generator. Whichever number comes up at the top of the list will be the winner. I will then verify that that person has completed all 3 steps and that the links provided in their bonus entries are valid. If they have not completed all 3 steps or their links are invalid, they will be disqualified and the process will be repeated until a valid winner is found.

Remember: Check back May 3rd to see who won! Or just subscribe to receive my blog updates by email and have the announcement delivered to your inbox! 

IMPORTANT UPDATE!!!!!

Update 4/28/17:  Hi everyone! Please remember that in order to complete Steps 1 & 2 you must CONFIRM YOUR EMAIL by going to your email and clicking on the link in the confirmation email sent to you at sign up. I haven’t checked with Angela yet, but I’m noticing a lot of comments by people who seem to have entered, but whose emails are not in my list of KRC Members. I would hate for you to miss out because of this tiny but important step!!!