Monday, October 26, 2020

The Love Note by Joanna Davidson Politano

The Love Note by Joanna Davidson Politano

Let’s begin with the summary:

Focused on a career in medicine and not on romance, Willa Duvall is thrown slightly off course during the summer of 1865 when she discovers a never-opened love letter in a crack of her old writing desk. Compelled to find the passionate soul who penned it and the person who never received it, she takes a job as a nurse at the seaside estate of Crestwicke Manor.

Everyone at Crestwicke has feelings—mostly negative ones—about the man who wrote the letter, but he seems to have disappeared. With plenty of enticing clues but few answers, Willa’s search becomes even more complicated when she misplaces the letter and it passes from person to person in the house, each finding a thrilling or disheartening message in its words.

Laced with mysteries large and small, this romantic Victorian-era tale of love lost, love deferred, and love found is sure to delight.

And now, my review:

I love that the novel is based around a love letter. Willa, a woman in the late 1860s, works in medicine, which makes her a unique character. I liked that aspect. She's strong and competent and we sympathize with her right away. This book’s premise reminded me of the Hallmark movie The Love Letter from 1998, a movie that also inspired me as a writer. The author dedicates her novel to the “POstables,” a fun connection with fans of Hallmark’s Signed, Sealed, and Delivered series.

There are several mysteries and a bit of an eerie feeling to the novel, especially once we arrive at the estate where our heroine will serve as a live-in nurse. She’s stuck there, though, due to her father’s ultimatum. So, she must overcome. But she will not compromise her desire to be loved for who she is in her entirety—not just her body but her mind, talents, and abilities. Brava! In her era, this is a strong stand to take and I loved her for taking it. Modern readers will connect with her and root for her.

I set this book aside early because of the eerie aspect, but there's a lot of potential here. I don't prefer eerie stories, and was unaware that was the tone when I agreed to read it for review. I wish the author and publisher all the best.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

New Release: A Christmas Duet in the Melodies of Christmas Love boxed set


A Christmas Duet included in MCL boxed set

New Release!

I’m so excited to share that I have a new novella out this Christmas!

My story “A Christmas Duet” is part of the compilation Melodies of Christmas Love: A Boxed Set. Each brand-new novella in this collection is centered around a Christmas Carol. Some of the authors (including me) have tied our novella to a current series we’ve written. Many can be read without having read the series they’re tied to, so you won’t be lost if this is your first exposure to any of the author’s works.

Pick up the entire set of seven novellas for only $0.99!

Here’s more about “A Christmas Duet”:

Following a breakup, professional cellist Kate Fleming’s well of inspiration has run dry. Her musical ensemble is counting on her to write several cello and piano compositions for their next album. She’s rented a beautiful beach house on Whidbey Island for the Christmas season. But the atmosphere may not be inspiring enough.

Church music director Zach Tillmon would love to book a professional musician for the upcoming Christmas program. His number-one choice is out of reach. But perhaps the newcomer wouldn’t mind sharing her talents with the congregation.

When these two perform together, sparks fly. But their lives aren’t settled, so a romance is out of the question. Or is it? Join them near picturesque Puget Sound at Christmastime for a delightfully musical love story.

Behind the Scenes

I enjoyed writing this story and connecting it to my award-nominated Whidbey Island novel, Finding Love on Whidbey Island, Washington, which released in 2019.

You’ll meet new characters while revisiting Birch Harbor. And you’ll see some familiar characters as Clay and Liberty have a cameo or two. If you haven’t read my Whidbey novel, no worries. You won’t be lost if you read “A Christmas Duet” first. It was so much fun for me to return to the island setting and share the holiday season with readers.  

Melodies of Christmas Love: a boxed set

Here’s more about the entire set to whet your appetite:

The Heart of Christmas by Lynnette Bonner

When Wynn Mason sees police lights at Misty Cove’s one-and-only bar, she goes inside to investigate and is just in time to see her ex-boyfriend punch Ryland Sage in the face. What is the star of her favorite TV show doing in their tiny Pacific Coast town? Since Wynn is the only medical help for miles around, she has to stitch up his face—and also maybe his heart—all while protecting her own heart from the worldly charmer.

Love on a Mission in Millcreek by JoAnn Durgin

Angelia Ford wonders if she’ll ever live down her unfortunate outburst at the end of the Millcreek Elementary Christmas program. Sixteen years later, she’s home to care for her grandfather and prays the town’s citizens have finally forgiven her youthful indiscretion.

Millcreek’s newest resident, Nicholas Sanders, recognizes the beautiful blonde server at the local diner, but it’s clear Angel doesn’t remember him. What better time than the festive holiday season for Nick to reintroduce himself to the girl he’s never forgotten?

The Bells of New Cheltenham by Chautona Havig

When Justine Driscoll decides to enter a short story contest using a Christmas carol as the inspiration, she discovers love in the carols she investigates, in the story an ex-Army guy tells, and in the little tourist town of New Cheltenham.

A Christmas Duet by Annette M. Irby

A breakup steals a cellist’s inspiration. How will she create new compositions for her ensemble’s next album? Perhaps the church’s handsome music director could help. Join Kate Fleming and Zach Tillmon as Christmas music brings them together on Whidbey Island, Washington.

A Night Divine by Dawn Kinzer

One chilly December night, a tragedy connects successful model Camryn Tate and outreach minister Trace Gardner. As they share a common mission serving the homeless on the streets of Seattle, they provide more than food—they offer hope. But as Christmas Eve approaches, secrets have the potential to break Camryn’s heart.

To Hear the Angels Sing by Lesley Ann McDaniel

Being guardian of her niece isn’t as easy as Devlin Welsh might hope. When her niece is invited to be in a church show, the free childcare is hard to pass up. But when Devlin admits to knowing how to sew, she’s enlisted as costume designer. How will she find the time?

One of Jonah Ryan’s favorite parts of his job as worship leader is working on the kids’ Christmas musical. There’s something about the woman who’s volunteering to design costumes this year that gets him thinking. Could there be more to life than music?

Prairie Rose by Sylvia Stewart

For many years, Rose Morris has lived alone with her dog, Rusty. Mitch Foster, a handsome, un-married neighbor, brings her a bright red geranium, and insists on helping with chores. But who should drive into Rose’s farmyard? The scoundrel husband who had deserted her and her teenaged son years before. Later, a pre-teen runaway, found in her barn, adds his troubles to her own, so Rose decides to re-capture the peace and serenity of Christmas.


I hope you’ll pick up this collection. You may find new favorite authors or settings. Grab some hot cocoa or cider and curl up with these contemporary Christmas romances!


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Key to Love by Betsy St. Amant


The Key to Love by Betsy St. Amant

What a fun read! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let’s begin with the summary:

Love doesn't always look the way we expect.

The only thing Bri Duval loves more than baking petit fours is romance. So much so that she's created her own version of the famous Parisian love-lock wall at the bakery where she works in Story, Kansas. She never expects a video involving the wall to go viral—or for Trek Magazine to send travel writer Gerard Fortier to feature the bakery. He's definitely handsome, but Bri has been holding out for an epic love story like the one her parents had—and that certainly will not include the love-scorning Gerard.

Just when it seems the Pastry Puff is poised for unprecedented success, a series of events threaten not just the bakery but the pedestal she's kept her parents on all these years. Maybe Gerard is right about romance. Or maybe Bri's recipe just needs to be tweaked.

And now, my review:

I enjoyed this book! Betsy’s voice is strong and her story so enjoyable. I laughed aloud in several places.

Our heroine is a romantic, but she isn’t realistic. No one could measure up to her ideals. Our jaded hero has his own secrets and reasons for rejecting romance, in general. He isn’t comfortable staying in one place, thus his travel writer career. These two almost couldn’t be more opposite in their approaches to life and love and even hope, which makes for great conflict.

The secondary characters are a hoot, adding to the fun in this novel. I enjoyed the bakery setting, along with the small-town ambiance.

Before I picked up this book, I began reading a very heavy story by another author. If you’re looking for a lighter novel that will make you laugh, or at least chuckle, I recommend this one.

Looking forward to Betsy’s next book!