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Publisher's Summary

Jake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. When battlefield nightmares disturb his peace and his tomboy niece Juliet needs taming, somehow a mail-order bride seems like a logical solution.

Dr. Evangeline Olson has no idea her niece is writing to a rancher on her behalf, and she sure isn’t interested in abandoning her medical practice for a stranger. But when an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, she travels west to become Jake’s wife.

Jake soon realizes Evangeline is more than he bargained for, especially when her arrival causes a stir in the community. As the two try to find their way in a marriage of convenience, their fragile relationship is further tested by cattle rustling and kidnapping. Can their hearts overcome past hurts to create a real marriage? 

General Content (G) (I): Contains little or no; sexual dialogue or situations, violence, or strong language. May also contain some content of an inspirational/religious nature.

©2017 Smitten Historical Romance (P)2018 Smitten Historical Romance

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Pam C
  • Wolfforth, TX
  • 05-08-18

One of the best!

Finished listening to this book in just 2 days! If you are interested in a VERY well written, Christian story this fits the need! This is a mystery, drama, non-violent, love , prayer-filled story. The author develops the characters and the storyline in a way that you can't help but enjoy. If you get the audiobook, you are getting one of the best narrators with Meghan Kelly! Get it!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A marvelous mail order bride Western!

This was one of the most delightful mail order bride stories I've read in a time. Evangeline is a strong independent lead character, yet she works in perfect balance and respect with her husband Jake. I absolutely loved the faith in this story, how both Evangeline & Jake depended on the Lord for their strength and guidance. One of my favorite parts was when Evangeline helps the young lady sell her woven cloth and yarn to the Mercantile. There were so many great parts to this intricate book, and plenty of mystery and intrigue to keep ones attention. Meghan did a marvelous job with the narrative and all the character's voices. I'm always in awe she can do so many different ones, making the story come to life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Meghan Kelly brought it to life!

Okay, so I'll start with the story first. Overall, I enjoyed the book. Because there was no physicality or overt romance scenes, the plot had to carry the book completely. In that, it did not disappoint. It had everything you would expect in a western, and more. There was the fallout from the civil war, cattle thieves, racist shop owners in a dusty town, men on the run, and the ramifications of women's rights and breaking the glass ceiling of what is expected of a woman and a wife. As a historian, the story was vastly believable as well and I didn't find any inaccuracies that might ruin it for another history buff.
The bulk of the book relied on Christian values, from the themes of forgiveness and grace to the cornerstones of Evangeline and Jake's marriage. While I normally do not read Christian books, it's nice to have a clean read that one can share with Grandma without feeling the need to skip Sunday dinner out of shame.
As for the narration, I was pleased as punch (whatever that means!) at how Meghan handled things. Her voice was clear and sharp and she gave life to each character as she spoke. You could always tell when Jake was calling out from the barn or Juliet was speaking about her beloved dog, even without using "he said/she said" after every sentence. You would never know she was a one woman show, recording and editing herself.
Overall, I highly recommend Secrets and Charades in audiobook and highly highly recommend Meghan Kelly as a narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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More than just a Mail Order Bride book

This book has a little of everything. Held my attention right to the end and then I was sorry to see it end. Well worth the credit. Meghan Kelly does a great job narrating this book. Her performance is excellent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Sweet, historical western

Mail Order brides to me always come with a strong woman and a wonderful man and the two always end up falling in love. Cindy Ervin Huff has taken this premise and given personalities to the characters with a fresh new perspective. Evangeline, a free thinking, progressive woman comes to marry Jake. With secrets in her past, she is hesitant to be completely open with him but does her best to help run his ranch. She is a doctor by trade, something unheard of for the time, is nice to the servants and especially falls in love with Jake's niece. There is trouble on the ranch, and as they work together to find the answers, life becomes more intimate. But will Jake accept her when he finds out what she is hiding? So much goes into this story, but the standout for me is Evie. Her character is wonderful. Even though she comes from a different class of people, she treats all as she would like to be treated. She doesn't feel the need to be like everyone else, and is here to help all. With a strong Christian basis, this story is a beautiful read showing the true merits of this new to me author.

Meghan Kelly is perfect for this book. Her ability to bring characters to life is incredible, giving them each distinctive voices and personalities.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Secrets&Charades

This was a very good book, finding each other after being afraid that no one would understand your past. Very heart warming. The naration was wonderful. I just thought the pause between chapter's was a little to long. If you haven't read or listed to it I highly recommend it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A pleasant surprise.

Secrets & Charades is a sweet, clean historical romance.  Huff blends moments of courage with heartfelt fears and finds gold.  What  started with letters becomes an adventure of the heart. Jake and Evie find themselves dupped into a mail order arrangement. Evie is a woman who prides herself on following her dreams.  Jake is a man in need of some emotional healing.  Apart they exist, together they learn to live.  Their romance is littered with a hint of suspense and moments of enlightment.  The edition of Meghan Kelly is an added bonus. Her ability to give each character a personality  that is separate from the story and more about the connection is a welcome asset.  A pleasant surprise.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Bravo

Evangeline steals the readers heart with her caring nature. She is progressive woman in a time that women are most certainly not treated as equals. I found it endearing how patient and understanding Jake’s nature is. He takes great strides in coming to terms with Evangeline’s career and wealth. Cindy Ervin Huff writes a wonderful story and Meghan Kelly is amazing at bringing these characters to life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Amazing Narration in Western Romance


“Secrets & Charades” by Cindy Ervin Huff is an engaging marriage of convenience Christian novel set in post-Civil War Texas. The story essentially begins when Dr. Evangeline finds out her niece has been writing to rancher Jake Marcum on her behalf and he’s proposed marriage (he needs a mother for his orphaned niece). Instead of being upset with her niece, Evangeline decides to leave her home in Missouri and accept the request for a number of reasons. Unlike most mail order brides, she meets Jake with numerous trunks containing her worldly goods, more money than she can spend in one small town, and a ton of emotional baggage. Jake has patience in abundance because Evangeline won’t let him touch her until she is good and ready, with Jake being as chaste as a monk throughout the entire book. They finally become a true married couple at the end of the book after Evangeline is kidnapped and they both realize how much they’ve learned to admire, respect, and love each other.

The irrefutably talented Meghan Kelly narrates this story and her narration is simply sublime. Meghan provides different voices for all characters and she has great intonation and pace. Her narration definitely contributed to my enjoyment of the book and the overall rating shows it.

If I have one complaint about this story, it is that the characters frequently “break the 4th wall” to let the reader know they are reciting a prayer. In other inspirational stories I’ve listened to, faith is often referred to, but I’ve never listened to “prayers” in such a manner – it was distracting from the story. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Meghan Kelly narrate this audiobook and recommend it to anyone who enjoys Christian historical romance.

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The Power of a Smart Woman

I received a code to give an honest review for this booking. This was a new to me author so I was unsure what to expect and I love a good western romance. I enjoyed getting to see all the surprises and secrets that came out from each character, I loved that Evangeline was a doctor and that she was calm and collected when everyone else was unable to handle such a stressful situation. Jake is exactly what Evangeline needed in a husband and I feel like he needed her just as much as she needed him. I loved how the sweet romance started to play out with them even if he married her to take care of his niece. There was suspense that I found very intriguing. If you like a good sweet western romance then I would highly recommend this book.