Finding Lady Enderly has all the essential elements required for the perfect gothic novel. Its naive heroine finds herself recipient of everything she ever dreamed only to realize she is caught up in a plot she doesn’t understand that has turned her dream into a nightmare. At least one truly diabolical character threatens both Raina and the man she loves if she refuses to cooperate with his scheme. Various twists and turns take the reader on a breath holding trip into the mysterious Rothburne Abbey which holds its share of secrets.
I can now understand why other readers have raved about this book. Its dark and brooding atmosphere is the perfect backdrop for the story that shines a revealing light on what makes us who we are. Scattered throughout the story are numerous quotations that build layer upon layer an emphasis on the difference between outward appearance and inner strength. Chapter headings are thoughts from the heroine’s journal. I also loved how Raina and Sully communicated secretly with passages from favorite books.
Beautifully written, Finding Lady Enderly is filled with surprises around every corner and a deep spiritual message that each of us can take to heart. I highly recommend this book.
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by the author through Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Raina’s dreams are all about to come true.
But some dreams turn out to be nightmares.
Raina Bretton is a rag woman in London’s East End when a handsome stranger appears in a dank alley, offering her a glittering smile and a chance for adventure. Rothburne Abbey has a unique position for her, one that will take her away from her hardscrabble life and give her a chance to be a lady.
Though Raina has traded squalor for silk and satin, something about the abbey is deeply unsettling. As she wrestles with her true identity, the ruin, decay, and secrets she finds at the heart of the old mansion tear at her confidence and threaten to reveal her for who she really is. Only one man stands between her and the danger that lurks within–and only if he decides to keep her biggest secret hidden.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears and A Rumored Fortune. She freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at www.jdpstories.com.
Sandra Byrd is a master at creating those mysterious and atmospheric gothic style novels that I love so much. I have missed novels similar to those by Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt that I once devoured and am thrilled to see a few Christian authors beginning to publish novels in this style. I have loved each and every one of Sandra Byrd’s previous series and if Lady of a Thousand Treasures is any indication, I will also love her Victorian Ladies series.
Lady of a Thousand Treasures held me spellbound from page one until the end. It was fun imagining what the different treasures looked like based on the author’s detailed descriptions of them but it was even more fun to actually see examples shared on her Pinterest board. This particular story is filled with enough mystery and romance to keep me involved and has plenty of twists and unexpected turns to satisfy the most particular reader. Characters are well-rounded and are quite easy to either love or hate but it is not always simple to decide where a couple of them stand.
This is a lovely, lovely book with beautiful prose and so many facts about art and history that most readers will not only be entertained but educated. And of course a subtle message of faith is deftly woven throughout. This author cannot write quickly enough for me but I will have to be patient and perhaps try to slow my reading speed. I look forward to the next book in this series.
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by the author and Tyndale House Publishers. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.
The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry—the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.
Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.
With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust—who in her life is false or true, brass or gold—and what is meant to be treasured.
Read an excerpt here.
Purchase a copy here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published fifty books.
Sandra’s delighted to kick off her new historical romance series with Tyndale House Publishers, Victorian Ladies, with Lady of a Thousand Treasures. The three-book Victorian Ladies series follows her historically sound Gothic romances, Daughters of Hampshire, launched with the bestselling Mist of Midnight, which earned a coveted Editor’s Choice award from the Historical Novel Society. The second book, Bride of a Distant Isle, has been selected by Romantic Times as a Top Pick. The third in the series, A Lady in Disguise, was published in 2017. Check out her contemporary adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, which was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2011, and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012.
Sandra has published dozens of books for kids, tweens, and teens, including the bestselling The One Year Be-Tween You and God Devotions for Girls. She continued her work as a devotionalist, with The One Year Home and Garden Devotions, and The One Year Experiencing God’s Love Devotional.
Please visit www.sandrabyrd.com to learn more or to invite Sandra to your book club via Skype.
Having read the first two books in Luecht’s Portraits of Grace series, I was thankful to have the opportunity to read the final one. I enjoyed learning the rest of Ione’s story as well as catching up with familiar characters from the previous novels. Although “Soul’s Cry” is predominately Ione’s book, Mirism also plays a major role.
Like the other two books, “Soul’s Cry” has that dark and brooding atmosphere that permeate the Gothic style books that I enjoy so much; however it is not without hope. I love the way the three unlikely friends support each other in ways that have changed their lives.
Naturally, there is a villain in this story and he is a crafty one if not totally deranged and he has managed to insert himself inconspicuously into one of Ione’s safe places where he is a threat to her as well as those she loves. Fortunately another man has become an important part of her life even if she is afraid to trust or love again.
“Soul’s Cry” was a satisfying read that showcased the author’s talents and reinforced her status on my must read author list. For those who like me enjoy a good old-fashioned Gothic style mystery, I implore you to give this entire series a try.
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by WhiteFire Publishing. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Ione has everything she wanted with her busy shop filled to the brim with sumptuous fabrics, gossiping debutantes, and a neatly increasing profit margin. Not to mention the unexpected attention of a man who doesn’t know her past.
And then the letter drops from the mail slot onto to lush carpet. He is back. And the abuse, the shame, rushes in, reminding her of how unworthy she really is.
Miriam also has everything she wanted—and with a baby on the way, for the first time in her life, she has everything to lose. When she’d been alone, the future had held promise, but now with her life full, it also holds fear.
Unwilling to risk a vision of loss, Miriam stops painting what will be…right before Ione needs it most.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cara Luecht lives in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin with her husband, David, and their children. In addition to freelance writing and marketing, Cara works as an English Instructor for a local college. Cara graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Currently, Cara is studying for her Masters of Divinity with Fuller Theological Seminary.
I didn’t realize how much I had missed Gothic romance novels until Sandra Byrd released her first book in the Daughters of Hampshire series. I enjoyed it so much that I looked forward to each subsequent book. “A Lady in Disguise” is the third and final book if the series follows the usual rule of three. I personally would love to see this author continue to write novels in this vein.
“A Lady in Disguise” continues the series with its wonderfully sinister atmosphere, heightened suspense, and characters perfectly suited to their roles. I loved how difficult it was to determine whether certain characters were friend or foe. There were moments that I suspected each of them even when I hoped I was wrong. I did begin to suspect one over the others and my suspicions turned out to be correct; however that did not affect my enjoyment of the story one bit. The dialogue between Thomas and Gillian was delightful. I so enjoyed their scenes together.
With the perfect combination of drama, suspense, romance, and faith with just a touch of humor, “A Lady in Disguise” was exactly what I had hoped. The suspense element grew at just the right rate and had me worried about whether Gillian would survive her troubles. A surprise or two along the way were the icing to the cake. My only complaint is that it ended much too quickly but then I shouldn’t read so fast. I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for her readers next.
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
After the mysterious death of her father, Miss Gillian Young takes a new job as the principal costume designer at the renowned Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. But while she remembers her father as a kind, well-respected man of the Police Force, clues she uncovers indicate he’d been living a double life: a haunting photograph of a young woman; train stubs for secret trips just before his death; and a receipt for a large sum of money. Are these items evidence of her father’s guilty secrets? His longtime police partner thinks so.
Then Gillian meets the dashing Viscount Thomas Lockwood. Their attraction is instant and inescapable. As their romantic involvement grows, Gillian begins to suspect even Lockwood’s motives. Does Lord Lockwood truly love her? Or is his interest a front for the desire to own her newly inherited property? And what should she make of her friend’s suggestion that Lockwood or men like him were involved in the murder of her father?
Soon Gillian is convinced that her father has left evidence somewhere that can prove his innocence and reveal the guilty party. But someone wants
to stop her from discovering it. The closer she comes to uncovering it, the more menacing her opposition grows. With her life on the line, Gillian takes on an ingenious disguise and takes on the role of a lifetime to reveal the true killer—before it’s too late both for her and for those that she loves.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sandra Byrd has published four dozen books in the fiction and nonfiction markets, including her two historical series with Howard Books. For nearly two decades, Sandra has shared her secrets with the many writers she edits, mentors, and coaches. She lives in the Seattle, Washington area.
Once upon a time, many years ago, I could not get enough of the novels of authors such as Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt. I loved those deliciously Gothic romantic mysteries with their constant sense of impending doom. I did not realize just how much I had missed reading those books until I got my hands on a copy of Sandra Byrd’s first novel in her Daughters of Hampshire series, “Mist of Midnight”. I literally devoured it and was impatient to read the next book of the series. Finally “Bride of a Distant Isle” arrived but I had to force myself to wait until I had fulfilled some other previous commitments before I could read it even though it beckoned to me every time I passed its shelf. Let me tell you, it was worth the wait!
Not only an orphan but also illegitimate, Annabel Ashton is at the mercy of her cousin who inherited the family estate. When she suddenly finds herself a virtual prisoner at Highcliffe Hall and learns that Edward has plans for her to marry a highly repulsive man, Annabel does not know where to find the help she needs. It becomes evident that there is no way to discern who she can trust – not even the man she has come to love. It was easy to get caught up in Annabel’s feeling of utter hopelessness and to hope again when she turned her situation over to the Lord. I loved learning of the people working behind the scenes on her behalf even when she felt the most abandoned.
Layer upon layer, the author has built a novel filled with so many twists and surprises that I became totally immersed in the story. Her descriptions of the house, its surroundings, and characters added to the perfect background atmosphere for the plot. One scene in particular was pure genius but I’ll leave other readers to guess which one. You just have to read it yourself.
I loved, loved, loved this book and once again am impatient for the next installment. I believe most readers will feel the same if they give it a chance.
A copy of this book was provided for review by the author.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
An unforgettable romance set in Victorian England, Bride of A Distant Isle is the engrossing story of Annabel Ashton, who fights to save her family home and her mother’s honor while trying to figure out if the man she loves wants her—or just wants to use her to achieve his own ambitions.
Miss Annabel Ashton is a teacher at the Rogers School for Young Ladies in Winchester when she takes a brief visit to her family home, Highcliffe Hall at Milford-on-Sea. She believes her stay will be short but soon learns that she will not be returning to the safety of the school. Instead, she remains at Highcliffe, at the mercy of her cousin, Edward Everedge.
Annabel protests, but as the illegitimate daughter of a woman who died in an insane asylum, she has little say. Edward is running out of money and puts the house up for sale to avoid financial ruin. He insists that Annabel marry, promising her to a sinister, frightening man. But as the house gets packed for sale, it begins to reveal disquieting secrets. Jewelry, artifacts, and portraits mysteriously appear, suggesting that Annabel may be the true heir of Highcliffe.
She has only a few months to prove her legitimacy, perhaps with assistance from the handsome but troubled Maltese Captain Dell’Acqua. But does he have Annabel’s best interests at heart?
And then, a final, most ominous barrier to both her inheritance and her existence appears: a situation neither she nor anyone else could have expected. Will Annabel regain her life and property—and trust her heart—before it’s too late?
Preview the book HERE.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
has published four dozen books in the fiction and nonfiction markets, including her two historical series with Howard Books. For nearly two decades, Sandra has shared her secrets with the many writers she edits, mentors, and coaches. She lives in the Seattle, Washington area.