These Healing Hills – Ann H. Gabhart – Revell – Published 5 September 2017
Francine Howard has her life all mapped out until the soldier she planned to marry at WWII’s end writes to tell her he’s in love with a woman in England. Devastated, Francine seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Service.
Deeply affected by the horrors he witnessed at war, Ben Locke has never thought further ahead than making it home to Kentucky. His future shrouded in as much mist as his beloved mountains, he’s at a loss when it comes to envisioning what’s next for his life.
When Francine’s and Ben’s paths intersect, it’s immediately clear that they are from different worlds and value different things. But love has a way of healing old wounds . . . and revealing tantalizing new possibilities.
These Healing Hills is a delightful historical romance novel. The descriptive writing firmly places the reader in the gorgeous scenery and amongst the friendly people of the Appalachian Mountains. It was wonderful to sink into this story and journey with Fran and Ben as they overcome the obstacles before them, each find a place to call home, and find peace.
Francine Howard didn’t start her life looking for adventure, but when her fiancé writes home from the war to tell her he has found someone else, she knows home in Cincinnati is no longer where she wants to stay. Instead, she takes up the offer to travel to the Appalachian Mountains and put her training as a nurse to use as one of the Frontier Nurses. It is a vast change in culture, but Fran soon feels at home there. Ben Locke has spent many years away at war and wants nothing more than to return to his home in the mountains. He isn’t sure what his future holds, but the kind nurse with the amazing smile draws him like no one has before.
Heart on the Line – Karen Witemeyer – Ladies of Harper Station #2 – Bethany House – Published 6 June 2017
Grace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can’t let the villain she believes responsible for her father’s death release his wrath in Harper’s Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she’s ever known.
Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship–dare he believe, courtship?–has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.
Heart on the Line features a long-distance, technology-assisted romance. Yes, this is still a historical romance, with a touch of drama and excitement, set in the charming women’s colony of Harper’s Station.
Grace Mallory has found refuge at Harper’s Station. The murder of her father sent her into hiding, running from the man who wishes to silence her and retrieve the documents Grace’s father secreted away. When Grace is warned by a friend over the telegraph wires that danger is heading her way she knows she must prepare. Amos Bledsoe has long been intrigued by the telegraph operator Miss G. When he overhears her issued a dire warning he races to her aid. The time together might give him a chance to propose a courtship, if they can outwit Grace’s pursuer.
It was an absolute pleasure to return to the wonderful world Karen Witemeyer has created. Harper’s Station and it’s colourful inhabitants are quickly become fondly familiar. There is never a dull moment.
Karen Witemeyer is wonderfully gifted at writing charming romance – heart-pounding and perfectly suited to the historical setting. Even before meeting Grace, Amos is quite smitten. And then, when he does meet her, he promptly falls head over heels. Grace is a little more reserved with her ardour (hard not to be), and takes the time to assess Amos, his character and motivation. He is not what she first expected, but he slowly proves himself to her.
No Other Will Do – Karen Witemeyer – Bethany House – Published 7 June 2016
Men are optional. That’s the credo Emma Chandler’s suffragette aunts preached and why she started a successful women’s colony in Harper’s Station, Texas. But when an unknown assailant tries repeatedly to drive them out, Emma admits they might need a man after all. A man who can fight–and she knows just the one.
Malachi Shaw finally earned the respect he craved by becoming an explosives expert for the railroad. Yet when Emma’s plea arrives, he bolts to Harper’s Station to repay the girl who once saved his life. Only she’s not a girl any longer. She’s a woman with a mind of her own and a smile that makes a man imagine a future he doesn’t deserve.
As the danger intensifies, old feelings grow and deepen, but Emma and Mal will need more than love to survive.
No Other Will Do has plenty of action, shoot outs, dangerous masked bandits and brave women unafraid to stand up for themselves, but the standout in this novel has to be the romance. The spine tingling, escalating just when you think they will never get together, swoon worthy romance. And all this set in a charming little western town, where women have banded together to ensure their own safety and freedom. It is fun, inspiring and leaves one a little starry-eyed.
Malachi and Emma were childhood friends. Malachi has always been in awe of Emma and Emma has always felt a strong connection to Malachi. They were friends, study mates, protectors and champions. When life separated them in their teenage years they stayed in contact via letters. When Emma needs help protecting her women’s colony, she knows there is no man other than Malachi who is worthy of the task. Malachi feels that he owes everything to Emma and rushes to her aid. But will the danger finally bring them together or will they let fear push them apart? Continue reading
Mail-Order Marriage: 5 Historical Stories of Marriage Arranged by Letters Between Strangers – Mary Davis, Denise Hunter, Judith McCoy Miller, DiAnn Mills, Tracie Peterson – Barbour Books – Published 1 December 2015
Escape into the history of the American West along with five of today’s leading inspirational fiction authors who deliver exciting historical romances begun from advertisements for mail-order marriages. Placing their dreams for new beginnings in the hands of a stranger, will Cinda, Emily, Maura, Gabe, and Daughtry each be disappointed, or will some find true love?
Five delightful stories of mail-order marriage bring five couples together. They will face the challenges of beginning life as a couple against the dangers and harsh reality of life farming or ranching in the west.
Cinda’s Surprise – Mary Davis
Cinda is more than a little surprised when she discovers that her friends have organised a mail-order marriage in her name. Deciding to go ahead with the marriage, there are plenty more surprises awaiting Cinda when she and her new husband travel to his Montana farm. While it took me a little while to connect to this story initially, I warmed up to the characters and plot as it developed. At the start everything seemed a little ridiculous, too much deceit and a few nasty characters, but this all works together in the end, raising issues of forgiveness and truthfulness. There is also a host of colourful characters, and a sweet romance. Simple but sweet.
His Brother’s Bride – Denise Hunter Continue reading
Hearts Made Whole – Jody Hedlund – Beacons of Hope #2 – Bethany House Publishers – Published 2 June 2015
After her father’s death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren’t supposed to have such roles, so it’s only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper–even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.
Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He’s been given the post as lighthouse keeper, and the isolation where he can drown in drink and hide from his past is appealing. He’s not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who’s none-too-pleased to be giving up her position. They both quickly realize he’s in no shape to run the lighthouse, but Ryan’s unwilling to let anyone close, ravaged by memories and guilt. Caroline’s drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope…and possibly love?
It is 1865. Caroline Taylor has dutifully tended the Windmill Point Lighthouse, both before and after her father’s tragic death. Determined to provide for her siblings and continue to man the light each night, she is shocked to find that she and her family will soon have to leave. Told that lighthouse keeping is no work for a woman she is to be replaced by a returning Civil War veteran, Ryan Chambers.
A Worthy Pursuit – Karen Witemeyer – Bethany House Publishers – Published 2 June 2015
Stone Hammond is the best tracker in Texas. He never comes home empty-handed. So when a wealthy railroad investor hires him to find his abducted granddaughter, Stone eagerly accepts.
Charlotte Atherton, former headmistress of Sullivan’s Academy for Exceptional Youths, will do anything to keep her charges safe, especially the little girl entrusted to her care after her mother’s death. Charlotte promised Lily’s mother she’d keep the girl away from her unscrupulous grandfather, and nothing will stop Charlotte from fulfilling that pledge. Not even the handsome bounty hunter with surprisingly honest eyes who comes looking for them.
When the teacher he’s after produces documentation that shows she’s the little girl’s legal guardian, Stone must reevaluate everything he’s been led to believe. Is Miss Atherton villain or victim? She acts more like a loving mother than an abductress, and the children in her care clearly adore her. Should Stone break his perfect record?
Then a new danger threatens, and Charlotte is forced to trust the man sent to destroy her. Stone becomes determined to protect what he once sought to tear apart. Besides, he’s ready to start a new pursuit: winning Charlotte’s heart.
Find a comfy chair and a cozy spot, clear your calendar, and prepare to become fully ensconced in the romantic adventure that is A Worthy Pursuit.