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.
Read an excerpt from The Magnolia Duchess HERE.
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.
Purchase your copy in paperback here or in ebook here
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 23: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses
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.
The first thing that attracted me to “Among the Fair Magnolias” was its gorgeous cover that hinted at the possible delights inside. Secondly, the fact that several of the novellas were written by favorite authors was indication that I would most likely have a few enjoyable hours while reading it. I was not disappointed.
As a true Southerner, I always relish reading stories about my part of the nation. In these four novellas, I had the pleasure of visiting four distinct locations within the South. Each tale took place shortly after the Civil War and each one highlighted the difficulties as the defeated Southerners attempted to rebuild their lives. Each story is as unique as its location and each features a matchless romance that endures despite challenging circumstances. I enjoyed each of the stories although I will admit that I did have my favorites. As a Tennessean, I definitely leaned toward the one with that setting.
For those who enjoy historical Southern romance, “Among the Fair Magnolias” would be an excellent choice. Each individual story would be perfect for an evening’s leisure time or for a weekend afternoon.
This book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
In the most turbulent decade of our nation’s history, four Southern women—destinies forged by birth, hearts steeled by war—face near impossible choices on their journeys in life . . . and in love.
To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander
Savannah Darby would do almost anything to revisit her family home. So when new owner, Aidan Bedford, a Boston attorney and former Union soldier, seeks to redecorate the house for his fiancée, Savannah jumps at the opportunity. But the clock is ticking. Can she find the box her father supposedly hid there during the war before her assignment is completed? And before she sees yet another battle lost on the home front. This time, one of the heart.
An Outlaw’s Heart by Shelley Gray
When Russell Stark returns to Fort Worth, he’s determined to begin a new life. But when he arrives at his mother’s homestead, he discovers she’s very ill, and the woman he loved is still as beautiful and sweet as he remembered. With time running out, Russell must come to terms with both his future and his past.
A Heart So True by Dorothy Love
Abigail knows all too well what is expected of her: to marry her distant cousin Charles and take her place in society. But her heart belongs to another. A terrible incident forces Abby to choose between love and duty.
Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser
Emily has a secret: She’s in love with one of the freedmen on her family’s plantation. Meanwhile, another man declares his love for her. Emily realizes some things are not as they seem and secrets must be kept in order to keep those she loves safe.
Learn more and purchase a copy.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of numerous books including “A Lasting Impression” and “The Inheritance.” Tamera is a two-time Christy Award winner, two-time RITA winner, and a recipient of the prestigious Library Journal Award.
A native of west Tennessee, Dorothy Love makes her home in the Texas hill country with her husband and their golden retriever. An award-winning author of numerous young adult novels, Dorothy made her adult debut with the Hickory Ridge novels.
Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series. Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray), “The Protector,” recently made the New York Times best seller list.
Elizabeth Musser, a native of Atlanta, Georgia now living in France, is a novelist who writes what she calls ‘entertainment with a soul.’ For over 25 years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in mission work with International Teams.
Find out more about Alexander, Gray, Love, Musser at http://www.thomasnelson.com/among-the-fair-magnolias.
It has been many years since I was a student. One of my high school majors was history, I was an honor student, and I have always loved historical fiction. But I cannot remember even one thing about Gulf Coast involvement in the Revolutionary War. In my recollections of my classes, all I remember about that war took place in the vicinity of what we call New England. So – I was quite happy to add more facts to my woefully deficient knowledge of that portion of our early history.
“The Creole Princess” is the kind of book I love. It is populated with well-rounded and interesting characters who made the story come alive. Lyse was delightfully spunky, smart, and brave and Rafael was both outrageous and canny and not at all who he seemed to be. Of course a romance was in the works between the two of them but its progression is just a part of what made this novel so good. The pages are filled with action, danger, humor, drama, suspense, and romance that combine to make this book a real page-turner.
I love being able to see history through the eyes of those who could have been there. It appears that Beth White has performed her research well and has blended true historical facts and even characters into a novel that will open the reader’s eyes to events from the Revolutionary War that like me, they might not have known. I highly recommend “The Creole Princess” as well as White’s previous novel, “The Pelican Bride”. Lovers of historical fiction should not miss either of them.
This book was provided for review by
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Torn between loyalties to family and flag, one young woman is about to discover that her most important allegiance is to her heart.
It is 1776, and all along the eastern seaboard the American struggle for independence rages. But in the British-held southern port of Mobile, Alabama, the conflict brewing is much quieter–though no less deadly.
Lyse Lanier may be largely French in heritage, but she spends most of her time in the company of the ebullient daughter of the British commander of Mobile. When a charming young Spanish merchant docks in town, Lyse is immediately struck by his easy wit and flair for the dramatic. But is he truly who he makes himself out to be? Spies abound, and Spain has yet to choose a side in the American conflict. Is Lyse simply an easy mark for Rafael Gonzalez to exploit? Or are his overtures of love as genuine as Spanish gold?
With spectacular detail that brings the cultural gumbo of the Colonial Gulf Coast alive, Beth White invites you to step into a world of intrigue and espionage from a little-known slice of the American Revolutionary War.
What critics are saying about the Gulf Coast Chronicles
“Duplicity, danger, political intrigue, and adventure.”–Booklist on The Pelican Bride
“New France comes alive thanks to intricate detail.”–Publishers Weekly review of The Pelican Bride
“The brutal New World [is] captured with distinct detail in this fast-paced romantic adventure.”–RT Book Reviews on The Pelican Bride
Read an excerpt from “The Creole Princess” HERE.
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 is a pastor’s wife, mother of two, and grandmother of one–so far. Her hobbies include playing flute and pennywhistle and painting, but her real passion is writing historical romance with a Southern drawl. 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. Visit www.bethwhite.net for more information.