My Review – The Noble Guardian

My Review - The Noble Guardian

about-the-book-2

A Cross-Country Trip through Regency England Brings Intrigue, Rogues, and High Adventure

The must-read conclusion to Michelle Griep’s Bow Street Runners Trilogy: Life couldn’t be better for Abigail Gilbert—but it’s been a long time in coming. Having lived with a family who hated her, it’s finally her time for love. Abby sets off on a journey across England to marry one of the most prestigious gentlemen in the land—until highwaymen upset her plans and threaten her life.

Horse patrol captain Samuel Thatcher arrives just in time to save Abby. But she’s simply another victim in a job he’s come to despise. Tired of the dark side of humanity, he intends to buy land and retire.

Abby pleads with him to escort her for the rest of her journey. He refuses—until she offers him something he desperately needs to achieve his goal. . .money. Delivering her safely will give him more than enough to buy property.

So begins an impossible trek for the cynical lawman and the proper lady. Each will be indelibly changed by the time they reach her betrothed, if they don’t kill one another first—or fall in love.

Amazon

Why This Book (& my thoughts on the series):

I picked up The Noble Guardian because Michelle Griep wrote it and I’ve enjoyed every book I have read by her thus far. Discovering The Noble Guardian was part of a series that included The Innkeeper’s Daughter was a delightful surprise. There is no series title, nor any numbers on these books. I think this is because each of these books reads exactly like a stand-alone novel. The only reason I recognized these books as a series is that I recognized the side characters being mentioned. There are very subtle clues referring not only to The Innkeeper’s Daughter main characters, but also to a previous story. What?! I immediately went online and discovered that The Innkeeper’s Daughter was, in fact, the second book in this series (I had no idea at the time I read it). Of course, as soon as I finished The Nobel Guardian, I immediately read Brentwood’s Ward–the first book in this series. Let me emphasize: these books read entirely as stand-alone novels and there is absolutely no reason not to read one because you haven’t read another. I truly dislike reading series out of order, but in this case, I can honestly say that I don’t feel I missed out by accidentally reading them out of order.

Opening Lines:

Southampton, England, 1815

Was it wicked to say goodbye with a smile?

First Impressions:

I was immediately drawn in by the heroine’s self-doubts and intrigued by the questions the author raised in the first few paragraphs. I had to know more. The rest of the chapter did not disappoint, nor did the pace slow.

Main Characters:

Abigail Gilbert–  She is a young woman who has endured a heartbreaking childhood by clinging to the hope of a brighter future. The question of the story is whether that brighter future is as shiny as it seems. Despite her miserable upbringing, she has been sheltered from the ways of the wider world and is ill-prepared for the journey she embarks upon at the story’s outset.

Samuel Thatcher – He is a man determined to change the course of his life but waylaid at every step. He is, of course, noble–possibly to a fault–yet he is flawed as well. He takes too little regard for his own life and the suffering he has witnessed as a Bow Street Runner (law officer) has left his soul “burnt to a crisp”–his faith shaken.

Book Quote - The Noble Guardian - Promise Me

Emotional Engagement & Pacing of the Story:

Right from the start, I connected with both the hero and the heroine. Their plights engaged my emotions and I wanted to see where their stories would take them. Though I hoped for a happy outcome for both, I immediately knew the path to get there would be far from smooth (which delighted me as a reader).

The pacing of this story was brisk from page one. Each scene, each new twist, kept me turning pages until the very end. When life forced me away from reading, I found myself contemplating the world Griep had created and wondering what would happen next.

Elements I especially liked/disliked:

In hindsight, I can say that Griep did an excellent job of dropping hints throughout the story and staging things in such a way that the story’s conclusion felt entirely natural without being predictable.

Theme:

God’s plans may not be our plans, but they are always for the good of those who love Him.

Ending:

As satisfying as a perfect mouthful of the very food you’ve been craving for days.

Overall Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

Amazon

Let’s chat!

Have you read any of the books in the Pleasant Gap series? What do you think it means to be courageous?

TWEETABLES:

As satisfying as a perfect mouthful of the very food you’ve been craving for days.

This historical Christian romance has characters that engage your heart and suspense that keeps you turning pages!

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


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Note: I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley, but was NOT required to write a positive review. You may read my full disclosure of materials HERE.

 

My Rapid Review – Ladies of Intrigue

 

my rapid review - ladies of intrigue

about-the-book-2

3 Page-Turners Under One Cover from Reader Favorite Michelle Griep!
Can truth and love prevail when no one is as they appear?

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady
Cornish Coast, 1815
When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret?

The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner!)
Dakota Territory, 1862
Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins.

A House of Secrets
St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890
Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.

My Thoughts

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady

Helen Fletcher is a surprisingly determined young woman whose past has left her more than a little biased against Isaac Seaton. Yet his complicated past (and present) winds up being the very thing which draws them together. A fresh twist on the robin-hood concept, complicated by questions of biblical morality, this story was fun to read and kept me turning the pages.

The Doctor’s Woman

The romance between Emmaline “Emmy” Nelson and Dr. James Clark was, by far, my favorite of the three entertaining novels included in this collection. Unexpectedly paired to tend to the soldiers and Sioux people encamped at Fort Snelling, the two work side-by-side on a daily basis allowing their friendship to blossom into something more. With several sweet moments that warmed my heart and enough surprises to keep me reading, this is a story I could have kept reading for much longer, despite its satisfying conclusion.

A House of Secrets

A bit reminiscent of the plotline from A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears, this story nevertheless held its own charm. Featuring a heroine struggling to win her father’s heart and a hero fighting to right past wrongs, you can’t help but root for the two of them as they overcome fierce adversaries, troublesome secrets, and life-threatening events.

Overall Conclusion:

This collection takes the reader from a small town on the Cornish Coast of 1815 to the American frontier of 1862 and finally to 1890 St. Paul, Minnesota. With engaging characters and entertaining plot twists as diverse as their settings, all three stories are fully worthy of your time and money.

Overall Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Available: Amazon

Let’s Chat! Have you read any of Michelle’s other books? Which is your favorite?

TWEETABLE:

Three well-written stories with engaging characters, vivid descriptions and entertaining plot-twists, all in one collection. #BookReview

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

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!


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About the Author

Michelle Griep

Michelle Griep has been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones while rambling around a castle. Michelle is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and MCWG (Minnesota Christian Writers Guild). Keep up with her adventures at her blog “Writer off the Leash” or visit michellegriep.com.

 

3 Reasons to Read Historical Fiction

Guest post by Michelle Griep

 

Believe it or not, some readers snub historical fiction, preferring instead to stick to contemporary reads. Several have good reason to, simply preferring one genre over another. But others have never given historical fiction a try. If you fall into that camp, here are some reasons you should consider reading a tale from the past.

  1. Historical fiction books are not as boring as your high school history class.

Does the thought of endless names and dates make you break out into hives? Good news! Historical fiction is a painless way to glean some historic facts without mindless memorization. You can experience a different era and culture vicariously through heroes and heroines that live on the pages of yesteryear.

  1. Makes for great conversation.

In a world that prides itself on keeping up with the Kardashians, dare to add a little cultural zest to your next dinner conversation. Reading historical fiction arms you with interesting tidbits of things that’ve happened in years gone by.

  1. Because truth is timeless.

Some people yearn to go back to a simpler time. The truth is, though, that the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the historic side of the fence. People have had tough issues to deal with no matter the era. . .but therein lies a great reason to read historical fiction: truth is timeless. Be it ancient, biblical, medieval, Victorian, or anything in between, truth never changes.

In my new release, Ladies of Intrigue, you’ll experience all these things and more. Find out about the smuggling trade in Cornwall in The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady. Learn about the rough and dangerous life on a military fort during the 1860’s in The Doctor’s Woman. Find out why the gilded age wasn’t as glittery as we often think in A House of Secrets.

Don’t be doomed to repeat history. Grab a cup of tea and master it with a great read!

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, February 23

The Power of Words, February 23

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 23

Blogging With Carol, February 24

Reflections From My Bookshelves, February 24

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 24

Mary Hake, February 24

Kathleen Denly, February 25

Genesis 5020, February 25

Splashes of Joy, February 25

For the Love of Literature, February 25

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 26

Faery Tales Are Real, February 26

Through the Fire Blogs, February 26

Blossoms and Blessings, February 26

Inspired by fiction, February 27

All-of-a-kind Mom, February 27

Back Porch ReadsFebruary 27

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 27

A Baker’s Perspective, February 28

Andy Carmichael, February 28

Stories By Gina, February 28

Emily Yager, March 1

Multifarious, March 1

A Reader’s Brain , March 1

Baker kella, March 1

Bibliophile Reviews, March 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 2

Remembrancy, March 2

Just the Write Escape, March 3

BigreadersiteMarch 3

Inspiration Clothesline, March 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 4

Vicky Sluiter, March 4

Ashley’s Bookshelf, March 4

Book by Book, March 4

Kat’s Corner Books, March 5

Inklings and notionsMarch 5

Living Life Free in Christ, March 5

The Morning Chapter, March 5

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 6

Pause for Tales, March 6

Simple Harvest Reads, March 6 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Daysong Reflections, March 6

Texas Book-aholic, March 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 7

Janices book reviews, March 7

A Humble Cup of Lukewarm Tea, March 8

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, March 8

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, March 8

Carpe Diem, March 8

Giveaway

amazon gift card 25 (1)

 

To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a free copy of Ladies of Intrigue!!

Be sure to comment on blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!

Click the image below to enter.

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Top Ten MUST READ Christian Romances for 2019

Top 10 Christian Romance Books Blog Post Image

While I am admittedly woefully behind on the books I wanted to read in 2018 (see my 2018 TBR here), the publishing world is not waiting for me to catch up. Instead, it marches heartlessly onward with plans to release still more books which I must somehow squeeze into my schedule or else die trying. (Sleep is optional, right?)

Thus, below you will find the top ten historical romances I am most anticipating in 2019 (in order of release date and then by author last name):

 

Ladies of Intrigue by Michelle Griep

Ladies of Intrigue
Releases January 15, 2019.

3 Page-Turners Under One Cover from Reader Favorite Michelle Griep!
Can truth and love prevail when no one is as they appear?

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady
Cornish Coast, 1815
When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret?

The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner!)
Dakota Territory, 1862
Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins.

A House of Secrets
St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890
Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.

Find Ladies of Intrigue on Amazon.

 

A Return of Devotion by Kristi Ann Hunter

A Return of Devotion
Releases February 5, 2019!

Daphne Blakemoor was perfectly happy living in her own secluded world for twelve years. She had everything she needed–loved ones, a true home, and time to indulge her imagination. But when ownership of the estate where she works as a housekeeper passes on, and the new marquis has an undeniable connection to her past, everything she’s come to rely upon is threatened.

William, Marquis of Chemsford’s main goal in life is to be the exact opposite of his father. Starting a new life in the peace and quiet of the country sounds perfect until his housekeeper turns his life upside down.

They’ve spent their lives hiding from the past. Can they find the courage to face their deepest wounds and, perhaps, find a new path for the future together?

Find A Return of Devotion on Amazon.

 

Between Stairs and Stardust by Pepper Basham

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Releases February 14, 2019!

Stella Faye Emory has known a life of loss. Orphaned at the age of eleven, she is sent from her home at the Biltmore Estate to become a companion for a wealthy family in Boston. As she grows into a kind and talented young lady, a benefactress recognizes Stella’s artistic skills and funds her education but Stella’s fame as an illustrator inspires jealousy and an unwanted rumor that sends Stella fleeing back to the Biltmore.

James Craven is the second-born son of an automobile tycoon. Following his family to their new estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains, James finds his place among the forests and mountains of the countryside. When his little sister is saved from drowning by the mysterious, “Faye”, James’ interests take a new turn in the direction of this fairy-like artist who seems to appear and disappear at the most unexpected times.

As James and Stella’s friendship deepens, Stella’s past finds her and threatens her newfound romance. Can a charm bracelet and an unanticipated visitor restore hopes for a happily-ever-after?

Find more about Between Stairs and Stardust on Pepper’s website.

 

The Unexpected Champion by Mary Connealy

The Unexpected Champion
Releases March 5, 2019

City dweller John McCall never expected to be out in the High Sierras of 1868 on a wild-goose chase to find the Chiltons’ supposedly lost grandson. But now that he’s out here, things have gotten even more complicated, mostly due to wildcat Penny Scott. She’s not like any woman he’s ever met–comfortable in the woods, with a horse, and with a gun.

When Penny and John are taken against their will by a shadowy figure looking for evidence they don’t have, both realize they’ve stumbled into something dangerous and complicated. With their friends and family desperately searching for them, Penny and John must make a daring escape.

When they emerge back into the real world, they are confronted with a kidnapper who just won’t stop. They must bring a powerful, ruthless man to justice, even as this city man and country woman fight a very inconvenient attraction to each other.

Pre-order The Unexpected Champion on Amazon.

 

The Story Raider by Lindsay A Franklin

(Not technically in the romance genre, but it is written by a Christian, has a strong romance subplot, and I am practically turning blue waiting for this release, so I had to include it!)

The Story Raider
Releases April 30, 2019

Tanwen and the Corsyth weavers race to collect the strands of an ancient cure that might save Gryfelle. But Tanwen has a secret–Gryfelle isn’t the only one afflicted by the weaver’s curse. As Queen Braith struggles to assert her rule, a new arrival throws her tenuous claim to the Tirian throne into question. Braith’s heart is turned upside down, and she’s not sure she can trust anyone–least of all herself.

The puppet master behind Gareth’s rise to power has designs on Tanwen and the story weavers, and will stop at nothing to reclaim the throne. A plot to incite the angry peasants of Tir takes shape, and those dearest to Tanwen will be caught in the crossfire. As the fight for Tir consumes the realm, no one can remain innocent.

Pre-order The Story Raider on Amazon.

 

A Reluctant Bride by Jody Hedlund

A Reluctant Bride
Releases June 4, 2019

Living in London’s poorest slum, Mercy Wilkins has little hope of a better life. When she’s offered an opportunity to join a bride ship sailing to British Columbia, she agrees. After witnessing so much painful heartache and loss in the slums, the bride ship is her only prospect to escape a bleak future, not only for herself but, she hopes, someday for her sister.

Wealthy and titled Joseph Colville leaves home and takes to the sea in order to escape the pain of losing his family. As ship’s surgeon, he’s in charge of the passengers’ welfare aboard the Tynemouth, including sixty brides-to-be. He has no immediate intention of settling down, but when Mercy becomes his assistant, the two must fight against a forbidden love.

With hundreds of single men congregating on the shore eager to claim a bride from the Tynemouth, will Mercy and Joseph lose their chance at true love, or will they be able to overcome the obstacles that threaten to keep them apart?

Pre-order A Reluctant Bride on Amazon.

More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer

More Than Words Can Say
Releases June 4, 2019

After fulfilling a pledge to a dying friend, Zacharias Hamilton is finally free to live life on his own terms. No family entanglements. No opportunities to disappoint those he cares about. Just the quiet bachelor existence he’s always craved. Until fate snatches his freedom away once again when the baker of his favorite breakfast treat is railroaded by the city council. As hard as he tries to avoid getting involved, he can’t turn a blind eye to her predicament . . . or her adorable dimples.

Abigail Kemp needs a man’s name on her bakery’s deed. A marriage of convenience seems the best solution . . . if it involves a man she can control. Not the stoic lumberman who oozes confidence without saying a word whenever he enters her shop. Control Zacharias Hamilton? She can’t even control her pulse when around him.

When vows are spoken, Abigail’s troubles should be over. Yet threats to the bakery worsen, and darker dangers hound her sister. As trust grows between Zach and Abby, she finds she wants more than his rescue. She wants his heart.

Pre-order More Than Words Can Say on Amazon.

 

Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett

Ever Faithful
Releases June 18, 2019

Vibrant historic Yellowstone National Park comes to life in this romantic mystery about a man hiding the truth, braving the west to become something more–and the woman who must confront his deception.

A man who can’t read will never amount to anything–or so Nate Webber believes. But he takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps, skirting the truth about certain “requirements.” Nate exchanges the harsh Brooklyn streets for the wilds of Yellowstone National Park, curious if the Eden-like wonderland can transform him as well.
Elsie Brookes was proud to grow up as a ranger’s daughter, but she longs for a future of her own. After four years serving as a maid in the park’s hotels, she still hasn’t saved enough money for her college tuition. A second job, teaching a crowd of rowdy men in the CCC camp, might be the answer, but when Elsie discovers Nate’s secret, it puts his job as camp foreman in jeopardy. Tutoring leads to friendship and romance, until a string of suspicious fires casts a dark shadow over their relationship. Can they find answers before all of their dreams go up in smoke?

Pre-order Ever Faithful on Amazon.

 

Where Dandelions Bloom by Tara Johnson

Where Dandelions Bloom
Releases July 1, 2019

Cassie Kendrick is on the run. Her abusive father arranged her marriage to a despicable man, but she’s discovered an escape. Disguised as a man, Cassie enlists in the Union army, taking the name Thomas Turner. On the battlefields of the Civil War, keeping her identity a secret is only the beginning of her problems, especially after she meets Gabriel Avery, a handsome young photographer.

Anxious to make his mark on the world and to erase the darkness and guilt lurking from his past, Gabriel works with renowned photographer Matthew Brady to capture images from the front lines of the war. As Gabriel forges friendships with many of the men he encounters, he wonders what the courageous, unpredictable Thomas Turner is hiding.

Battling betrayal, their own personal demons, and a country torn apart by war, can Cassie and Gabriel learn to forgive themselves and trust their futures to the God who births hope and healing in the darkest places?

Pre-order Where Dandelions Bloom on Amazon.

 

Yours Truly, Thomas by Rachel Fordham

Yours Truly Thomas
Releases July 2, 2019

For three years, Penny Ercanbeck has been opening other people’s mail. Dead ends are a reality for clerks at the Dead Letter Office. Still she dreams of something more–a bit of intrigue, a taste of romance, or at least a touch less loneliness. When a letter from a brokenhearted man to his one true love falls into her hands, Penny seizes this chance to do something heroic. It becomes her mission to place this lost letter into the hands of its intended recipient.

Thomas left his former life with no intention of ending up in Azure Springs, Iowa. He certainly didn’t expect a happy ending after what he had done. All he wanted to do was run and never look back. In a moment of desperation, he began to write, never really expecting a reply.

When Penny’s undertaking leads her to the intriguing man who touched her soul with his words, everything grows more complicated. She wants to find the rightful owner of the letter and yet she finds herself caring–perhaps too much–for the one who wrote it.

Pre-order Yours Truly, Thomas on Amazon.

 

Please Note:  There are several more authors whose books are releasing in the next year that I am most eagerly looking forward to, but at this time their release dates are still uncertain. So I’ve limited this list to those books whose release dates are known.

Let’s Chat! 

What do you think? Have I missed any of your favorite upcoming releases? See anything here you’ll be adding to your TBR? Let me know in the comments below!

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

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!

TWEETABLE:

Check out this list of Top 10 MUST READ Christian Romance Books for 2019! 

First Line Friday – 01.04.19

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Woohoo!! It’s the FIRST First Line Friday of 2019!! So grab a book near you and share your first line in the comments below!

Today I’m sharing the first lines from Ladies of Intrigue by Michelle Griep, a book I’ve recently finished reading. Currently available for pre-order, this book is set to release January 15th. My full review of this novel will be up on February 25th!

Ladies of Intrigue

Here are the first lines (I couldn’t stop with just one!):

1815 Port village of Treporth, Cornwall, England

Pretend I am courageous.
Pretend my heart still beats.
Pretend all manner of blissful things … and that I shall find him alive.

Recreasing a worn scrap of foolscap, Helen Fletcher tucked the paper into her valise, then snapped shut the clasp, wishing most of all she’d never received such horrid news. No one had ever warned her about the dangers of parchment.

about-the-book-2

3 Page-Turners Under One Cover from Reader Favorite Michelle Griep!
Can truth and love prevail when no one is as they appear?

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady
Cornish Coast, 1815
When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret?

The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner!)
Dakota Territory, 1862
Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins.

A House of Secrets
St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890
Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.

AMAZON

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

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!

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

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

My Review – The Captured Bride

My Review - The Captured Bride

about-the-book-2

A war-torn countryside is no place for a lady—but Mercy Lytton is a lady like none other. Raised amongst the Mohawks, she straddles two cultures, yet each are united in one cause . . . to defeat the French. Born with a rare gift of unusually keen eyesight, she is chosen as a scout to accompany a team of men on a dangerous mission. Yet it is not her life that is threatened. It is her heart.

Condemned as a traitor, Elias Dubois faces the gallows. At the last minute, he’s offered his freedom if he consents to accompany a stolen shipment of French gold to a nearby fort—but he’s the one they stole it from in the first place. It turns out that the real thief is the beguiling woman, Mercy Lytton, for she steals his every waking thought.

Can love survive divided loyalties in a backcountry wilderness?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Why This Book:

After enjoying Michelle Griep’s The Innkeeper’s Daughter, I have decided to read as much of her writing as I can squeeze into my schedule.

Opening Line (from Chapter 1):

Fort Wilderness,
upper New York, 1759
Five years into the French and Indian War

“It ain’t right. You ain’t right.”

First Impressions:

From the very first scene the dialogue pulled me into the lives of Griep’s characters. Mercy is a very different sort of heroine for the era, to say the least. Her relationships with the people around her are therefore necessarily unique as well. I was immediately intrigued by her life and her story.

Main Characters:

Mercy Lytton – One might expect a woman with her background to be bitter or downtrodden in some way, but instead, Mercy is a bold and determined young woman. Sure, she has issues she needs to work out, but she doesn’t let them consume her the way a weaker person might have. Still, she learns things along the way that significantly change how she views her life, the people around her, and even God.

Captain Matthew Prinn – An uncle-like figure in Mercy’s life, Matthew Prinn is a trail-toughened spy and partner to Mercy.

Elias Dubois – A man caught between warring countries and accused of treason, there are too many people that want him dead to list. I can’t say too much about his character without giving something away because the biggest questions pushing this story along have to do with who he truly is and where his loyalties lie.

Book Quote - The Captured Bride - River of Thought

 

Emotional Engagement & Pacing of the Story:

This story had my attention from page one and never lost it. There were just enough “pauses” or slower moments in the scenes to let the reader catch their breath in time to lose it with the next twist. At no point did I want to put the book down or felt that the story dragged at all.

Elements I especially liked/disliked:

I particularly liked that Mercy, while notably different from the typical female of the time, still felt completely plausible.

I also appreciated the complexity with which each culture’s perspective was portrayed, from the French to the English to the Native American tribes. The various tribes were rightly portrayed as such – not all washed together as one culture the way some books have done, but represented as separate peoples. No one group was completely in the right and no one was completely in the wrong. To me, this seemed more true-to-life because life is messy and people are sinful regardless of what culture they belong to.

As with The Innkeeper’s Daughter, the descriptions in this novel were so rich I felt I could see, feel, hear and taste everything that happened in the story.

Themes:

You can’t truly understand another person’s choices unless you’ve walked in their shoes.

Be careful judging others because not everyone is as they seem.

Ending:

The ending was thorough and satisfying. It made me smile.

Overall Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Let’s chat!

Which of Michelle’s books is your favorite? Or if you haven’t read any yet, which aspect of The Captured Bride, most appeals to you?

TWEETABLES:

A historical romance with a unique heroine, descriptions that bring you into the action, and a plot to keep you turning pages. (CLICK to TWEET)

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


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About the Author

MichelleGriep

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Guest Post from Michelle

A Visit to Fort Niagara

The Captured bride guest post pictureWhether you’re a history buff or don’t have a clue what the French and Indian War was about, there’s a destination in upstate New York that’s fun to visit for the whole family . . .

My husband and I made the trek to this living history site last summer. I had no idea what to expect, other than what was advertised as a “reenactment camp.” For those who don’t know, this is when volunteers who adore history come together to present a particular event, such as a battle. These people usually choose a real person from the era upon whom they fashion their modern day persona. They dress, speak, eat and live as that person might have. Here I am with some of my new friends:

Generally around the 4th of July, the 1759 Battle of Fort Niagara is recreated in a 3-day extravaganza of soldiers, muskets, canons and an entire market place to peruse selling period-related items.

Some of the things that surprised me about stepping back into the mid-eighteenth century were:

  • How much smoke muskets kick out
  • Once the battle begins, it’s hard to see who is your enemy or ally
  • Canons are really loud
  • Everything wasn’t as black and white as it seems in pictures—gowns and uniforms were very colorful

What makes this event so spectacular is that they take the entire 20 day siege and condense it into 3 days. If you visit every day, you’ll see and experience exactly what happened. You’ll be there to see the British, Colonial regulars and Iroquois allies sneak out of the tree line to shoot at some French soldiers who were pigeon hunting just outside the fort. You’ll hear the war whoops and barrage of angry French epithets roaring on the air. You’ll even get a chance to taste some of their food as you wander around inside the French Encampment set up inside the fort walls.

To experience a bit of the danger, sights and sounds of what Mercy and Elias lived through in The Captured Bride, Fort Niagara really is a fantastic place to visit.

Blog Stops

Vicky Sluiter, June 9

Fiction Aficionado, June 9

Blossoms and Blessings, June 9

A Baker’s Perspective, June 9

History, Mystery & Faith, June 10

Inklings and notions, June 10

Just the Write Escape, June 10

Faithfully Bookish, June 11

The Power of Words, June 11

Genesis 5020, June 11

Bakerkella, June 11

My Writer’s Life, June 12

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, June 12

Luv’N Lambert Life, June 12

Among the Reads, June 13

Book by Book, June 13

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, June 13

Moments Dipped in Ink, June 14

Splashes of Joy, June 14

Artistic Nobody, June 14 (Spotlight)

Bibliophile Reviews, June 14

Pause for Tales, June 15

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 15

Mary Hake, June 15

Bigreadersite, June 15

Connie’s History Classroom, June 16

Simple Harvest Reads, June 16 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Two Points of Interest, June 16

The Christian Fiction Girl, June 17

Daysong Reflections, June 17

Novels corner, June 17

Kathleen Denly, June 18

A Reader’s Brain, June 18

Remembrancy, June 18

proud to be an autism mom, June 19

Texas Book-aholic, June 19

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, June 19

Reading Is My SuperPower, June 20

Red Headed Book Lady, June 20

Margaret Kazmierczak, June 20

Mommynificent, June 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 21

Janices book reviews, June 21

Jeanette’s Thoughts, June 21

With a Joyful Noise, June 22

Pink Granny’s Journey, June 22

Carpe Diem, June 22

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a signed copy of The Captured Bride and a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card!!

Click below to enter.

Enter Here Button

Don’t forget to let me know:

Which of Michelle’s books is your favorite? Or if you haven’t read any yet, which aspect of The Captured Bride, most appeals to you?

Cover Challenge

Cover Challenge

They say covers sell books and designing them takes a special skill. So I’m curious:  How much attention do we actually pay to those slaved-over images?

Below are pieces of book covers from Christian romance books which have been released within the last 12 months (May 2017-May 2018). Can you name each book from just a tiny peek at the cover? To make things easier, there is a list to choose from below the images.

AAn Unexpected Redemption - Puzzle Piece

BThe Captured Bride - Puzzle Piece

CThree Words and a Kiss - Puzzle Piece

DNo Other Will Do - Puzzle Piece

EThe Backcountry Brides Collection - Puzzle Piece

FThe Lady and the Lionheart - Puzzle Piece

GThis Wilderness Journey - Puzzle Piece

HLove Held Captive - Puzzle Piece

ICharming the Troublemaker - Puzzle Piece

JA Heart's Revolution - Puzzle Piece

Your possible answers in no particular order:

  1. Charming the Troublemaker by Pepper D. Basham
  2. Three Words and a Kiss by Sondra Kraak
  3. The Backcountry Brides Collection by Angela K. Couch, Debra E. Marvin, Shannon McNear, Gabrielle Meyer, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Jennifer Hudson Taylor, Pegg Thomas, Denise Weimer
  4. No Other Will Do by Karen Witemeyer
  5. An Unexpected Redemption by Davalynn Spencer
  6. The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep
  7. This Wilderness Journey by Misty M. Beller
  8. A Heart’s Revolution by Roseanna M. White
  9. The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof
  10. Love Held Captive by Shelley Shepard Gray

See the full covers HERE!

Let’s chat!

How did you do? Did you guess them all? Did any of them stump you?

My Review – The Innkeeper’s Daughter

My Review - The Innkeeper's Daughter

about-the-book-2

A London officer goes undercover to expose a plot against the Crown

Dover, England, 1808: Officer Alexander Moore goes undercover as a gambling gentleman to expose a high-stakes plot against the king—and he’s a master of disguise, for Johanna Langley believes him to be quite the rogue . . . until she can no longer fight against his unrelenting charm.

All Johanna wants is to keep the family inn afloat, but when the rent and the hearth payment are due at the same time, where will she find the extra funds? If she doesn’t come up with the money, there will be nowhere to go other than the workhouse—where she’ll be separated from her ailing mother and ten-year-old brother.

Alex desperately wants to help Johanna, especially when she confides in him, but his mission—finding and bringing to justice a traitor to the crown—must come first, or they could all end up dead.

Why This Book:

I have heard a lot of great things about Michelle Griep’s books, but I hadn’t yet had the chance to read one (despite putting her novel, The Captive Heart, on my list of Top Ten Must Read Historical Romance Novels for 2017). When I saw the opportunity to join her Celebrate Lit tour, I hopped over to Amazon to check out the first few lines in the book’s preview and decided this was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss.

Opening Line (from Chapter 1):

Dover, England, 1808

Numbers would be the death of Johanna Langley.

First Impressions:

The first line, even the first paragraph, intrigued me, but I have to admit the rest of the first scene, though well-written and filled with interesting characters, just didn’t engage me. Perhaps I was just tired or distracted, but for whatever reason, I didn’t really feel engaged until the second scene where the hero was introduced, and I wouldn’t say I was truly “hooked” until the first scene of the second chapter. I can’t honestly put my finger on why this was. It may be that I needed time to adjust to Griep’s writing style or to the slightly different genre/setting of the book from my typical reads (I tend to read more American history than English), or it could just be that I was having an off day. Whatever the case, even in looking back at the first few scenes, I can’t find any fault within the writing or storytelling, so this less than enthusiastic first impression is probably on me and not the author.

Book Quote Image - The Innkeeper's Daughter - Fire Gaze

Characters:

Johanna Langley – To say Johanna is a hard worker, sacrificing all to keep her family from losing their home and livelihood – the Blue Hedge Inn – would be an understatement. The weight of this responsibility combined with the bitterness left behind by her deceased father’s betrayal of trust has shaped her into a woman who freely admits she has no desire for fun and mistrusts each man she meets. Yet, she strives to be a godly woman and readily recognizes the truth of her errors when revealed to her.

Alexander Moore aka Alexander Morton – A Bow Street runner (sort of like an early policeman) who has been assigned a mysterious undercover assignment – the details of which he is less than pleased about. He is essentially a good-hearted man trying to walk the line of serving justice and remaining as truthful as possible with those he cares about.

Lucious Nutbrown – Eccentric moocher who’s lack of social sophistication gets him into no end of trouble.

Mr. Ford – Magistrate and Alexander’s superior with an air of mystery to his personal life. He is also Alexander’s guardian, having taken Alexander in when he was orphaned as a young boy.

Thomas Langley – Mischief-making little brother to Johanna Langley with responsibilities typical of a child his age in that era.

Mrs. Eliza Langley – Widowed mother of Johanna and Thomas Langley, she’s had a difficult life, but she’s a tough, clever woman and a loving “mam.”

Mr. Quail – The leader of an itinerate band of musicians.

Mr. Spurge – The lien holder on the Blue Hedge Inn.

Tanny Needler – A man no one wants to work for.

Viscount Coburn – Alexander’s initial suspect and Father of Louisa.

Louisa Coburn – Rebellious daughter of the the viscount.

Emotional Engagement & Pacing of the Story:

It may have taken me a few scenes to become truly engaged in this story but not too long after that I had to force myself to very reluctantly put it down when life responsibilities demanded my attention. I lost no small amount of sleep to this delightful novel. Consider yourself warned.

This book made me chuckle several times and I even caught myself truly choking up a couple times, so I think it’s safe to say I was emotionally engaged with these characters.
Book Quote Image - The Innkeeper's Daughter - Broken Things

Elements I especially liked/disliked:

I liked the way the author handled the unique dialects in the dialogue of the different characters. I could clearly hear distinct voices in my mind as I read. (No comments from the peanut gallery, thank you.) From their physical appearance to the way they spoke, to the actions they took,  each character was distinct enough from any other that at no time was I ever confused as to whom I was reading about. Furthermore, there were no throw-away characters, as each had an important and unique part in the story. With a somewhat large cast of players, this is an accomplishment to be applauded.

I loved the climax because it tricked me – in a good way. I cannot say exactly how without giving it away but suffice to say what I thought was the situation for about three or so scenes, wound up not being the case and when I realized the truth, I was delighted with the twist – and I’m not even referring to the “whodunit” portion of the mystery (but yes, I was happily somewhat fooled there as well – I only guessed part of it).

I also want to add that the descriptions in this novel were so rich and well done that not only did I feel I was there, but the descriptions themselves enhanced the story.

Book Quote Image - The Innkeeper's Daughter - Dirty Corners

Themes:

When is it okay to lie?

Is gambling itself a sin?

Who is the source of our hope and strength?

Ending:

I loved the ending because just when I thought things were winding down, there was one more twist to be had. Yet in the end, all the strings that needed tying were done so with a satisfying finesse that had me grinning like a fool and even giggling a little with delight.

Overall Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

Available at:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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

About the Author

MichelleGriep
Michelle Griep has been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones while rambling around a castle. Michelle is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and MCWG (Minnesota Christian Writers Guild). Keep up with her adventures at her blog “Writer off the Leash” or visit www.michellegriep.com.

Let’s chat!

Have you read a book by Michelle Griep? What most intrigues you about this novel?

TWEETABLES:

I loved the ending because just when I thought things were winding down, there was one more twist to be had. #BookReview @KathleenDenly @MichelleGriep

You won’t want to miss out on this 5 star English Regency Intrigue Romance! #BookReview @KathleenDenly @MichelleGriep 

Psst! Feel free to borrow any of the book quote images above for sharing on social media and remember to tag me @KathleenDenly !

The image below means I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Click here for more details.

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The Innkeeper's Daughter Celebrate Lit Tour Banner

Guest Post from Michelle Griep

Celebrating Oak Apple Day

Spring is just around the corner, or maybe it’s in full bloom in your neck of the woods. Regardless, by this time of year, everyone is ready to celebrate. . .and nothing new is under the sun. For centuries people have been eager to welcome budding greenery and warmth.

In my recent release, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, I incorporated a spring holiday that’s been around for over 500 years in England, one you may never heard of.

Oak Apple Day.

This ancient celebration dates back to the year 1651. At the time, Charles II escaped the Roundhead army by taking cover in an oak tree. Everyone loved ol’ Charlie and was glad he lived, so in his honor, a new national holiday was born—one that in some parts of England is still celebrated today.

Another name for this annual event is Royal Oak Day and the festivities occur every May 29th. Celebration traditions vary from parades to the ringing of bells, but one thing that is standard is that it’s a day to pin an oak leaf on your lapel. If you fail to wear one, you could end up getting pinched.

The hero in my latest release is kind enough to remind the heroine that she forgot to pin on her leaf, thus saving her from untoward pinches. Interested in hearing more about this gallant fellow and the forgetful miss? Here’s a blurb about The Innkeeper’s Daughter

Tension is high with the threat of a Napoleonic attack in Regency England, but risk from abroad means nothing when there’s danger at home.

Officer Alexander Moore goes undercover as a gambling gentleman to expose a high-stakes plot against the crown—and he’s a master of disguise, for Johanna Langley believes him to be quite the rogue . . . until she can no longer fight against his unrelenting charm.

All Johanna wants is to keep the family inn afloat, but when the rent and the hearth payment are due at the same time, where will she find the extra funds? If she doesn’t come up with the money, there will be nowhere to go other than the workhouse—where she’ll be separated from her ailing mother and ten-year-old brother.

Alex desperately wants to help Johanna, especially when she confides in him, but his mission—finding and bringing to justice a traitor to the crown—must come first, or they could all end up dead.

It’s a race against time for them both.

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, March 15

Fiction Aficionado, March 15

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 15

The Morning Chapter, March 15

Reflections From My Bookshelves, March 16

Reading Is My SuperPower, March 16

Mommynificent, March 16

Blogging With Carol, March 16

Among the Reads, March 17

Connie’s History Classroom, March 17

Mary Hake, March 17

Blossoms and Blessings, March 17

Karen Sue HadleyMarch 18

The Power of WordsMarch 18

Christian Chick’s ThoughtsMarch 18

D’S QUILTS & BOOKSMarch 18

Kathleen DenlyMarch 19

Faithfully BookishMarch 19

Captive Dreams WindowMarch 19

Red Headed Book LadyMarch 19

The Fizzy Pop CollectionMarch 20

RemembrancyMarch 20

Inklings and notionsMarch 20

Book by BookMarch 20

Moments Dipped in InkMarch 21

Black ‘n’ Gold Girl’s Book SpotMarch 21

Singing Librarian BooksMarch 21

To Everything a SeasonMarch 21

Bookworm MamaMarch 22

Two Points of InterestMarch 22

Vicky SluiterMarch 22

Carpe DiemMarch 22

Pause for TalesMarch 23

Have A Wonderful DayMarch 23

A Baker’s PerspectiveMarch 23

margaret kazmierczakMarch 23 (Interview)

proud to be an autism momMarch 24

Bibliophile ReviewsMarch 24

A Greater YesMarch 24

Texas Book-aholicMarch 25

Debbie’s Dusty DeliberationsMarch 25

Janices book reviewsMarch 25

A Reader’s BrainMarch 26

Jeanette’s ThoughtsMarch 26

Simple Harvest ReadsMarch 26 (Mindy Houng Guest Post)

Kaylee’s Kind Of WritesMarch 27

My Writer’s LifeMarch 27

Pursuing StacieMarch 27

BigreadersiteMarch 27

Tell Tale Book ReviewsMarch 28

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky MeetMarch 28

Pink Granny’s JourneyMarch 28

The PhD MammaMarch 28

Giveaway

barnes and noble

To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a signed copy of The Innkeeper’s Daughter and a $25 gift card from Barnes & Noble!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! Enter Here Button

Let’s chat!

Have you read a book by Michelle Griep? What most intrigues you about this novel?