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Review: SUMMER BREEZE by Catherine Anderson

Title: Summer Breeze

Author: Catherine Anderson 

Category: Historical Romance

Source: Borrowed from library 

Review by Candy

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Rachel Hollister is in a prison of her own making. Ever since her family was slaughtered on a picnic, she has refused to leave her house. When her ranch foreman, Darby, is shot, he makes her nearest neighbor, Joseph Paxton keep an eye on her. Joseph is just doing the right thing by protecting Rachel but he can’t deny that he finds her beautiful. As these two slowly get to know each other, they both begin to fall for one another. Will Joseph be able to protect Rachel from am unknown enemy? Is this confirmed bachelor ready to settle down?

Having a degree in history makes me very picky about the historical fiction I do read, especially when it comes to historical romances. All too often they seem to be full if purple prose and weak female characters. Fortunately, Anderson defied my expectations on both accounts and I found myself staying up past my bedtime to finish this book.

At first glance, Rachel seems like a weak character imprisoned by her own fears. As the book progresses and Rachel slowly comes out of her shell, Anderson shows us just how strong she is. Rachel has to overcome her agoraphobia and other mental issues with no help from any professionals.
I loved the story of Joseph and his unsuccessful fight to remain a bachelor. Joseph doesn’t want to be tied down to just one woman. As he gets to know Rachel, though, thoughts of marriage and even children creep into his mind. It took Joseph a while but he finally realized that Rachel was his soulmate.

One of the best parts of the book was the suspense that was thrown in. Joseph and his brother, who is also the town marshall begin to investigate the shooting of Darby, which leads them back to the murder of Rachel’s family. I was actually surprised who committed the crime as I was convinced another character had done it.

Summer Breeze by Catherine Anderson is the third book in the Keegan-Paxton Series but it can be read as a standalone. Anderson has penned a well written historical romance about overcoming your fears and living life. If you enjoy western/historical romances with some suspense thrown in, this book would be a good read for you.

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Review: KEEGAN’S LADY by Catherine Anderson

In Keegan’s Lady by Catherine Anderson, Ace Keegan has returned to No Name, Colorado to extract revenge on the men who killed his step father. Unfortunately, the ring leader is now dead but Ace decides that ruining the son will work just as well. What Ace doesn’t count on is meeting the daughter, Caitlin, who immediately works her way into his heart. When Caitlin’s reputation is tarnished, Ace does what he thinks is the honorable thing by marrying her. Ace wasn’t prepared for how much damage her abusive father did to Caitlin and Ace embarks on a mission to convince her that all men aren’t bad. Will Caitlin ever trust Ace? Will Ace get revenge on the men who changed his life forever?

There are so many layers to Caitlin’s character that I don’t know really where to start. She is loyal without a fault even to her no good drunken brother and a hard worker, who is working day and night to save the family farm. She is also ferocious in protecting any animal or individual that she feels is being mistreated.

The love that develops between Ace and Caitlin is a slow one. Caitlin is beyond angry that she is now trapped in a marriage that she didn’t want and is convinced Ace will treat her as nothing more than his property. As Ace comes to know Caitlin even better, he is horrified and angered to learn about the abuse she suffered growing up. Ace becomes determined to show Caitlin what love really is.

The story of Ace seeking revenge made for an engrossing read. Ace has hatched an elaborate plan involving rumors of a railroad spur to take down his enemies through financial ruin. At first Ace continues his plan despite the implications it could have for Caitlin’s brother but as he gets to know the family, Ace begins to question if it is worth it. He eventually comes to a crossroads where he has to decide between revenge or the woman he loves.

Keegan’s Lady is the first book in the Keegan-Paxton Series by Catherine Anderson. Anderson has written a beautiful love story as well as taking on the subjects of abuse, revenge, and forgiveness. If you enjoy historical western romances, this book would be a good read for you.

Title: Keegan’s Lady

Author: Catherine Anderson

Category: Historical Fiction

Source: Borrowed from library

Review: DAWN ON A DISTANT SHORE by Sara Donati

In Dawn on a Distant Shore by Sara Donati, Elizabeth Bonner wants nothing more than to raise her growing family in peace. Word reaches her that her husband and father-in-law have been arrested as spies in Montreal and face being hung for a crime they didn’t commit. Elizabeth decides she has no choice but to gather up her children and head north to plead for her husband’s life. Things become more complicated as the mysterious Earl of Carryck begins to manipulate the Bonners from Scotland. Carryck needs a male heir or his estate will forfeit to the crown. Elizabeth and Nathaniel’s infant son would make the perfect heir and Carryck arranges to kidnap all of the Bonner’s children. Will Nathaniel and Elizabeth ever be reunited with their children?

I can’t say enough good things about Elizabeth’s character in this series. Unlike a lot of women in the late 1700s, Elizabeth speaks her mind and stands up for herself. In this book we also get a glimpse of the aristocrat she was raised to be as she battles Carryck for her son.

Nathaniel and Elizabeth’s relationship continues to get better. Unlike many men in that time period, Nathaniel sees Elizabeth as his equal partner in life. Their love for each other is very tangible and you just know that their story will be passed down through the generations.

The overall plot was a sprawling global saga that kept me interested. From the backwoods of New York to Scotland, Donati lays out a fascinating story. Her description of life during this time period add another dimension of enjoyment to the story.

Dawn on a Distant Shore is the second book in the Wilderness series by Sara Donati (not a standalone read). Donati does a wonderful job writing vivid descriptions of post Revolutionary War America. Her leading characters find a way to nestle in your brain and become like family. If you love the Outlander series, this would be a good read for you.

Title: Dawn on a Distant Shore

Author: Sara Donati

Category: Fiction

Source: Borrowed from library

Review: THE ACCIDENTAL EMPRESS by Allison Pataki

In The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki, in 1853, Elizabeth, Duchess of Bavaria is ordered to travel with her sister to the Habsburg summer court. Franz Joseph, the young and exciting emperor is ready to settle down and get married. His mother, the Archduchess Sophie has decided that Elizabeth ‘s sister Helene would be a perfect match for her son. Helene doesn’t want to get married and she certainly doesn’t want to become Empress but she has no choice in the matter.  When the two sisters are introduced to the court it becomes very obvious that Elizabeth or Sisi as she is called by her family would be better suited to be Franz Joseph ‘s wife. Sisi was never trained to become royalty and as she struggles in her new role,  she throws the Hapsburg court into disarray

22609307I wasn’t familiar at all with Sisi prior to reading this book. Once I got a few chapters in, I Googled her name to get a better understanding of her. The best way I can describe Sisi and her impact on the Hapsburgs is that she was the Princess Diana of her day. Sisi set the fashion standards for women in the empire and like Diana she became more popular than the ruling family she married into. Unlike Diana,  Sisi didn’t have the option of divorcing her husband when the marriage soured.

One of the hardest parts for me to relate to was how Sisi had no relationship with her children. Sophie literally snatches them from her at birth and refuses to allow Sisi to have any contact.  Sisi seems content at first to allow it and by the time she finds her back bone,  it’s too late.

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Review: SHEV by Tracey Devlyn

Shev by Tracey Devlyn is a great novella. It is a nice ending to the Nexus Series. I am not a huge historical romance fan, but Devlyn is one of a of the few I will auto-read. I have really enjoyed this series because they are spies, which leads to suspense and mystery in addition to the romance. Spies from the past are a lot different than contemporary spies. Very intriguing. If you like historical romance or even if you haven’t given it a try, you should check out this short story or the entire series.

25636276In Shev, we read about Marcus and Anne. Marcus is a bit of a playboy that Anne wants nothing to do with. She is brought in as a governess for his daughter. Marcus doesn’t think he will have a problem keeping his hands off Anne because she is not really his type at all. Boy is he wrong. One thing I love about Devlyn’s heroines is that they are strong. Even with their sometimes troubled past, they stand up for themselves and usually go outside the expectations of how they should act in public. I find that pretty cool.

This is a novella and reads fast. It was entertaining from start to finish with some intrigue, mystery and some fantastic romance. This book was hot and I loved it! I have read al the other books in the series and wasn’t expecting it. I thought there was the perfect blend of detail and imagination which made it incredibly passionate.

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Review: THE QUEEN’S VOW by C.W. Gortner

In The Queen’s Vow by CW Gortner, Isabella of Castile was never meant to become queen. As a female royal,  it was her duty to be married off as soon as possible and only for the benefit of her family or country. Fate intervenes, and she is thrust into the limelight as her half brother’s only heir. Isabella then defies her brother and custom by marrying her love, Fernando of Aragon, creating one of the ultimate power couples in history.

12796941Let’s face it. Spanish history is not sexy. No one has done a series on cable TV about it. For the most part, when dealing with history, it’s always about King Phillip and his dealings with the Tudors or it’s an eye glazing account of the Spanish Inquisition. Gortner breathes life into this chapter of Spanish history. Any subject he touches becomes tangible and real to the reader.  You feel as if you personally know these historical figures and you feel all of their emotions as the story plays out.

I honestly didn’t know much about Isabella. I had done some reading on my own about the Spanish Inquisition, her expulsion of the Jewish population in 1492, as well as her support of Christopher Columbus. Most authors I have read (either fiction or non), have made Isabella out to be cold and aloof, especially when her daughter Katherine is mentioned.

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Review: LATYMER by Tracey Devlyn

What an emotional read. Laytmer by Tracey Devlyn is the fourth book in her Nexus Series and full of surprises and gut wrenching emotion. Throughout the series Latymer has been the traitor. The bad guy. So, I was shocked when I found out the fourth book would be about him. It has a different feel to it than the other three books. The biggest to me is that the main love story in this book in my opinion is between a father and son, but it also shows the love that Latymer had for his wife.

Latymer 2In Latymer, we find a father and son on the run from all the people and choices Latymer has made. He wants to make a new life for him and his son, Giles and that means catching a boat to America. However, in true Tracey Devlyn fashion, things are never easy. There is always a spy from some country showing up at the worst possible time.

In this book, a big question is can a bad guy turn good? Maybe. Maybe not. However, learning the whys of Latymer’s actions sure makes you feel for the guy. Watching the way he treats his son and the love he once shared for his late wife also makes you really feel for the guy.

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