They share a passion to heal what is broken, but it’s their own hearts that need to be made whole.
Brody McQuaid is a broken man, and he knows it. While his body survived the war, his soul did not. Besides loving his little niece, his only sense of purpose comes from saving the wild horses that roam South Park. Ranchers in the area have taken to killing the horses, which are competing with their cattle to feed on the open grass.
Savannah Marshall is a veterinarian on her family’s Colorado ranch. She longs to keep her father happy following the tragic death of her older brother, including marrying a man of his choosing. But days before her wedding, she gets cold feet and disappears to South Park. As she learns more about the destruction of the horses, she joins Brody in an attempt to save the wild creatures. But when Savannah’s family and the resentments of the area cattlemen catch up with them both, Brody and Savannah will have to tame their fears if they’ve any hope to let love run free.
‘Wounds might shape us, but they can’t determine who we are.’
I have followed Jody Hedlund’s books since she wrote her first one. I’ve never missed one and I never intend to. I love her books, whichever genre she writes in, and she is accomplished in all. This series started out so good and I was a fan. But this book? It’s the best yet in this series. I was drawn in at the very start. Hedlund has crafted a hero that is damaged from his time in the Civil War and a horrific prison during that conflict. He keeps to himself and will let no one in. I hurt for him as he felt such agony of emotional pain. I loved how the author handled this and how God moves in His most wonderful way for His children.
This one is for the keeper shelf for sure. I know I will treasure it. Recommended very much.
My thanks to Bethany House Publishers for a copy of this book via Net Galley. The review is completely my own.
‘Five minutes. Five minutes stood between Peyton and sanity, and she didn’t know if she would make it.’
Susan Sleeman is back with book two in her Steele Guardians series and she does not disappoint. She never disappoints, actually, and that’s why she is a go-to author for suspense in my book, pun intended. A million dollar heist of black diamonds is the back drop for this story that features Peyton Steele. And there are only a few suspects, but none who seem likely.
Sleeman never fails to ratchet up the suspense in her novels while at the same time evoking a deep spiritual response in her characters. She also adds in a surprising twist that I did not see coming. She is a huge favorite for this reader.
My thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book. The opinion in this review is entirely my own.
I loved the first book I ever read by Brenda Minton and I have not changed my opinion one bit. There is such heart in her books! The characters seem real and the plots are totally believable.
This book deals with some hard stuff in life. Stuff that sometimes tends to stick with a person and cause pain years after it happened. Minton handles this admirably and her voice here is so heartwarming. An incredibly moving story. One I won’t soon forget. I had tears in several places. This was a seriously good book! One for the keeper shelf for sure.
My thanks to Love Inspired for providing me with a copy of this book via the Net Galley platform. The opinion in this review is expressly my own.
Susanne Dietze takes her readers back to the sweet and small town of Widow’s Peak Creek with this story. Clementine has become the guardians of her niece and nephew after their parents are killed in a tragic accident. She has been fearful ever since. When her high school sweetheart comes to town to recover from surgery and stays with his grandmother, Clementine is going to have to come to terms with several things.
This is a wonderful little town and I’ve grown quite fond of its inhabitants. I hope Deitze has more to tell of these folks. This one is precious with two lovely children and a thread spiritually that all believers can identify with. Recommended.
My thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book. The review is my own opinion.
‘It was high time we compared notes and formed a plan of attack.’
The cover of the very First Lady Darby Mystery convinced me this was a book I would like. I was wrong. I loved it! Set in the early 1800s in England and Scotland, this series features Lady Kiera Darby, who is a portrait painter and widow of a most horrid man. (And that description if him is me being nice.).
Kiera has great skill at not only painting, but sleuthing. She teams up with Sebastian Gage, an inquiry agent, later marries him, and together they work as inquiry agents, solving crimes. It’s a good thing, too, for it seems as if crime follows them.
Anna Lee Huber is remarkable in this series. Her skills at painting vivid descriptions, crafting wonderful characters, along with great plots and leading her reader along as she adds more clues each chapter is just downright awesome. I especially enjoy the way she layers her stories and how she shows us how Kiera’s mind works. These are told in first person, from Kiera’s perspective. She has written ten Lady Darby Mysteries and a novella so far and still manages to make each book powerfully interesting. And, as always, she lets us know in the last few paragraphs that we will be entertained very well indeed in the next offering.
My thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book via the Net Galley platform. The opinion in this review is my own.
Thanks so much, Anna Lee, for being my guest. We are all anxious to hear your answers to my questions and thanks again for giving away a copy of your book.
Were you a reader as a child?
Yes, I loved to read as a child. My mother read to us often, and then once I learned to read for myself, I started devouring every book in sight. We would make a trip to the library almost every week to check-out new books. When I got old enough, I would ride there by myself on my bike. One of my favorite Christmas presents I got every year was a gift card to a nearby bookstore.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote my first “book” when I was in the 4th grade, and the idea of being a writer was always at the back of my mind as something I might like to do. But it sort of came second to my first love of music until about a year after college. I had graduated with BA in Music and was trying to pursue a career in Nashville while also trying to decide whether to go to graduate school or law school or do something else entirely since my music wasn’t paying the bills. It was then that I kind of rediscovered my love for fiction and started dabbling in writing again. Within a few months I realized it was what I wanted to do with my life and began pursuing it in earnest while working other jobs.
The Lady Darby mysteries are such a favorite of mine. How did the idea for the books come to you?
Thank you! I had been trying to get published for about 5 years when the inspiration for the Lady Darby series came to me. Most of my previous manuscripts had been historical romances, but an element of mystery kept creeping into the plot. So, I decided to switch it up and try my hand at writing a historical mystery with romance as the subplot. However, I knew the idea’s success would hinge entirely on the heroine. There were already several wonderful historical mystery series where the heroine was charming and gregarious and good at getting people to confide in her. But I wanted my protagonist to be the exact opposite – awkward, uncertain, but still highly intelligent. I asked myself, what could a 19th century woman bring to the table in terms of investigative skills if she’s not good at gathering gossip and confessions? It was then that I decided to make her a portrait artist with a keen eye for observation and details, and I also decided she needed some knowledge of anatomy. Both skillsets would be highly rare for a woman of her time, so I had to craft a backstory to explain how and why she accrued that knowledge. That’s when Lady Darby truly came to life.
I love history and you include a lot of it in these books. How do you research for a book?
It depends. Before I begin a new series, especially if it’s a time period I haven’t written in before, I do a lot of general research about the era, including everything from clothing to food to social customs to public events. I try to ground myself in the era. Then for each book I do additional research on the topics that the plot of that particular book will encompass. I’m also always reading for inspiration for future plots. My favorite sources are memoirs and journals, and my best tip for finding new resources is to check the bibliography at the back of books written on a similar topic. I’ve stumbled across primary resources that were absolutely critical to my books that way.
How long does it take from the germination of an idea to the book being published?
It varies. Sometimes years pass between inspiration and publication, particularly because I write my series with an eye toward my characters’ overall arcs. I usually have a general idea what a book will be about years before I begin writing it. But I don’t formulate a more detailed outline of what each book will be about until it’s time to write it. I currently write a book in about 4-6 months, so that’s usually the time period between detailed outline and submission to my editor. Then another 9 months to a year passes before it’s actually published. Traditional publishing is definitely a long game.
What does a writing day look like for you?
Typically, I rise at about 6:20am and get my 2nd grader ready for school and onto the school bus. So I’m usually seated in my office by 7:20 and after doing my devotional I get to work. I start by briefly checking email and social media to find out if there’s anything pressing I need to take care of. Then I consult my schedule for the day and dive in to whatever project I need to complete, whether it’s writing, editing, reviewing copyedits, working on promotional projects, or other administrative tasks. If it’s a writing day I aim for 2-3K words. My husband takes care of our preschooler in the morning and drops her off at school. (We do a lot of dividing and conquering in our household.) Though the 5yo usually pops in and interrupts me a few times throughout the morning. It’s difficult for her to resist. 😊 I work until it’s time to leave to pick her up around 2pm, and then the afternoon is spent on mom-duty, helping with homework, running the girls to dance class, etc. I try to save tasks like creating graphics in Canva or answering mundane emails for downtime during the afternoon when I’m in the carline waiting to pick them up or they’re watching a tv show. I always keep a list of to-dos that can be completed during snatched moments.
Is it hard to balance writing with family life?
Definitely. I find I have to be very intentional with the way I’m spending my time. When it’s time to work, I have to focus and get my writing done, not let myself be distracted by other things. And when it’s family time, I have to focus on my family and not whatever writing project I’m currently working on. It’s not always easy. There are often hiccups. One of my girls gets sick or school is canceled, and I have to supervise their e-Learning. Or on the flipside, an urgent email comes in I need to answer, or my editor needs a quick turn-around on some edits. Sometimes when I’m deep into writing a book it can be difficult to pull myself out of it. But for the most part I’m able to compartmentalize by reminding myself what my priority is at that moment. Regardless, the struggle is real. 😊
8. You’ve written 10 Lady Darby books and a novella. Do you have a favorite?
I get asked this a lot, and honestly, it’s like trying to choose a favorite child! Utterly impossible. Though, there are books that are special to me for different reasons. The Anatomist’s Wife is obviously cherished because it was my first published book. Mortal Arts is special because for a number of reasons it was particularly difficult to write, so I’m proud I persevered, and it turned out as well as it did. I love the setting of A Brush of Shadows and getting to utilize it as I did. I feel like I could just start rambling off each book in the series and tell you what’s special about it, so I’ll make myself stop there. 😊
Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of forty novels, three of which have been adapted into Hallmark movies. She has appeared on the The 700 Club and won awards such as The Holt Medallion Award, The Carol Award, The Reader’s Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist.
Denise writes heartwarming, small-town love stories, peopled with layered characters who have real-life issues. Her readers enjoy the vicarious thrill of falling in love and the promise of a happily-ever-after sigh as they savor the final pages of her books.
In 1996, inspired by the death of her grandfather, Denise began her first book, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her husband says he inspires all her romantic stories, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!
When Denise isn’t orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking chai lattes, hiking, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband raised three boys and are currently enjoying an empty nest and two beautiful granddaughters.
‘What might it feel like to lay down all her regrets and move forward?’
For years now, I’ve enjoyed Courtney Walsh’s books. They have always managed to capture my heart. Her ability to evoke such emotion is stunning. But this one. Ahh, this one was completely profound. Walsh has woven together two individuals who have been living with misplaced guilt for years. Neither thinks they deserve happiness.
Walsh plumbs the very depths of emotion in these two people in this story. Her very best work, in my opinion. Not to be missed and definitely one for the keeper shelf. Well done!
My thanks to Tyndale House for a copy of this book via the Net Galley platform. The opinion in this review is entirely my own.
Daphne du Maurier and Christy Award-Winning author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing suspenseful, mysteries stained with history’s secrets. Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimewrightbooks.com!
When I first saw the title of Jaime Jo Wright’s new book, I was immediately captivated. And the cover sealed it! Without even reading a word or the synopsis, I might add. Now, after reading the book, I was not disappointed. Not one bit.
‘The woods were alive and they were evil.’
Wright weaves together two stories -told in dual time- that are so incredibly detailed and full of surprises, both creepy and nice, that I can’t see how anyone could keep from loving this book. She always has a super wow factor on creepiness.
From the beginning of the book, I was completely captivated, and I was on pins and needles most of the time during the reading. Wright has another winner here and one for the keeper shelf. And I never even came close to figuring out the mysteries here. Totally took me by surprise. On both time lines. Well done!!
My thanks to Bethany House for a copy of this book via Net Galley. The opinion in this review is completely my own.