The Paris Dressmaker and A Giveaway!

Have you read Kristy Cambron’s The Paris Dressmaker yet? Non? I highly encourage you to do so! It is fantastique!

I enjoy history, and I am sorry to say I didn’t know much of the details behind the German occupation of Paris. I was appalled by what the Parisienne women were forced to endure, and how courageous they were to fight back in any way they could. They are an inspiration and a beacon of hope in a dark and evil world. If you enjoy Christian historical fiction, then this dual-time masterpiece will be perfect for your TBR.

Keep reading to find my full review, purchase link and a link to the Just Read Tours giveaway on my Instagram account.

More About the Book:

Based on true accounts of how Parisiennes resisted the Nazi occupation in World War II—from fashion houses to the city streets—comes a story of two courageous women who risked everything to fight an evil they couldn’t abide.

Paris, 1939. Maison Chanel has closed, thrusting haute couture dressmaker Lila de Laurent out of the world of high fashion as Nazi soldiers invade the streets and the City of Lights slips into darkness. Lila’s life is now a series of rations, brutal restrictions, and carefully controlled propaganda while Paris is cut off from the rest of the world. Yet in hidden corners of the city, the faithful pledge to resist. Lila is drawn to La Resistance and is soon using her skills as a dressmaker to infiltrate the Nazi elite. She takes their measurements and designs masterpieces, all while collecting secrets in the glamorous Hôtel Ritz—the heart of the Nazis’ Parisian headquartersBut when dashing René Touliard suddenly reenters her world, Lila finds her heart tangled between determination to help save his Jewish family and bolstering the fight for liberation.

Paris, 1943. Sandrine Paquet’s job is to catalog the priceless works of art bound for the Führer’s Berlin, masterpieces stolen from prominent Jewish families. But behind closed doors, she secretly forages for information from the underground resistance. Beneath her compliant façade lies a woman bent on uncovering the fate of her missing husband . . . but at what cost? As Hitler’s regime crumbles, Sandrine is drawn in deeper when she uncrates an exquisite blush Chanel gown concealing a cryptic message that may reveal the fate of a dressmaker who vanished from within the fashion elite.

Told across the span of the Nazi occupation, The Paris Dressmaker highlights the brave women who used everything in their power to resist darkness and restore light to their world.

My Thoughts

The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy Cambron is a historical, dual-time novel set in Paris in World War II. It follows two women as they struggle to find a way to live within the confines of German-occupied Paris and still maintain their morals and duty to their country.

This is the first novel I’d read from Kristy Cambron, although I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about her writing. And after reading The Paris Dressmaker, I am hooked! This story combined a dramatic historical backdrop with the struggles of everyday life for people who had to live through a horrific time. The acute details of the occupation of Paris and its effect on the people, especially the women, left behind to endure the German’s reign were both fascinating and terrifying. 

The author does an amazing job of using the dual timelines to create suspense and an overall sense of urgency and danger. It was difficult to talk myself out of the ‘one more chapter’ for this story. I needed to know what happened next to the characters!

And the characters in this story are all so vibrant, deep, and genuine–whether part of the Resistance or Axis Alliance. I felt the chill of having an SS officer look over your shoulder or the heart-pounding danger of walking through Paris after curfew. You will become completely immersed in this story, and you won’t want it to end.

My only complaint is it took me a few chapters to settle into the multiple timelines. This was mainly because I listened to the majority of this book, and it was difficult for me to understand where each scene was starting because it was in French. But once I was familiar with the characters and the timelines, this was no longer a problem. And I found I enjoyed listening to the amazingly beautiful voice of the narrator and her addicting accent.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Paris Dressmaker and will be adding Kristy Cambron to my list of must-read authors. Fans of Christian historical fiction will enjoy this story. Even if you aren’t a fan of dual-time stories, I believe the incredible historical detail and unforgettable characters make this book worth reading.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Happy reading and God bless!

–Kristina

A Dance in Donegal

I’ve been wanting to read this beautiful novel, A Dance in Donegal, since I had the opportunity to help with the cover reveal months ago. It is Jennifer Deibel’s debut novel, and I loved this story so much, I can’t wait to see what she creates next! If you are craving a trip across the ocean to the Emerald Isle after all this isolation and quarantine, then all you must do is open the pages of A Dance in Donegal. You will be transported to the Irish coast and the small village of Ballymann, with it’s colorful cast of characters.

Keep reading for more information about the book, a purchase link and my full review!

Thank you to Revell for my copy of this book.

About the Book

All of her life, Irish-American Moira Doherty has relished her mother’s descriptions of Ireland. When her mother dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1920, Moira decides to fulfill her mother’s wish that she become the teacher in Ballymann, her home village in Donegal, Ireland.

After an arduous voyage, Moira arrives to a new home and a new job in an ancient country. Though a few locals offer a warm welcome, others are distanced by superstition and suspicion. Rumors about Moira’s mother are unspoken in her presence but threaten to derail everything she’s journeyed to Ballymann to do. Moira must rely on the kindness of a handful of friends–and the strength of Sean, an unsettlingly handsome thatcher who keeps popping up unannounced–as she seeks to navigate a life she’d never dreamed of . . . but perhaps was meant to live.

Jennifer Deibel’s debut novel delights the senses, bringing to life the sights, sounds, smells, and language of a lush country and a colorful people. Historical romance fans will embrace her with open arms.

Get your copy here.

My Thoughts

A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel is a fantastic debut novel! The story follows American Moira Doherty on a journey to her mother’s hometown of Ballymann in Donegal County, Ireland to be the village school teacher. But secrets from her mother’s past and town gossip make her question her reasons for staying in the small sea-side town.

The author brings the village of Ballymann to life with her vivid landscapes of the Emerald Isle. As I walked the hills of the lush countryside with Moira, I could almost smell the chilled, salty air from the sea and hear the churning of the ocean waves. It made me long to visit such a place myself. Oh, to see all the green!

This story held my heart from beginning to end. Moira is such a kind and gentle soul, I absolutely fell in love with her and wished we could be friends. It was difficult to watch her go through so much adversity, but it was a true inspiration to watch her faith mature and grow through it all. I can’t say enough about this sweet young lady!

The romance between Moira and Sean is slow, sweet, and oh-so-swoon-worthy. I loved their slow-blossoming relationship, and especially how Sean recognized and respected Moira’s faith.

The village of Ballymann is full of one colorful character after another. I loved getting to know each one of them, and I especially enjoyed getting to know some of the local customs. It was a treat to discover the finer details of Ireland and its people with Moira’s enthusiasm.

Overall, I enjoyed every page of this story, and I can’t wait to read more of what the author creates. Fans of Christian historical fiction will enjoy this story. I would definitely recommend putting it at the top of your TBR!

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions are my own. 

I hope you enjoy this trip to Ireland as much as I did! Happy reading and God bless!

–Kristina

The Vanishing at Loxby Manor

Oh. My. Goodness! The Vanishing at Loxby Manor by Abigail Wilson was a phenomenal gothic mystery! I have enjoyed every book I’ve read from this author, and I think this story beats them all! This book will satisfy all your craving for a good story–mystery, gothic-appeal, and Regency romance. If you haven’t ordered a copy yet, you should!

Keep reading to find out more about the story, snag a purchase link, and read my full review!

More About the Book:

A story of second chances and secrets, this mysterious Regency romance will transport you to 19th-century England as one young lady reunites with her childhood love to find his missing sister.

Her friend is missing.

After five years abroad, Charity Halliwell finally returns to Loxby Manor, the home of dear friends—and her lost love. No longer a young girl, she is now haunted by a painful secret and the demise of her dreams. Instead of the healing and happiness she hopes to find, she encounters a darkness lurking in the shadows of the once-familiar house. When her friend, Seline, disappears the very night of her arrival, Charity is determined to uncover the truth.

Her only hope is the man who broke her heart.

Branded a coward, Piers Cavanaugh has lived the last five years as an outcast far from his family home. When his sister presumably elopes with a stable hand, Piers joins forces with an unlikely partner—the one woman he thought he’d never see again. Together they launch an investigation that leads to strange nightly meetings in the ruins of an old abbey and disturbing whispers of a secret organization. The more they learn, the more desperate the situation becomes. 

The house seems determined to keep its secrets.

As they struggle to piece together the clues, Charity and Piers also endeavor to rebuild their friendship. One cryptic letter changed everything between them. To find happiness they will have to overcome the grief and shame keeping them apart. But first they must discover why Seline vanished and confront the growing fear that she may never return.

My Thoughts:

The Vanishing at Loxby Manor is another stellar gothic-inspired Regency by Abigail Wilson. This author has quickly surged onto my must-read list. Her books keep getting better and better!

The story tells of Charity Halliwell who, after a five-year absence, is seeking a safe-haven in the halls and fields she used to frequent in her youth–Loxby Manor. The manor is home to some of her dearest friends, and after suffering a traumatic experience while away, she longs for familiarity and simplicity. But Loxby Manor is in turmoil from the minute she arrives. The home and its occupants are shrouded in secrets, mystery, and life-threatening danger. Will Charity find the courage to seek the truth before it’s too late?

I devoured this book. I could not put it down! I loved the mystery–the eerie visits to the ruins of the abbey, the faceless statue, the history of the secret society. It was all perfectly crafted to create a heightened and frightening atmosphere from the first time we see the light outside Charity’s window. All the goosebumps!

I’m a lover of second chance romance, and Charity and Piers’s story did not disappoint. Pier’s gentle nature is a perfect complement to Charity’s broken heart. I adored them together. Somewhere between Piers calling Charity Captain Halliwell and Charity working up the courage to tell PIers about her time away–I fell in love with them both. Sigh. They are the kind of characters you miss when you turn the last page.

If you enjoy Regency romance, and if you also like to indulge in a good mystery to unravel, then The Vanishing at Loxby Manor is the perfect book for you. Fans of Michelle Griep and Sarah E. Ladd will want to try this story. 

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

I hope you enjoy this story as much as I did!

Happy reading and God bless!

–Kristina

Faith’s Mountain Home & A Giveaway

About the Book

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Book:  Faith’s Mountain Home

Author: Misty M. Beller

Genre: Christian historical romance

Nate Long has always watched over his identical twin brother, Aaron, even when it put him on the wrong side of the law. When Aaron is wounded in a shootout, the brothers are taken to Settler’s Fort to recover. As Nate works to make reparations for their past, he marvels at the nursing Aaron receives under the care of a woman with all the reason in the world to resent him.

Laura Hannon knows what it is to start over, and she knows Nate’s newfound faith is real. What she can’t look past is how far he allowed himself to be led astray by his brother’s weaknesses.

As a fledgling trust grows between Nate and Laura, they stumble upon a mysterious cave in the mountains that may not be as uninhabited as it seems.

As they work together for a common cause, will the new lives they seek for themselves include love, or is there too much that stands between them?

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts

Faith’s Mountain Home is the third book in the Hearts of Montana Series by Misty M. Beller. This novel follows Laura Hannon, who we met in the second book when she was kidnapped by a gang of criminals. Laura is trying to move on with her life after her traumatic ordeal and find purpose in her days. She longs to be useful to others, but she is not sure what God is calling her to do. To complicate matters, her job at the doctor’s office requires her to care for a member of the gang who kidnapped her and his brother, Nate, who visits daily. When Nate and Laura stumble upon an unexpected discovery, Laura finds her purpose–and budding feelings for Nate.

I have loved each book in this series, but I think Faith’s Mountain Home is my favorite of the three. There is something about watching two people in desperate need of healing in mind and spirit find each other. It was a sweet, slow-burn romance, but what induced all the sighs and warm fuzzies for me was the significance of Laura and Nate finding affection after all they had lived through. I admired Laura’s determination to forge ahead with her life and heal her own hurts by helping others. She is such a gentle creature, and I was rooting for her to find happiness from the very beginning.

Nate is such a hard-working man. Generous with his time and his possessions, he is always willing to help anyone in need. Trying his best to live a redeemed life, it’s encouraging to watch Nate’s young faith mature.

This story may not have had the epic journey that I’ve read in other books by Misty M. Beller. But I loved it just the same. I don’t want to give away the plot, but like all of Misty’s books, there’s plenty of beautiful mountain vistas, adventure, danger, and sweet romance. If you enjoy Christian historical fiction, especially stories set in the West, you will love Faith’s Mountain Home.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

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Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and children now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

More from Misty

Who doesn’t love a good cave?

Well, maybe not everyone, but I have to confess, I love exploring!

While there aren’t many caves near my South Carolina home, I’ve always loved the idea of finding an opening hidden in the rocks. Then venturing in and finding a huge cavern filled with stalactites and stalagmites and a host of other beauties I can’t pronounce!

And dark tunnels? As long as I have a light and a string to unravel as I go so I can get back out, I’m game!

Unfortunately, I’ve never found a large cave in real life that had never been explored, but in Faith’s Mountain Home, Nate and Laura found exactly that! Although…turns out, it had been discovered by someone already. I won’t give you (too many) spoilers, but let me just tell you there’s a precocious Native American girl involved, and a few other things not so delightful.

The good news is, you can enjoy the story without actually entering the pitch black cavern!

Last summer, I had the opportunity to tour a cave with many features like Nate and Laura discovered in their hidden cave. The Caverns of Sonora in Sonora, Texas was a fantastic experience! As you can imagine, it’s hard to get good pictures in solid darkness, but here are a few of the amazing formations still growing in those two miles of underground tunnels.

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 26

Artistic Nobody, January 26 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Connie’s History Classroom, January 27

Bigreadersite, January 27

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 27

Betti Mace, January 28

Connect in Fiction, January 28

Texas Book-aholic, January 28

Lighthouse Academy Blog, January 29 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

lakesidelivingsite, January 29

Bizwings Blog, January 29

Through the Fire Blogs, January 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 31

Fiction Book Lover, January 31 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Inspiration Clothesline, January 31

Wishful Endings, February 1

Life of Literature, February 1

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 1

deb’s Book Review, February 2

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, February 2

Blossoms and Blessings, February 2

For Him and My Family, February 3

Splashes of Joy , February 3

Simple Harvest Reads, February 3 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Blessed & Bookish, February 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 4

To Everything There Is A Season, February 4

Older & Smarter?, February 5

Sara Jane Jacobs, February 5

Pause for Tales, February 5

For the Love of Literature, February 6

Tell Tale Book Reviews, February 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 6

Remembrancy, February 7

Inklings and notions, February 7

Hallie Reads, February 7

She Lives To Read, February 8

HookMeInABook, February 8

Genesis 5020, February 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Misty is giving away the grand prize package of the entire Hearts of Montana series, plus a “Faith Moves Mountain” sign!! (See Here: https://etsy.me/2JjZAVV)

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1062c/faith-s-mountain-home-celebration-tour-giveaway

Active Defense

I was blessed to attend the virtual ACFW conference this fall, and I sat in a class taught by the talented Dani Pettrey and Lynette Eason. I loved the lecture so much I knew I had to rectify one problem–I had never read a Lynette Eason book. Boy, have I been missing out. Historical fiction/romance may be my main game, but I love suspense, too. And this book was an absolute thrill ride! I loved it!

More About the Book:

As a former field surgeon in Afghanistan, Heather Fontaine is used to life-or-death situations. She just didn’t expect them to follow her home. When she returns from a party to find that someone has broken into her house–and threatened her friends–she assumes it is the stalker who has been following her and creeping her out. She hopes to find safety and peace of mind by leaving the city and hiding out in a small town. But trouble has followed her even there.

Luckily, a stalker isn’t the only one watching Heather. Travis Walker has been secretly watching out for her for weeks. As owner of his own security agency, it’s what he does. Together, Travis and Heather must figure out who wants her dead–and why–before it’s too late.

Get your copy here.

My Thoughts:

Active Defense is the third book in the Danger Never Sleeps series by Lynette Eason. Heather Fontaine is a former-Army field surgeon who recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan. She thinks the trouble and heartache from her deployment will stay in Afghanistan, but danger finds her again when she notices a stalker following her. Travis Walker, one of Heather’s friends and owner of a private security company, is concerned for Heather’s safety. But Heather is reluctant to let anyone help her and put themselves in danger. Will Travis convince Heather to let him get close enough to keep her safe? 

Active Defense was a thrilling ride! Full of danger, twists, turns, and explosives, this story was impossible to put down! The characters were well written, and I loved getting to know their individual stories in between all the action. I particularly loved the connection between Heather and Ryker. It was special to see two broken hearts help mend each other. I also loved how honest Heather and Travis were with each other–especially when Heather confessed about her past.

I will admit to being fooled by all the twists in the story. I thought I had it figured out, but the final switchback in the plot ruined my whole theory! That’s okay, though. I love when a good suspense novel can make me gasp in surprise!

I have not had the pleasure of reading the first two books in the series. (Although I want to do so now!) I do think it made some of the relationships of Heather and Travis’s friends a little fuzzy for me, but it did not take away from the overall story. I am looking forward to the next installment in the series!

Any fan of romantic suspense will love Heather and Travis’s story. If you are looking for a thrill-ride while staying at home, look no further, and check out the Danger Never Sleeps series.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

I hope you take a chance on Active Defense by Lynette Eason!

Happy reading and God bless!

–Kristina

Beauty Among the Ruins

Thank you for stopping by to check out this gorgeous book from author J’nell Ciesielski. Beauty Among Ruins is a phenomenal read and should be sitting at the top of your TBR! Keep reading if you are craving a visit to Scotland and want to learn more about the story.

Also, find my full review below. I listened to this book on audio, and I loved it! The accents brought such depth to the conversations and tone of each scene (including the stark contrast with Lily’s American accent). I hope you enjoy!

More About the Book

In Ciesielski’s latest sweeping romance, an American heiress finds herself in Scotland amid the fallout of the Great War, and a wounded Scottish laird comes face-to-face with his past and a woman he never could have expected.

American socialite Lily Durham is known for enjoying one moment to the next, with little regard for the consequences of her actions. But just as she is banished overseas to England as a “cure” for her frivolous ways, the Great War breaks out and wreaks havoc. She joins her cousin in nursing the wounded at a convalescent home deep in the wilds of Scotland at a crumbling castle where its laird is less than welcoming.

Alec MacGregor has given his entire life to preserving his home of Kinclavoch Castle, but mounting debts force him to sell off his family history bit by bit. Labeled a coward for not joining his countrymen in the trenches due to an old injury, he opens his home to the Tommies to make recompense while he keeps to the shadows. But his preference for the shadows is shattered when a new American nurse comes streaming into the castle on a burst of light.

Lily and Alec are thrown together when a series of mysterious events threatens to ruin the future of Kinclavoch. Can they put aside their differences to find the culprit before it’s too late, or will their greatest distraction be falling in love?

You can get your copy here.

My Thoughts

Beauty Among the Ruins by J’nell Ciesielski follows New York socialite, Lily Durham, on a journey across the ocean to her relatives in England. Her parents hope she gains a sense of direction and responsibility, but they never imagined how playing a role among war-torn men would change her forever. Alec MacGregor is giving all of himself to keep his family’s crumbling legacy–Kinclavoch castle and the abounding estate–from bankruptcy and ruin. But a bubbly American works her way under his skin and changes his perspective on almost everything, but especially himself.

The author has a special gift for painting a luscious landscape of the land surrounding Kinclavoch, to the point you can see the beautiful, rolling hills of the Scottish estate and wish to stroll beside the loch in the spring to see the wildflowers. The descriptions brought a vividness to the story and made you feel as if you were walking alongside the characters.

And those characters are wonderful. Lily may be flippant in her duties at Kinclavich castle at first, but she quickly comes to realize the value of what she is doing. I loved her optimistic attitude, and I am jealous of her ability to handle hostile situations with grace (and maybe a little venom).

Alec is a grumbly mystery, but it is impossible not to have respect for a man who tries so hard to provide for his family and his fellow countryman. He is part of the noble beauty of Kinclavoch, and it was both entertaining and heartwarming to watch Lily soften his heart little by little.

I listened to this book on audio, and I loved it! Hearing the Scottish brogue and Gaelic sayings made the story even more genuine.

Overall, I loved this story. The Scottish countryside. The witty quips from Lily. The brooding of Alec. This is a beautiful, historical romance that also has a twist or two of mystery. This is a novel you will devour but wish you didn’t have to reach the end! Any fan of historical fiction/romance will enjoy Beauty Among the Ruins.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Happy reading and God bless!

–Kristina

The Thief of Blackfriars Lane and A Giveaway!

Thanks for stopping by the blog today! I’m excited to finally share this new release here with you all! The Thief of Blackfriars Lane is Michelle Griep’s newest novel, and it’s 100% full of fun! Unique and memorable characters, a twisty mystery, and all sorts of good, old-fashioned adventure, this story is sure to please! Keep reading to learn more about the book and read a special note from the author.

And don’t forget the giveaway! Details are at the end of the post!

About the Book

The Thief of Blackfriars Lane

Book:  The Thief of Blackfriars Lane

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Christian historical

There’s Often a Fine Line Between a Criminal and a Saint

Constable Jackson Forge intends to make the world safer, or at least the streets of Victorian London. But that’s Kit Turner’s domain, a swindler who runs a crew that acquires money the old-fashioned way—conning the rich to give to the poor. When a local cab driver goes missing, Jackson is tasked with finding the man, and the only way to do that is by enlisting Kit’s help. If Jackson doesn’t find the cabby, he’ll be fired. If Kit doesn’t help Jackson, he’ll arrest her for thievery. Yet neither of them realize those are the least of their problems.

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts

The Thief of Blackfriar’s Lane by Michelle Griep is an adventurous romp through the streets of 1885 London. From the smelly, grimy sewers to the opulent mansion of the Lord Mayor, following Kit and Jackson on their quest to find a missing cab driver is sure to entertain–with laughs, intrigue, danger, and romance.

I absolutely loved this story, and I felt like it kept getting better the more I read. I loved how Kit, with her intimate knowledge of the city, worked alongside fresh-from-country constable, Jackson. They may make an unlikely pair, but their search for the truth forces them together. And the results are plenty of witty barbs, electrifying scapes with death, and a blooming admiration for each other.

I loved Kit, her independent spirit, and her compassion for others. I laughed more than once at her enthusiasm at jumping headfirst into danger to find her friend. She is truly fearless, and it was entertaining to see the more logical Jackson get flustered at following her into one dire situation after another.

Jackson’s story of struggling to succeed was touching. So many can relate to not measuring up to the standards we set for ourselves. It warmed my heart to see how he dealt with his disappointments and the idea that even our failures are God’s way of shaping our paths in life. 

Overall, I enjoyed this action-filled, twisty-mystery of a story. There was never a dull moment with Kit and her schemes. I would recommend this novel to any fan of historical Christian fiction. It is a real treat!

I was given a copy of this book by the author with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Michelle Griep

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the Christy Award-winning author of historical romances: A Tale of Two Hearts, The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, 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 http://www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

More from Michelle

Zootopia in Victorian London

I admit it. I like kid’s movies. You know, the animated sort that entertain both young and old alike. One of my favorites is Zootopia, a rollicking adventure about a bunny whose dream it is to be a police officer and make the streets of the big city safe for all animals. In fact, I loved it so much that I thought why not set it in Victorian London?

So I did.

And that’s what The Thief of Blackfriars Lane is all about, but that meant I had to do a little digging into the history of police force of the late 1800’s. Here’s what I learned…

The Metropolitan Police (founded in 1829 by Robert Peel) was composed mostly of young men, many of whom were recruited from rural areas. Few were from London, the philosophy being that they would thus be free from local patronage and influence.

It is a bit of an anomaly that hero Jackson Forge and his friend, Officer Baggett, carry a sidearm. Some did, but most relied on truncheons. It was up to the officer. Revolvers were usually only supplied after the death of a police officer by an armed criminal, at the discretion of the Divisional Officer, or if a constable requested to use one during night duty. In 1884, after the deaths of several police officers, the Home Office ordered nearly a thousand revolvers from Webley & Scott to be issued to branches of the London police. . .which is where I got the idea of a shipment of guns for the villain to attempt to steal.

Police detectives were recruited from within the ranks of existing uniformed officers. There were actually women on the force at the time, employed as police matrons. But these were behind-the-scenes workers, tasked with guarding women and children. If my heroine, Kit, were to be out in public, serving as Jackson’s assistant, she’d have to keep her job secret. The first female police officer wasn’t seen on the streets until 1919.

And so, armed with that information, I wrote the adventures of not a police bunny and a con artist fox, but of Jackson Forge, a fresh-faced constable, and his thorn in the side, swindler Kit Turner. Snatch up your own copy and enjoy a visit to Victorian London!

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, January 23

Bigreadersite, January 23

Inklings and notions, January 23

Bizwings Blog, January 23

Remembrancy, January 24

Connect in Fiction, January 24

deb’s Book Review, January 24

Blogging With Carol, January 24

She Lives To Read, January 25

Blessed & Bookish, January 25

Genesis 5020, January 25

Where Faith and Books Meet, January 25

Library Lady’s kid Lit, January 26

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, January 26

All-of-a-kind Mom, January 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 27

Reflections From My Bookshelves, January 27

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 27

CarpeDiem, January 27

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 28

For the Love of Literature, January 28

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 28

Connie’s History Classroom, January 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 29

Rachael’s Inkwell, January 29

Life of Literature, January 29

Betti Mace, January 30

Older & Smarter?, January 30

Texas Book-aholic, January 30

HookMeInABook, January 30

For Him and My Family, January 31

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 31

Mia Reads, January 31

Godly Book Reviews, January 31

Through the Fire Blogs, February 1

KarenSueHadley, February 1

The Book Chic Blog, February 1

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, February 1

Artistic Nobody, February 2 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Simple Harvest Reads, February 2 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Mamma Loves Books, February 2

Blossoms and Blessings, February 2

Splashes of Joy, February 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 3

Vicky Sluiter, February 3

Pause for Tales, February 3

The Write Escape, February 4

Wishful Endings, February 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 4

Hallie Reads, February 4

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, February 5

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, February 5

To Everything There Is A Season, February 5

Daysong Reflections, February 5

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Thief of Blackfriars Lane!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1062a/the-thief-of-blackfriars-lane-celebration-tour-giveaway

Good luck with the giveaway, and happy reading!

–Kristina

Tidewater Bride

As my first read of 2021, I have to say it will be hard to beat this story the rest of the year! I have no doubts about The Tidewater Bride by Laura Frantz staying in my top ten favorite books of this year. I can’t wait for you all to read it!

Keep reading to find out more about the book, read my full review, and learn were you can purchase your copy!

About the Book:

Selah Hopewell seems to be the only woman in the Virginia colony who has no wish to wed. True, there are too many men and far too few women in James Towne. But Selah already has her hands full assisting her father in the family’s shop. And now she is in charge of an incoming ship of tobacco brides who must be looked after as they sort through their many suitors.

Xander Renick is perhaps the most eligible tobacco lord in the settlement. His lands are vast, his crops are prized, and his position as a mediator between the colonists and the powerful Powhatan nation surrounding them makes him indispensable. But Xander is already wedded to his business and still grieves the loss of his wife, daughter of the Powhatan chief.

Can two fiercely independent people find happiness and fulfillment on their own? Or will they discover that what they’ve been missing in life has been right in front of them all along?

Get your copy here.

My Thoughts:

Tidewater Bride by Laura Frantz is an engrossing read from the start. Be prepared to be completely immersed in the culture, politics, and beauty of 1634 James Towne and surrounding settlements. The level of historical detail is astounding and creates such a vivid landscape throughout the novel. Not only can you easily imagine the beauty of the Powhatan river, or delight in the stylish furnishings of Xander’s study, but you also gain a powerful sense of the strict, regimented culture still tightly tethered to England despite the freedoms of the New World.

I enjoyed watching Selah and Xander’s story unfold. Bound together by a woman they both loved and respected, their relationship was damaged by pain, regret, and false judgments. Such a complicated history made their journey even more beautiful and satisfying. One thing, in particular, I loved over and over was how they often turned to scripture in any situation. The verses were timely and potent, yet not overbearing. My favorite was when Selah compared Xander to Philippians 4:8. (It’s a favorite verse of mine.) I loved how Selah struggled in areas of her faith, but her first place to turn was often scripture or prayer. It warmed my heart to read it.

For all the wonderful history and sigh-worthy romance, this story is full of danger, risk, deception, and mystery as well. This is one of those books where you must know what happens, but you are also loathed to find the end. These characters will stay with me beyond the borders of their pages.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

I hope you enjoy Selah and Xander’s story as much as I did! Let me know how you felt about the book below!

Happy reading and God bless,

Kristina

Courting Misfortune

There are so many great books releasing right now! And Courting Misfortune by Regina Jennings definitely makes the list. This is the first full length novel in The Joplin Chronicles, but you may recognize some of the characters from her novella, Intrigue a la Mode. I mean, who can forget the Kentworth family?

Are you looking for mystery? Danger? Romance? Or how about an inspirational journey? This story has so many layers and page-turning action that you won’t want to put it down!

Keep reading to find my full review! And snag a link to get your copy.

About the Book:

Her trickiest case depends on keeping her motives–and her heart–in disguise.

Calista York needs one more successful case as a Pinkerton operative to secure her job at the agency. When she’s assigned to find the kidnapped daughter of a mob boss, she’s sent to the rowdy mining town of Joplin, Missouri. With extended family in the area, Calista must conceal her profession if she hopes to recover the missing girl.

When Matthew Cook decided to be a missionary, he never expected to be sent only a short train ride away to Joplin. While fighting against corruption of all sorts, Matthew hears of a baby raffle being held to raise funds for a children’s home. He’ll do what he can to stop it, but he also wants to stop the reckless Miss York, whose bad judgment consistently puts her in harm’s way.

Calista doesn’t need the handsome pastor and her nosy family interfering with her investigation, no matter their intentions. A girl’s life depends on her. If she doesn’t find Lila Seaton soon, the constant meddling could have dire consequences.

Get your copy here.

My Thoughts:

Courting Misfortune by Regina Jennings is the first full-length novel in The Joplin Chronicles series. However, if you are looking for the initial introduction to Calista and the crazy Kentworth family, then make sure you also read the novella, Intrigue a la Mode. 

Courting Misfortune is a unique blend of chaos, humor, intrigue, and spiritual growth. Like all Regina Jenning’s books, there are plenty of memorable, laughable moments, and the antics of the Kenthworth crowd do not disappoint. Calista, despite her training with the Pinkerton agency, seems to be off-kilter in the town of Joplin, a city she knows well–but a city full of her meddling cousins. It was entertaining to watch her try to employ one spy-tactic after another while dodging family members nosy questions and the good-hearted advice of a handsome preacher.

Being from Missouri, I enjoyed learning about the history of Joplin, even if the reality of what transpired in the city was sorely disappointing. I was terrified for Calista on several occasions as she put herself at risk time and again to complete her mission. I could definitely empathize with Matthew and all his concern about her moving within the wrong (and dangerous) circles in town.

Matthew is the sort of hero a girl can fall for easily. He’s handsome. He loves God, and he feels a calling to help people who are lost. And while he may be quick to judge others in the beginning, I enjoyed watching him humble himself and listen to the will of God for his life. His calling was truly inspirational–as was his love for others.

I loved reading Courting Misfortune, and I am looking forward to reading the rest of books in the series! Any fan of Christian historical fiction will enjoy this tale.

I was given a copy of this book by the author with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

I hope you enjoy this story as much as I did!

Happy reading and God bless!

–Kristina

The Escape by Lisa Harris

Whew! I love a good suspense, and The Escape by Lisa Harris was the most thrilling one I’ve read in awhile. It was a perfect high-paced chase to find an escaped convict before he would harm more innocent people. I loved being able to follow the U.S. Marshalls through the case as they strategically searched for their convict.

Keep reading to learn more about the book and find my full review!

About the Book

How do you catch a fugitive who has nothing to lose?

US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn have orders to transport two high-profile prisoners across the country on a private plane. But when the plane experiences engine trouble en route from the Pacific Northwest to Colorado, the pilots crash-land the aircraft deep in the heart of the sprawling Salmon-Challis National Forest. 

With both pilots and one prisoner dead–and one fugitive on the run–Madison and Jonas must negotiate the rugged and remote backcountry as they track a murderer who is desperate to disappear . . . and will do anything to stop them.

Get your copy here.

My Thoughts

The Escape by Lisa Harris is book one in the U.S. Marshalls series and is a thrilling ride from start to finish. From the moment we meet U.S. Marshalls Jonas Quinn and Madison James the story is electrified with action, suspense, and a bit of romance. The page-turning chase of escaped convict, Damon Barrick, is unpredictable, twisted, and heart-pounding fun. 

I always enjoy a strong, smart, female protagonist, and Madison definitely fits the description. I loved watching her skill as she worked through one problem after another, and I appreciated Jonas’s ability to see her strengths and to let her use them. In fact, I think those moments where they are talking through another twist in the case were my favorite. I loved getting in the head of not only one but two U.S. Marshalls. It was so interesting to see their reasoning and strategy.

Truthfully, the only part of the story I didn’t like, was that I reached the end! I will be anxiously waiting on book two in this series, so I can see how the story progresses. I can’t wait to follow Madison and Jonas on their next adventure.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

I hope you enjoy this story as much as I did! What a chase!

Happy reading and God Bless,

Kristina