I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the previous books in the Mary Ellis Secrets of the South series so I was thrilled to have the chance to review “Sunset in Old Savannah”. As a lifetime southern gal, I love reading books about my part of the world, especially mysteries and suspense so this book was especially welcome.
Readers who got to know Michael and Elizabeth in the previous novel “Magnolia Moonlight” should be familiar with the tension between the two of them and might well wonder how an assignment working together in Savannah will turn out. What begins as routine surveillance turns into a murder mystery that Michael and Elizabeth just can’t ignore. What fun to follow them on their investigation as one secret after another is revealed. And could their animosity possibly change into affection?
The plot of “Magnolia Moonlight” moves along at a steady clip with plenty of twists and surprises that kept me guessing nearly until the end. Strong characters and excellent dialogue kept things moving right along. A secondary mystery involving a newly introduced character added depth to the story and left me anticipating the next book in the series (I hope!).
I love this series so much that I would be happy if it continues for several more volumes. I don’t think I could possibly grow bored with it. I hope you’re listening Mary Ellis!
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book that was provided by Harvest House. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
In Savannah, Everyone Has Something to Hide
When socialite Evelyn Doyle hires investigative partners and best friends Michael Preston and Elizabeth Kirby to do some routine surveillance on her wayward husband, the detective duo find themselves embroiled in a mystery that leaves them in this beautiful, historic city longer than they had expected.
Evelyn’s husband turns up dead, leaving her as the police chief’s prime target. The investigation reveals a hodgepodge of potential murderers, including a scheming business partner, a resentful mistress, and a ne’er-do-well brother. It’s up to Mike and Beth to follow the trail of secrets that reaches further than the branches of the moss-draped oaks of Savannah.
As praise of the agency gets around town, business is growing for Price Investigations. When Mike and Beth hire Kaitlyn Webb, Savannah’s newest transplant, their workload eases, but will the ghosts of her past threaten everyone’s safety before a killer can be put behind bars? And can Mike and Beth find love as their friendship and faith are put to the test?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mary Ellis is the bestselling author of many books, including A Widow’s Hope, An Amish Family Reunion, and Living in Harmony. She and her husband live in central Ohio, where they try to live a simpler style of life.
As a lifetime southerner, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about some of our history in Beth White’s Gulf Coast Chronicles. For some reason, that history was severely neglected during my school years. “The Magnolia Duchess” takes the reader to the southern coast during the War of 1812, particularly during the Battle of New Orleans. I couldn’t help but recall that beloved song by Johnny Horton from my childhood –
“We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin’
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they begin to runnin’
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico”
Sorry, couldn’t help myself. What self-respecting southern child (or grownup for that matter) wouldn’t love a rousing song with lyrics like that? After reading Beth White’s account of the battle, the song made so much more sense.
Back to the book. I have loved reading about the Lanier family and their life on the Gulf Coast. As the female protagonist, Fiona was a strong young woman driven by compassion whose first response was to care for others whether friend or foe. I liked how conflicted she was about keeping Charlie’s identity secret from her family and how she tried to do the right thing despite how it affected herself. I liked Charlie a lot too. I had to admire his determination to fulfill his commitments but at the same time I was frustrated by his decisions.
Once again, Beth White captured my imagination and interest to the point I had difficulty taking care of everyday chores. I hate to see this series end but am in hopes the author will see fit to provide her readers with more southern fiction.
A copy of this book was provided for review by
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
As the War of 1812 rages across the newly formed United States, another war rages in Fiona Lanier’s heart–one that threatens to tear her family apart.
Fiona can scarcely take in the news of her brother’s capture and imprisonment by the British Navy. It is almost as unbelievable as the half-drowned British sailor who is washed ashore on the beach of Navy Cove.
Charlie Kincaid claims to have no memory of his life before being discovered by Fiona, but in a world that seems saturated with treachery, she cannot be sure he is telling the truth.
As Charlie’s memory returns in agonizing jags and crashes, he and Fiona discover that falling in love may be as inevitable as the tide. But when political allegiances collide, they’ll each have to decide where their true loyalty lies.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Beth White‘s day job is teaching music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. A native Mississippian, she writes historical romance with a Southern drawl and is the author of The Pelican Bride and The Creole Princess. Her novels have won the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, the RT Book Club Reviewers’ Choice Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. Learn more at www.bethwhite.net.
I was unfamiliar with the author when I accepted the offer to review “White” and was unsure of what to expect. When I opened its cover I found an intriguing story that dealt with some issues that I rarely find in my reading.
The plot was fresh and character driven with hints of the possibility of future suspense and maybe even romance. I liked the honesty of the primary character Jennifer who readily admitted her distance from the Lord and struggled with bitterness about the way she had been raised. I also liked those brief nudges from the Holy Spirit that were scattered throughout the narrative. The description of the restoration process was interesting and I found the history of the former residents to be fascinating.
I was a bit disappointed that I did not find the suspense promised on the back cover but am in hopes that will develop more fully in the next installment of the series. My curiosity has been aroused and I need to find out what happens and what might develop (or not) between Jennifer and Michael.
A copy of this book was provided for review by Celebrate Lit Publicity Group.
GUEST POST FROM DENISE WEIMER:
When I speak to book clubs or people ask me why I started writing historical fiction, I tell them that as I grew up, my parents took me to numerous historical sites. I wondered who lived in an old house or town and what their lives were like. What treasures, what secrets, might I find if I could dig down to the bones of an old mansion? My active imagination kicked in, and I started scribbling stories in spiral bound notebooks. I knew from age eleven I wanted to be a writer, though for a time I considered historical preservation as a career. I found the perfect marriage of those desires in The Restoration Trilogy, my new series with Canterbury House Publishing.
The restoration my parents did on their own historic house and apothecary shop inspired White, Widow and Witch. While looking for a residence in a country community, Mom and Dad purchased a property they later learned belonged to a line of regionally famous doctors tracing back to Revolutionary War days. Watching them piece together stories from the past with the help of local historians nudged me to depart from the historical settings of my past novels (Redeeming Grace and The Georgia Gold Series) in favor of modern romantic suspense. Readers follow Jennifer Rushmore, a recent historic preservation graduate, and Michael Johnson, a brooding bachelor who has inherited property from ancestors he knows little about, as they restore a doctor’s house, apothecary shop and log cabin. During the restoration of each, they uncover a story from a different century (1920, 1870 and 1790) containing a lesson of “heart healing” they need to apply in the present.
Most of us have been through hardships in our lives that God would use to refine our characters or expose and heal pain from our pasts. Sometimes we’re tempted to just slap another coat of paint over a crack or build a cheap façade over a weakness. God knows that full restoration takes effort, time and expense, so He never goes to work without our permission. However, He is the only one who can bring us to wholeness.
Jennifer accepts the assignment in the eclectic community of Hermon while waiting for her dream job in Savannah, never imagining God might have other plans. Country neighbors determined to become friends, a handsome but secretive employer with conflicting ideas about how to conduct the restoration, and strange accidents hinting that someone doesn’t want them working on the property strip away Jennifer’s personal defenses. She comes to learn that when a person is open to the work of the Master Renovator, one can find blessings in the unlikeliest of places.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
When Jennifer Rushmore accepts a brooding bachelor’s job offer to act as coordinator for the restoration of his family’s historic doctor’s house (White), apothecary (Widow) and log cabin (Witch) in a rural Georgia community, little does she know it’s her own heart that will undergo the greatest renovation. Three stories. Three centuries. Three lessons on the healing of the heart. And one buried mystery that threatens their redemption.
White: As historic preservationist Jennifer and brooding bachelor Michael restore his ancestors’ historic doctor’s residence in a rural Georgia community, they uncover the 1920s-era prejudice and secrets that caused Michael’s branch to fall off the family tree. Recent graduate Jennifer is determined to fulfill her first professional position with integrity even if her employer lacks a proper appreciation of history. Far more challenging—and sinister—than the social landscape of Hermon are the strange accidents hinting that someone doesn’t want them on the Dunham property. Yet Michael’s and Jennifer’s own pasts pose the biggest obstacles to laying a fresh foundation of family and community.
About the Author
In addition to The Restoration Trilogy, native Georgian Denise Weimer is the author of numerous magazine articles about her home state, romantic novella Redeeming Grace, The Georgia Gold Series (Sautee Shadows, The Gray Divide, The Crimson Bloom, and Bright as Gold). Bright as Gold won the 2015 John Esten Cooke Award for authentic Southern literature. She holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University, is a wife and swim mom of two daughters, and always pauses for coffee, chocolate and old houses.
In honor of the White Celebration Tour, Denise is giving away a print copy of WHITE: Book One of The Restoration Trilogy, a $15 Starbucks card to representing the coffee-loving modern heroine, and a vintage hat to represent the historical heroine.
Click to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/96a4
April 19: Texas Book-aholic
April 20: Singing Librarian Books
April 21: Christian Bookaholic
April 22: Southern Gal Loves to Read
April 24: Daysong Reflections
April 25: Bigreadersite
April 26: Mary Hake
April 27: Red Headed Book Lady
April 28: Cassandra M’s Place
April 29: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
April 30: For the Love of Books
May 1: A Greater Yes
May 2: Reader’s Cozy Corner
I always enjoy historical romance novels, particularly when they have a Southern setting. It is even better if they have at least a touch of suspense. Dorothy Love’s “A Respectable Actress” meets all the requirements.
Philip Sinclair is hired to defend famous actress India Hartley when she is accused of a murder – one of which she is innocent. To protect her from the public until the trial, he takes her to his home on St. Simons Island. As one might expect, Philip and India discover a mutual attraction but it is not the primary focus of the novel. While the pair works to prove her innocence, India discovers clues to an earlier disappearance and death that took place at Indigo Point.
Philip and India are strong characters, especially India. Despite her fame, India has a caring and giving personality. I loved the twists and surprises throughout the plot. Just when I thought the story had reached its climax (and wondered why there were still so many pages left to read), even more surprising events took place. The author did a wonderful job of taking what seemed to be totally unrelated events and tied them all together for an exciting conclusion.
Dorothy Love’s books have never failed to hold my interest. I highly recommend “A Respectable Actress” as well as any of her other novels.
I received copies of this book from both the author and
The Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
When India Hartley is accused of murder, she has to uncover the deceptions of others to save herself.
India Hartley, the famous and beautiful actress, is now alone after her father s death and embarks upon a tour of theaters across the South. Her first stop is Savannah s Southern Palace. On the eve of the second night s performance, something goes horribly wrong. Her co-star, Arthur Sterling, is shot dead on stage in front of a packed house, and India is arrested and accused of the crime.
A benefactor hires Philip Sinclair, the best and handsomest lawyer in Savannah to defend India. A widower, Philip is struggling to reinvent his worn-out plantation on St. Simons Island. He needs to increase his income from his law practice in order to restore Indigo Point, and hardly anything will bring him more new clients than successfully defending a famous actress on a murder charge.
Because India can t go anywhere in town without being mobbed, Philip persuades the judge handling her case to let him take her to Indigo Point until her trial date. India is charmed by the beauty of the Georgia low country and is increasingly drawn to Philip. But a locked room that appears to be a shrine to Philip s dead wife and the unsolved disappearance of a former slave girl raise troubling questions. Piecing together clues in an abandoned boat and a burned-out chapel, India discovers a trail of dark secrets that lead back to Philip, secrets that ultimately may hold the key to her freedom. If only he will believe her.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A former journalist, free-lance writer and college professor, Dorothy Love explores the intersection of history and human relationships to create novels that speak to the hearts of women everywhere. She is the author of the acclaimed Hickory Ridge novels set in her native state of Tennessee. After earning a masters degree and Ph.D, she authored dozens of magazine articles before breaking into book publishing with a number of award-winning novels for preteens and young adults. The Hickory Ridge series marked her adult fiction debut. Currently she is working on several stand-alone historical novels set in the South.
When she isn’t busy writing or researching her next book, Love enjoys hiking, traveling, and hanging out with her husband Ron and their rambunctious golden retriever. The Loves make their home in the Texas hill country.
Find out more about Dorothy at her website.