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Heather C

USA
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  • Three Lessons in Seduction

  • By: Sofie Darling
  • Narrated by: Mary Sarah
  • Length: 9 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 15

Lord Nicholas Asquith needs his wife. Too bad he broke her heart ten years ago. Can he resist a second chance at the love he lost? When Mariana catches the eye of the man at the center of an assassination plot, Nick puts aside their painful past and enlists her to obtain information by any means necessary, even if it means seducing the enemy agent. Even if the thought makes his blood boil. Only by keeping his distance from Mariana these last ten years was he able to pretend indifference to her. With every moment spent with her, he feels his tightly held control slipping.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Author's Debut Is Amazing! I loved it!!

  • By Jody in Minneapolis on 01-01-18

A thrilling romance tale

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-21-18

I always love romance novels where the characters are married right from the beginning. It brings a very different tone between the characters than that of two characters that are just meeting for the first time. In this case, Mariana and Nick are not at all happily married, they actually have had very limited interactions over the last few years and are brought together surprisingly to them both. How they find their way through the web of lies and intrigue that have existed between them to determine if they can ever be actually together is quite fun. The plot builds their romance up over time in a satisfying manner, a true slow burner. I found them to be such a fun pairing.

I have also always enjoyed historical thrillers, it just adds something more to the traditional historical novel and I appreciate thrillers in modern settings as well. Here, we add the layers of thriller on top of the layers of romance, which makes for added depth to the story and characters. It adds more complication to the relationship between Mariana and Nick it also moves the plot along more quickly.

Oh and I loved how each chapter began with an entry from The Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue! It was fun!

Narrator Mary Sarah has such a soothing voice that it is an absolute pleasure to listen to and I could listen to the novel for long periods of time without needing to take a break – even if I wasn’t enjoying the story! Her tone is also excellent for the thriller/spy aspect of the novel as well; it well conveys the intrigue/romance/anticipation throughout. She also has an excellent French accent for the characters from that country. Sarah appears to have narrated many romance novels and I think that is an excellent choice! I would listen to any of them!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Love's Courage

  • By: Elizabeth Meyette
  • Narrated by: Amy McFadden
  • Length: 7 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3

In August 1777, Jenny Sutton leaves Williamsburg, Virginia, and the man she loves and sets sail for British-occupied Manhattan to tend to her dying father. Aboard the Destiny, Jonathon Brentwood makes a request of Jenny that will entangle her in the network of spies serving the Patriot cause. With her father already under suspicion, Jenny's activities must be hidden from the watchful eyes of British troops. Desperate to join - and protect - Jenny, Andrew Wentworth agrees to deliver messages to Patriot troops on his way to New York.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Well-written, suspenseful with deep characters

  • By BOOKTALK WITH EILEEN on 03-25-18

A Historical Romance Rife with History

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-18-18

This is the kind of historical romance that I enjoy most: hearty in historical detail and atmospheric world building, with the romance added in as is fitting to the story. I certainly enjoy a romance set in the English Ton or on the American western trail, but sometimes they tend to feel somewhat cookie-cutter: replace the heroine and the specific situation she is running from when she meets hero, while the two don’t always get along well at first, they fall in love and everything is wonderful at the end. These are fun and light and quick reads. However, I’m a straight historical reader first, and I truly prefer more historical detail and depth of story that fits into some real historical event. That is exactly what Elizabeth Meyette brings to us in Love’s Courage.

This novel brings us squarely into the events of the American Revolution. While we are introduced from the outset to the heartbreak that pushes the romantic plot-line forward throughout the entirety of the novel, it is clear that this is just an element that the characters must face while they try to help their families and the American cause. It is certainly something important to each of the two romantic leads, but it isn’t their only important trait or direction in life. However, don’t fear that you are going to lose out on the romance story-line, it is present throughout and is well served by the details.

I have not read the first two books in this series, Love’s Destiny or Love’s Spirit, however, for the most part I felt sufficiently in control of the story having jumped in at book 3. The first chapter, where we meet Andrew and Jenny, had me questioning if we were introduced to their budding romance in either of the earlier novels because it felt like I should know a little something about them already, but based on reviewing the blurbs of the other two novels, if so, they must have been side characters. So besides that initial chapter, I felt comfortable with starting later in the series.

I very much enjoyed listening to Amy McFadden read this novel. Her personification of the characters was complete and made them entirely more relatable to me and my enjoyment of them within the story. Each character has their own voice and characteristics. Any good narrator can do that though; what makes it an even better production is the small things. When they are aboard a ship, the characters have to sometimes shout to be heard over the wind or the snapping of the sails. Sometimes they are very angry for a situation not going they way anticipated. McFadden brilliantly encapsulates these stylistic elements in her performance. Additionally, the pace of the performance is perfect to keep the plot moving forward, but give you enough time to digest what is happening (as the plot is FULL!).

  • The Prophet and the Witch: A Novel of Puritan New England

  • My Father's Kingdom, Book Two
  • By: James W. George
  • Narrated by: Angus Freathy
  • Length: 11 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7

Puritans. Quakers. Pirates. Mohawks. Witches. And a brutal war.... If you thought New England was dull in the 1670s, get ready for a history lesson. In the critically acclaimed My Father's Kingdom, debut author James W. George transported his listeners to 1671 New England and the world of Reverend Israel Brewster. Four years later, Brewster is a disgraced outcast residing in Providence and working as a humble cooper, but despite his best efforts, King Philip's War has begun.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Simply Spectacular

  • By Writer's Reader on 02-01-18

A Forgotten Piece of History

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-21-18

As with the first novel in this series, I really enjoyed that this series takes on the subject matter of King Phillip’s War. This is an event that is very often overlooked, but very important in the history of early America. Whereas the first novel focused on the early events that led up to the start of the war, this novel deals with the actual war itself. We are witness to battles and strategies on both sides and it was interesting to see how the two different sides perceived this war. This book picks up essentially where the prior left off and as it has been a little while since I read it, it did take me a little longer to ease my way back in and reacquaint myself with the events (again since this isn’t a period I am familiar with).

I enjoyed being able to see the characters that we were introduced to in the first novel grow here in the second. Brewster has become very different from his earlier incarnation thanks to his fall from his high place and I always enjoy the scenes with Linto as I find him to be a dynamic character. Religion plays a huge role in the decisions of both sides in this war and George does an excellent job in bringing the reader into the mindset of what was going on at the time.

Angus Freathy does a very good job narrating this book. His more subtle British accent lends itself well to the personification of the colonial characters. Freathy creates unique voices for all of his characters which lends itself to their uniqueness and how they stand out as individuals in my mind even looking back on it. I loved that Freathy actually sang the songs that make appearance in the novel rather than simply reading them. While not an excellent singer, his attempt at this made the listening experience feel more full and to what the author would have wanted the reader to experience; I know that I tend to sing songs in my head when I encounter them on the page even when I have no point of reference for the tune. I also liked that they had a female singing a song that they were to have overheard in the church, which was a nice touch.

  • The Woman in the Camphor Trunk

  • An Anna Blanc Mystery (Anna Blanc Mysteries)
  • By: Jennifer Kincheloe
  • Narrated by: Moira Quirk
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 19

Los Angeles, 1908. In Chinatown, the most dangerous beat in LA, police matron Anna Blanc and her former sweetheart, Detective Joe Singer, discover the body of a white missionary woman, stuffed in a trunk in the apartment of her Chinese lover. If news about the murder gets out, there will be a violent backlash against the Chinese. Joe and Anna work to solve the crime quietly and keep the death a secret, reluctantly helped by the good-looking Mr. Jones, a prominent local leader.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Anna Blanc is an acquired taste

  • By Dee on 06-30-18

No Sophomore Slump Here

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-07-18

Oh dear Anna Blanc, how you get yourself into even bigger scrapes in this book than you did before! One might have thought you would have learned something…but it is just as hilarious, so keep bringing it. That is one thing that I have to mention – while this book is a historical mystery and sometimes thriller, there is so much comedy in the writing and dialogue that it keeps me listening hour after hour!

Book 2 picks up just a short time after the culminating events of the previous installment – Anna is figuring out even more how to navigate the working class world on her own, without her father’s money. But what she lacks in know-how she makes up for in spirit! As she gets herself wrapped up in a case of kidnapped Chinese women and a simmering war in Chinatown, she continuously bests the “real” cops is solving the crime. She knows a little more about the seedy world than she did before, but Chinatown is WAY out of her experience zone, so she is constantly playing catch-up. Through this storyline the author explores many Chinese customs as well as the barriers and stereotypes that the Chinese faced at this time.

I still loved Joe Singer and Anna’s relationship – that push-pull is there no matter how much they fight it, avoid it, and move on, but they are still SO hung up on each other that their working together is HILARIOUS. I loved the scene where Joe is in jail and Anna is intent on taking on solving this crime herself – he is having NONE of it! They are from such different worlds and really want different things in life, but something keeps pulling them back together and some of their best scenes are when they are looking out for each other.

The plot was pretty tight and covered A LOT of ground. There were a couple spots in the middle where I felt we didn’t need to be off on this tangent (while still relevant), but the banter and relationship growth moved me quickly through it enough that I don’t feel that it much affected my enjoyment of the novel. I would pick up another installment in a heartbeat! There is still so much unresolved!

Much like the first book, this was one of THE best audio productions I have listened to. It is excellently narrated. Moira Quirk is someone that would now lead me to pick up a book I’m not even interested in because she could interest me in it through her performance (believe me, I have already went and shelved a few of her other works in my Audible wishlist that are paranormal in genre, which isn’t my typical thing). And a performance it truly is. Quirk doesn’t just read the novel, but imbues Kincheloe’s characters with even more life. As I stated above, Kincheloe wrote some amazing characters that I loved, but Quirk brings out their complete nature to where you feel like they are standing in the room next to you. Yes, each character has their own unique voice, but many narrators do that. However, Quirk not only brings a different voice, but you can envision their mannerisms as well just from the way they are speaking. I’m not sure how she does this, but whatever it is, keep doing it! There is quite the range of nationalities and type of personalities in this novel and Quirk makes them all feel truly real, not cookie cutter or stereotyped. And there is singing! Actual singing! That is one of the things that always disappoints me is when a part that is clearly intended to be sung is instead simply read. And while I know that there are often legitimate reasons this has to be done, it does take away from the experience of the book and colors my perception of it.

Loved the book, loved the production, loved the narrator! Go pick up this book in print (if you don’t listen to books), but I HIGHLY encourage you to check out this audiobook production, it is FANTASTIC and you will not regret it!

This review was also posted at The Maiden's Court blog and a copy was received and honestly reviewed.

  • My Father's Kingdom

  • A Novel of Puritan New England
  • By: James W. George
  • Narrated by: Angus Freathy
  • Length: 6 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13

Thrust into the center of events is Reverend Israel Brewster, an idealistic young minister with a famous grandfather and a tragic past. Meanwhile, Massasoit's son, known as "King Philip" by the English, is tormented by both the present and the past. He is watching the resources and culture of the Wampanoag nation fade away at the hands of the English and desperately wishes to restore hope and security to his people. In a world of religious fervor, devastating sickness, and incessant greed, can the alliance of their forefathers survive?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting take of some American History

  • By Lomeraniel on 07-29-17

Excellent novel on a little discussed subject

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-04-17

The element that was the most interesting draw for me in selecting this book was the subject matter: My Father’s Kingdom focuses on the events in colonial America that lead up to King Phillip’s War. Now this is an area that I have only heard of in passing, did not learn about in any of my American History or Native American classes in school, and hasn’t been the subject of any novels that I have read. I’m always looking for new historical fiction set in America and love finding niche areas to read about and My Father’s Kingdom fits the bill. As the author points out at the end in his Notes section, this event was quite significant in early colonial history however most classes focus on the initial settling at Plymouth and Jamestown and then jump over 100 years to the Revolution, missing this unsettled time period entirely.

In My Father’s Kingdom, James George tells the story through dual narrative of that of a Wampanoag and from the perspective of the Puritan colonists. Through this storytelling method we see the issues resulting from the clash of the two cultures from both sides and it felt fairly even in terms of balance. I never really felt that the author was choosing a side. There were some characters that felt sympathy for the other culture and then those who didn’t care one bit to live peaceably with them – which is likely rather true about perspectives of the time.

There were some elements that bogged me down a little bit, primarily the emphasis on the Puritan ideals and religious belief, but I felt that it was important to get into the mindset of these colonists. At the same time there were some excellent action/drama scenes that kept the story moving; I especially appreciated the court trial scene of a group of Native Americans because of how ridiculous the whole thing was and how it showed the vast difference in the two perspectives.

While the story ends just at the first shots, literally, of King Phillip’s War I thought that George did an excellent job of bringing the reader right up into those events with a solid understanding of the complex web of events that lead to it. You can easily figure out what the end result of the war will be, one of the characters analyzes that and speaks to his people about it, but you can still see why they make that choice to go to war.

I would highly recommend this book for fans of American historical fiction as it will present something that is a fresh idea that has not been overdone.

Audiobook discussion:
Angus Freathy does a very good job narrating this book. His more subtle British accent lends itself well to the personification of the colonial characters. Freathy creates unique voices for all of his characters which lends itself to their uniqueness and how they stand out as individuals in my mind even looking back on it. His voice for one of Brewster’s adversaries is hilariously comical and heightened my enjoyment of the scenes he was in. Having grown up and lived in the area that this book takes place I did recognize some mispronunciations of locations and names, but it wouldn’t have likely been a noticeable issue for non-residents. I give Freathy kudos for actually singing the songs that make appearance in the novel rather than simply reading them. While not an excellent singer, his attempt at this made the listening experience feel more full and to what the author would have wanted the reader to experience; I know that I tend to sing songs in my head when I encounter them on the page even when I have no point of reference for the tune. Freathy asks for us to ignore his poor singing in the Author/Narrator notes, but I give him props for this, no apology needed!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Corralling Callie

  • By: Amelia Smarts
  • Narrated by: Gideon Welles
  • Length: 3 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 37
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 35
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 35

For 18-year-old orphan Callie Broderick, going west as a mail-order bride seems to be the only hope she has for a decent husband. But when she sets out for the gold-mining town of Sacramento with nothing more than the clothes on her back and a stagecoach ticket, she quickly discovers that the trip will be quite a bit different than she expected. As a former soldier, Jude Johnson is used to difficulties of all kinds during the arduous journey west, but he has never had to deal with trouble like Callie before.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Mail order spanking!

  • By PATRICIA on 03-12-17

Discipline on the Way West

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-23-17

I’m going to state right here at the very beginning that this will not be a book for everyone – even those who like historical romance might not find this to their tastes. Please take this disclaimer to heart before choosing to read this novel.

This is a very different kind of romance story; interwoven throughout the plot are elements of domestic discipline, particularly spanking (and not necessarily the erotic type, although that does come into play later on the novel for sure). On its face, I have no issues with that as an element, when used correctly and within a historical setting, because that was a more normalized way of life in the 1800s and on the frontier of the American West. I would have a much more difficult time with reading a story with these elements set within the modern day because that is not the typical way of life now. So knowing that, I left my modern sensibilities checked at the door when starting this book. With that out of the way, I did still have one issue that kept nagging at me throughout the entire story – this man who was doling out the discipline wasn’t her husband/boyfriend/father, quite honestly he was a complete stranger, which just felt sort of wrong to me. Yes, the author does go to a length to make the reasons known for why the male lead thinks it is his job to take the heroine to task for her wild ways, but it wasn’t quite believable enough for me to buy into this element of the story.

Moving on from that element, I did actually enjoy how the story unfolded, despite its brief length. I felt that I had a solid sense of who Callie was throughout the novel, even if a good portion of her backstory wasn’t revealed until right near the end. I still understood her motivations for heading out West to seek a husband and how she made many mistakes, but usually had the best intentions at heart. She is young, willful, and naïve. Jude comes off as your somewhat typical very masculine cowboy. He is strong and a no-nonsense straight-shooter. I didn’t have quite as much of a complete sense of who he was as a person, compared with Callie, but for me, his personality came off much larger than life and I didn’t feel like I needed as much to frame him in my mind.

This wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for from the novel, but it was a good read.

About the audiobook:
Gideon Welles was an excellent fit for voicing Jude in my opinion. He certainly came off as the weather-beaten cowboy and I bought into his character. I think that this helped frame his character in my mind despite having less actual information/story on the man himself. The exact opposite was true for his voicing of Callie. His voice has a difficult tone to try and replicate a woman’s in any way. This was unfortunate as at least half the novel takes place in Callie’s head and it would have been easier to get into her character with a more convincing voice. One issue I did have was with the pacing of the narration. The speed with which it was read was fine, however, Welles seemed to take pauses at some of the strangest locations within the text – places where it wouldn’t have even been appropriate for a comma/pause. I found myself getting hung up with this reading pattern because I would be anticipating a sentence to have reached its end only to find it pick back up again.

  • The Secret Life of Anna Blanc

  • By: Jennifer Kincheloe
  • Narrated by: Moira Quirk
  • Length: 12 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 43
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 41

It's 1907 Los Angeles. Mischievous socialite Anna Blanc is the kind of young woman who devours purloined crime novels, but must disguise them behind covers of more domestically-appropriate reading. She could match wits with Sherlock Holmes, but in her world women are not allowed to hunt criminals. Determined to break free of the era's rigid social roles, Anna buys off the chaperone assigned by her father and, using an alias, takes a job as a police matron with the Los Angeles Police Department.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderfully Researched and Delightfully Told

  • By The Audiobookworm on 01-06-17

Awesome debut!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-08-17

Prepare for me to fan-girl all over this review. You have been warned!

I couldn’t get enough of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc from the moment I picked it up! I listened to it every moment that I had: in the car commuting to work, while at work, while running on the treadmill, out-loud while sitting at home with my husband (which made for some extremely comical discussion!). I didn’t want the book to end and I’m thrilled to learn that this is a series and book 2 is coming out at the end of this year so I can inhale more of Anna Blanc!

One of the things that immediately connected me to this book was the style. It reminded me in many ways of the early Janet Evanovich comedy/romance/mystery novels: girl is completely out of her depths trying to solve a mystery and has no idea what she is doing. Beyond that, Kincheloe’s writing style is full of wit and comedic timing. I was constantly laughing either at what one of the characters was doing or how they were saying it.

Anna is delightfully naïve in the world of the underbelly of society, which makes sense because she comes from money. But she wants to get out and see more of the world, not sit around and wait to get old while her father refuses to find a man for her to marry. She is bold and daring and comes up with an over-the-top way to become employed as a police matron at the local police station. Is she qualified? Not in the slightest. Does she get the job because the man hiring her thinks she is nice to look at? Absolutely.

But despite her lack of skills, somehow Anna manages to get the job done…with a lot help from both willing and unwilling friends and accomplices. Officer Joe Singer is one of those sometimes willing and unwilling friends. Thinking back on it now, he really reminds me a lot of Luke from Gilmore Girls: totally in love with the heroine and will do anything to help her, but will go out of his way to make it seem like a hardship and be grouchy about doing it. I loved how Kincheloe played Anna and Joe off of each other and their conversations were some of the best of the book. The author really knows how to write banter between two people who are so at odds with each other but totally into one another.

Oh, and speaking of the writing – hands down, the best parts were when we get inside Anna’s head and what she is thinking, especially when it comes to romance where she is a complete novice. In terms of what happens in the book, it’s no more than PG-13, but Anna’s thoughts are hilarious in where she takes these rendezvous. (It’s even more hilarious when your husband walks into the room when one of these segments is playing out loud and he abruptly walks back out of the room! I credit the author with some entertaining conversations that arose from this over the rest of the week.)

Beyond the mystery storyline, there is a lot to be said about women, their rights, and how they are perceived during this time. Anna attends a rally for women’s right to vote (really just because she wants to do something sensational), which gets her arrested and infuriates her father. On the job there is a lot of sexist remarks made toward Anna or spoken in front of her (lots of conversations about going to the horse stables with Joe and what that means, true or not). Her father and fiancé are appalled with her antics and want her to be well behaved – she even ends up with a bevy of chaperones and the lengths she goes to in order to get around them are hilarious. Then beyond Anna, there is the whole element of the brothel girls and how the deaths of these girls is handled and how these women are treated. It was all very well integrated into the novel as a whole.

I cannot wait for book 2 to be released and will be on my auto-buy list as I had the most fantastic time reading this book. This is an EXCELLENT debut from this author and I have and will continue to highly recommend this book to everyone I talk with.

Audiobook Impressions:

You know how I was fan-girling hard above? It continues here too!

This was one of THE best audio productions I have listened to and I am even more impressed as it appears it was published by the author, because the quality is that of one of the big name audiobook publishers. It is excellently narrated. Moira Quirk is someone that would now lead me to pick up a book I’m not even interested in because she could interest me in it through her performance (believe me, I have already went and shelved a few of her other works in my Audible wishlist that are paranormal in genre, which isn’t my typical thing). And a performance it truly is. Quirk doesn’t just read the novel, but imbues Kincheloe’s characters with even more life. As I stated above, Kincheloe wrote some amazing characters that I loved, but Quirk brings out their complete nature to where you feel like they are standing in the room next to you. Yes, each character has their own unique voice, but many narrators do that. However, Quirk not only brings a different voice, but you can envision their mannerisms as well just from the way they are speaking. I’m not sure how she does this, but whatever it is, keep doing it! There is quite the range of nationalities and type of personalities in this novel and Quirk makes them all feel truly real, not cookie cutter or stereotyped. And there is singing! Actual singing! That is one of the things that always disappoints me is when a part that is clearly intended to be sung is instead simply read. And while I know that there are often legitimate reasons this has to be done, it does take away from the experience of the book and colors my perception of it.

Loved the book, loved the production, loved the narrator! Go pick up this book in print (if you don’t listen to books), but I HIGHLY encourage you to check out this audiobook production, it is FANTASTIC and you will not regret it!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Mail-Order Brides of the West

  • Trudy
  • By: Debra Holland
  • Narrated by: Lara Asmundson
  • Length: 6 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 284
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 254
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 255

The well-educated daughter of a lawyer, Trudy Bauer arrives at the St. Louis based Mail-Order Brides of the West agency full of excitement for an adventure of a lifetime. She befriends the agency's maid, Evie Davenport, and the two form a strong and lasting friendship. They vow to stay in contact through letters when Evie takes hold of her destiny and arranges a marriage on the sly. Each brave young woman is ready to face whatever an unknown groom and life in Montana can throw her way.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Mail-Order Brides of the West: Trudy

  • By Cathy Henderson on 09-25-14

A Bride Goes West for Adventure

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-02-16

This mail-order bride series is a different type of series in that it is being written by two different authors instead of just one author for the whole series. Each author has written their own books in the series, but their characters are interconnected. This is seeming to become more of a common occurrence these days with authors writing in each other’s series. The characters written about by Debra Holland will also appear in her Montana Sky series while the characters in Caroline Fyffe’s novels will appear in her McCutcheon series. So, it will be kinda cool to see how all of these characters interact, but I love the idea that they are loosely tied to one another. Trudy connects with the second book Evie as they write back and forth to each other throughout this story and I’m assuming Evie too. It was even cute how at the end of the book, Trudy is holding a conversation with her new husband about trying to find husbands for her friends at the bride agency – which we will see in coming books!

Trudy is the first woman to sign up for a mail-order bride service that wasn’t in some sort of trouble, whether it be being left at the altar, finding themselves pregnant and alone, or running from some bad relationship. Trudy signs up because she wants adventure out west, more than her boring life can give her – and she certainly does find that, daily life is an adventure! It was also cool to see the vetting process that the bride agency went through before pairing up couples; I’m sure that some took their agency seriously while others just randomly paired up people with less than a thought. Seth is looking for a mail-order bride after losing the woman that he intends to marry. Getting used to this new woman in his life is exciting and he wants to embrace it fully, but he is still struggling to get over his previous woman. This sets the stage for certain problems to arise between Seth and Trudy who are desperately trying to understand each other. Nevermind the fact that Trudy is trying to get used to living the life in the west.

I immediately liked both Seth and Trudy. I had encountered them as a married couple in another one of Holland’s books, Grace, Bride of Montana, and loved them as the seasoned mail-order bride couple, so it was fun getting to see that develop and how they got to that point. They are both trying hard to make the relationship work, but there were really a couple times that I wasn’t so sure they were going to make it. Trudy is really not well suited to life in the west, but she has all the earnestness to learn the ropes. The only struggle that I had with Trudy was her reaction upon finding out that Seth had previously intended to marry someone else before turning to the mail-order bride service. I imagine that if a man is resorting to a mail-order bride service, there could be any number of reasons behind why he is doing so, but I thought her reaction was a little bit over the top.

The romance here is very mild. The two spend the majority of the novel just trying to get to know one another, so this is a sweet, clean read.

I don’t know if it is just that I am getting used to this narrator, this being the third time I have listened to her, but I felt that she did a pretty good job with this story. She did a great job enhancing the sweetness of Trudy. She does have some slight changes of voice for the different characters, but it is not so obvious that it is distracting (which was a problem that I had with a prior narration from her). Her reading pace is unhurried and made a 200 page novel feel longer (in a good way).

  • Grace: Bride of Montana

  • American Mail-Order Brides, Book 50
  • By: Debra Holland
  • Narrated by: Lara Asmundson
  • Length: 3 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 100
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 86
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 86

Practical Grace Dickinson thought she had her life all planned, including picking out the perfect husband. But she couldn't have predicted the disaster that changed everything, leaving her no choice but to become a mail-order bride to a most imperfect man.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Escaping to Montana

  • By Texas Daughter on 04-08-16

Let Love Grow

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-11-16

Grace’s story is technically book number 41 in the 50 books series American Mail-Order Brides; but don’t be fooled by this statement, you do not need to read them in any order. Each bride is simply from a different state in the United States. Grace is the bride of Montana – although her story starts in Massachusetts and with a sort of tragic story.

Grace sets her mind on becoming a mail-order bride because the company she works for burns down and her romantic prospects take a huge flop. She is desperate to get as far away from where everything has turned toward the worst and can’t perceive anywhere being further away than Montana. When she arrives in Montana she is met not only by her future spouse, Frey, but also Trudy and Seth Flanagan. It was interesting to see Grace interact with Trudy as Trudy arrived in Montana as a mail-order bride herself (she even has her own book!) and she could offer experience and someone for Grace to relate to in the new world. The scenes between Grace and Frey are sweet and develop from a friendship and into love. They both give each other time to get acquainted with their situation and don’t try to force something that isn’t necessarily there…yet. Grace is still reeling from the failed relationship at home and is both trying to deal with that as well as this new romantic relationship – so she is a rocky boat but trying to make the best of it.

This is a low drama novel; its strength is in its character building. I appreciated that the author allowed the characters to get to know each other and not have them fall in love at first sight. All of the characters are very likable and I found their conversations to be downright funny at times. There is one dramatic scene toward the end that really cements this new relationship, a pivotal moment that caught me off guard as I was used to the low key nature of the plot.

The heat rating is very low on this one – as I said, they are really just trying to figure things out and Grace is still mourning her last relationship. There are sweet thoughts, some hand holding, and a chaste kiss or two – it all made sense with how their relationship was forming.

I enjoyed this novella and would love to read more set in this world of Sweetwater Springs – which is excellent as there are not only many written by this author but a few written by other authors as well!

I had some issues with the narrator, most notably the voice that she used when reading the lines and thoughts of Frey, the male protagonist. It sounds like she was trying hard to pull over a low pitched voice, which didn’t quite come off natural, but felt a little forced. It would shake me from the story every time Frey would come back into the story, which was a little unfortunate as he was very often there. I didn’t have any issues with her other voices, even for the other male character, Seth Flanagan. I think it would have been markedly improved if she did not try for so low a voice for Frey. Ms. Asmundson narrates many of the novels in the Montana Sky series, particularly the Mail-Order Brides of the West segment, so I’m hoping that this doesn’t continue to be a repeated issue for me, since I would like to enjoy more of these on audio format. I enjoyed her pacing of the story, it felt natural and even overall.

This review was previously posted at The Maiden's Court blog and the audio download was received in exchange for an honest review.