Review: ‘Entwined’ (Knights of Brethren) by Jody Hedlund

About The Book
During a time when legends were born . . .

ENTWINED

A princess cursed from birth, a loyal knight worthy of being king, and a sword that can determine their destiny.

After growing up on a remote farm, Lis learns she is the rightful heir to the throne of Norvegia. Even as she does her part to thwart a dangerous plot against the king, she resists pursuing her new identity and resigns herself to a simple life helping her elderly father with their farm.

With the king losing his mind, Sir Ansgar, the highest knight in the land, is desperate to save the sovereign he’s sworn to protect. But before Ansgar can uncover what is causing the king’s demise, he finds himself falsely accused of treason and dismissed from court.

In danger of losing his life, Ansgar takes refuge on Lis’s farm. Love soon blossoms between Ansgar and Lis, even as they realize a future together is impossible. Yet they must unite to save the kingdom from ever-growing forces of evil. Are their destinies entwined? Or will they be ripped apart forever?

The real story of Excalibur continues . . .
Knights of Brethren
Book 1: Enamored
Book 2: Entwined
About Jody Hedlund
Jody Hedlund is the author of over thirty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).
When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.
Other YA Stories by Jody Hedlund. All are great!
The Fairest Maidens
Book 1: Beholden
Book 2: Beguiled
Book 3: Besotted
The Lost Princesses
Prequel Novella: Always
Book 1: Evermore
Book 2: Foremost
Book 3: Hereafter
The Noble Knights
Prequel Novella: The Vow
Book 1: An Uncertain Choice
Book 2: A Daring Sacrifice
Book 3: For Love and Honor
Book 4: A Loyal Heart
Book 5: A Worthy Rebel
For a complete list of Jody’s novels, visit her Amazon page or website – jodyhedlund.com
My Rating:4 Stars!
‘One can never gain something truly valuable without sacrifice.’

Once more, Jody Hedlund brings her readers a wonderful story. This series is SO good! It has all the qualities that make for a great tale: brave knights, princesses, an evil sage and a kingdom in dire straits looking for deliverance from the machinations of those who seek to gain control of it. It is indeed a great read! I was captivated, especially with the Sword of the Magi thread. I can’t wait for more in Hedlund’s series! Well done!

My thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book. The opinion in this review is entirely my own.
Publication Date: December 7, 2021
Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09B31H3H2/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i0



Review: ‘Rocky Mountain Standoff’ by Laura Scott

About The Book
From USA TODAY Bestselling Author Laura Scott

She’d risk her own life for justice…

but can he help her protect her baby?

Someone will do anything to get federal judge Sidney Logan to throw a trial—even target her six-month-old foster daughter. And it’s up to US Deputy Marshal Tanner Wilcox to keep Sidney and little Lilly safe in the Colorado Rockies. But with danger finding them at every turn, there might be a mole in the courthouse…and trusting anyone could prove lethal.

From Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith.

Justice Seekers

Book 1: Soldier’s Christmas Secrets
Book 2: Guarded by the Soldier
Book 3: Wyoming Mountain Escape
Book 4: Hiding His Holiday Witness
Book 5: Rocky Mountain Standoff
About Laura Scott
My name is Laura Scott and I’m a registered nurse by day and an author by night. I have written 55 books for Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense as well as several indie series – Crystal Lake, Lifeline Air Rescue, The McNallys and Security Specialists, Inc. I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with my husband of 35 years. I hope you enjoy my books as much as I love writing them!
Yours in Faith,
Laura Scott
http://www.laurascottbooks.com
4 Stars

When a federal judge is targeted, US Marshals are called in to protect her and find out who is trying to kill her. Here is some good inspirational suspense. Laura Scott adds a good one to her series.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Net Galley. The opinion here is my own.

Publisher: Love Inspired
Publication Date: December 28, 2021
Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense
Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Rocky-Mountain-Standoff-Justice-Seekers-ebook/dp/B094R6KX7R/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=rocky+mountain+standoff&qid=1637006604&sr=8-2

Review: ‘Embracing Light in Wishing Bridge by Ruth Logan Herne

About The Book
Rachel has a secret. Two secrets. Twin daughters that were callously given away at birth, leaving the young Amish mother with no dignity and no hope… but when a kindly shopkeeper discovers a link between Rachel’s newborn twins and an Amish family in Wishing Bridge, she contacts a friend to guide Rachel’s path. A path that could lead to love, hope and freedom… or something more sinister. As Rachel discovers truths about herself, her daughters and the beautiful town that’s willing to wrap its arms around her, can the town keep her safe from the one person who knows the truth… and will stop at nothing to keep it from being told.

Welcome back to Wishing Bridge… the beloved town that mixes prayers and wishes to make dreams come true!

About Ruth Logan Herne

USA Today bestselling, award-winning author Ruth Logan Herne is the author of over 50 novels and novellas. She loves God, her family, country, coffee, chocolate and dogs, and wishes possums would leave the cat food on the side porch alone. And yet… they don’t. With over two million books in print, Ruthy is living her dream of touching hearts and souls by writing the kind of books she likes to read.

She lives on a pumpkin farm in Western New York where they grow all kinds of cool things for fall from sumptuous squashes and veggies to gorgeous stacking pumpkins. Ruthy’s farm is quickly becoming the place to be every September and October. Ruthy herself is in charge of the kitchen and her very own baked goods, jams and jellies are for sale. The farm gives Ruthy a chance to chat with real people… then turn them into fictional characters during the quiet of mid-winter, so be careful what you say!

She loves chatting with readers through her website blog http://ruthloganherne.com and hanging with readers and writers in Seekerville… http://www.seekerville.blogspot.com where coffee is always hot, fresh and good! She loves playing in the kitchen, too, with a wonderful group of regionally-inspired inspirational authors at the Yankee Belle Cafe http://www.yankeebellecafe.blogspot.com. On Goodreads, she’s (yes, you guessed it!) Ruth Logan Herne, and that’s how to find this prolific author on facebook, too!

My Rating: 5 Stars!
Such a great story!

Ruth Logan Herne does not disappoint here. I loved Wishing Bridge from the first book she set here and I just keep on loving it. This one broke my heart at times but God’s grace shown through. So many powerful emotions running through these pages. Herne writes with heart always. Highly recommended.
Publication Date: November 22, 2021
Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09G8XRZKZ/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i0

Review: ‘Sweet Right Here’ by Jenny B. Jones

About Twice jilted, I’ve sworn off love forever.
But Miller James might be the one man to change my mind.


Newly un-engaged, I’ve returned to Sugar Creek to the welcoming arms of my family to make a fresh start. While I have a reputation for being unlucky in love, I’ve just scored the career coup of a lifetime—to work at Hope Farms, a therapy ranch for military veterans. The problem? The owner is the arrogantly handsome Miller James. He might be an old friend, but Miller’s all grown up now and made it clear I’m not welcome. I’ve got six months to make my program a success, but it’s hard to help others heal with Miller’s interference—and the return of someone from my past.

Miller’s got some secrets of his own. After a family tragedy rocked his world, the entrepreneurial genius left his first class life behind to open Hope Farms. And maybe everything Miller touches does turn to gold, but when my sisters recruit him in their pursuit of my next Mr. Right , Miller gets a little too involved. The lines are blurring between work and romance, and my boss has ideas that make me question his strategies—and his heart.

Can two broken people mend enough to heal together? Nothing’s fair in love and farming, but can Miller James and I harvest our own happily ever after?

Sweet Right Here is the first book in the hilarious, swoony Lost Story Bookshop series. Perfect for fans of laughs, sighs, and closed-door romance. The Book

Four-time Carol Award winner Jenny B. Jones writes contemporary romance with wit, sass, and Southern charm. Since writing for both women and teens leaves her with very little free time, she believes in spending her spare hours in meaningful, intellectual pursuits, such as watching E!, going to the movies and inhaling large buckets of popcorn, and writing her name in the dust on her furniture. www.jennybjones.com 

My Rating: 5 Stars!

‘You can’t trust a dude who doesn’t have adequate vowel usage.’

I purely love to lose myself in a Janny B. Jones book. I’ve been a fan a long time and foresee no change in that status. She does Rom Com to a tee and her wit in the absolute best! I loved this so much-the characters, the plot (really good one) and I just couldn’t stop reading till I finished.

Oh! And Sylvie and Frannie are back in fine form! As they always are, of course. I adore those retired, ex-CIA operatives, who still have a trick or two up their sleeves. And there was a secondary character by the name of Ernie that I just fell in love with. He is so precious. If you can call a curmudgeon precious. Well done!

My thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book. The opinion here is entirely my own. 
Publication Date: December 1, 2021
Publisher: Sweet Pea Productions
Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Right-Here-Romantic-Bookshop-ebook/dp/B09JB4JRBW/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=sweet+right+here&qid=1637670845&sr=8-1

Review: ‘The Little Women Devotional’ by Rachel Dodge

Devotional Inspiration from the Lives of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy
 
The Little Women Devotional offers lovely inspiration that explores the themes of faith, family, contentment, wisdom, and joy in the classic Louisa May Alcott novel, cherished by generations of readers.

Each reading corresponds with a chapter from the book and invites you to embrace God’s guiding hand in your life as His cherished daughter. This beautiful chapter-by-chapter devotional includes original artwork throughout, and each reading includes examples from the novel, scripture, life application, and prayers perfect for groups, book clubs, or personal reflection.

About Rachel Dodge

Rachel Dodge is the bestselling author of The Anne of Green Gables Devotional: A Chapter-By-Chapter Companion for Kindred Spirits (Barbour 2020) and Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen (Bethany House 2018). Rachel teaches college English classes, gives talks at libraries, teas, and book clubs, and is a writer for the popular Jane Austen’s World blog and Jane Austen’s Regency World Magazine. She is passionate about encouraging and equipping families to grow closer to Jesus through prayer and the study of God’s Word. A true kindred spirit at heart, Rachel enjoys books, bonnets, and ball gowns. She makes her home in California with her husband and their two children.

5 Stars!

I loved the book Little Women as a child and have read it several times. I think my childhood copy may still be hiding in my attic somewhere. When I saw this devotional based on that beloved book, I knew I wanted to own it.

In my opinion, this book is absolutely exquisite! Each devotion is based on a section or chapter of Little Women and it’s not just a quick 30 second devotional. It’s meaty and rich, with the devotional, a personal application, several scriptures that pertain to that devotional and a wonderful, very appropriate prayer to guide you along. I have been blessed so much reading this! I can very highly recommend it. Rachel Dodge is wonderful here.

Publisher: Barbour
Publication Date: December 1, 2021
Length: 224 pages
Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Little-Women-Devotional-Chapter-Chapter/dp/1636090966/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=the+little+woman+devotional+by+rachel+dodge&qid=1632316864&s=digital-text&sr=1-3

Review: ‘After All’ (A Murphy Brothers Story, Book 7) by Jennifer Rodewald

After All
One choice changed everything, setting them on a path to devastation. Is there any way to redeem what might be the worst decision either of them has ever made?

Brayden Murphy has one simple goal: to live his dream life. He’s watched his six older brothers find ultimate happiness, so why should it be any different for him? But his path to satisfaction and bliss becomes impassible rubble when his longtime girlfriend marries someone else. Brayden’s pain is eclipsed only by his resentment—until he meets Audrey Smith, a sweet, smart young woman who seems to adore him for nothing more than the fact that he’s a Murphy.

Good-girl Audrey Smith has spent her life in the long shadow of her lifelong best friend (and rival), Megan Alexander. As the daughter of the Alexanders’ hired help, Audrey has always felt insignificant, so when Megan’s soon-to-be brother-in-law arrives and turns his attention to Audrey, she is easily swept away. The Murphy boys come with an honorable reputation, and if Megan Alexander is getting a Murphy, then why shouldn’t Audrey have a Murphy of her own?

Brayden eagerly pursues the comfort of Audrey’s admiration, and despite a warning to protect her heart, Audrey falls hard and fast. All is bliss … until things between them go too far. One evening, one choice, and Brayden and Audrey land in a crisis. Marriage is the obvious solution—done in secret to protect their other secret—and when two become one, all seems well again. But then the past catches up with Brayden and is complicated by a heart-shattering event neither ever imagined.
Can their cover-up marriage survive these painful blows? Or will Brayden and Audrey separate, two broken, unreconcilable hearts who will forever regret the choices they made?

After All is a tender love story, though heartbreakingly hard at times, of redemption and second chances.

Meet the Murphy brothers! Seven boys, forging their way through life and love, gripping faith, and learning to walk with God through all things. Theirs are stories of romance, but also of redemption.
Books in the Murphy Brothers Stories:
ALWAYS YOU (part of the Potters House 2 collection)
IN SPITE OF OURSELVES (part of the Potters House 2 collection)
EVERYTHING BEHIND US (part of the Potters House 2 collection)
THIS
LIFE STUBBORN LOVE
WHO YOU ARE
AFTER ALL (releasing Nov. 2021)


About Jennifer Rodewald

Jennifer Rodewald/J. Rodes lives on the wide plains somewhere near the middle of Nowhere. A coffee addict, pickleball enthusiast, and storyteller, she also wears the hats of mom, teacher, and friend. Mostly, she loves Jesus and wants to see others fall in love with Him too.

She would love to hear from you! Please visit her at authorjenrodewald.com or at http://www.facebook.com/authorjenrodewald

My Rating: 5 Stars!

‘God isn’t afraid of your hard places. Your messes don’t scare Him.’

The Murphy Brothers series by Jennifer Rodewald is a stunning that I highly and without reservation recommend. The seventh offering here had me shedding more thana few tears. Rodewald is extremely adept at writing characters with real-life issues and the depth of their emotions she brings out in their stories is powerful.

These folks do not lead perfect lives. Far from it. They mess up, sometimes big time and finding their way back is not easy. But each time, they realize that the grace of God is rich indeed. The spiritual depth of these books is exceptional. Truly. This series is heart-deep.

My thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book. The opinion here in this review is expressly my own.

Publisher: Rooted Publishing
Publication Date: November 30, 2021
Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09JDVXTSW/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i0

Review: ‘Captured at Christmas’ by Jodie Bailey

About The Book
An undercover investigation

becomes a mission to keep everyone alive

Undercover with an infantry unit to investigate a theft, military investigator Captain Rachel Blake doesn’t expect the holiday assignment to turn into a protection mission. But when Captain Marshall Slater and his little girl are targeted, she blows her cover to help shield them. Can she figure out the assailant’s motives and stop the attacks before someone ends up dead?

From Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith.

About Jodie Bailey

Jodie Bailey is the CBA Best-selling author of novels about freedom and the heroes who fight for it. Her second novel, Crossfire, was a RT Reviewers’ Choice Award winner and her contemporary romance Quilted by Christmas received the Selah Award and spent two months on the CBA Bestseller List. Jodie is also a public speaker and teacher who packs her novels with the knowledge she’s gained as an Army wife.

Jodie Bailey grew up in Eastern North Carolina, where she developed a love for golden sand and the Atlantic Ocean. She started writing stories as soon as she learned how to put sentences together, and spent her childhood and teen years making her best friends’ dreams come true on paper.

In college, she met the love of her life—a soldier who rides a Harley and jumps out of airplanes for fun. This prompted a whole lot of moving from place to place, and she had no idea how much those moves would work their way into her stories. For ten years, she pursued her second love, teaching. Now a full-time writer, she still teaches part-time because the kids keep her young and, every once in awhile, she needs some time away from the imaginary characters.

Jodie currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, her daughter, and two dogs who think they rule the world.

Publisher: Love Inspired
Publication Date: November 30, 2021
Genre: Inspirational suspense
Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B094R7PHP5/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i2
My Rating: 4 Stars!

‘Sometimes fear had to take a back seat to doing the right thing.’

This one starts off in great suspense and never lets up. Jodie Bailey pulls out all the stop and takes her readers on a thrilling ride here. I love that she has this set with military characters. My family has a big military presence and I thoroughly enjoyed this scenario. This one will tick all the boxes of suspense fans, along with a wonderful spiritual thread. Well done!

My thanks to the publisher and author for a copy of this book. the opinion here is my own. 

Review: ‘A Small-Town Christmas Challenge’ (A Widow’s Creek Peak book # 3) by Susanne Dietze

About The Book
Will reviving an old tradition

be the start of something new?

When she inherits a beautiful historic house, nurse Leah Dean knows selling it could solve all her problems. But there’s just one catch—she and co-owner Pastor Benton Hunt must cohost the Gingerbread Gala in the home first. As Christmas approaches, Leah and Benton grow closer, and parting with the house—and each other—is not as easy as they thought…

From Love Inspired: Uplifting stories of faith, forgiveness and hope.

Widow’s Peak Creek
About Susanne Dietze
Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she’s an award-winning, RWA RITA®-nominated author who’s seen her work on the ECPA, Amazon, and Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and enjoys fancy-schmancy tea parties, genealogy, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama. To learn more, visit her website, http://www.susannedietze.com, and sign up for her newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRldfv
My Rating: 4 Stars!

This is a most precious series. Susanne Dietze has created a lovely small town (I love small towns because I grew up in and still live in one.), with great characters. I feel as if I could just walk right into the story and visit! This one features a pastor who is afraid his past will come back to haunt him and a nurse who has a no dating a pastor rule. Sometimes I think God must chuckle at His children. Because we make our plans while His way is always the best. I read this in just hours because it’s very well down and heart satisfying.

My thanks to the publisher and author for a copy of this book. The opinion here is my own.

Publisher: Love Inspired
Publication Date: November 30, 2021
Length: 219 pages
Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B095M3X2Q5/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i3

Review: ‘Have Yourself A Christiansen Christmas’ by Susan May Warren

About The Book
Owen picked back up on the first ring. “Hey. Sorry. I’m in the middle of something here, so I couldn’t wait. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to make it, Ames. I have a small kerfuffle I’m into here, but, I’ll do my best.”

“Please try. Not to be dramatic, but it might be the last Christmas we all spend together.”



Please…come home for Christmas…

It’s Christmas in the winter wonderland town of Deep Haven, and the Christiansen kids are all heading home for the holidays. But no one feels very merry.Grace is worried about her husband’s life-changing illness…
Eden is facing devastating news…
Casper is in over his head (of course!)…
Amelia is dodging a walk down the aisle…
Owen…well, Owen just nearly died, again…
But it’s Darek who has news that just might destroy the family legacy.
The trip home for all is filled with secrets, memories and old dreams. But when they discover the real reason they’ve been asked home for the holidays, it will shake their world. It’ll take a disaster for them to discover that home is the place for answers, hope and most of all…miracles.

This year, spend Christmas with your favorite small town family.

About Susan May Warren

Growing up in Minneapolis and attending the U of MN, I learned to love city life, although I’m a woodsy girl at heart. Or maybe I’m an adventurer — having lived and traveled all over the world, including Siberia Russia as a missionary for eight years. Probably that’s why my characters can’t sit still, and seem to get into one scrape after another — they’re too much like me! I love God, my family, my country, my church, and feel privileged every day to be able to write stories.

Here’s my “Official” Bio.

With over 1 million books sold, critically acclaimed novelist Susan May Warren is the Christy, RITA and Carol award-winning author of over seventy-five novels with Revell, Tyndale, Barbour, Steeple Hill and Summerside Press. Known for her compelling plots and unforgettable characters, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic-suspense, thrillers, rom-com and Christmas novellas.

With books translated into eight languages, many of her novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award.

Of her books, Publisher’s Weekly has written, “Warren lays bare her characters’ human frailties, including fear, grief, and resentment, as openly as she details their virtues of love, devotion, and resiliency. She has crafted an engaging tale of romance, rivalry, and the power of forgiveness.”

And Library Journal adds, “Warren’s characters are well-developed and she knows how to create a first rate contemporary romance…”

Susan is also a nationally acclaimed writing coach, teaching at conferences around the nation and winner of the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Mentor of the Year award. She loves to help people launch their writing careers and is the founder of Novel.Academy and http://www.LearnHowtoWriteaNovel.com, a writing website that helps authors get published and stay published. She’s also the author of the popular writing method, The Story Equation.

My Rating: 5 Stars!!

‘God can change your desires…if you are willing to give them to Him.’

Oh, how I love this family, the Christiansens. Susan May Warren has somehow managed to craft thsi family in her writer’s mind and made them seem so real that they worm their way right down into this reader’s heart. When I read this book, it’s not like I was sitting in my chair reading. No, I was in every scene, felt every emotion—and there are some bone-deep emotions in this one, for sure. In every family member’s life. These folks are as real as a literary family can be. This series has been the absolute best in Christian fiction in my opinion! They come to my mind often even when I’m not reading one. And Warren includes some mighty big spiritual truths, too. Her books take you to church, and I mean that.

I grinned and shed tears all the way though this book. I could not stop reading it. I was in bed and had to get back up to finish. I just couldn’t make myself leave these wonderful Christiansens. Absolute perfection!

My thanks to the publisher and author for a copy of this book. The opinion in this review is expressly my own.

Publication Date: November 25, 2021
Publisher: SDG Publishing:
Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09HT9DN8N/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i0

Discover more Deep Haven stories

The Christiansen Family Collection
Prequel: Evergreen
Book 1: Take a Chance on Me
Book 2: It Had to Be You
Book 3: When I Fall in Love
Book 4: Always on My Mind
Book 5: The Wonder of You
Book 6: You’re the One That I Want
Book 7: Have Yourself a Christiansen Christmas

Deep Haven Collection
Book 1: Still the One
Book 2: Can’t Buy Me Love
Book 3: Crazy for You
Book 4: Then Came You
Book 5: Hangin’ by a Moment
Book 6: Right Here Waiting

Deep Haven Series
Book 1: Happily Ever After
Book 2: Tying the Knot
Book 3: The Perfect Match
Book 4: My Foolish Heart
Book 5: Hook, Line, & Sinker (ebook novella)
Book 6: You Don’t Know Me
Book 7: The Shadow of Your Smile

Review and Giveaway: ‘The Debutante’s Code’ by Erica Vetsch (I Read With Audra Book Tour)

About The Book
Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes in this new Regency mystery series

Newly returned from finishing school, Lady Juliette Thorndike is ready to debut in London society. Due to her years away, she hasn’t spent much time with her parents, and sees them only as the flighty, dilettante couple the other nobles love. But when they disappear, she discovers she never really knew them at all. They’ve been living double lives as government spies–and they’re only the latest in a long history of espionage that is the family’s legacy.

Now Lady Juliette is determined to continue their work. Mentored by her uncle, she plunges into the dangerous world of spy craft. From the glittering ballrooms of London to the fox hunts, regattas, and soirees of country high society, she must chase down hidden clues, solve the mysterious code her parents left behind, and stay out of danger. All the while, she has to keep her endeavors a secret from her best friend and her suitors–not to mention nosy, irritatingly handsome Bow Street runner Daniel Swann, who suspects her of a daring theft.

Can Lady Juliette outwit her enemies and complete her parents’ last mission? Or will it lead her to a terrible end?

Best-selling author Erica Vetsch is back with a rollicking, exciting new series destined to be a hit with Regency readers who enjoy a touch of mystery in their love stories. Fans of Julie Klassen, Sarah Ladd, and Anne Perry will love the wit, action, and romance.
Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, who she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate.
 
Vetsch is the author of many novellas and novels, including the popular Serendipity & Secrets Regency series and the new Thorndike & Swann Regency Mystery series
 
Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks.
 
Learn more about Erica Vetsch and her books at www.ericavetsch.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@EricaVetschAuthor)Instagram (@EricaVetsch) and Pinterest (Erica Vetsch).

An Interview with Erica Vetsch,

Author of The Debutante’s Code

Do you have a fiction lover on your holiday shopping list? Look no further for a gift suggestion! Just in time for the gift-giving season, award-winning author Erica Vetsch is kicking off her new Thorndike & Swann Regency mystery series with the release of The Debutante’s Code (Kregel Publications). This new series combining a historical setting, romance, and mystery has been described as Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes. With that combination, where can you go wrong?A picture containing person, tree, outdoor

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Q: Introduce us to the new Thorndike & Swann Regency Mystery series which has been described as Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes.

This story has been a long time in the making! It has to be almost ten years ago that I first thought up the story idea, and originally, it was set in Gilded Age New York. But when I began writing stories set in Regency England, I realized the original tale could easily be adapted to the Regency Era.

Our heroine longs to be reunited with her parents and have her debut season in London, but her plans go awry when her parents do not meet her at the docks and are, in fact, missing. She discovers that she comes from a long line of spies for the Crown, and she has a choice, either to finish what her parents started, or turn her back on her heritage and become the socialite she assumed she would be all along. Her mind is made up when murder is afoot.

Our hero is a Bow Street Runner, one of London’s earliest policemen, and he’s on the hunt for a stolen painting…then other valuables from the same shipment of rare items disappear one by one, and an art dealer is found murdered in his gallery. Each clue leads our hero closer and closer to the thief and killer, but he’s disconcerted to find that his chief suspect has become the debutante he finds so attractive.

Q: Tell us more about your leading lady, Juliette Thorndike.

Juliette is fresh from finishing school in Switzerland, where she has been for several years. Because of Britain’s ongoing war with France, her parents determined a cloistered school in Switzerland was a safe place for her to remain, especially while they were doing daring deeds for the monarch. Juliette is an accomplished toxophilite, avid reader, puzzle solver, and good dancer. 

Most of all, Juliette yearns for her family to be reunited. She was a child when she was sent to Switzerland, and she longs to know her parents as an adult. They have been in frequent communication via letters, but it isn’t the same as being together in person. When she discovers that her parents have kept such a dire secret from her all these years, she wonders if she’s ever known them at all.

Q: Juliette has a somewhat fantasized view of who her parents are, yet she really hasn’t spent that much time around them. What happens to make her realize she’s never really known them at all?

They’ve hidden so many things from her—from her heritage to their activities and hidden rooms in their house. She has created an image in her mind of what life will be like once they are reunited, but now she wonders if any of it is even possible, much less probable. 

She’s always felt secure in her parents’ love, but if they can lie about something so big, what else have they lied about?

Q: Why does Juliette not only feel abandon by her parents, but abandoned by God?

We often form our views of a Heavenly Father from our experience with our earthly parents, for good or for ill. Juliette has not been ill-treated by her parents, or at least she didn’t think she had, but if they could abandon her on the eve of her coming out in society (in what should be the most important year of her life), can she trust anything about them?

Their priorities clearly don’t line up with hers. They put their work ahead of their daughter. Is that fair? Is that right?

They’ve taught her that God is with her, that He will never abandon her, but can she trust what they have taught her when they can lie so easily?

Q: How have Juliette’s parents been preparing her to be a part of the “family business” even though they haven’t been a physical presence in her life? A person wearing a green dress

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A variety of ways, starting with protecting her from the truth when she was very small. They also took great care in the school they chose for her to attend. She’s conversant in French and some Italian as well as English, has been taught the skills required of a young lady in the British aristocracy, such as dancing, deportment, music, and art. 

But she’s also learned a great deal of history, logic, and rhetoric in her curriculum, as well as archery. All skills that will aid her if she chooses to follow in her parents’ footsteps as a spy for the Crown.

And her father added another twist. He wrote to her often, but always in code. A different code each time, growing more complex as she grew and became more adept at deciphering his codes. 

Juliette comes to realize that her parents have been preparing her for her future role, but she doesn’t realize how quickly her skills will be tested.

Q: A Regency novel is not a Regency novel without a swoon-worthy hero. Just who is Daniel Swann?

Ah, Daniel. He’s had very little say in his life up to now, being the illegitimate son of a household servant. He’s done every chore that can be found on a country estate, from being the boot boy in charge of cleaning and polishing all the shoes, to helping the groundskeepers and gardeners with the weeding and planting, to working in the stables and riding the master’s horses out to exercise. In his own way, he’s been training for his future, too.

Through more outside influence, he was removed from his mother’s care, sent to boarding school, and then to Oxford with the understanding that his guardianship would end at his 25th birthday, which is fast approaching. Then he will be in command of his life for the first time…but he wonders if he’s up to the task.

Q: Daniel has a bit of a mysterious past himself—one that even eludes him even though he’s a detective. How has his past directed his career choice?

Daniel has no idea who his mysterious patron is, and he is forbidden from searching out his identity. He’s given other rules he must follow, including cutting off all ties with his mother. He was a bewildered, homesick child, wrenched from his home and shipped off to boarding school, and he believes his mother was only too glad to be rid of him, otherwise why would she agree to such a terrible thing? 

Daniel studied art and history at Oxford, unsure of what he would do for a career, but when a Bow Street officer shows up to investigate a murder in the Oxford Canal, Daniel is hooked on detective work. With the help of his hidden patron, he secures a job at Bow Street, against the wishes of his new superior officer, who is always looking for a reason to dismiss Daniel. 

With his past so shrouded in mystery, his current situation tenuous, and his future racing toward him at his 25th birthday when his patronage will cease, Daniel focuses on being the best detective he can be and hopes things will all work out.

Q: What kind of research was required to write a mystery set in the early 1800s? What are some of the methods detectives of the day would have to depend on?

There was quite a bit of research involved in this one, from police procedures to art history. Much studying of maps and the hierarchy of society, the lives of British spies, and fitting it all into the current political and social situations of the times. I had fun deciding upon the various items that would go missing, from statues to jewelry to artwork, and deciding upon different ways each piece could be acquired.

As to the police methods of the day, the Bow Street detectives didn’t have our current levels of forensic science to help identify culprits. They relied upon eyewitness testimony, circumstantial evidence, catching someone red-handed, and by following the paperwork/money trail. Some things have not changed. The main motives for lawbreaking still fall into three categories: money, power, and sex. Who has it, who wants it, who wants to deny someone else from acquiring it? And in Regency times, the detectives were still looking for motive, means, and opportunity. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The Debutante’s Code is my first true mystery, and it’s all wrapped into a heist story, so layering those different threads together was a new adventure for me.

Q: Fans fell in love with the characters from your Serendipity & Secrets series. Is there any chance we might see some familiar faces make a cameo in your new series?

I am delighted that the Thorndike & Swann mysteries take place in what I like to call the “Haverly Universe” first created in the Serendipity & Secrets series. In The Debutante’s Code, several characters from the S&S series reappear, including the Duke of Haverly, Marcus, his duchess, Charlotte, and the Dowager Duchess of Haverly, who is a personal favorite of mine.

Though there is a host of new characters in The Debutante’s Code, as the series unfolds, more of the S&S cast will come into the stories. 

Q: Can you give us a tease of what to expect in the remainder of the Thorndike & Swann series?

The next book, Millstone of Doubt, begins with a bang! Literally! A grist mill on the Thames explodes, but when the rubble and dust are cleared, a man is found dead, not from the explosion, but from a gunshot! Was the mill blown up to cover the murder? Who would want the mill owner dead? Daniel and Juliette put their heads together to sort out the crime, while Juliette juggles her new career as a spy and a debutante, and Daniel uncovers many of the secrets he needs to piece together the puzzle of his past.

Learn more about Erica Vetsch and her books at www.ericavetsch.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@EricaVetschAuthor) and Instagram (@EricaVetsch).

My Rating: 4 Stars!
‘Had everything in her life been leading to this moment? This choice? Had God been directing things to put her in this place for this purpose?’

Erica Vetsch has begun an especially intriguing new series with The Debutante’s code. Described as Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes, which is indeed a perfectly apt comparison, this takes the reader into the world of Regency England. And the world of spying.

In the midst of stolen art, secret codes, nasty ruffians, a well brought up young aristocratic woman discovers the secret world of her parents. Will Lady Juliette decide to train as a spy? Especially when there is a dashing Bow Street Runner, Mr. Daniel Swann, on all the cases? Hmmm. You must read it to find out.

Vetsch is always good and this offering is no exception. I am eagerly anticipating the next book in this series1

My thanks to Kregel Publications for a copy of this book via the Net Galley platform. I was not pressured to leave a positive review. The opinion here is entirely my own.

Click here to read an excerpt.

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Publisher: Kregel
Publication Date: December 7, 2021
Buy Link: https://amzn.to/3qPxAga