The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay (Review & Giveaway)

About the Book

The Austen Escape Katherine ReayAfter years of following her best friend’s lead, Mary Davies finds a whimsical trip back to Austen’s Regency England paves the way towards a new future.

Mary Davies lives and works in Austin, Texas, as an industrial engineer. She has an orderly and productive life, a job and colleagues that she enjoys—particularly a certain adorable, intelligent, and hilarious consultant. But something is missing for Mary. When her estranged and emotionally fragile childhood friend Isabel Dwyer offers Mary a two-week stay in a gorgeous manor house in Bath, Mary reluctantly agrees to come along, in hopes that the holiday will shake up her quiet life in just the right ways. But Mary gets more than she bargained for when Isabel loses her memory and fully believes that she lives in Regency England. Mary becomes dependent on a household of strangers to take care of Isabel until she wakes up.

With Mary in charge and surrounded by new friends, Isabel rests and enjoys the leisure of a Regency lady. But life gets even more complicated when Mary makes the discovery that her life and Isabel’s have intersected in more ways that she knew, and she finds herself caught between who Isabel was, who she seems to be, and the man who stands between them. Outings are undertaken, misunderstandings play out, and dancing ensues as this triangle works out their lives and hearts among a company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation.

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A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White (Review)

A Name Unknown Roseanna M White

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Edwardian Romance and History Gains a Twist of Suspense

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

Peter Holstein, given his family’s German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered. 

But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors’ scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he’s more than his name?

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Review: A Stranger at Fellsworth by Sarah E. Ladd

The third installment of Sarah E. Ladd’s Treasures of Surrey series was a hit with me. My biggest complaint with the previous book in this series was that the hero and heroine were not together enough.

This was not an issue in A Stranger at Fellsworth. In fact, Annabelle Thorley and Owen Locke meet early in the book, and from that point forward, circumstances throw them together repeatedly.

While Owen is a gamekeeper, well below the social circles Annabelle is used to, his character stands above the majority of those in the ton. His love for his daughter and the respect of the land he works build his character as much as his desire to help Annabelle escape.

In direct contrast, Annabelle is navigating a new life, a new world. Her determination to make it work despite the obstacles she has to overcome make her loveable in her own right despite her naivety.

Add to that the search for poachers, a murder, questionable characters, and Annabelle’s scheming brother, and this book becomes one of Ladd’s best stories yet. Continue reading

Who or What Shapes Our Future?

Who or What Shapes Our Future?

Two years ago, I read a little book called Dear Mr. Knightley and every year since, I’ve looked forward to seeing what Katherine Reay comes up with next. Lizzie & Jane did not disappoint and neither does Reay’s 2015 offering, The Bronte Plot.

the bronte plot

Lucy Alling has a great job in which she passes her love of books and a great story on to other collectors. Through that job, she meets a great man, James. But when it’s discovered that she’s using less than honest methods of selling those books and stories, she loses James’s love and faith in her.

When his grandmother, Helen, recruits Lucy for a trip to England to procure some items, Lucy is forced to go along. Spending time in London and Haworth, home of the Bronte sisters, allows Lucy to breath the lives of her beloved authors, to examine her motives and her reasons behind them. But Helen has secrets of her own, and as the two embark on this journey of releasing the past and embracing what’s ahead of them, they discover that things don’t always turn out the way you want them to.

Through Victorian-era fiction, especially the works of the Bronte sisters, Lucy discovers there’s more to life than what she’s been allowing herself. I appreciated the way literature is woven throughout the book and I felt like I was visiting the sites of London, Haworth, and The Lake District right along with Lucy. And I always love a book that brings another place to life.

In the end, it’s C.S. Lewis’s words that have the most influence on both Lucy and Helen. Come further up, come further in.

Don’t miss this endearing and thought-provoking book from Katherine Reay.

***Thomas Nelson provided me with a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.

2 Things are Blind

At some point, I’m going to have to admit I enjoy historical fiction. Well, let me quantify that. At some point, I’m going to have to admit I enjoy historical romance. Let’s face it, while I won’t be picking up a history book anytime soon, I’ve always been a fan of Regency-era fiction. Over the past couple of years have read a couple historical romances I’ve enjoyed. A Lot. And the book I finished last night? LOVED, LOVED, LOVED!!!

not by sight

When Jack Benningham attends a masquerade ball in order to track a suspect, he is distracted by a vision in green. Grace Mabry’s purpose in sneaking into the ball is to shame those who don’t support the war her brother is fighting for the country, and Jack is too tempting a target–a known conscientious objector to the war, someone who will attract attention.

Months later, Grace does her part helping in the war with the Women’s Forage Corps. There she meets a few incredible women and after a rough start, she settles into life at Roxwood Manor. But her past comes to haunt her when she discovers Lord Roxwood is none other than Jack Benningham.

The man hides in the country manner after an accident left him blind and burned. When he hires Grace as his driver, she is confused and scared but she won’t back down. They begin to spend time together, and she begins to see the man behind the mask.

There is so much going on in this book, it was hard to put down. The relationships Grace forges with her co-workers reveal her kindness. But Grace has a stubborn streak that Jack Benningham is able to expose upon their first several meetings. His enjoyment at baiting her is evident.

And then there’s Jack’s dilemmas—coping with his blindness, his engagement to a woman he doesn’t love, his search for a spy, and his growing attraction to Grace who is pulling him out of hiding.

Truth be told, there are really three things that are blind in this novel: Jack, faith, and love.

Author Kate Breslin has been getting a little heat for the plot line in her debut novel, For Such a Time. I have not yet read the book so I won’t comment on that other than to say after reading Not by Sight, I want to read the first book. Not because of the controversy but because of the masterful storytelling.

***Bethany House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own