Thursday, December 24, 2015

"At Love's Bidding," by Regina Jennings

"At Love's Bidding," by Regina Jennings
After helping her grandfather at their Boston auction house, Miranda Wimplegate discovers she's accidentally sold a powerful family's prized portrait to an anonymous bidder. Desperate to appease the people who could ruin them forever, they track it to the Missouri Ozarks and make an outlandish offer to buy the local auction house and all its holdings before the painting can move again. 

Upon crossing the country, however, Miranda and her grandfather discover their new auction house doesn't deal in fine antiques, but in livestock. And its frustratingly handsome manager, Wyatt Ballentine, is annoyed to discover his fussy new bosses don't know a thing about the business he's single-handedly kept afloat. Faced with more heads of cattle than they can count--but no mysterious painting--Miranda and Wyatt form an unlikely but charged partnership to try and prevent a bad situation from getting worse.

I found this a hard book to get involved with and it took me at least six chapters before I got fully immersed into the story.  Once that happened it was interesting, but no great surprises as to what was going to happen.  I enjoyed the grandfather's "story," and thought it was interesting to include what happens to him in it.

Quite a unique story line and I learned something new about auction houses.

Stars out of 5 : 4 an okay book, but not one I will remember down the road.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

"Until the Dawn," by Elizabeth Camden

"Until the Dawn," by Elizabeth Camden


Fascinated by Dierenpark, an abandoned mansion high atop a windswept cliff in the Hudson River Valley, Sophie van Riijn sees no harm in setting up a rooftop weather station for her work with the newly established Weather Bureau. While the villagers are suspicious of the mysterious estate and its tragic history, Sophie has come to see it as her own enchanted piece of paradise. 

The first Vandermark to return to the area in sixty years, Quentin intends to put an end to the shadowy rumors about the property that has brought nothing but trouble upon his family. Ready to tear down the mansion, he is furious to discover Sophie trespassing on his land.

Instantly at odds, Quentin and Sophie yet find common ground when she is the only one who can reach his troubled son. There's a light within Sophie that Quentin has never known, and a small spark of the hope that left him years ago begins to grow. But when the secrets of Dierenpark can no longer be kept in the past, will tragedy triumph or can their tenuous hope prevail?


This book was really quite interesting.  I found the concept of the story very different to ones I have read before and the ending was not at all what I expected.  So all in all this book kept me on my toes.  I like the relationship that forms between Quentin and Sophie.  They are polar opposites but that's what makes their story work.

The description of the food Sophie made in the book, made my mouth water.  Shame there wasn't the odd recipe of two included in the book.  Also found the information about the Weather Bureau interesting and something that you don't often read about.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5  I really enjoyed this book .  Found it very descriptive and enough things happening to want to read more.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".



"The Painter's Daughter," by Julie Klassen

"The Painter's Daughter," by Julie Klassen

Sophie Dupont assists her father in his studio, keeping her own artwork out of sight. In private, she paints the picturesque north Devon coast, popular with artists--including handsome Wesley Overtree, who seems more interested in Sophie than the landscape. 

Captain Stephen Overtree is accustomed to taking on his brother Wesley's responsibilities. Near the end of his leave, he is sent to find his brother and bring him home. Upon reaching Devonshire, however, Stephen is stunned to learn Wesley has sailed for Italy and left his host's daughter in serious trouble. 

Stephen feels duty-bound to act, and strangely protective of the young lady, who somehow seems familiar. Wanting to make some recompense for his own past failings as well as his brother's, Stephen proposes to Miss Dupont. He does not offer love, but marriage "in name only" to save her from scandal. If he dies in battle, as he fears, she will at least be a respectable widow.

Desperate for a way to escape her predicament, Sophie finds herself torn between her first love and this brooding man she barely knows. Dare she wait for Wesley to return? Or should she elope with the captain and pray she doesn't come to regret it?


Set in the Regency period in England this book is full of drama, secret passages, hidden rooms and of course romance.  It's set in a time when appearances and how you act in public and avoid scandal are uppermost in everyone's mind.  A hint of scandal and your position in society can evaporate before your eyes.

You can more or less guess how this will all turn out, but there are the odd twist and turn added to the book to keep it interesting.  As always the author's notes at the end are a valuable resource and well worth reading.  I thought it was appropriate that the author did make mention that women painters were not encouraged in their talent. 

Stars out of 5 : 4 I did need to know what happened next, but overall it will be a book I will not remember reading next month.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"The Mistress of Tall Acre," by Laura Frantz

"The Mistress of Tall Acre," by Laura Frantz
The American Revolution is finally over, and Sophie Menzies is starved for good news. When her nearest neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy, finally comes home to Tall Acre, she hopes it is a sign of better days to come. But the general is now a widower with a small daughter in desperate need of a mother. Nearly destitute, Sophie agrees to marry Seamus and become the mistress of Tall Acre in what seems a safe, sensible arrangement. But when a woman from the general's past returns without warning, the ties that bind this fledgling family together will be strained to the utmost. When all is said and done, who will be the rightful mistress of Tall Acre?

If you like Gone With the Wind, you will love this book.  It's your typical love story, but it does have a twist to it that you don't see coming.  I love the historical aspect of this book.  The author's description of everyday life makes everything come to life.  Sophie and Seamus are the perfect lead characters, and you do want to know what will happen next.

Stars out of 5:4 a lovely book to spend a few hours reading and it won't tax your brain.  Will I remember it next month, probably not.


"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"The Uncommon Reader," by Alan Bennett

"The Uncommon Reader," by Alan Bennett
'Oh Norman,' said the Queen, 'the prime minister doesn't seem to have read any Hardy. Perhaps you could find him one of our old paperbacks on his way out.' Had the dogs not taken exception to the strange van parked in the royal grounds, the Queen might never have learnt of the Westminster travelling library's weekly visits to the palace. But finding herself at its steps, she goes up to apologise for all the yapping and ends up taking out a novel by Ivy Compton-Burnett, last borrowed in 1989. Duff read though it proves to be, upbringing demands she finish it and, so as not to appear rude, she withdraws another. This second, more fortunate choice of book awakens in Her Majesty a passion for reading so great that her public duties begin to suffer. And so, as she devours work by everyone from Hardy to Brookner to Proust to Samuel Beckett, her equerries conspire to bring the Queen's literary odyssey to a close. Subversive and highly enjoyable, The Uncommon Reader offers the perfect argument for reading, written by one of its great champions, Alan Bennett.

This is our book club choice for January.  If you have an afternoon free and want to read a short book (121 pages) then this is the book for you.  Short, sweet and interesting.  This wouldn't happen in real life with the Queen, but in our and the author's imagination this would and could be quite possible.

He brings to life the palace and all it's little quirks.  I am quite sure there are a lot of the parts that are actually quite true in the way the palace lives and moves on from day to day.  I hope the Queen read this as I think she would get quite a kick out of it,

Stars out of 5 : 4.5  Wish I were a more established reader and as lot of the author references were of people I had not heard of.