From the paranormal and surreal to a light Texas romance rife with twins and now… a Love Inspired HISTORICAL! What a weird collection these past few weeks. Set in 1881 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee His Mountain Miss by Karen Kirst was a rather sweet period romance. The third book (once again, like Carbon Copy Cowboy, right into the middle of the series… oops) in the Smokey Mountain Ranches series, this book centers on one of the daughters in the O’Malley family… Megan and her interactions with New Orleans aristocrat Lucian Beaumont.
Lucian has come to sell off his estranged and now deceased grandfather’s property so he can return to New Orleans free of what he sees as the abandonment of his mother by her father and himself in turn. Tied to this property is Megan and the people of Smokey Mountain who are (according to the will) allowed access to the property to continue on the good works of its previous owner.
I really appreciate the author’s grasp of the era (and since this is not my favourite… I prefer Regency, this was a wonderful surprise), she really does draw you into the scene and make you want to know all you can about the characters. There is a bit of a mystery to what happened to between Lucian’s mother and his grandfather to clear up… many members of Megan’s family to meet and the surrounding townspeople.
This is definitely a faith based book… Megan with her strong faith and Lucian needing to regain his in the face of his loss of his mother. Class differences in the era are touched upon lightly as are the conditions and difficulties of the time. This story deals with loss, with faith and love, with knowing what is best for yourself beyond your past and the future your family or your status seems to demand. And it helps that Lucian has his French words tossed in there for flair and a description that is quite marvelous. Definitely an enjoyable read!
Well, I am finding more and more that my random story choices is teaching me quite a lot about my personal tastes. This book has reinforced that I enjoy my Regency romance and my stories with a strong faith element SEPARATELY. I feel like I am looking for something very specific when I pick up a Regency romance, a sweet story with gentile people, maybe not EXACTLY period correct but most often at least period close…
With The Nanny Arrangement by Lily George you do get some of the period feel, a lot of the romance of the era, but I found the way faith was included – bible studies, and the situations the two main characters are in – often alone, unchaperoned was a bit too much for me. But the imagery was lovely, the characters well thought out and the story interesting. I just found I had to suspend my Regency sensibilities at times (not to say I am educated in perfect Regency era rules and regulations, but I do love the genre and have read pretty much everything I can get my hands on).
The Nanny Arrangement is not the first in a series, but focuses on the middle sister of 3 who helps her younger sister run a hat shop. The elder has married up and is happy in her home but still in contact. The younger two do not get along overly well without the third to balance them out. Cue the needy gentlemen, known to the elder and her husband as a good friend. His estranged (badly married) sister has perished leaving her only child – a daughter. In order to solve everyone’s problems Becky, the middle sister, becomes the nanny.
There is a lot more than simple romance going on. Paul Holmes has lost his faith, and is not reconciled to his sister’s death or her daughter’s appearance in his life. Becky is unsure of her future as she longs for more than her place in the hat store and has been newly jilted (or at least the man in question never realized her interest). All in all a fun read just more of a faith story than a period piece. I can recommend a second book by the same author – Healing the Soldier’s Heart which is a bit more in the period correct feel. But both have great merits!
Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot is a Christian period romance about a mail order bride and her trip to her new life. Nothing is simple in the life of Sarah. Left destitute after the death of her parents, Sarah is dependent on the composer of her Paper Roses (letters). With her toddler aged sister Thea in hand she has left everything behind with the hope of a fairy tale ending only to make it to her destination with the knowledge that her fiance is dead.
Left to mourn her would be husband is his father and brother. With the questions unanswered in the death of Austin, widower Clay is left behind to mourn and wish for revenge on the murderer of his beloved brother. Sarah sees this as her only option and with her own secrets and fractured relationship with God she and Clay have much growth and forgiveness and mercy to apply for.
This is the first in the Texas Dreams series and is a lovely inspirational story. The romance is slow in building, the mystery rather interesting and the characters variable and interesting. If you are looking for a faith based book set in the old West… this could be the book for you!