Saturday, February 15, 2014


Butterfly Palace
Lilly secures a job as lady's maid in a grand manor in Austin, Texas. But even far from home, her past lurks around every corner.

When Lilly Donnelly arrives at the Cutlers' famed Butterfly Mansion in 1899, the massive house and unfamiliar duties threaten to overwhelm her. Victorian Austin is lavish, highly political, and intimidating, but with the help of the other servants, Lilly resolves to prove herself to her new employers.

Then, while serving at an elegant dinner party, Lilly recognizes one distinguished guest as Andrew, the love of her life, who abandoned her without a word back home. He seems to have assumed a new identity and refuses to acknowledge her, leaving her confused and reeling.

Before Lilly can absorb this unwelcome news, she's attacked. Could it be the sinister Servant Girl Killer who has been terrorizing Austin? Or is it someone after something more personal--someone from her past?

Does she dare trust Andrew to help or is he part of the danger threatening to draw Lilly into its vortex?
Author Colleen Coble is one of my favorite storytellers. Her Inspirational Romantic Suspense works, whether historical or contemporary, take me back to a very enjoyable time in my life. As a young reader, I devoured Gothic romance tales, and it is a real pleasure to be reminded of why I was so captivated by these involving and entertaining story lines. "Butterfly Palace" is set in Texas in the early 20th century, a time of great change and great disparity between the wealthy and those less fortunate. Lily Donaldson and Andy Hawkins were young, and in love, and their fathers were business partners. When a fire destroys the livery business, taking the lives of both fathers, Drew blames himself for not being able to rescue them. He leaves Lily and their hometown of Larson behind. Lily is devastated, even more so when her mother passes away, leaving Lily alone in the world. Able to obtain a position as a housemaid for a wealthy Austin family, Lily determines to move forward, trying to accept the hardships which have taken away her own home and loved ones. However, she is unprepared to find Andy, now known as "Drew Hawkes", mingling with the wealthy and urging her to keep their past relationship a secret. There are other strange aspects to her new world. Her employer, Mr. Marshall is an avid, obsessed collector of butterflies from around the world, thus giving his mansion the name of "Butterfly Palace". While Lily finds the collection of beautiful dead butterflies to be quite creepy, even more disturbing is the threat of the "Servant Girl Killer", a murderer stalking young house servants like Lily. When Lily survives an attack on her life, she needs Drew more than ever, but can she trust him? He has a hidden agenda, part of which seems to be a courtship with the Marshall's niece, Belle. Will Lily be trapped, just like the beautiful dead things in the butterfly cases, or will the courage of faith and a renewal of love and hope lead her into the light of a bright new future?

Review Copy Gratis Thomas Nelson Books via BookLook Bloggers
Echoes of Mercy
When a suspicious accident occurs at the Dinsmore Chocolate Factory in Sinclair, Kansas, in 1904, Caroline Lang goes undercover as a factory worker to investigate. Oliver Dinsmore, heir to the Dinsmore candy dynasty, has his own investigation to conduct. Posing as a common worker known as “Ollie Moore,” he aims to find out all he can about the family business before he takes over for his father.
In Kansas of the early twentieth century, child labor was still a common practice in factories. Youngsters faced long, hard days in exchange for pennies, and being kept from attending school in order to not lose work often gave them little hope of improving their lot in life. "Echoes of Mercy", by Kim Vogel Sawyer, focuses attention on this time period in American History, when revolutionary changes in American industry created a high demand for a growing workforce. Caroline Lang's own unfortunate childhood, combined with an abiding faith, lead her to devote her own life to improving the lives of others. Working as an investigator for the Labor Commission, Caroline often went undercover to expose dangerous working conditions and mistreatment of child laborers. Her latest assignment sends her to Dinsmore's World-Famous Chocolates Factory in Sinclair, Kansas, where one of her fellow labor investigators has died under mysterious circumstances. Upon being hired at the factory as "Carrie Lang", Caroline is befriended by "Ollie Moore", the janitor at the factory. Unbeknownst to anyone, Ollie is really Oliver Dinsmore, heir to candy factory family, sent by his father to check out what's really going on with the facility and its employees. Ollie and Carrie become friends, even if they don't always see eye-to-eye. When all truths are revealed, will honesty and faith leave the door open for their friendship to lead to something more? Author Kim Vogel Sawyer always weaves together history, romance, and inspiring hope into entertaining, enjoyable story lines.

Review Copy Gratis WaterBrook Press via Blogging For Books
What Once Was Lost: A Novel
A woman meant to serve, a child in the dark, a man standing apart—can these three souls embrace a God with new plans for them?

On a small Kansas farm, Christina Willems lovingly shepherds a group of poor and displaced individuals who count on her leadership and have come to see the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor as their home. But when a fire breaks out in the kitchen leaving the house inhabitable, she must scramble to find shelter for all in her care, scattering her dear “family.”

With no other options, Christina is forced to approach Levi Jonnson, a reclusive mill owner, to take in a young blind boy named Tommy Kilgore. Levi agrees with reluctance but finds himself surprised by the bond that quickly grows between him and Tommy. As obstacles to repairing the farm pile up against Christina, she begins to question her leadership ability and wonders if she can fulfill the mission to which she's dedicated her life. And when an old adversary challenges Christina, will she find an unlikely ally—or more—in the aloof Levi? Can Levi reconcile with the rejection that led to his hermit-like existence and open his heart and life to something more, especially a relationship with a loving God?
Set in Kansas in the late 1800's, "What Once Was Lost" is a poignant and ultimately uplifting tale of hardship, endurance, spiritual renewal, and connecting by heart. Author Kim Vogel Sawyer is a skilled story teller whose historical detail, well-developed characters, and interesting story line will keep the reader involved until the last page is turned. After her father's death, Christina Willems assumes the responsibility for the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor, a refuge for displaced indigents. A devastating fire forces Christina and the poor house residents to find new living quarters. A young blind boy, Tommy Kilgore, is the last one to be placed, and Christina turns to an unlikely source for assistance. Levi Jonnson, the local mill owner, is a taciturn recluse who lost his faith due to a great hurt in his past. He agrees to take Tommy in on a temporary basis, and a surprising bond grows between the two, with each of them learning much from each other. As Christina works to find a way to rebuild the poor house, someone from her past is working against her. While she struggles with mounting trials and tribulations, an appreciation and attraction blooms between her and Levi. Will accepting unexpected help and support give Christina the personal encouragement she needs? Will seeing through the eyes of a young blind boy open Levi's heart and help him to see his own faith again? This story is told from the viewpoints of the different characters, and readers will be particularly touched by Tommy's "vision" of the world around him.

Review Copy Gratis WaterBrook Press via Blogging for Books
A Match Made in Texas
In the small town of Dry Gulch, Texas, a good-hearted busybody just can't keep herself from surreptitiously trying to match up women in dire straits with men of good character she hopes can help them. How is she to know she's also giving each couple a little nudge toward love?

A Cowboy Unmatched
Neill isn't sure who hired him to repair Clara's roof--he only knows Clara desperately needs his help. Can he convince this stubborn widow to let down her guard and take another chance on love?

An Unforeseen Match
Hoping to earn an honest wage on his way to the land rush, Clayton ends up on Grace's doorstep, lured by a classified ad. He may have signed on for more than he expected though--and he may have found the one woman who can keep him from moving on.

No Match for Love
Andrew can't fathom how refined Lucy ended up as the caretaker to his dotty aunt, and somehow her arrival has prompted even more bizarre occurrences around the ranch. When they join forces to unearth the truth, will the attraction between Andrew and Lucy develop into more?

Meeting Her Match
When the tables are turned and a tenderhearted meddler becomes the beneficiary of a matchmaking scheme, her world is turned upside down. As her entire life changes, will she finally be able to tell the banker's son how much she cares for him?
Four very talented authors join together to form "A Match Made in Texas", a delightful collection of connected novellas. In 1893, in the small Texas town of Dry Gulch, a do-gooder with a well-intentioned heart goes out of her way to nudge people in the right direction, especially towards each other. Helping folks find what they need comes naturally to school teacher Hannah Taylor--it's something she's done all her life. Assisting her mother in managing their large family has made her wise in the ways of human behavior. In "A Cowboy Unmatched", by Karen Witemeyer, someone sends Neill Archer to repair Clara Danvers roof. What he discovers is a very pregnant young widow who needs emotional support that he is suddenly quite willing to give. Being with Clara, and helping her deliver her babe, brings out all his family man instincts, but can he convince Clara they are meant to be together? Author Regina Jennings tells the story of Clayton Weber, a scarred man with a troubled past who comes to Dry Gulch when he loses his horse. On his way to a land run to claim a homestead of his own, he must find a way to gain much-needed funds. When he finds a newspaper stuck in his saddlebag, a classified ad leads him to Grace O'Malley. Grace is losing her sight, and she needs help to manage her ranch. She also needs the loving care of the right man to help lead her into a happy, fulfilling life--but will Clayton change his plans to stay with Grace? In author Carol Cox's story, unexpected allies find that they are "No Match for Love". Lucy Benson finds herself with limited choices when she is beset by both strained finances and the need to find a new place to live. A persistent suitor offers marriage, but Lucy knows that is not the right answer to her problems. A train ticket from a mysterious donor sends her to work as a companion for an elderly lady determined to live out her days on the ranch she shared with her late husband. The woman's nephew, Andrew Simms, isn't sure that lovely and refined Lucy is the right person to care for his aunt, but strange circumstances find them working together to protect his aunt and safeguard the ranch. Will a burgeoning friendship blossom into something more? Finally, storyteller Mary Connealy gives the matchmaker of Dry Gulch a taste of her own medicine in "Meeting Her Match". When Hannah Taylor's mother dies in childbirth, her father and younger siblings become increasingly dependent on Hannah, leaving her to despair of ever having a life of her own. When her father unexpectedly marries the waitress from the town diner, Hannah is put out of her own home and sent to live in the room the waitress had occupied above the diner. With her world turned upside down, Hannah feels very much alone. However one person has always cared for her, but he is too shy to speak his true feelings. Marcus Whitfield, son of the local banker, cares deeply for Hannah--can he show her with his ways, as well as his words, what he feels in his heart? I am a fan of each one of these terrific authors on their own. Together, the four of them offer a real treat for readers.

Review Copy Gratis Bethany House Books
Where Courage Calls: A When Calls the Heart Novel
Her courage and her heart will be tested in ways she never expected...

Beth Thatcher has spent her entire life in the safe, comfortable world of her family, her friends, and the social outings her father's wealth provides. But Beth is about to leave it all behind to accept a teaching position in the rugged foothills of western Canada. Inspired by her aunt Elizabeth, who went west to teach school several years ago, and gently encouraged by her father, Beth resolves to put her trust in God and bravely face any challenge that comes her way.

But the conditions in Coal Valley are even worse than she'd feared. A recent mining accident has left the town grieving and at the mercy of the mining company. The children have had very little prior education, and many of the locals don't even speak English. There isn't even a proper schoolhouse. In addition, Beth's heart is torn between two young men--both Mounties, one a lifelong friend and the other a kind, quiet man who comes to her aid more than once.

Despite the many challenges, Beth is determined to make a difference in the rustic frontier town. But when her sister visits from the East, reminding her of all the luxuries she's had to give up, will Beth decide to return to her privileged life as soon as the school year is over?

A special companion story to Hallmark Channel's "When Calls the Heart" TV series.
Written by renowned inspirational author Janette Oke, and her daughter, Laurel Oke Logan, "Where Courage Calls: A When Calls the Heart Novel" will touch and encourage the hearts of readers. When Beth Thatcher answers the call of the Canadian West, she leaves behind a life of privilege to become a teacher in the impoverished mining town of Coal Valley. Long coddled by her wealthy family, and considered to be of "sensitive" health, Beth is taking a leap of faith, inspired by her beloved and courageous Aunt Elizabeth, who years before made a similar move. What Beth discovers are living conditions far worse than she expected, but she is determined to work out the terms of her one-year teaching agreement. Complicating her days are the attentions of two Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers. One, Edward Montclair, is someone she has known for her entire life. The other, Jarrick Thornton, is a new acquaintance who becomes a kind friend. As Beth and the locals come to know each other, they each learn much from one another. Beth's faith is tested time and again, and comes back stronger each time. Despite the hardships, much about the community of Coal Valley and its residents becomes dear to Beth--when the year is over, will she return to her former life? "Where Courage Calls: A When Calls the Heart Novel" is special companion story to Hallmark Channel's "When Calls the Heart" TV series.

Review Copy Gratis Bethany House Books

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