Snack Size Review: At Your Request, by Jen Turano

I’m introducing a new feature today: novella reviews. Authors and publishers will occasionally release a novella prequel to introduce a new series. These are usually in electronic format only, but most of the time they’re free to download. Prequel novellas are a great way to discover a new author, or maybe you’re just looking for a quick read.

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

After her father lost the family’s fortune, Wilhelmina was cast out of the fashionable set and banished to the wallflower section. Taking a position as a social secretary to help support her family, she’s mostly come to terms with her new status. But when her old friend Edgar returns to New York society for the first time since she rejected his marriage proposal, she’s newly ashamed at how far she’s fallen–and how hastily she dismissed him years ago. Her strategy is to avoid a face-to-face encounter at all costs, but he seems to have other plans. Will Edgar take advantage of their now reversed positions and make her regret her refusal, or is there still hope for a friendship between them–or something more?

At Your Request is an e-only novella that gives an exciting introduction to Jen Turano’s new Gilded Age historical romance series, Apart From the Crowd! Includes an extended excerpt of the first full-length novel in the series, Behind the Scenes.

My Take:

Jen Turano launches her Apart From the Crowd series with a novella set in New York City during the Gilded Age. This series takes a look at the women whose society debuts have bombed, but are still required to attend the various soirees held during the social season. These “wallflowers” are seldom asked to dance, and so spend the time sitting in silence. Apparently, it’s a rule: “Wallflowers did not converse with each other… ever.” Well, ouch!

Although it’s short, At Your Request is also sweet, and of Turano’s usual standard. There’s humor throughout, such as when Wilhelmina is so desperate to avoid Edgar that she has an unfortunate encounter with a chair. Turano has a charming writing style, her characters are delightful, and I can’t wait to read Behind the Scenes.

Have you read At Your Request? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 03 January 2017

Read more on:   Jen Turano’s Website   Bethany House’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Christianbook.com

 

The Pattern Artist, by Nancy Moser

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Born into a life of hard work, English housemaid Annie Wood arrives in New York City in 1911 with her wealthy mistress. Wide-eyed with the possibilities America has to offer, Annie wonders if there’s more for her than a life of service.

Annie chooses to risk everything, taps into courage she never knew she had, and goes off on her own, finding employment in the sewing department at Macy’s. While at Macy’s Annie catches the eye of a salesman at the Butterick Pattern Company. Through determination, hard work, and God’s leading, Annie discovers a hidden gift: she is a talented fashion designer—a pattern artist of the highest degree.

As she runs from ghosts of the past and focuses on the future, Annie enters a creative world that takes her to the fashion houses of Paris and into a life of adventure, purpose, and love.

First Thoughts:

I’ve enjoyed every historical novel by Nancy Moser that I’ve read. It’s great to have the opportunity to review her newest title.

My Take:

Nineteen year old Annie Wood arrives in New York on the trip of a lifetime. Although she’s a lowly housemaid who has to answer to other servants, her sewing skills have necessitated her inclusion and she’s determined to make the most of it. But after disillusionment sets in and she makes an enemy in her temporary household, Annie decides to go after the American dream. What follows is a fast paced story which, while it does comes across as improbable at times, is highly entertaining.

It’s easy to like Annie. She isn’t perfect, but she’s eager to learn and has a positive attitude. She surrounds herself with good people from various backgrounds and some, such as Maude, are interesting enough that I’d like to read more about them. Annie’s story isn’t all sunshine and flowers, however, and there are some sad moments. I waited for the proverbial shoe to drop as the narrative moved towards April 1912 in Paris, and drop it does.

The Pattern Artist is a story about God’s nudging and how He has grand plans for each of us. It actually ties in well with a Bible study I’m currently doing. Even when Annie’s life is touched by tragedy, we see how He can bring about something positive from it. It’s also an enjoyable historical romance that I couldn’t put down and consequently stayed up very late to finish.

Thank you to Barbour Publishing for my complimentary copy of The Pattern Artist, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Do you plan to read The Pattern Artist? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Shiloh Run Press (an imprint of Barbour Publishing)

Publication Date: 01 December 2016

Page Count: 320

Read more on:   Nancy Moser’s Website   Barbour Publishing’s Website

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

A Worthy Heart, by Susan Anne Mason

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

The answer to Maggie Montgomery’s dream of seeing America has arrived at just the right time. Not only will she be reunited with her beloved brother Rylan, but she’ll finally be able to escape Neill Fitzgerald and his increasingly unwanted attentions. She’s intent on never returning to Ireland, hoping to build her future in the land of opportunity and perhaps find the love of her life. 

While visiting Irish Meadows, she meets an intriguing man she thinks is a stable hand. Only when her brother demands she stay away from Adam O’Leary does she learn he’s Rylan’s brother-in-law, recently released from prison. Nonetheless, Maggie can’t seem to make her stubborn heart conform to her brother’s request.

Adam O’Leary has never felt worthy of his place in the family. Now a free man, Adam’s only desire is to earn back his family’s trust. Falling in love with the newly arrived Maggie, however, was never in his plans. Despite everyone’s efforts to keep them apart, the two develop a bond it seems nothing can break–but they soon discover the past isn’t easy to overcome.

Continue reading