A Stranger at Fellsworth, by Sarah E. Ladd

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Could losing everything be the best thing to happen to Annabelle Thorley?

In the fallout of her deceased father’s financial ruin, Annabelle’s prospects are looking bleak. Her fiancé has called off their betrothal, and now she remains at the mercy of her controlling and often cruel brother. Annabelle soon faces the fact that her only hope for a better life is to do the unthinkable and run away to Fellsworth, where her estranged uncle serves as the school’s superintendent. Upon arrival, Annabelle learns that she must shed her life of high society and work for her wages for the first time in her life.

Owen Locke is unswerving in his commitments. As a widower and father, he is fiercely protective of his only daughter. As an industrious gamekeeper, he is intent on keeping poachers at bay even though his ambition has always been to purchase land he can call his own. When a chance encounter introduces him to Annabelle Thorley, his steady life is shaken. For the first time since his wife’s death, Owen begins to consider a second chance at love.

As Owen and Annabelle grow closer, ominous forces threaten the peace they thought they’d found. Poachers, mysterious strangers, and murderers converge at Fellsworth, forcing Annabelle and Owen to a test of fortitude and bravery to stop the shadow of the past from ruining their hopes for the future.

First Thoughts:

This is the third in the Treasures of Surrey series. But why does the character’s background sound familiar?

My Take:

I feel that, lately, I’ve come across a couple of books where the female lead character has been abandoned after by her fiancé after her family has lost its fortune. Before starting A Stranger at Fellsworth I was certain I’d read about Annabelle before in one of Sarah Ladd’s novels. A quick search revealed that it was similar to what happened to minor character Penelope Gilchrist in The Curiosity Keeper, book one of Ladd’s current series. In this third novel, we also get a glimpse of a more desperate existence when Annabelle discovers a former family friend in similar financial difficulties.

Determined to avoid an unenviable fate, Annabelle schemes with a stranger to get away from London to start a new life at her uncle’s school. Her maid accompanies her, but she soon learns she will need to do without the girl who is given a new position. Annabelle must now fend for herself, which she seems to do very easily. But throughout the pages, it’s apparent that she feels inadequate to her assignment. How can she teach the practical skills her students need when she doesn’t herself possess them?

Much of the novel portrays Annabelle’s adjustment to her new role and her budding relationship with Owen. But you know something is building, especially when all the main characters come together in one place. The great thing was not knowing or expecting how Annabelle’s situation would ultimately be resolved. While there is a happy ending for our lovebirds, however, I did wonder what would happen to the book’s ‘bad guys.’

A Stranger at Fellsworth concludes Sarah Ladd’s second trilogy. While the series is called Treasures of Surrey, the only connection between the three books is Fellsworth School. As a result, the Superintendent of the school, Annabelle’s uncle, is the only common character. Each book in this enjoyable series, therefore, can be enjoyed without having to read the other two.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson and BookLook Bloggers for my complimentary copy of A Stranger at Fellsworth, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read A Stranger at Fellsworth? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Thomas Nelson (a division of HarperCollins Christian)

Publication Date: 16 May 2017

Page Count: 336

Read more on:   Sarah Ladd’s Website   Thomas Nelson’s Website

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

The One True Love of Alice-Ann, by Eva Marie Everson

book cover Alice AnnPublisher’s Overview:

Living in rural Georgia in 1941, sixteen-year-old Alice-Ann has her heart set on her brother’s friend Mack; despite their five-year age gap, Alice-Ann knows she can make Mack see her for the woman she’ll become. But when they receive news of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Mack decides to enlist, Alice-Ann realizes she must declare her love before he leaves.

Though promising to write, Mack leaves without confirmation that her love is returned. But Alice-Ann is determined to wear the wedding dress her maiden aunt never had a chance to wear—having lost her fiancé in the Great War. As their correspondence continues over the next three years, Mack and Alice-Ann are drawn closer together. But then Mack’s letters cease altogether, leaving Alice-Ann to fear history repeating itself.

Dreading the war will leave her with a beautiful dress and no happily ever after, Alice-Ann fills her days with work and caring for her best friend’s war-torn brother, Carlton. As time passes and their friendship develops into something more, Alice-Ann wonders if she’ll ever be prepared to say good-bye to her one true love and embrace the future God has in store with a newfound love. Or will a sudden call from overseas change everything?

First Thoughts:

I’m not sure about the title, as it sounds a bit cutesy for my liking, but I loved the last book I read by Eva Marie Everson.

My Take:

On Alice-Ann’s 16th birthday, Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor. Although over 2000 men were killed, Alice-Ann can only think about how her birthday party has been ruined. She’d had big plans for that day, including telling her brother’s friend how much she loved him. She finally got her way, but he promised her nothing except that he’d write to her. During the next three years, Alice-Ann got older, finished high school, began working at the bank, helped out on her family’s farm, helped teach Sunday school, and wrote to Mack.

As much as this is a novel about a young woman, this is also a tale about a small town at war forced to change. Life did go on in some respects: young people got married and babies were born. But many of the young men left to join the military, which meant women taking their jobs in various occupations. A POW camp opened and the townspeople had to occasionally interact with ‘the enemy.’ And then there were the tragedies: a local boy was killed in action, and another came home severely injured. What was life like for those left ‘at home?’

The message of this book is that life never goes how you think – or hope – it will. It might even work out for the better. Sometimes, something amazing can even come out of the direst of circumstances. I wanted to flip to the back to get to the ending, but I didn’t want to be spoiled! Because, really, learning the identity of Alice-Ann’s ‘true love’ is as much as the journey as it is the destination.

Thank you to Tyndale House for my complimentary copy of The One True Love of Alice-Ann, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read The One True Love of Alice-Ann? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Tyndale House

Publication Date: 01 April 2017

Page Count: 432

Read more on:   Eva Marie Everson’s Website   Tyndale’s Website

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

The Captain’s Daughter, by Jennifer Delamere

book cover The Captain's DaughterPublisher’s Overview:

London, 1879

Forced to Leave All She Loves Behind, She Seeks a New Life in a City Bursting with Opportunity, But Fraught with Danger

When a series of circumstances beyond her control leaves Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater putting on the most popular show in the city. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage. That is, as long as the shadows from her past don’t catch up with her.

After a hand injury forces Nate Moran from his army regiment in India, he returns home to London, a place that holds bitter memories. He agrees to fill in temporarily as a stagehand while his brother recuperates from a broken leg, but Nate is counting down the days until he can rejoin his regiment. His future is decided–until he meets a beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate yearns to leave behind.

First Thoughts:

This is the first in a new London-based series by an author I don’t recall reading before.

My Take:

Let me first say that, although I don’t usually judge books by their covers, I love the back cover of The Captain’s Daughter. It’s of a rural English station made of brick and there’s a steam train pulling in. Growing up in Britain, I did a lot of traveling by train and that illustration took me right back to some of the stations on my journeys.

The cover isn’t the only aspect of this novel that grabbed me. It was delightful to find light opera composers Gilbert and Sullivan within its pages. The plot features HMS Pinafore and includes the debut performance of The Pirates of Penzance. Members of Pinafore’s cast become Rosalyn’s friends. As far as I can tell, the story stays close to known historical facts about Gilbert and Sullivan’s productions, including a copyright performance of Pirates with which Rosalyn gets involved.

I found The Captain’s Daughter difficult to put down. Yes, I was frustrated by the love triangle in it because I wanted Rosalyn to wake up but that just made me want to continue reading. It’s a great start to a new series and I’m looking forward to reading the next book when it comes out.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Bethany House for my complimentary copy of The Captain’s Daughter, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

This review is part of a Litfuse Publicity Book Tour

Have you read The Captain’s Daughter? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 28 February 2017

Page Count: 352

Read more on:   Jennifer Delamere’s Website   Bethany House’s Website

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