Sadie’s Secret, by Kathleen Y’Barbo

book coverLouisiana, 1890—Sarah Louise “Sadie” Callum is a master of disguise, mostly due to her training as a Pinkerton agent but also from evading overprotective brothers as she grew up. When she takes on a new assignment with international connections, she has no idea her new cover will lead her on the adventure of a lifetime.

Undercover agent William Jefferson Tucker is not looking for marriage—pretend or otherwise—but his past is a secret, his twin brother has stolen his present, and his future is in the hands of the lovely Sadie Callum. Without her connections to the world of upper-crust New Orleans, Jefferson might never find a way to clear his name and solve the art forgery case that has eluded him for years.

Only God can help these two secret agents find a way to solve their case and uncover the truth about what is going on in their hearts.

Here we are at the end of The Secret Lives of Will Tucker series. Who is Will Tucker? Will he be permanently stopped from his misdeeds? Is there a prison that can hold him? He’s left distraught women in his wake, and is indirectly responsible for the death of another. A number of Pinkerton agents have pursued him with varying degrees of success. Now, he’s pulled off the most audacious of all his crimes: somehow he’s managed to convince authorities that he’s his twin brother. As a result, William John Tucker is a free man, while William Jefferson Tucker languishes behind bars. Only Agent Sadie Callum can recognize the difference between them.

Sadie’s Secret is slightly different from the previous two titles in that a woman is the official lead character. Despite Sadie’s name being in the title, however, Jefferson is equally important to the novel’s progression. What is glaring is the lack of the steam punk gadgetry that defined the other titles. Jefferson does eventually use a couple of items, but they play a very minor role. Kyle Russell from Millie’s Treasure has a sizable role, and it’s worth having read that and Flora’s Wish first. Will (John) Tucker is the common denominator in all three books, but the majority of the plot here revolves around the art case and it was easy to get caught up in it. Secondary characters such as Seamus Callum and Uncle Penn are a delight. As for the conclusion, one part of it is somewhat predictable. To have it be resolved in any other way, however, would’ve meant a not so tidy ending to the series.

Thank you to Harvest House Publishers for my free electronic copy of Sadie’s Secret, which I downloaded from NetGalley. No review was required.

Have you read Sadie’s Secret? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Read an excerpt from Sadie’s Secret

Publisher: Harvest House

Publication Date: 01 February 2014

Page Count: 352

Read more on:   Kathleen Y’Barbo’s Website   Harvest House’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble

With Autumn’s Return, by Amanda Cabot

book coverShe’s planning on instant success. She didn’t plan on love.

When Elizabeth Harding arrives in Cheyenne to open her medical practice, she is confident that the future is as bright as the warm Wyoming sun. Certain she’ll have a line of patients eager for her services, she soon discovers the town may not welcome a new physician–especially a lady doctor. Even Jason Nordling, the handsome young attorney next door, seems to disapprove of her chosen profession.

When a web of deceit among Cheyenne’s wealthiest residents threatens to catch Elizabeth and Jason in its snare, they must risk working together to save one of Elizabeth’s patients–even if it means falling in love.

Sometimes, it’s hard to think about a time when women couldn’t do things that we take for granted. They couldn’t vote, they often couldn’t go places unescorted, and they were limited if they wanted a career. A woman was supposed to marry well and raise a family. She certainly wasn’t expected to become a doctor. The reasons – mostly created by men – varied from women weren’t smart enough to it wasn’t seemly for a woman to treat a man. In With Autumn’s Return, Elizabeth Harding is ready to challenge those ideas. After proving to her fellow medical students that she was smart enough to study with them, she now has to persuade the Cheyenne townspeople that she’s capable enough to treat them. They’re used to old Doctor Worland, with his quack medicines and leeches, a man who learned his trade on the fields of the Civil War. Her neighbor, lawyer Jason Nordling, is quick to warn her of probable failure. But he’s just experienced the biggest failure of his fledgling career and his reputation has taken a beating.

With Autumn’s Return is the third in Cabot’s Westward Winds series. While there are references to events in the previous titles, it’s not essential to have read them first. I was able to enjoy With Autumn’s Return without having read either of them. There are characters you will either love or hate, and some that will grow on you. I found myself surprisingly sympathetic toward one gentleman. The main drama was both expected and surprising. I knew something was going to happen concerning a couple of the characters, but I couldn’t predict what that something would be. It was also interesting to read that some medical issues aren’t exclusive to the present day. Abortion is discussed and there is a side story of a woman with low self-esteem going taking extreme measures because she fears the man she likes isn’t attracted to her physical self. There were a couple of situations which I felt weren’t fully resolved by the end, but you can’t have everything. This is definitely a book I had difficulty putting down and I now want to read the earlier books, which focus on Elizabeth’s older sisters.

Thank you to Revell for my free copy of With Autumn’s Return, which I received in exchange for an honest review.

Have you read With Autumn’s Return? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Read an excerpt of With Autumn’s Return

Publisher: Revell (A division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 21 January 2014

Page Count: 416

Read more on:   Amanda Cabot’s Website   Revell’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble

Dare to Love Again, by Julie Lessman

book coverShe’s a sassy socialite burned by love. He’s a jaded cop burned by the upper class.
When sparks fly . . . will love catch fire again?

Spunky Allison McClare is determined to be a fearless, independent woman. But when she takes a notion to explore the wild Barbary Coast, she quickly discovers she’s no match for the unsavory characters that haunt the dark streets.

Detective Nick Barone would rather do almost anything than teach this petite socialite self-defense, but it seems he has little choice. Sparks fly every time the two meet until a grudging friendship develops into something deeper. But is he just a fraud like all the rest of the men Allison’s cared for? Or is he the one who will let her dare to love again?

Award-winning author Julie Lessman brings the glamour of Gilded Age San Francisco to vibrant life in this journey to find a love that never fails.

The McClare family is back in the second of Julie Lessman’s The Heart of San Francisco series and they are as close knit as ever. Dare to Love Again is set one year after the events of Love at Any Cost. The family has experienced situations to which the reader is not immediately privy. One of those situations involves oldest daughter, Alli, and a romance gone badly wrong. As a result, she has no wish to fall in love again and her Uncle Logan is determined to use his protect her using as much of his power and wealth as necessary.

Alli was one of my favorite characters in the first book, and I was happy to learn she would be the lead female in the second. The first chapter, however, almost made me change my mind. In it, she and Nick meet for the first time and that meeting is explosive. Nick wants her to move her fancy car so it’s not in plain sight, not a bad idea considering it’s parked in the notorious Barbary Coast district of San Francisco. Alli immediately takes offense and refuses. Thankfully, she quickly reverts to the likeable character I knew and she and Nick soon form a truce, even as they attempt to resist the attraction growing between them. My favorite character this time, though, is adorable Lottie LeRoy, age six. Who would imagine that sharpening pencils for the teacher could be so much fun? I also love the relationship between butler, Logan, and housekeeper, Mrs. O’Brien.

As I stated earlier, this is the second book in a series and I would advise reading book one first. Julie Lessman has created a fabulous group of characters who, despite their wealth, do not lead charmed lives. She also gives us insight into the lives of other, lesser well off inhabitants of the pre-earthquake city including those in Chinatown. This is a series I definitely recommend and I’m looking forward to book three.

Thank you to Revell for my free copy of Dare to Love Again, which I received in exchange for an honest review.

Have you read Dare to Love Again? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Publisher: Revell (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 07 January 2014

Page Count: 416

Read more on:   Julie Lessman’s Website   Revell’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble