Review: Gentleman of Her Dreams (Ladies of Distinction #0.5) by Jen Turano

 Book Blurb:

When Miss Charlotte Wilson asks God for a husband, she decides He must want her to pursue Mr. Hamilton Beckett, the catch of the season.

The only problem?  She’s never actually met Hamilton.  Fortunately, one of her oldest and dearest friends, Mr. Henry St. James—who has returned to New York after a two-year absence—does know Hamilton.

Much to Henry’s chagrin, Charlotte immediately ropes him into helping her meet Hamilton.  However, none of her plans to catch Hamilton’s eye go as she expected, and she is even more confused when her old feelings for Henry begin to resurrect themselves.

In the midst of the mayhem Charlotte always seems to cause, she wonders if the gentleman of her dreams might be an entirely different man than she thought.

Little Miss Bookworm’s Review:

Jen Turano’s Gentleman of Her Dreams, is a refreshing novella with endearing main characters.  Charlotte Wilson is willful, independent, and extremely accident prone.  Henry St. James is the epitome of a hero.  Dashing.  Handsome.  Gallant.  They remind me a lot of Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.  Despite their close friendship, misunderstandings between the duo are prominent in this romantic story.  Like most young women in Gilded Age New York, Charlotte strongly believes that Hamilton Beckett is the ideal husband for her.  She convinces an unwilling Henry to help her meet the man, but each of her plots end in disaster.  During these “adventures,” Charlotte and Henry both wish they were more than just friends, but unwilling to believe their love may be reciprocated.  Their insecurities are realistic and their loyalty to each other make them the perfect couple.

If you are looking for a romantic comedy, Gentleman of Her Dreams, a prequel to the “Lady of Distinction” series, is a must read.

I give Gentleman of Her Dreams by Jen Turano . . . 5 Stars.


Review: The Doctor’s Lady (Heart of Faith #2) by Jody Hedlund

Book Blurb:


Pricilla White KNEW God wanted her to be a missionary, NOT A WIFE.

Then, the missionary board declares the ONLY WAY she can serve is to be MARRIED.

Now, married IN NAME ONLY, her epic journey west will test her spirit . . . and the new LONGINGS of her heart.





Little Miss Bookworm’s Review:



The Doctor’s Lady is another historical romance masterpiece by Jody Hedlund. With well-crafted dialogue and descriptive narrative, Hedlund depicts life in the early 1800s. Dr. Eli Ernest is a complex character, but maintains a level of integrity and perseverance. Priscilla White is strong-willed and determined to serve in the missionary field. Forced into a marriage of convenience, Eli and Priscilla are unprepared for a multitude of obstacles. On a journey fraught with adversity and heartache, they are tested to the utmost of their endurance and abilities. Illness, deprivation, unreliable guides, hostile tribes, and uncertainty threaten their quest to reach Oregon territory.

Filled with romantic tension, The Doctor’s Lady keeps a reader in suspense from the first page until the last. With historical details woven into the plot, flawed characters and a gripping adventure, Hedlund’s sophomore novel is a must read. In particular, I loved the Oregon Trail element. The Doctor’s Lady is based loosely on the real life of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, a young missionary couple who traveled overland in 1836 to start a mission in Oregon for the Nez Perce natives. Narcissa Whitman and Eliza Spalding were the first women to cross the Continental Divide.


I give The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund . . . 5 Stars.

Review: The Apothecary’s Daughter by Julie Klassen

Book Blurb:

Lilly Haswell remembers everything—whether she wants to, or not . . .

AS LILLY TOILS IN HER FATHER’S APOTHECARY SHOP, preparing herbs and remedies by rote, she is haunted by memories of her mother’s disappearance. Villagers whisper the tale, but her father refuses to discuss it. All the while, she dreams of the world beyond—of travel and adventure and romance.

When a relative offers to host her in London, Lilly discovers the pleasures and pitfalls of fashionable society and suitors, as well as clues about her mother. But will Lilly find what she is searching for—the truth of the past and a love for the future?

Blending romance, family drama, and fascinating historical detail, The Apothecary’s Daughter is a novel to savor and share.

Little Miss Bookworm’s Review:



The Apothecary’s Daughter provides an interesting perspective of how apothecaries worked, the ailments and remedies used to treat them in 19th century England. Lilly Haswell is an apothecary’s daughter torn between two worlds . . . sleepy Bedsley Priors and glamorous London. Throughout the first half of the novel, Lilly is indecisive on what she wants in life and has a fickle attitude towards potential suitors. By the end of the story, Lilly learns to be content with her life and realizes that what she wanted was right there all along. Overall, Julie Klassen’s writing style is rich and full of period details that bring the story to life. Also, elements of Austen and Brontë are woven into the plot to add additional depth to it. I recommend The Apothecary’s Daughter for those who have enjoyed Klassen’s other novels and those set in the Regency Era.

I give The Apothecary’s Daughter by Julie Klassen . . . 4 Stars.

Review: Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz

Book Blurb:


MORROW LITTLE is haunted by the memory of the day her family was torn apart by raiding Shawnee warriors. Now that she is nearly a grown woman and her father is ailing, she must make difficult choices about the future. Several men—ranging from the undesired to the unthinkable—vie for her attentions, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to a forbidden love that both terrifies and intrigues her. Can she betray the memory of her lost loved ones—and garner suspicion from her friends—by pursuing a life with him? Or should she seal her own misery by marrying a man she doesn’t love?

This sweeping tale of romance and forgiveness will envelop you as it takes you from a Kentucky fort through the vast wilderness of the West.


Little Miss Bookworm Review:



Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz is a captivating love story set in the wild, untamed and savage land of 1778 Kentucke. Living along the Red River and surrounded by nature’s beauty, Morrow Little suffers from anxiety along with fear of the local Indian tribes. In the first half of the book, Morrow is considerably weighed down by the grudge she holds against them from a prior incident against her family. Red Shirt is strong, courageous, humble, protector, warrior, and leader. He displays all the traits that make a perfect hero. Throughout the novel, Red Shirt is both gentle and patient towards Morrow as he shows her not every Indian is a savage. Slowly, Morrow learns to trust and even fall in love with him. Morrow’s character growth highlights her patience, faith and devotion in the second half of the novel. With each turn of the page, readers are transported into a scene with the rich historical details and vivid imagery. Readers are also able to identify with Frantz’s characters on a deep and personal level. Love conquers all is the prevalent theme in an adventurous, romantic and dangerous world of colonial Kentucke.

I give Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz . . . 5 Stars.



Review: The Preacher’s Bride (Heart of Faith #1) by Jody Hedlund

thepreachersbrideBook Blurb:

No matter the sacrifice,

Elizabeth Whitbread would serve a wounded family.

No matter the danger,

John Costin was determined to speak God’s word.

Neither expected to fall in love.

As enemies threaten to silence Costin—and those close to him—will following their hearts cost John and Elizabeth everything?


Little Miss Bookworm’s Review:



Jody Hedlund’s The Preacher’s Bride is a debut novel filled with rich historical detail and emotional depth.  Based on the life of evangelist John Bunyan (author of Pilgrim’s Progress) and his wife Elizabeth, Jody highlights the religious persecution and class division within a close knit Puritan community in 1659 England.  It encompasses the last days of Oliver Cromwell’s rule following the English Civil War.  The book opens with a heart-wrenching scene that immediately hooks the reader until the last page.  Each of the main and secondary characters have complex personalities that make them unique.  Elizabeth Whitbread views herself as plain and inconsequential.  However, her strong faith guides her into helping those in need.  John Costin is a newly widowed father who believes it is his destiny to preach Gospel to the poor.  As an unlicensed preacher, he becomes a prime target of Royalist supporters.  Their fragile relationship is hindered by the demands of others in the congregation, rumors, threats, and betrayal.  The powerful themes that emerge within the historical romance include:   Hopes.  Dreams.  Struggles.  Fear.  Worry.  Doubt.  Second-Guessing.  Despite the danger, the unbending faith and enduring love makes The Preacher’s Bride an interesting read.


I give The Preacher’s Bride by Jody Hedlund . . .  4 Stars.


Review: Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen

Book Blurb:

EVEN A PROPER VICAR’S DAUGHTER CAN MAKE A MISTAKE . . . and now Charlotte Lamb must pay a high price for her fall.  To avoid the prying eyes of all who know her, she hides herself away in London’s forbidding “Milkweed Manor,” a place of mystery and lore, of old secrets and new birth.

But once there, she comes face-to-face with a suitor from her past—a man who now hides secrets of his own.  Both are determined, with God’s help, to protect those they love.  But neither can imagine the depth of sacrifice that will be required.

Sprinkled with fascinating details about the lives of women in Regency England, Lady of Milkweed Manor is a moving romantic drama about the redemption of past failings and the beauty of sacrificial love.


Little Miss Bookworm’s Review:



Julie Klassen’s debut novel Lady of Milkweed Manor, is a bittersweet historical romance set in Regency England.  Charlotte Lamb undergoes a heart-wrenching journey as she tries to reinvent herself in an unforgiving society.  Charlotte’s wounded soul and Daniel Taylor’s secret torment makes their unconventional relationship unique.  A combination of historical detail, a realistic plot, and Klassen’s elegant prose gives the story a well-balanced depth.  Intricate subplots filled with angst, keep a reader in suspense.  Elements of Jane Austen’s Persuasion and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre are also infused into the story.  None of the secondary characters overshadow Charlotte’s difficult journey with their own personal struggles.  A plot twist at the end is both surprising and deeply moving.  Sacrificial love is poignant throughout the novel and readers will love Klassen’s fresh approach to Regency romance.


I give Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen . . . 4 Stars.

Review: The Frontiersman’s Daughter by Laura Frantz

frontiersmansdaughterBook Blurb:

One woman searches for love—and herself—in a wild land.

LOVELY AND HIGH-SPIRITED, Lael Click is the daughter of a celebrated frontiersman.  Haunted by her father’s ties to the Shawnee Indians and her family’s past, Lael comes of age in the fragile Kentucky settlement her father founded.  As she faces the many trials of life on the frontier, Lael draws strength from the rugged land.  But the arrival of a handsome doctor threatens her view of her world, her God, and herself.  Can the power of grace and redemption break through in this tumultuous place?

This epic novel gives you a glimpse into the simple yet daring lives of the pioneers who first crossed the Appalachians, all through the courageous eyes of a determined young woman who would not be defeated.


Little Miss Bookworm’s Review:



The Frontiersman’s Daughter by Laura Frantz is an interesting debut novel, that highlights a young woman’s journey to womanhood during the late eighteenth century.  Living in the untamed Kentucke frontier, Lael Click struggles with her mother’s indiscretion and her father’s hidden past with the Shawnee Indians.  Ma Horn, Captain Jack, Ian Justus, and the inhabitants of a small Kentucke settlement, are an unique blend of secondary characters.  Living in the middle of Indian Territory strife with danger, feuds reigniting, and broken hearts.  Lael is determined to prove women can survive in the uncivilized region.

The extensive research and historical detail highlights the harsh realities of living in 1777 Kentucke during the American Revolution.  Conflict between white men and Indian tribes like the Shawnee is woven into the plot.  Frantz does a remarkable job in portraying both sides of the issue.

The Frontiersman’s Daughter is a hard book to review.  It immediately captured my attention and I thought the prologue foreshadowed what was to come.  However, the intricate plot twists kept me hooked from beginning to end.  I also loved how each character was given a complex personality that enabled them to stand out.  Adventure, Romance, Faith, and Redemption are four key themes that emerge within the story.

There were several flaws that caused significant problems.  First, the story focuses on an eight-year period of Lael’s life.  On more than one occasion, I was unsure of her age.  Second, the heroine lets other characters influence her decisions.  Third, not all of the plot lines were completed, leaving the reader with unanswered questions.  Finally, I was unsure if the chemistry was there between Lael and the man she ultimately ends up with.

Overall, I would recommend The Frontiersman’s Daughter to anyone who enjoys historical romances set during the American Revolution.


I give The Frontiersman’s Daughter by Laura Frantz . . . 4 Stars.