Review: The Mistress of Tall Acre by Laura Frantz

The Mistress of Tall Acre by Laura Frantz
Revell, 2015

I always look forward to a new Laura Frantz novel. Ever since I read Courting Morrow Little, I’ve been hooked on her books. When I heard about The Mistress of Tall Acre, I was excited for the chance to read it, as Laura talks about this book on social media as the book of her heart. How can you not read a book after seeing her passion for it?

As always, Laura’s lyrical writing gently pulls the reader along for a beautiful story. My favorite character has to be Lily Cate, Seamus’ daughter. Watching Seamus come back from war to his young daughter and trying to get to know her was precious. He has to gain her trust and her love, and their relationship was so touching throughout the book.

If you love Lori Benton or Joanne Bischof, you’ll enjoy Laura Frantz’s novels, so go check this one out!

*I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*

Summary (from Goodreads):
The American Revolution is finally over, and Sophie Menzies is starved for good news. When her nearest neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy, finally comes home to Tall Acre, she hopes it is a sign of better days to come. But the general is now a widower with a small daughter in desperate need of a mother. Nearly destitute, Sophie agrees to marry Seamus and become the mistress of Tall Acre in what seems a safe, sensible arrangement. But when a woman from the general’s past returns without warning, the ties that bind this fledgling family together will be strained to the utmost. When all is said and done, who will be the rightful mistress of Tall Acre?

Triumph and tragedy, loyalty and betrayal–readers find it all in the rich pages of this newest historical novel from the talented pen of Laura Frantz. Her careful historical details immerse the reader in the story world, and her emotional writing and finely tuned characters never cease to enchant fans both old and new.

A Noble Groom | September Discussion & Giveaway #HedlundChallenge2015

Hedlund Logo

The 2015 Jody Hedlund Challenge is a monthly series featuring the novels of author Jody Hedlund, hosted by Cassie of Bookshelves and Windows and Jamie of Books and Beverages. We invite readers and bloggers to join us in reading and discussing these books together. Every month, we’ll announce the book about four weeks before the discussion post will go live (alternating between Cassie and Jamie’s blogs). The following month, after everyone has read the book, we will discuss and interact with each other about our thoughts on each book with special appearances throughout the year! If you’re on Facebook be sure to join our group!

This is my last time hosting our monthly discussion of The 2015 Jody Hedlund Challenge! How bittersweet it is to realize the end is quickly approaching, but I’m happy A Noble Groom is the last book I get to talk about! It’s one of my favorites (yes, I know I’ve said this again and again!).

As this is my last time bringing the discussion to all of you, I wanted to do something fun and memorable, so I put a lot of thought into what I was going to say today.  More than a year ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to be one of the judges for the Inspy awards and A Noble Groom was the winner for my category.

So, I thought it would be fun to share my unedited love for this book below, which also doubled as my effort to win over my fellow judges to make this book a winner! Without further ado, here is my monologue from back in the midst of judging:

My favorite book is A Noble Groom. For me, it had everything I’m looking for in a historical romance: a great sense of time and setting, character development, a plot that moves, and a great message.

Jody has an engaging writing style that pulls you in and grasps your attention. She is wonderful at creating complex characters who show growth and keeping the tension in her story present in every scene.

We meet Annalisa as a young woman who is struggling to make ends meet. She was no voice and is unable to give her opinion and make her own decisions about her own life—her father does that for her. She is also very cautious and guarded around Carl because of her past experience. She doesn’t know what love is or that it is even possible to love a man- her only reason for marrying is to survive and keep her land.

But throughout the story, we see her grow into a stronger woman, one who has convictions about her life and the way she wants to live it, and Carl gives her courage to see the possibility of living her life her way. His presence in her life teaches her to trust and open her heart to love. And by opening her heart and trusting Carl, she learns to see relationships differently—that they can be full of love and respect and mutual affection for one another. In the end, I love how she is bold and stands up to her father. She no longer bends to his commands, but decides to have faith and take control of her own life.

Carl also had great character development. We meet him as a carefree, cocky young man who is running away from his life as a nobleman and hiding secrets. But, when he begins his life working on the farm, he grows not only in physical strength, but also in his character as a man. He is vulnerable in his new situation, and that forces him to make a decision: learn and succeed, or give up and fail. This is a struggle for him, as many times he wants to escape back to a better life. But he stays. He helps Annalisa. He protects her. He respects her. He shows her kindness and is sensitive to her needs. He learns that it is better to face the consequences of his mistakes rather than to run away from them. He grows from a careless young man to a strong man who wants to do right by the people he loves. And through it all, he never loses his personality—one filled with charm, playfulness, and kindness.

I think this story was about learning to love and trust. To have a relationship grounded in who God is and what he has done for us.

One more thing. I loved that Jody included a real historical event in this book. The fire at the end of the story was a heart-wrenching and intense part of the book, and to know that fire truly happened made it all come together for me.

And I still love this story for all the same reasons! It’s so good!

Now on to you, my friends. What did you think of this book? Let’s discuss:

  1. Who was your favorite character? Favorite scene in the book?
  2. What themes stood out the most to you while reading?
  3. Do you love this book as much as I do??

Before you go, Jamie and I have a giveaway for you. One lucky winner will receive a copy of Luther and Katharina, our final read of the year! Enter here —>  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Announcing The Final Read for #HedlundChallenge2015! | Luther and Katharina

Hedlund Logo

The 2015 Jody Hedlund Challenge is a monthly series featuring the novels of author Jody Hedlund, hosted by Cassie of Bookshelves and Windows and Jamie of Books and Beverages. We invite readers and bloggers to join us in reading and discussing these books together. Every month, we’ll announce the book about four weeks before the discussion post will go live (alternating between Cassie and Jamie’s blogs). The following month, after everyone has read the book, we will discuss and interact with each other about our thoughts on each book with special appearances throughout the year! If you’re on Facebook be sure to join our group!

I can hardly believe we are announcing the last read of the year for the Jody Hedlund Challenge! Where did this year go? We are winding down with Jody’s newest book, to be released in October, Luther and Katharina! We hope you will all join us as we bring this challenge to a close and celebrate your accomplishment of reading Jody Hedlund’s books with us!

Luther and Katharina: A Novel of Love and Rebellion

from Goodreads: Katharina von Bora has seen nothing but the inside of cloister walls since she was five. In a daring escape, Katharina finds refuge with Martin Luther and seeks his help to pair her with the noble, wealthy husband she desires.

As class tensions and religious conflicts escalate toward the brink of war, Martin Luther believes that each day could be his last and determines he will never take a wife.

As the horrors of the bloody Peasant War break out around them, the proud Katharina and headstrong Martin Luther fight their own battle for true love, in one of the greatest love stories of history.

Discussion Date: October 27, 2015

Where to Buy (Preorder): Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD.com

And don’t forget! Next week we’re discussing A Noble Groom right here, and it’ll be my last time hosting! See you then.

Review: A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter

Whenever I read a book for review, I take notes to help me write the review once I’ve finished. The first comment I had about this one? “I think I’m going to like this book.” And I was right!

A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter
Hawthorne House, Book 1
Bethany House, 2015

If you like the humor of Jen Turano’s novels, this is a book you will enjoy. Debut author Kristi Ann Hunter writes in a similar vein to Jen’s humor while maintaining a distinct and engaging voice.

When I started reading this book, I expected a love triangle, but what I got was so much more. A Noble Masquerade follows Lady Miranda Hawthorne as she falls in love amidst the mystery, humor, and drama that abounds in this story. She finds herself intrigued by her brother’s new valet, who mistakenly sends one of her secret letters to the duke. When the duke responds to Miranda’s letter, her love life gets a little more complicated.

Another aspect I loved was the duplicity of the characters, oftentimes humorous. Not every person you meet is what they seem to be, but are hiding a previous lifestyle (that comes in handy when necessary) and I found it a fun and intriguing part of the story. Piecing together their backgrounds adds an extra layer to this humorous and enigmatic novel.

Today is release day, so go grab your copy! Want a sneak peek? Here’s a small excerpt of the book that I loved:

*I am an influencer for Kristi Ann Hunter. This is my honest opinion and all thoughts are my own.*