Saturday, December 21, 2013

Governess of Highland Hall

Carrie Turansky has a winner with her book The Governess of Highland Hall. I had not read any of her novels before but the description of this novel enticed me to try it out.

Julia Foster seeks a governess position to help support her family who had been missionaries in India until her father's failing health forced them to return to England. As governess she is charged with the education and training of four children including two young children whose mother has recently passed away and two young ladies preparing for the coming out season. The two young ladies feel they are too old for a governess and resent her presence and her lack of experience with high society. Julia also find herself at odds with the other house staff who resent her being taken into confidence by William, the master of the house, as well as his sister, Sarah.

The Governess of Highland Hall does a wonderful job of portraying the ins and outs of the differences between the various tiers of society in pre-World War I England and how those tiers are beginning to break down. Highland Hall shows not only the titled class but also the titled class without wealth and the servants. Julia finds herself caught in the middle as the educated but penniless governess. As you may imagine, several romantic relationships ensue between various characters in this novel which cross the appropriate social lines. Adding to the plot is the fact that William must find a way to pay the inheritance taxes on Highland Hall or lose the family estate and that a wealthy marriage seems to be the only way to obtain the needed funds.

To tell anymore would give away the ending of this charming novel. While predictable in the outcome, there are multiple twists and turns in the execution which keep the reader guessing until the very end. Downton Abbey fans will enjoy The Governess of Highland Hall as will other fans of clean historical romance.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Blogging for Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Can Jimmy's Christmas be saved?

In Ace Collins' book The Christmas Star, Jimmy Reed doesn't want anything to do with Christmas. This year the community is excited about Christmas since everyone is home from the war--everyone except Jimmy's dad. Jimmy's dad had been killed in action and now his Congressional Medal of Honor was the only star on their Christmas tree. Feeling angry at the world, Jimmy was headed downhill fast. Looking for a quick buck. Jimmy tangles with the wrong crowd and doesn't think he can find a way out. Fortunately for Jimmy several individuals take an interest in him specifically the school bus driver Calvin and Audrey, a cute girl at school.

Calvin becomes an unexpected mentor when he takes Jimmy with him to deliver Christmas presents to the less fortunate. In the process, Jimmy learns more about his father and the impact his father had on their community. As Jimmy discovers the true meaning of Christmas and what kind of person his father would want him to be, he tries to get out of the hot water he is in without causing himself or his mother to be hurt. Several twists and turns result in an unexpected resolution to this issue which the proceeds to precipitate several additional surprises which cause this Christmas to be extra special for Jimmy.

The Christmas Star by Ace Collins is a warm enjoyable tale for the Christmas season. This particular tale appeals to both men and women. Individuals of all ages ranging from young people to the elderly will enjoy this story. My own pre-teen daughter can't wait to read it, and I look forward to passing my copy on to my own father as well. The Christmas Star is a 5 star story but don't take my word for it! Watch the trailer or start reading today!

I received a complementary copy of this book from Abingdon Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Not Just Any Quilt

I don't know about you, but Christmas and quilts just seem to go together as do babies and quilts. And when I think of quilts, I think of the Amish who are known for their quilts. So the title The Christmas Quilt jumped out at me. It was particularly excited to find this story revolves around not only a Christmas quilt but also a baby quilt.

When I began reading The Christmas Quilt by Vannetta Chapman, I was excited to find the characters are those first introduced in A Simple Amish Christmas. Thus I felt like I was catching up with old friends when I began reading. While familiarity with the characters was helpful, author Vannetta Chapman provides sufficient details so that readers just meeting these characters will have no problem following the story. Chapman begins the story by introducing Annie and Leah who are sisters-in-law and both expecting. Annie is excited to begin making a special quilt for Leah whose baby is due around Christmas time. Unfortunately, she has difficulty finding the time to sit down and work on it as Annie also is a nurse and assists her community quite often. Her nursing training comes in very handy when Leah experiences complications with her pregnancy and needs to be moved to a high risk unit at the hospital where Annie was previously employed.

Often Amish fiction with very few changes could just easily be historical fiction set on the frontier. An enjoyable twist to this particular work of Amish fiction was the very 21st century issues the characters faced. Too often it seems that characters in these books deal mostly with who is going to be married to whom or whether the young adult child is going to remain Amish or become an Englischer. Although there is tangential hinting of a romance between two minor characters, the main issues in this work are very similar to those non-Amish readers experience.

The Christmas Quilt is a very enjoyable piece of fiction just right for reading during the Christmas holiday or at any other time of the year. Begin reading this book now with this excerpt. The Christmas Quilt is part of the Quilts of Love series published by Abingdon Press. While this particular title is set in Amish country, not all of the books in this series are. I look forward to reading additional titles from this series.

I received a complementary copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.