A Note Yet Unsung, by Tamera Alexander

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

A master violinist trained in Vienna, Rebekah Carrington manages to wheedle her way into an audition with the maestro at the newly formed Nashville Philharmonic. But women are “far too fragile and frail” for the rigors of an orchestra, and Rebekah’s hopes are swiftly dashed because the conductor–determined to leave his mark on the world of classical music–bows to public opinion. To make matters worse, Adelicia Acklen Cheatham, mistress of Belmont Mansion and Rebekah’s new employer, agrees with him.

Nationally acclaimed conductor Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb is Nashville’s new orchestra leader. And despite a reluctant muse–and a strange buzzing and recurring pain in his head–he must finish composing his symphony before the grand opening of the city’s new opera hall. But far more pressing, he must finish it for the one who first inspired his love of music–his father, who is dying. As Tate’s ailment worsens, he believes Rebekah can help him finish his symphony. But how do you win back a woman’s trust when you’ve robbed her of her dream?

First Thoughts:

I’m looking forward to reading the final book in this series based around the historic Belmont Mansion in Nashville.

My Take:

Tamera Alexander concludes her Belmont Mansion series with perhaps my favorite novel of the trilogy. It’s 1871 and Nashville is a city recovering from the Civil War. Rebekah spent the war in Europe and is saddened by the damage wrought by the fighting, but she still wants to make Nashville her home again. Unfortunately, the money she had is gone and her biggest supporter is deceased. The last thing she wants is to become dependent on her step-father, with whom she has a bad history. Becoming a music teacher is the best she can hope for, but that position is for a limited time. What will she do after that?

A Note Yet Unsung is a lovely story with a mix of characters from all walks of life. Rebekah gets along with both her family’s main servant and Mrs. Cheatham. Tate’s family situation, however, is vastly different and several scenes take place in a cabin in the mountains of Tennessee, which is about as far removed from Belmont as you can get. These scenes were among my favorite in the book. A dark incident from Rebekah’s past is often mentioned. While it isn’t explicitly described, the reader can guess what happened and a near repeat takes place towards the end of the novel. Given that Belmont Mansion is the central location for this series it’s no surprise that the home’s owner (full name Adelicia Hayes Franklin Acklen Cheatham) also plays a major part in this novel. Other Nashville characters from the time are also included, such as portrait painted William Brown Cooper.

While this is the last of the Belmont Mansion series, Tamera Alexander does have one more book coming out this year set in Tennessee. To Wager Her Heart is the last of the Belle Meade Plantation novels set just southwest of Nashville. It releases in August and is available for pre-order.

Thank you to Bethany House for my complimentary copy of A Note Yet Unsung, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read A Note Yet Unsung? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 31 January 2017

Page Count: 432

Read more on:   Tamera Alexander’s Website   Bethany House’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

An Uncommon Courtship, by Kristi Ann Hunter

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Lord Trent Hawthorne couldn’t be happier he is not the duke in the family. Free to manage his small estate and take his time discovering the life he wants to lead, he has grand plans of someday wooing and falling in love with the woman of his choice. When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he barely knows, his dream of a loving marriage like his parents’ seems lost forever.

Life for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier when she hid in her older sister’s shadow–which worked until her sister got married. But even with her socially ambitious mother’s focus entirely on her, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience before she’s been introduced to society.

With nothing going as expected, can Trent and Adelaide’s marriage of obligation survive their own missteps and the pressures of London society to grow into a true meeting of hearts and minds?

First Thoughts:

This is the third novel in the Hawthorne House series, focusing on younger brother Trent.

My Take:

In Kristi Ann Hunter’s latest novel we have the tale of two people getting to know each other AFTER getting married and trying to reconcile their dreams with reality. Trent and Adelaide’s marriage isn’t an arranged one, but is the result of an embarrassing situation. Trent doesn’t think he’s ready for marriage and Adelaide soon realizes how little she knows about running a home.

There are two connected themes in An Uncommon Courtship. The first is that life is unpredictable. The second is that God’s plans are not our plans. The awkwardness of the situation shines through quickly and I was both sympathetic and annoyed with the characters for some of their actions. I felt sorry for Adelaide, given her mother’s treatment of her, and thought she was better off in this difficult marriage. Trent’s family are lovely, even second sister Georgina who was impossible to like at the start of this series. Trent seeks advice from other men, and there’s a good emphasis on the Biblical perspective of marriage. There is a lot of tactful discussion about relations between a man and a woman, and some physical moments described, but the couple concerned is married and there’s nothing to make a reader squirm.

I finished this book hoping there would be one more book in the series. After all, oldest sibling Griffith has yet to make a match. It’s great, therefore, to discover that there will be a fourth title. An Inconvenient Beauty will be released later this year.

Thank you to Bethany House for my complimentary electronic copy of An Uncommon Courtship, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read An Uncommon Courtship? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Author Q and A

Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 03 January 2017

Page Count: 352

Read more on:   Kristi Ann Hunter’s Website   Bethany House’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill, by Julie Klassen

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Welcome to the English village of Ivy Hill, where friendships thrive, romance blossoms, and mysteries await. . . .

The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant landlady. Jane has no idea how to manage a business, but with the town’s livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save the inn.

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to overcome her losses and find purpose for the future. As she works with Jane, two men from her past vie for her attention, but Thora has promised herself never to marry again. Will one of them convince her to embrace a second chance at love?

As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane employs new methods, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well?

First Thoughts:

Regency romance writer Julie Klassen returns with the first book in her first series.

Read on for my review, bonus videos, and an excerpt from the book.

Continue reading