The Innkeeper’s Daughter, by Michelle Griep

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

A London officer goes undercover to expose a plot against the Crown

Dover, England, 1808: Officer Alexander Moore goes undercover as a gambling gentleman to expose a high-stakes plot against the king—and he’s a master of disguise, for Johanna Langley believes him to be quite the rogue. . .until she can no longer fight against his unrelenting charm.

All Johanna wants is to keep the family inn afloat, but when the rent and the hearth payment are due at the same time, where will she find the extra funds? If she doesn’t come up with the money, there will be nowhere to go other than the workhouse—where she’ll be separated from her ailing mother and ten-year-old brother.

Alex desperately wants to help Johanna, especially when she confides in him, but his mission—finding and bringing to justice a traitor to the crown—must come first, or they could all end up dead.

First Thoughts:

Strangely enough, the overview reminded me of the poem, The Highwayman, written by Alfred Noyes. I’m fairly certain, however, that there’s a happier ending to come in this novel. Continue reading


My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, NY, by Amanda Barratt

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Journey now to Niagara Falls, New York, of 1870 where…
She avoids danger at all costs. He makes his living by rushing headlong into it.

Outwardly, Adele Linley’s trip to visit her American cousins is nothing more than a summer vacation. In reality, she’s the daughter of an English aristocrat with barely a penny to her name seeking a rich American husband.

Having grown up in an overcrowded orphanage, Drew Dawson is determined to make a name for himself. He’ll take any honest job to provide for his sister—even crossing Niagara Falls by tightrope.

On a sightseeing trip to the Falls, Adele meets several eligible suitors. Incredibly wealthy and pompous, Franklin Conway takes an immediate fancy to her. But Adele would truly like to marry for love.  When she encounters the mysterious Drew in the garden, Adele is confused by her feelings for someone who is everything she is NOT looking for. Will they both stay the course they have chosen for themselves?

First Thoughts:

I opted to review this because Niagara Falls is a location near me and I’ve visited several times. Continue reading

My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah, by Angie Dicken

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Journey now to Castle Gate, Utah of 1910 where…
Forbidden Love Tries to Survive Old World Expectations

Schoolteacher Leanna McKee plans on leaving the coal mining town of Castle Gate, Utah, and never looking back. Good riddance to coal dust, rugged men, and the fatal mine that took her husband’s life.

Until the widow meets a widower who awakens her heart…and she finds herself inexplicably falling for miner Alex Pappas which stirs up a whole heap of trouble.

Alex’s Greek parents have arranged a more traditional match for him.  When the schoolteacher’s association with the Greek family begins to anger the American miners, they threaten Alex and his family. Leanna has received an offer to teach elsewhere and feels she has no choice but to leave Castle Gate. . .though she will be leaving her heart behind.

First Thoughts:

We all need a little romance in our lives! Angie Dicken is a new author.

My Take:

The My Heart Belongs series continues with a story of prejudice and discrimination in a western mining community. Despite being born to a wealthy family in Boston, Leanna has learned to adapt to poverty. Still, she doesn’t plan on spending the rest of her life in Castle Gate where men want her repay her late husband’s gambling debts. Alex came to America to provide for his sickly wife back in Greece. She didn’t survive, but the rest of his family followed him and made new lives for themselves. These two people come from opposite ends of the social spectrum, but are drawn together over two young Greek children who happen to be Leanna’s students.

The United States of America is less than two hundred years old during the time frame of Dicken’s novel, but the members of the Greek community are seen as outsiders and immigrants taking American jobs. It reminded me of reports of discrimination against Irish, Jewish, and other minority communities around the turn of the 20th century. It’s something we still see in the 21st century. Some of the Greeks portrayed here are well-mannered while others are sleaze balls. Some of the American-born men are gentlemen while others can’t even stay faithful in a marriage. In short, there are no characteristics that define a particular group.

This is a romance novel so the connection between Leanna and Alex is central to the narrative. There are many stops and starts in the relationship as the characters vacillate between being pragmatic and following their hearts. There is much for them to overcome. Romance novels have to end well, but the cynic in me wonders about the possibility of a happily ever after. The obstacles haven’t totally disappeared by the end, and I would’ve liked to see an epilogue set at least six months later. But perhaps that’s just me being pragmatic instead of looking simply from the heart. Overall though, this is a nice little romance that will help pass the time on a winter’s day.

Thank you to Barbour Publishing for my complimentary copy of My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah, which I received for my honest review.

Have you read My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.


Publisher: Barbour Publishing

Publication Date: 01 November 2017

Page Count: 256

Read more on:   Barbour Publishing’s Website   Angie Dicken’s Website   My Heart Belongs

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million