Review: The Captain’s Daughter – Jennifer Delamere

Jennifer Delamere. The Captain’s Daughter. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2017.

When reading a new book, it’s always fun to discover a surprising detail in the plot or setting that truly sets the story apart from others.  These details can make or break a novel, or at least completely captivate the right reader, who shares the author’s fascination with that topic.

The Captain’s Daughter is the first novel in the London Beginnings series by Jennifer Delamere.  Rosalyn Bernay grew up in a British orphanage before becoming the companion of a wealthy woman.  However, Rosalyn must flee her situation when the woman’s new husband accuses her of stealing priceless family items.  Stranded in London without her luggage, Rosalyn fortunately lands a job at a theater featuring Gilbert and Sullivan’s most recent comic opera.  Along the way, she encounters Nate Moran, a wounded veteran who splits his time between his own job at a local stable and working backstage at the theater to maintain his injured brother’s position.  Nate insists that his time in London is only temporary, as he plans to return to his military career in India, once his own battle wounds heal.  Together, Nate and Rosalyn navigate the ever-dramatic life of the theater, even as they discover new possibilities for their lives and careers.

Ms. Delamere brings a new voice to Christian historical fiction, building on an ever-expanding number of recently-released historical novels set in Britain.  Fans of stories set in the Victorian era will be thrilled to read this tale of life in Gilbert and Sullivan’s theater.

Overall, I quite enjoyed reading The Captain’s Daughter.  In general, Ms. Delamere develops a plotline that feels surprisingly different from many other recent historical novels set in Britain.  Her focus on Gilbert and Sullivan’s theater and the behind-the-scenes moments featuring their productions are a true highlight of this work.  Additionally, readers looking for pleasant Christian historical fiction will find that many of the characters remain true to the nature of the genre, although they may not be overly complex and developed.  Without providing any spoilers, I would have liked to see a stronger ending to the novel, as it felt somewhat truncated and underdeveloped in comparison to the rest of the story.  As this is the first novel in the London Beginnings series, I am curious to see how Ms. Delamere continues this set of novels and which characters she chooses to develop further.

Fans of Christian historical fiction works set in Victorian Britain may find The Captain’s Daughter to be well worth reading.  Additionally, readers with an interest in Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operas may find particular enjoyment in this novel.

Special thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers for the advanced copy of The Captain’s Daughter!

Looking for this book? Support the Books and Biscuits blog, while shopping at:
Amazon – The Captain’s Daughter

Review: A Love So True – Melissa Jagears

Melissa Jagears. A Love So True. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2017.

The next few months should be exceptionally busy here at the Books and Biscuits Blog!  We have an overabundance of new novels being released and I can only hope to keep up with reviewing all of these great books.  Hopefully, I can pull it off. :)

Ms. Jagears continues her Teaville Moral Society series with A Love So True.  Evelyn Wisely assists her parents in running the orphanage first established by local businessman, Nicholas Lowe.  However, her work for the Teaville Moral Society is never done, as she also hopes to assist the women who live in the town’s red-light district.  In order to gain Nicholas’ support for her idea, he insists that she first find several other businessmen in the community who are also willing to provide backing.  David Kingsman arrives in Teaville for a short-term business trip as a representative of his father’s company.  While he hopes to prove his business acumen by saving the family’s factory in Teaville, he soon finds a mutual interest in assisting Evelyn in her work with the women and orphans of the town.  While Evelyn has never shown interest in the other men of Teaville, David’s friendship becomes an increasingly important part of her life and work.  Together, they must overcome their past failings to finally discover what God has planned for their lives.

In A Love So True, Ms. Jagears builds upon a set of characters and situations first introduced in A Heart Most Certain.  Fans of the Teaville Moral Society series will greatly enjoy reading Evelyn and David’s story, as they continue the philanthropic efforts of the citizens of Teaville.

Overall, I quite enjoyed reading A Love So True, as an example of Christian historical fiction.  Ms. Jagears continues to focus her stories on the moral situations of her Christian characters, in a way that is not always the case in other novels.  The series’ overarching storyline also concentrates on the Teaville Moral Society and a group of concerned citizens who regularly assist orphans and prostitutes in their small town.  While this topic can make for some serious sections of the novel, Ms. Jagears expertly counters it with lighter elements related to her main characters and their interactions with one another.  Of the two novels in the series, A Love So True felt slightly more serious and dense than A Heart Most Certain.  However, fans of the series will find the sequel to be well worth reading as an extension of Ms. Jagears’ Teaville stories.

Fans of Ms. Jagears’ work, especially her Teaville Moral Society series, will definitely want to read A Love So True.  Additionally, readers who appreciate Christian historical fiction with a strong faith-based element may also find this novel to be a worthwhile read.

Special thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers for the advanced copy of A Love So True!

Looking for this book? Support the Books and Biscuits blog, while shopping at:
Amazon – A Love So True

Review: Behind the Scenes – Jen Turano

Jen Turano. Behind the Scenes. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2017.

Some of my favorite and most compelling moments of reading Christian fiction have come in the form of humorous stories and characters.  Jen Turano’s novels are always an enjoyable blend of history and comedy that transport her reader to another time and place, in spite of their circumstances.

In Behind the Scenes, Ms. Turano builds upon a set of characters first introduced in her e-novella, At Your Request.  As the first full-length novel in the Apart from the Crowd series, Behind the Scenes follows the non-traditional social wallflower, Permilia Griswold.  Growing up travelling through American mines with her businessman father, Permilia finds that she shares his mind for business, in spite of her step-mother’s determined efforts to launch her into proper society.  Instead, Permilia has found a role for herself as “Miss Quill,” an accomplished society columnist for one of the New York newspapers.  During one particularly eventful society event, Permilia overhears a threat on the life of Asher Rutherford, one of New York’s most reputable gentlemen and a successful department store owner.  Out of necessity, they form an unlikely partnership to discover the source of the threat, even as they find an unexpected source of acceptance and future possibilities in one another.

Ms. Turano creates a compelling set of characters and situations that will have her readers crying out for more incredible and humorous tales.  Behind the Scenes offers a fascinating introduction to a great new historical series.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Behind the Scenes!  Ms. Turano’s characters are surprisingly varied, even as they feel comfortable and familiar within their historical setting.  I especially enjoyed seeing how Ms. Turano built upon these characters and others first introduced in her novella, At Your Request, while offering a few sneak peaks at those that will continue to play a part in her forthcoming novels.   While some sections of the novel felt unevenly paced, as a significant portion of the story is spent at a single social event, Ms. Turano uses this structure to introduce many of the novel’s significant characters and events.  By the end of the novel, readers will be left highly satisfied with a fun and fascinating tale that breaks the mold of romantic fiction set in New York high society.

Fans of Ms. Turano’s previous historical Christian novels and novellas will definitely want to read At Your Request.  Likewise, readers who enjoy historical Christian fiction with a relatively light and humorous style will also want to check out At Your Request and the other stories in Ms. Turano’s Apart from the Crowd series.  The next novel in the series, Out of the Ordinary, will release in November 2017!

Special thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House Publishing for the advanced copy of Behind the Scenes!

Looking for this book? Support the Books and Biscuits blog, while shopping at:
Amazon – Behind the Scenes

Review: A Note Yet Unsung – Tamera Alexander

Tamera Alexander. A Note Yet Unsung. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2017.

The last time that I featured one of Tamera Alexander’s magnificent books was back in 2015!  I am absolutely delighted to see that she will be releasing two books during 2017, with A Note Yet Unsung completing her Belmont Mansion series this winter.

In A Note Yet Unsung, Rebekah Carrington returns to her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, after spending years training as an instrumental musician in Europe.  However, only two orchestras in the United States have begun accepting women as members, with Nashville holding firm to the opinion that women do not belong among its male instrumentalists.  The city’s new conductor, Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb, has grander projects to complete than prove that women belong in his orchestra.  Instead, he must finish his symphony before the opera hall’s inaugural performance.  With time running out, he turns to the one musician in the city that has ever truly impressed him, Rebekah.  Together, Tate and Rebekah must create a musical masterpiece before time runs out and the city discovers the master violinist playing backstage is actually a woman.

Ms. Alexander brings her own level of brilliance to this fascinating tale of musical genius at work.  Rebekah and Tate will capture readers’ imaginations, as their struggle to fulfill their dreams meets with inevitable challenges.

Overall, I was absolutely thrilled with A Note Yet Unsung!  As a trained musician, I felt that Ms. Alexander remained true to the nature of musicians’ temperaments and approach to their art.  Simultaneously, she creates a compelling historical story that will reach the hearts of readers who enjoy great Christian fiction.  As the final novel in Ms. Alexander’s Belmont Mansion series, A Note Yet Unsung offers a fascinating conclusion to an overarching storyline including Adelicia Acklen Cheatham, the ever-memorable owner of the Belmont Mansion and famed Nashville-area philanthropist.  Altogether, the novel offers a fascinating plot with well-developed characters who face enormous challenges to their dreams.  Ms. Alexander remains true to the period, while writing a satisfying conclusion to the story and the series.

Fans of Ms. Alexander’s previous historical novels, especially those in the Belmont Mansion series, will definitely want to read A Note Yet Unsung!  Readers who enjoy great historical Christian fiction, especially those set in the American South and those that take place during the mid- to late-nineteenth century.  Additionally, I would highly recommend this novel to readers who enjoy stories that focus on characters who are highly-trained classical musicians, particularly in a historical setting.

Special thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House for the advanced copy of A Note Yet Unsung!

Looking for this book? Support the Books and Biscuits blog, while shopping at:
Amazon – A Note Yet Unsung

Review: Just a Kiss – Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter. Just a Kiss. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016.

It’s always sad to see a great book series end.  Just a Kiss wraps up Denise Hunter’s Summer Harbor series, which has become a fan favorite.  Fortunately, she managed to finish the series on a high note!

Riley Callahan and Paige Warren have been best friends throughout life’s most challenging moments.  As loveable characters throughout Ms. Hunter’s Summer Harbor series, their story finally takes precedence in Just a Kiss.  Riley arrives back from his military tour wounded and disabled, with no hope of finally confessing the truth about his feelings to Paige.  Oblivious to Riley’s emotional state, Paige is determined to help her best friend, even if it means nurturing him back to health in her own home.  Between the stress of caring for Riley and hoping to save her job, Paige must rely on the entire Callahan family to save the day.  However, both Riley and Paige soon discover that the help they need may require looking further than the family and friends of their small Maine town.

Ms. Hunter offers a heartwarming and enjoyable conclusion to the Summer Harbor series.  Readers will be thrilled with this last story of the Callahan brothers and their hometown.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Just a Kiss.  Ms. Hunter brings an approachable and engaging story, even with some relatively serious themes related to Riley’s physical and mental health, as well as Paige attempting to keep the animal shelter open due to funding challenges.  I was absolutely thrilled to also see a conclusion to Aunt Trudy’s story within this novel, which serves as an excellent subplot throughout the series.  Altogether, the Summer Harbor series, which also includes Falling Like Snowflakes and The Goodbye Bride, offers a compelling story of the Callahan family.  Readers who particularly enjoyed Susan May Warren’s Christiansen Family series and Becky Wade’s Porter Family series will find many similarities to the Summer Harbor series, although Ms. Hunter offers a marginally more serious tone to some of her books.  After reading this book, I am very curious to see where Ms. Hunter goes next with her upcoming books.

Fans of Ms. Hunter’s Summer Harbor series, including Falling Like Snowflakes and The Goodbye Bride, will definitely want to read Just a Kiss.  Readers who also enjoy books by Colleen Coble and Susan May Warren will also want to check out this series.

Special thanks to BookLook Bloggers and Thomas Nelson for the promotional copy of Just a Kiss!

Looking for this book? Support the Books and Biscuits blog, while shopping at:
Amazon – Just a Kiss