Jennifer Lamont Leo

A Sparkling Vintage Life

Everything’s coming up roses! Announcing a special giveaway for Reader Community members only

In my last post, I hinted at special surprises that are exclusive to subscribers of the Sparkling Vintage Life Reader Community. Well, Surprise #1 was just announced! It involves this:

and this:

To get in on the fun, simply scroll down and subscribe to the Sparkling Vintage Reader Community to get all the details. Already a member? Watch your mailbox!

THE ROSE KEEPER now available for preorder!

I’m thrilled to tell you that my new historical novel, THE ROSE KEEPER, is now available for preorder on Amazon!

If you order for the e-book now, it will deliver automatically to your Kindle on the release date. You won’t have to give it another thought. (There will be a print edition as well, which will come out in March.)

Meanwhile, I’ve got a couple of pre-publication surprises up my sleeve that will be exclusive to the Sparkling Vintage Reader Community, so subscribe below to be eligible!

 

 

Podcast Episode 31: Where Do We Go From Here?


As 2020 draws to a close, Jennifer discusses what the new year holds for A Sparkling Vintage Life.

If you prefer to read rather than listen, scroll below to find the transcription.

 

SHOW NOTES:

A Sparkling Vintage Life website

A Sparkling Vintage Life MeWe page

 

TRANSCRIPTION FOR EPISODE 31: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Welcome to A Sparkling Vintage Life, where we celebrate the grace and charm of an earlier era. I’m your host, Jenny Leo, and this is Episode #31.

It’s a few days after Christmas 2020 as I record this, and I apologize for being silent for most of the fall. A big piece of my silence had to do with finishing my next novel, The Rose Keeper, which absorbed nearly every creative morsel of my brain for the entirety of the fall. But it’s in production now, and should be ready for release in March 2021.

And then it was the holidays, and now, here we are, just a few days shy of New Year’s Eve. It seems cliché to marvel, “Where did the time go?” but there it is.

But the other piece of my silence had a deeper, more philosophical, and frankly more troubling reason. Like all of you, I found 2020 to be an enormous challenge. While social distancing and the stay-at-home mandates that were and are being imposed by our government during the pandemic did give me plenty of time and quiet space to work on the podcast, I found myself lacking the emotional and mental bandwidth to do so. Suddenly in the face of not only the pandemic, but so much political unrest, the drama and uncertainty surrounding the presidential elections here in the U.S., so many people thrown out of work and children kept home from school and everyone’s lives completely upended, I found myself weirdly unmotivated to sit down and compose even a simple episode about some arcane aspect of table etiquette or vintage jewelry. It seemed frivolous, somehow, to keep talking about these lighthearted topics in the face of so much bad news.

And yet, I couldn’t quite let the podcast go, either. It nagged at the edges of my mind. So I’ve taken some time at year’s end to reflect on some questions. What do I want A Sparkling Vintage Life to be? And what do you, dear listener, want it to be? What is our shared vision for this podcast and this community? What on earth I can offer to you that will add value to your life, that you’ll need and want to hear?

I went back to my original plan for A Sparkling Vintage Life. Thirty episodes ago, I saw the podcast as a way to encourage women who appreciate tradition and nostalgia and wish to bring back at least some of the old-fashioned ways of doing things and preserve a way of life that is quickly vanishing. I wanted to share what I’ve learned about past ways of life. As an author of historical fiction, I do a lot of research on the past, and wanted to share the interesting tidbits, tips, and tricks I’ve picked up along the way. I wanted to suggest ways to incorporate appealing elements of the past into to a modern woman’s busy life.  I still want to do all those things.

But now I feel a renewed sense of purpose that goes even deeper than that. I believe there are forces at work, strong forces, that want to erase the past entirely and rewrite it to suit a different narrative. And to that, I need to push back.

I’ve said several times that this is not a “religious” podcast, per se, and I’m sticking to that. I’m not a biblical or theological scholar, and I’m not going to lead you in a Bible study or a sermon. And yet my daily life is so deeply intertwined with my faith in Jesus Christ that I find it quite impossible to separate the two.  My beliefs are foundational to all that I think and do. So while I’m not going to preach to you, I am going to be less shy about sharing aspects of my faith going forward. After all, no doubt I’d share these aspects in any normal, heart-to-heart conversation with a good friend. And I consider you, my loyal listeners, as good friends.

This has also never been, and will continue to never be, a political podcast. There are scads of podcasts out there that handle political topics. I want A Sparkling Vintage Life to be a sanctuary from all that, a safe place where you can come and find a quiet respite from the screeching and squawking going on outside our parlor windows. That said, I occasionally come under fire from listeners who equate all “vintage values” with things we would never accept today. For example, some proponents of vintage style draw a clear distinction between vintage style and vintage values. I understand where they’re coming from. They don’t want to promote outdated concepts that were widely accepted years ago, for example, the blatant racism of the Jim Crow era. Well, I certainly don’t want to do that, either. But to equate all things vintage with the gross injustices of the past would be equally closed-minded. Racism was wrong in the past and it’s wrong today. A Sparkling Vintage Life is about preserving and uplifting the best of the past, not everything of the past. Just as we can’t, nor would we want to, return to a world of hoop skirts, no antibiotics, and no air conditioning,  neither would we revert to denying people full legal and economic rights. Admiring a cameo pin or a pearl necklace is not the same thing as advocating for separate drinking fountains. That’s ludicrous. Instead, our goal here at A Sparkling Vintage Life is to dust off some good values that may have grown musty from disuse. Values like honor. Duty. Loyalty. These kinds of values know no color.

A true Sparkling Vintage Life is neither elitist nor divisive. In fact, we promote things like common courtesy, which is the polar opposite of elitist or divisive. Treating one other with courtesy and kindness, no matter who we are, helps establish a strong sense of community and lubricates social interactions among people of many different ethnicities. It helps us all get along. And isn’t that a worthy goal, really?

I found a paragraph in the introduction to Linda S. Lichter’s book, Simple Social Graces, that pretty much sums up how I feel about A Sparkling Vintage Life. Writing in 1998, Lichter says, “America is hurting. We are rich in goods but poor in spirit. Public life is splintered, crude, and violent. Too many private lives are a shambles of broken relationships, broken homes, and stressed-out, time-squeezed families. We search frantically for quick fixes to fill a deep internal void that we struggle to describe. The answer lies neither in sixties-style government programs nor fifties nostalgia, and certainly not in accumulating more high-tech toys. To continue buying the constantly recycled versions of these solutions is to invest in damaged goods.” Lichter goes on to look to the Victorian era to recover more viable solutions. My taste runs to a slightly more recent time period, the early 20th century roughly from World War I through World War II. But the intent is the same: to preserve and restore much of what was valuable in generations past, and to leave the rest behind.

So we’ve talked about what A Sparkling Vintage Life is not. If you’re still with me, let’s talk a minute about what it will be, heading into 2021.

A Sparkling Vintage Life is for you if:

You hunger for an earlier time when more people lived with grace and dignity.

You’re drawn to watching old movies or reading old stories because you enjoy imagining safe, civilized public spaces, stable, intact families, and simple good manners.

You long for the beauty, grace, and charm of an earlier era. You miss some of the quaint customs, traditions and rituals that others might scoff at or ridicule.

If this describes you, then you and I are kindred spirits, and I look forward to discussing many aspects of A Sparkling Vintage Life and continuing to celebrate the grace and charm of an earlier era.

Happy new year.

If you enjoyed listening to this episode, I would greatly appreciate it if you’d subscribe and leave a review at Apple Podcasts or Stitcher or wherever you subscribe to podcasts. Reviews are a huge help in growing the community and helping other like-minded listeners find us. You can also leave a comment at sparklingvintage life.com, or email me directly at jenny@sparklingvintagelife.com. I also have a brand new social media page on MeWe.com, and I’d love to see you there. I’ll put a link in the show notes.

And I’m looking forward to next time when I’ll be back to discuss another aspect of A Sparkling Vintage Life.

Giving thanks for inspiring new fiction!

November 2020 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.


Contemporary Romance:

Snowbound in Winterberry Falls by Ann Brodeur — Owning her own PR firm is all reporter Stephanie Clark wants for Christmas, but the idea of running a prestigious election campaign in the country’s capital throws her stomach into knots. A last minute vacation road trip to focus and to seek God’s direction for her life ends up in disaster when she gets caught in the worst snowstorm to hit Vermont in over a decade, crashing her into a small town and the one person she’d rather forget. Former photojournalist Jason Miller hadn’t planned on being solely responsible for saving his family business from financial ruin. He’s barely keeping the newspaper in print, his News Editor has gone AWOL during the town’s most celebrated holiday festival, and reports of missing Christmas decorations have everyone on edge. When a desperate knock at the newsroom door brings a ghost from Christmas past back into his life, can Jason make up for his prior behavior without breaking his promise to Stephanie’s father? Will Stephanie’s quest to solve the town’s Christmas caper, and uncover the truth about Jason’s disappearance, cost her everything she’s ever wanted? (Contemporary Romance from Anaiah Press)

The Cul-de-Sac War by Melissa Ferguson — All’s fair in love and prank wars. As a live theater actress, Bree Leake doesn’t want to be tied down. But just when it’s time to move on again, Bree’s parents make her an offer: hold steady for a full year, and they will give her the one thing she’s always wanted—her grandmother’s house. And then there’s Chip McBride—her handsome and infuriating next-door neighbor. Chip just might be the only person whose stubborn streak can match Bree’s. She would move heaven and earth to have him off her cul-de-sac and out of her life, but according to the bargain she’s struck, she can’t move out of her house and away from the man who’s making her life miserable. So begins Bree’s obsessive new mission: to drive Chip out of the neighborhood—and fast. But as their pranks escalate, the line between love and hate starts to blur—and their heated rivalry threatens to take a hilarious, heartwarming, and romantic new turn. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

The Calm I Seek by Christina Lourens — After the violent death of her husband, Rebecca Holmes is content leading a quiet life spending time with her sisters and niece. When her younger sister Hannah asks her to plan her wedding, Rebecca discovers her friends and family all think her life is empty. Determined to prove them wrong, Rebecca takes up salsa lessons where she meets the charismatic salsa teacher, Gabriel Rodriguez. Falling in love is the last thing Rebecca wanted to do, but she is inexplicably drawn to Gabriel. Just when she’s decided to give her heart to Gabriel, disaster strikes her family, and she is forced to confront her past actions. Can there be redemption for her and can she forgive those who betrayed her? (Contemporary Romance from Pheasant Hill Press)

His Christmas Wish by Allie Pleiter — All he wants for Christmas is a family… To make his little nephew happy, this bachelor will need help… After his nephew, Cole, is orphaned, Jake Sanders vows to give the little boy the best Christmas possible…except Jake doesn’t know the first thing about kids! So when Cole’s preschool teacher, Emma Mullins, offers to pitch in, Jake’s grateful for her guidance. But while Jake and Emma share an immediate connection, their blossoming love must first survive the secret she’s hiding… (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Together for Good by Penelope Powell — Having lost her mother in a tragic accident, Laney Spence is no stranger to grief and loss. Despite this tragedy touching her life at such a young age, Laney has maintained her belief that God brings good out of even the most difficult circumstances. For her, that good came in the form of her older brother’s best friend, Matthew Jordan. Kind and compassionate, Matthew helped her grieve—and she’s been harboring a crush on him ever since. Years later, when tragedy shatters Matthew’s life, Laney is there for him the same way he’d been there for her all those years ago. But they’re not kids anymore. She’s a teacher with little life experience, and he’s a jaded divorce lawyer with a past he’d rather keep secret. Neither of them can ignore the attraction that blooms, though, leaving them both wondering—is attraction, history, and a shared faith in God enough to keep them together for good, or will circumstances beyond their control drive them apart? (Contemporary Romance from Anaiah Press)


Historical Romance:

 

Rocky Mountain Revelation by Lisa J. Flickinger — Widowed at nineteen, Madeline Lamb seeks to find a new husband amongst the crew of the Rocky Mountain log drive. With a baby growing inside her, she has no choice. She signs on as cook’s helper, and it soon becomes apparent her options for a mate are limited. Madeline’s grieving heart wavers between the security an older man offers and the tender feelings a new crew member stirs. Will Matheson earned the chance to work the high-paying spring log drive. The boon ensures he can recoup the logging wages stolen by a pretty face with some fast fingers. Frustration builds when the boss pulls him from the river and assigns him the job of camp chore boy. If it wasn’t for the pretty cook’s helper, he’d take the first train home. When the dangers of the river journey prove more treacherous than anyone expects, the budding attraction between Will and Madeline is put to the test. If they survive the adventure, life as they know it will never be the same. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

A Bride for Seamus by Linda Shenton Matchett — When her father dies after a lengthy illness, Madeline Winthrop is horrified to discover his will bequeaths their home to his business partner, a cruel and dishonest man, leaving her destitute. With no job or marriage prospects, she seeks help from her pastor who suggests she considers becoming a mail order bride. There’s just one catch. She’s to marry the man by proxy before ever meeting him. After three mail order brides refuse to stay and marry Seamus Fitzpatrick because of his brother’s mental issues and two rambunctious children, Seamus decides a proxy marriage is the only way he’s going to secure a wife. When the Boston-bred socialite arrives with few practical skills, he wonders if he made the biggest mistake of his life. (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

Romantic Suspense:

Dangerous Deceptions by Evelyn M. Hill — Rachel Garrett has the ideal life in a small town, surrounded by people she trusts—until a stranger arrives and tells her that she is living a lie. Michael Sullivan’s claim that she’s been brainwashed can’t be right. Her life is perfect. But ever since he’s shown up, she’s had to deal with people attempting to manipulate, drug, or even kidnap her. Now Rachel must decide if she believes her closest friends…or the one man who makes her feel truly safe. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Forgiven Again by Gina Holder — Annie Staten, now known as Kathleen Phillips, has dreamed of pursuing a political career and following in her father’s footsteps. But Richard was a hated man during his tenure as governor and now his enemies will stop at nothing to prevent his daughter from winning the election. Ryan Whitestone has loved Annie since high school, but his heart is broken by the woman she has become. When the daughter she gave up for adoption comes back into her life, can he help Kathleen heal from her pain and remind her of who she used to be? Will Kathleen be able to forgive herself, put the past behind her, and find love again? The continuing story of No Greater Love. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Grave Christmas Secrets by Sharee Stover — Discovering buried evidence makes her a target. At a prehistoric site, forensic anthropologist Taya McGill uncovers a recently buried body days before Christmas and finds herself in a killer’s sights. Now on the run with undercover ATF agent Keegan Stryker, she must rely on him to guard her as they figure out why someone would kill to keep this murder unsolved. But can they unearth the truth before someone silences them both for good? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Speculative:

Uncharted Freedom by Keely Brooke Keith — Naomi McIntosh is running from her family’s oppressive expectations and the loathsome man her father has demanded she marry. Renaming herself to live incognito, she takes a housekeeping job at the Inn at Falls Creek and promises God this false identity will be her last. When shepherd James Roberts goes home to the Inn at Falls Creek for his sister’s wedding, he doesn’t expect the woman who once broke his heart to be working there. No matter how much he wants to be with Naomi again, he can’t go along with her charade, especially since he is trying to persuade his father to make him the inn’s heir. Though Naomi yearns for a future with James, if she confesses her deception to everyone, her estranged fiancé will find her. And the longer James goes without telling his family the truth about Naomi—and their growing relationship—the further he jeopardizes the inheritance. But just when their relationship looks promising, the inn proves to be a poor hiding place from Naomi’s past. (Speculative Romance, Independently Published)

Thriller:

Termination Zone by Adam Blumer –In the Justice Club, you’re either all in, or you’re dead. Pianist Landon Jeffers has been hiding in Georgia’s woods to keep his loved ones safe from the Justice Club, the cybercrime network seeking to control him through his brain implant. But when his means of blocking their controlling signals is compromised and he receives word that a family member may be in danger, he is forced out of hiding. Now Landon covertly works with unexpected allies including the FBI to help shut the Justice Club down from the inside. But when he is prepped during his concert tour for a high-profile hit targeting the highest levels of the US government, the stakes have never been higher. Can he and his allies thwart the Justice Club’s mission of violence in time? Even if that means placing the woman he loves in danger? The deadline is coming. And death is certain if he fails. (Techno-Thriller Suspense, Independently Published)

Soul Raging by Ronie Kendig — Leif Metcalfe is done waiting for answers and seizes control, a move that comes with a high price and a deadly risk: teaming up with the enemy. He can only hope that what he uncovers will heal the wounds he’s inflicted on those he loves. Iskra Todorova believes Leif is on a collision course with death and knows firsthand the irrevocable cost of that path to the soul. While trying to protect her daughter and intervene with Leif, Iskra is forced to set her sights on the man behind the evil organization ArC–Ciro Veratti. Torn apart by injuries and opposing views on how to handle Leif’s act of treachery, team Reaper hunts one of their own. The only thing they agree on is not stopping but starting the final battle prophesied in the Book of the Wars. (Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

Young Adult:

Fortune’s Fall by Katherine Barger — While her classmates prepare for elite careers across America, Nyssa Ardelone trains for her secret job as the president’s dream interpreter. But when her mentor lies to the president about the prophecy in his latest dream, Nyssa must figure out why before the lie unravels. What she learns could destroy her own future. Fearful of a rumored rebellion, the president has launched a gas attack on Nyssa’s hometown, and her mentor lied about the dream to protect the survivors from more harm. When Nyssa learns her parents were injured in the attack, she flees with a stranger sent to steal the antidote—a stranger who claims to know her. Together, they race to deliver the cure as well as an interpretation of another prophetic dream only Nyssa can provide. But a devastating loss dulls her caution, and she learns too late that not everyone is trustworthy. To survive the president’s deadly pursuit, Nyssa must break every rule she’s ever followed, learning along the way that faith is the only thing that can save her. (Young Adult from Anaiah Press)

 

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:

 

Methuselah Project S.O.S. by Rick Barry – In order to rescue a friend, Air Force Captain Roger Greene accepts temporary duty with the CIA–and lands in more danger than he ever imagined. (Romantic Suspense)

 

Mercy Will Follow by Sarah Hanks – Natassa is a devoted, and slightly devious, wife and mother. But when the unthinkable happens, she is forced to reexamine what she believes about life, truth, race, and the God she always thought she believed in. (Contemporary)

 

Hearts Aglow by Chautona Havig, Toni Shiloh, Cathe Swanson, and Jaycee Weaver – Scrap quilts, bridal gowns, an old Swedish farmhouse, and a hidden family heirloom. What more could you want in a Minnesota Christmas romance? (Romance)

 

Lighter Than Air by Linda Hoover – Elena Bishop’s father has gambled away their home, but she feels God has shown her what to do to save it in spite of interference from Justin Ramsay, her neighbor, who has an agenda of his own that doesn’t allow both of them to succeed. (Historical Romance)

 

Bag of Bones by Jackie Layton – Andi Grace Scott puts her sleuthing skills to the test when the island’s Cat Lady is found dead. (Cozy Mystery)

 

Seasoned ~ A Love Story by Jayme H. Mansfield – If you had one last chance to love, would you take it? (Contemporary Romance)

 

Verdict at the River’s Edge by Colleen K. Snyder – In a test of faith, God challenges Collin Walker to face her deepest fears for no other reason than, “Because I love you.” (Mystery/Suspense/Thriller)

 

Always and Forever by Cathe Swanson – Scrap quilts, bridal gowns, an old Swedish farmhouse, and a hidden family heirloom. What more could you want in a Minnesota Christmas romance? (Romance)

 

Ghost by Michael Jack Webb – The FBI’s youngest, most brilliant Profiler is tracking a serial killer with supernatural abilities, and the life-threatening case will challenge her beliefs about the world around her and her understanding of what is real, what is myth, and what is something in between. (Supernatural Suspense)

 

Resisting by H. L. Wegley – Civil war has begun and a band of patriots takes on the president in a battle for the soul of America. (Romantic Suspense)

Help an author out! What would you like to read about next?

***Updated 11/1/20 to add: May I just take a moment to say I have the most thoughtful, incredible readers in the entire universe? You’ve all given me such helpful feedback and ideas about the kinds of stories you’d most like to read going forward. So a huge thank-you to each and every one of you who took the time to leave a comment.

And now the big news: WE HAVE A WINNER for the “sparkling vintage” earrings and a signed copy of Moondrop Miracle! Congratulations to Linda Gawthrop, whose name was drawn at random from all the commenters to this post who included the secret codeword “vintage.” (Linda, I’ve contacted you by e-mail to get your mailing address.)

Thanks again to every one of you. Stay tuned for more giveaways to come. And always remember to sparkle!***

I’m already in the early stages of thinking about which story I’ll write following THE ROSE KEEPER. It’s time to begin the brainstorming and research process on my next Sparkling Vintage historical novel.

Trouble is, I’ve got several story ideas floating around in my head, and I’d like YOU, my loyal readers, to help me decide! Leave a comment below and let me know what Sparkling Vintage time period or historical event you’d like me to write about. Would you like to see more stories set in the 1920s and 1930s? World War I, World War II, Classic Hollywood, the Gilded Age, the Nifty Fifties? Or perhaps some pre-20th-century time period like the Civil War or Old West?

Also, do you prefer sequels featuring characters you already know and love, or entirely new stories? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

(P.S. If you’re a Reader Community member and you leave a comment containing the secret codeword, you’ll be entered to win a chance at the special prize I told you about in your most recent newsletter. If you’re not yet a Reader Community member and you want to be in on the fun, sign up in the box marked “Reader Community” and I’ll send you the details. Last day to enter the drawing is October 31, 2020.)

 

Cover reveal! Watch for THE ROSE KEEPER, coming Spring 2021

I’m pleased to announce that my next novel, THE ROSE KEEPER, is scheduled to release in Spring 2021!

This time-slip novel is set near Chicago during two time periods: 1944 and 1915. I’ll be telling you more about it in weeks to come, including pre-order info. Meanwhile, here’s the cover! Let me know what you think!

 

Cozy up to some new fall fiction!

October 2020 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website

Children’s:

The Firefly Warriors by Susan Count — They chase a light and then it chases them. (Children’s from Hastings Creations Group)

Harvey, the Traveling Harmonica by Becky Van Vleet — Meet Harvey, a little harmonica that likes to travel. From Grandpa to Dad to Walter, Harvey sings tunes sweeter than candy. But Harvey has competition with Buddy, the family dog, whose howling is so annoying that even the birds fly away. When Harvey accidentally falls into the rushing creek waters, losing sight of Walter, can Buddy save him? Young children will delight in this fun tale filled with colorful illustrations about a little harmonica’s adventures. (Children’s from Elk Lake Publishing)

Contemporary Romance:

Saving Grace by Amy R Anguish — Michelle Wilson’s one goal in life was to become a top journalist at the local paper back in her hometown of Cedar Springs, AR. But on the way to bringing that dream to reality, a life-changing wreck interrupts Michelle’s plans and adds an orphaned baby into the mix. Now, she has tough decisions ahead—did God put her in that accident to save baby Grace? And if so, why is it so hard to convince everyone else she should be the baby’s new mommy? Greg Marshall has been Michelle’s best friend his whole life. He’s thrilled she’s moving back home, but not so sure about her sudden desire to be a single mom. His feelings for her have grown through the years, but she’s never seemed to notice. Can he help Michelle with the adoption and grow their relationship at the same time? (Contemporary Romance from Scrivenings Press)

Melodies of Christmas Love by Lynnette Bonner, JoAnn Durgin, Chautona Havig, Annette M. Irby, Dawn Kinzer, Lesley Ann McDaniel, and Sylvia Stewart — Seven Contemporary Christmas Romance Novellas, each centered around a Christmas carol. The Heart of Christmas by Lynette Bonner, Love on a Mission in Millcreek by JoAnn Durgin, The Bells of New Cheltenham by Chautona Havig, A Christmas Duet by Annette M. Irby, A Night Divine by Dawn Kinzer, To Hear the Angels Sing by Lesley Ann McDaniel, and Prairie Rose by Sylvia Stewart. (Contemporary Romance from Pacific Lights Publishing)

The Christmas Bargain by Lisa Carter — All she needs is a date for the holidays… She needs a date for a wedding. But a fiancé wasn’t part of the plan… Unwilling to attend a wedding alone, artist Lila Penry makes a deal with Sam Gibson—art lessons for his adorable niece in exchange for being her date. But their Christmas agreement becomes a nightmare when everyone thinks they’re engaged. All Lila wants is to leave town for her dream job…so what happens when Sam steals his way into her heart? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Christmas Lights and Romance by Joi Copeland, Judy Goodman Howard, Elizabeth Ludwig, Patti Jo Moore, J. Carol Nemeth, Martha Rogers, Diane Yates — Christmas contemporary romances sure to warm your heart during the Christmas season. Romance, mystery, suspense. This collection has it all. (Contemporary Romance from Winged Publications)

His Love Revealed by Cynthia Herron — Since childhood, Ida Mae Hoscutt, the beloved proprietress of the Come and Get It Diner, has loved Charles “Chuck” Farrow from afar. Now on the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday with no marriage proposal in sight, Ida Mae mourns past mistakes and contemplates a makeover. When a radio commercial wrenches Ida Mae’s heart, will a sudden turn of events sabotage her chance for happiness or will a long-held secret be the answer to love ever-after? As Ida Mae’s right-hand man at the Come and Get It, Chuck yearns to shift gears and start over. He’s ready to shelve bachelorhood and blunders in favor of possibilities and new beginnings. When he prepares to move forward, two things challenge his objective. One is the father who walked away and never looked back. The other? A decades-old question that only Ida Mae can answer. And Ida Mae isn’t talking. (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Falling For the Foe by Milla Holt — She can’t stand him, and he blames her for his company’s woes. But now HIV treatment activist Nia and pharma boss Magnus have to work together to get what they want. He’s out to rescue his business, and she’s trying to save lives. Neither ever dreamed it would be their hearts on the line. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Christmas in Galway by Elizabeth Ludwig — It’s been two years since a drunk driving accident claimed the life of Elinor Walsh’s fiancé. Though she’s forged on to create a thriving design business for herself, the past still haunts her. Prompted by her friends, she finally capitulates and schedules a flight to Ireland—a trip that should have been her honeymoon. Armed with just a list her fiancé wrote and the keys to a rental car, Elinor heads to Galway, never dreaming that the people she meets there will change her life forever. Confronted with a choice—her past with an old friend or her future with a new one—will she finally be able to move beyond her grief? Or will she cut her losses, and her trip short, and miss out on the one thing she never expected? (Contemporary Romance from Winged Publications)

The Key To Love by Betsy St. Amant — The only thing Bri Duval loves more than baking petit fours is romance. So much so, she’s created her own version of the famous Parisian lovelock wall at her bakery in Story, Kansas. She never expects it 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 a love story like the one her parents had, and that certainly will not include the love-scorned-and-therefore-love-scorning Gerard.
Just when it seems Bri’s bakery is poised for unprecedented success, a series of events threaten not just her business 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.
Novelist Betsy St. Amant invites you to experience this sweet story of how love doesn’t always look the way we expect–and maybe that’s a good thing. (Contemporary Romance from Revell – A division of Baker Publishing Group)


Contemporary:

The Soft Whisper of Roses by Myra Johnson — Rebecca Townsend has only been married six months and already doubts Gary’s promise of “till death do us part.” Betrayed by her first husband, she’s trying her hardest to get it right this time. But when her new husband’s unresolved family issues resurface, she’s afraid she and her son will be abandoned once again. Just when Gary thought he’d found happiness with a woman who truly understood him, the death of his first wife blindsides him with unanticipated grief and guilt. After years of letting his career get in the way of being the husband and father he should’ve been, he must now live up to his new wife’s expectations while attempting to fit his resentful teenage daughter into the mix. But high-pressure careers don’t leave much time for stopping to smell the roses, and this family is almost out of time. A radical plan conceived by Gary’s ex-wife before her death risks tearing them all apart…or will it finally bring them together as the family God meant them to be? (Contemporary, Independently Published)

 

The Cedar Key by Stephenia H. McGee — Stuck in a quirky little Mississippi town, Casey’s hope for a fresh start died as soon she had to lay the grandmother she’d just met to rest. (Contemporary, Independently Published)

The Sowing Season by Katie Powner — An old farmer who regrets his past, a young girl who fears her future, and an unexpected friendship that will change the course of their lives forever. (Contemporary from Bethany House)

Historical Romance:

 Joy to the World: A Regency Novella Collection by Amanda Barratt, Carolyn Miller, and Erica Vetsch — In Joy to the World, three popular romance authors come together to offer a heartwarming collection of holiday Regency romance. Based on lines from a beloved Christmas carol, these three novellas have depth, faith, and satisfying stories all packed into the perfect length for readers to curl up and take a brief break from their holiday busyness. “Far as the Curse Is Found” by Amanda Barrat “Heaven and Nature Sing by Carolyn Miller, and “The Wonders of His Love” by Erica Vetsch. (Historical Romance from Kregel Publications)
 
The Lost Heir by Candee Fick — A foundling raised by the local vicar and his wife finds herself the ward of an earl and on a direct path to a London Season. If only her heart wasn’t still drawn to her childhood friend and their small Yorkshire village. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Setting Two Hearts Free by Janet Grunst — Donald Duncan joined the Patriot cause for noble reasons, battling the British while enduring deprivation and hardship on every side. The war has changed him, and now the battle is internal. Returning home to Virginia is in sight where a new life and his Mary wait for him. Mary Stewart spends the war years with her family at Stewarts’ Green, helping them operate their ordinary. Daily, she prays for Donald’s safe return, eagerly waiting for him … until that day the evil side of war touches her. Two hearts changed by a war that dragged on for six years. Two hearts left hurting and struggling to find the love and trust they once knew. Is there a path for them to rekindle what was lost; Setting Two Hearts Free? (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

A Haven For Her Heart by Susan Anne Mason — A young woman struggles to find redemption by helping troubled women and in doing so finds love but deems herself unworthy of happiness. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

A Doctor in the House by Linda Shenton Matchett — Emma O’Sullivan is one of the first female doctors to enlist after President Franklin Roosevelt signs the order allowing women in the Army and Navy medical corps. Within weeks, Emma is assigned to England to set up a convalescent hospital, and she leaves behind everything that is familiar. When the handsome widower of the requisitioned property claims she’s incompetent and tries to get her transferred, she must prove to her superiors she’s more than capable. But she’s soon drawn to the good-looking, grieving owner. Will she have to choose between her job and her heart? (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

The Love Note by Joanna Davidson Politano — A career-minded woman in Victorian England sets out to deliver a lost love letter to its rightful owner–unless it’s already too late. (Historical Romance from Revell – A division of Baker Publishing Group)

Mystery:

Solid Ground by Danny & Wanda Pelfrey — Seven years between them, Kirby and Riley, nurtured by their pastor father and loving mother, experience almost ideal childhoods growing up in the Boston area. Then a season of misfortune culminated in the worse of all possible tragedies – the death of their beloved parents. Four years have passed. Kirby, having failed at marriage and pro-baseball, is now a Florida police detective. He finds himself in little Adairsville, Georgia along with Riley, his law school bound sister. They are there to settle their uncle’s massive estate. It is soon apparent that Uncle James’s death was no accident. But the worst of it is their names at the top of the suspect list. The siblings are embraced by spunky caretakers, Amos and Carol, whose love, wit, faith, and plain ole horse-sense bolster efforts to solve the murder and put Kirby’s life back on track. (Mystery from CrossLink Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Dangerous Deceptions by Lynnette Bonner, Luana Ehrlich, Lynne Gentry, Elizabeth Goddard, Lisa Harris, Lisa Phillips, Jan Thompson, and D.L. Wood — Lives…and hearts…are on the line in eight brand-new Christian Romantic Suspense novels from the genre’s most explosive authors. “Lethal Outbreak” by Lisa Harris & Lynne Gentry, “Collision Course” by Elizabeth Goddard, “Glimmer in the Darkness” by Robin Patchen, “Expired Plot” by Lisa Phillips, “Ice” by Lynette Bonner, “Never a Traitor” by Jan Thompson, “Ben in Love” by Luana Ehrlich, and “Liar Like Her” by D. L. Wood. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

The Sound of Falling Leaves by Lisa Carter — After aspiring opera singer Tessa loses her voice in a fire, she needs both a place to heal and a way to keep music in her life. Amid the autumn splendor of this isolated Appalachian community where she retreats, Tessa uncovers an unnerving connection between a murder case and a long-ago disappearance. This leads Tessa and orchard caretaker, Zeke, on an intricate tale of danger, family intrigue, and romance. (Romantic Suspense from Kregel Publications)

Certain Threat by Kimberly Rose Johnson — Katrina White’s garage explodes and she fears someone is out to get her. When things escalate further, Frank Davis is certain of two things—he cares a lot for Katrina and he can’t let anything happen to her. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Deadly Connection by Jennifer Pierce — Private Investigator, Reid Lucas, and his mentor, Joe Lockhart, haven’t spoken in years, but when Joe wants to meet in a small-town diner, Reid’s interest is piqued. Without explanation, Joe calls and tells Reid he has five minutes to get waitress, Quinn Matthews, and her son out of the diner before they’re kidnapped by the group of thugs about to walk through the diner’s front door. Quinn Matthews’ life is simple and safe, exactly how she likes it—until Reid Lucas walks into the diner. Now, she and her son are running for their lives, and she has no idea why. But when the father of her son shows up and dies saving them, she realizes they all have one deadly connection: Joe Lockhart. Now, she’ll have to trust the mysterious private investigator to not only save their lives but connect her past to her present so they can figure out who is after them. And why. As the danger escalates, unexpected feelings arise. Reid doesn’t believe he’s worthy of Quinn’s love–or God’s. And Quinn is too worried about having her heart broken again and the effect of having a new man in her son’s life. Can they let go of their preconceived notions of love and relationships, or are they doomed to just let go of each other? (Romantic Suspense from Anaiah Press)

Signs in the Dark by Susan Miura — Deaf, beautiful and brilliant Haylie Summers struggles to escape her kidnappers as Nathan Boliva does whatever it takes to find her, despite his role as key suspect in her abduction. (Romantic Suspense from Vinspire Publishing)

 

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:

 

 
Murder, Mysteries, & Romance in Tarryton, Missouri by Alice K. Arenz, The Case of the Bouncing Grandma, The Case of the Mystified M.D., The Wedding Barter, and Hiding from Christmas. (Romantic Mystery)
 
 
Brides of the Wild West by Anne Greene, Abby Hollister must find a husband in one month. (Historical Romance)
 
 
The Promise of Hope by Julie Lessman, A woman of deep faith, a husband with deep joy, until one careless comment steals it away. (Historical Romance)
 
 
Guardian Prince by Lauricia Matuska, A healer running for her life is aided by fey as she joins a prince in a race to secure humanity’s freedom. (Speculative Fantasy)
 
 
For the Love of Llamas by Patti Jo Moore, When a realtor tries to buy out a Georgia farm girl, more than the land draws them together, but can she trust him with her heart? (Contemporary Romance)
 
 
Dogwood Plantation by Carrie Fancett Pagels, An injured veteran and a plantation belle team together to care for younger family members, but can their wounded hearts heal when the War of 1812 is just getting started? (Historical Romance)
 
 
Charlotte Masterson Gets a Life by Carol Raj, When Charlotte Masterson gets a life, life gets interesting. (Young Adult)
 
 
The Pulse of His Soul: The Story of John Lothropp, a Forgotten Forefather by Ora Smith, When his wife refuses to break from her Anglican roots, John must decide whether to obey his conviction to renounce the Church of England and become an outlawed Separatist or conform and save his marriage, his family, and his life. (Historical)
 
 

A Home for Her Daughter by Jill Weatherholt, Love-shy single mom Janie finds a fresh start with the inheritance of a house and a camp, but she must work with her childhood friend and crush to get the camp running. (Contemporary Romance)

Episode #30: The Great American Road Trip

 


Summertime is when many families hit the road for vacation. Even in an age of social distancing, people are getting away for short day trips and jaunts in the countryside. In this episode Jennifer takes a nostalgic look back at the history of highway travel in America.

If you prefer to read rather than listen, scroll down to find a transcript.

SHOW NOTES:

 

The Drive in ’65 by Sandra Lynne Reed

 

TRANSCRIPT:

Episode 30: The Great American Road Trip

Hello, sparklers. Welcome to A Sparkling Vintage Life, where we talk about all things vintage and celebrate the grace and charm of an earlier era. I’m your host, Jennifer Leo, and this is episode number 30. It’s August 2020 as I record this. It’s high summer here in North America, and with all the travel and social-distancing restrictions still in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, I thought a number of you might be taking road trips, probably just with just your immediate family, maybe for just a day or two, maybe longer, maybe camping along the way.  You might even stay within the boundaries of your own  state. Still, a getaway is a getaway, and it can benefit both mind and heart to get out and see something new and unfamiliar after so many months spent self-isolating at home. This got me to thinking about road travel of the past, how our Sparkling Vintage ancestors might have hit the road back in their day.

The topic of this episode was inspired by a new book that just came out called The Drive in 65 written by Sandra Lynne Reed. This engaging book is part family memoir, part travelogue, part historical narrative. The year was 1965, and Sandra was a young teenager when her family set off set off from Alaska to tour North America in a ramshackle Chevy van christened the Wayward Bus. And so we see national events unfolding through the Sandra’s eyes as she ponders some words and ideas foreign to her sheltered Alaskan upbringing. All knit together with vivid details of life on the road and a rollicking cast of characters. I’ll link to the book in the show notes, or just search for it at your favorite bookseller: The Drive in 65 by Sandra Lynne Reed.

Reading The Drive in 65 inspired me to pull out some old photos of trips my own family took back in the 1960s and 1970s. Then I began to wonder about what road trips were like even further back than that. I remember my mother talking about a memorable car trip out West she took with her family during, I believe, the 1940s, when driving with the windows open meant a constant stream of grasshoppers leaping onto her lap. She  surely must have seen many interesting things on that trip, but it seemed that the main thing she remembered was the grasshoppers.

The road trip has long been a popular family adventure, but before the 20th century, the idea of taking an excursion in your own motorized vehicle would have been preposterous. Prior to 1900, for example, those who crossed the country did so in wagons and stagecoaches pulled by horses or oxen over wretched roads–if you could even call them roads. If people back then had a hankering to travel far distances, especially for leisure travel, they would have done so by railroad. Only a very few courageous and adventurous souls would have put their shiny new automobiles to the test by driving them any distance before 1910.

Among these intrepid souls were H. Nelson Jackson and Sewall K. Crocker, who made the first North American transcontinental trip by automobile in 1903 In a 1903 Winton Touring Car, the pair, plus a dog named Bud, traveled from San Francisco to New York in 63 days.

The first woman to cross the American landscape by car was Alice Huyler Ramsey. In 1909, with three female passengers, Ramsey drove from  Manhattan to San Francisco in 59 days (make and model of car unknown).

In those early days, tourists wealthy enough to afford the earliest automobiles liked to putter through the countryside, stopping to picnic or camp by the side of the road. One attractive reason for doing this was, of course, the beauty and serenity of unspoiled countryside, especially during the summer when cities were at their most crowded, dirty, and hot. Another motivation for taking road trips was the freedom to start and stop one’s journey at will, freed from the inflexible schedules of railroads. There were some serious downsides, though. In addition to the lack of suitable roads and the hazards of rain, rocks and mud, there were few filling stations, garages, mechanics or even restaurants outside of the large cities. Drivers who chose to hit the road needed to be independent and self-reliant types, skilled at everything from fixing flat tires to shoveling cars out of thick mud.

Even so, most American families could not yet even afford an automobile, which cost between $650 and $1300 in those early years when a typical annual salary was around $500. That began to change when Henry Ford introduced the Model T in 1908–an affordable automobile that an average family could afford.

The Model T, plus new forms of payment plans available for buying one over time, plus rising wages plus lower prices on used cars, put automobile travel within the reach of the average American.  Loading up their cars with everything from camping gear to gasoline and water cans, tire chains and spare parts, they set off to see the world.

Very soon, entrepreneurial types in small towns across the country saw dollar signs in this new tourism industry, and started opening garages, gas stations, roadside cafés, and motor hotels, shortened to “motels.” These new enterprises paid to advertise in guidebooks produced by organizations such as AAA, and service stations stocked up on maps covered in oil company logos, and handed them out for free.

Meanwhile, governments dedicated tax dollars to improving the roads. The number of pothole-ridden gravel roads fell, while the number of smooth-surfaced and well maintained highways increased, making motor travel that much more efficient and pleasant. Plans for the famous Route 66 between Chicago and California were approved in 1926, and it was completely paved by the end of the 1930s.In 1956 the Eisenhower administration passed the Federal Aid  Highway Act, which led to the construction of today’s massive Interstate Highway System.

With the growing popularity of road trips over the twentieth century, I just knew there had to be guidance on how to conduct a good road trip, and I was right. In her book This Way Please, published in 1940, Eleanor Boykin had this sage advice for America’s youth:

“Reserve riotous renditions of ‘Sweet Adeline’ and hilarious whooping for highways bounded by fields or woods. Even then, there is the danger that the driver’s attention to his job will be distracted and that he will lose control of the car. In an automobile, rowdy behavior can become criminal conduct. Don’t try to get a thrill by racing another car–the speedway, not the highway, is the place for racers. When you are a passenger, don’t chatter too much to the driver. Blow your horn as a warning,w hen necessary, but don’t be childishly rude by uselessly tooting it when there is a tie up in traffic. Don’t scram out abuse to pedestrians and other motorists. Don’t impersonate Gabriel and announce your arrival at a house by loud horn blasts. Unless you are rheumatic, don’t sit still while a feminine guest climbs in the car. Get out and open the door for her, then close it after her. Stretch your muscles again when she is ready to get out. Girls may wait for this attention.”

Interestingly Miss Boykin seems to assume that the person at the wheel must be a male. How times have changed!

The same assumption was made by Marianne Meade. Writing in 1938, she wrote, “A man driving his own car should open the door for women guests, assist them into the car, and see that they are comfortable before taking her own place at the wheel. He should not open the right hand door, climb across into the driver’s seat, and let his woman guest get int the car after him, closing the door herself…. The driver with guests in his car should consider their comfort in the matter of speed, taking chances, and swearing at other drivers. Do not force guests to endure speed if it spoils the ride for them. If they are nervous, don’t show off by cutting in and out of line, squeezing between cars with onlya  small margin of safety. Of course it is ill-bred and childish to snarl and swear at other drivers for the style of their driving or for real or fancied invasions of your rights. And if passengers ask you to stop the car along the road, do not drive miles beyond, trying to convince them that they don’t wish to stop. So many men have a peculiar aversion to stopping, for example, if their wives wish to purchase some fresh eggs or farm-grown fruit from a farm house advertising such things. Brakes are very simply operated, and they were put in cars because people sometimes wish to stop, so if a passenger requests it, be gracious and stop.

Passengers must refrain from backseat driving. They should not tell th driver how to drive, call his attention to the fact that the traffic lights are red or green, or emit nervous little shrieks or gasps when they feel the occasion calls for it. The hostess should consult her guests’ preferences as to having the windows of the car open or closed. The guest  on a motor trip should take as little luggage as possible. He should be especially careful not to embarrass his host by bringing more luggage than the car will accommodate.”

Please bear in mind that, while I’m recording this episode in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m hoping that by the time you’re listening, especially those of you who are listening in the future, the worst will have passed and things will be returning to normal as far as requirements for social distancing and face-covering. But if not, be sure to respect the mandates of whatever region you happen to be visiting, and if the COVID-19 rules seem too restrictive, it might be smarter to stay home this year and postpone your trip for a later date. With that in mind, here are some Sparkling Vintage and a few not-so-vintage tips for planning a great road trip.

  1. Navigation. Even if your car is equipped with a global positioning system, get yourself a good printed travel atlas or paper map of your route. Not only are paper maps fun to look at, if you’re fond of that sort of thing, but even the best GPS can fail you. We once had a GPS try to send us on a detour around supposed road construction. When we realized the detour would take us four hours out of our way, we devised our own much shorter workaround using a printed map. Had we obeyed the GPS we would have gone four hours out of our way unnecessarily. So enjoy a good GPS system, but have a paper map handy, just in case. One caveat is to make sure that your paper map is up-to-date. Vintage maps may look fabulous hanging on a wall as a decoration, but when it comes to finding your way in the real world, only an up-to-date map showing all the current roads will do.
  2. Entertainment. Before you go, definitely download your favorite music and audiobook playlists to your smartphone. But for a vintage touch, tune into the radio now and then as you pass through different regions. It might be fun and enlightening to hear what the locals like to listen to.
  3. Exploration. If you’re not in a hurry, take the road less traveled. The interstate highways may be faster, but smaller highways and byways are typically more scenic, with more interesting towns and places to stop and stretch and see the local color. Roadtrippers, which is both a website and a mobile app, can help you find interesting things to see and do.

When planning what to see, keep your interests and those of your traveling companions in mind. Don’t feel you have to see things just because they’re so-called “tourist” activities. If you don’t love museums but you do love bookstores, make your choice accordingly. Just be sure to keep everyone’s preferences in mind. If you love winding mountain roads but they make your trip-mate carsick, have some compassion and stick to the straightaways where possible.

  1. Scheduling. Try to not be in a hurry. Plan your itinerary loosely so you can change your mind, stay longer in a place that captures your fancy, or at least not get overly stressed out by a traffic snarl or a mechanical issue that disrupts your schedule. On the other hand, you might want to book ahead for popular attractions during high tourist season. Even so, plan with enough slack in the timetable so that sticking to the schedule doesn’t become a point of tension on your trip.
  2. Division of labor. If you’re traveling with others, divide up the tasks in a way that makes sense. Someone who loves reading maps is a better choice for navigator than someone who doesn’t know north from south. Maybe the non-map-reader is mechanically inclined for keeping the vehicle in good working order, or maybe he or she can be in charge of planning meals and lodging.
  3. Speaking of meals, plan to carry a cooler filled with water and healthy snacks, and replenish it at grocery stores along your route. Taking all your meals at truckstops, roadside diners, and fast-food restaurants won’t do any favors for your stomach, your energy level, or your pocketbook. Spreading out a blanket and enjoying a roadside picnic in a quiet, attractive spot is a very Sparkling Vintage thing to do.
  4. Cleanliness. Cleaning out your vehicle before, during, and after your trip will make it a more pleasant experience for everyone. Make liberal use of disposable wipes and hand sanitizer, and toss the trash at every gas station or rest stop.
  5. Safety first. Be sure to tell someone back home where you’re going, and let them know if you change your route or itinerary. If a planned route or destination starts to feel sketchy for any reason, trust your spidey sense and choose another route. Sign up with a roadside assistance service like AAA. Before you leave, get your vehicle checked out and make sure you have basic equipment like jumper cables, an inflated spare tire, wiper fluid, and motor oil. Carrying extra gallons of water and gasoline is a good idea, too.

Above all, if you take a trip this summer or fall, stay safe and have fun. If you enjoy this podcast, I’d appreciate it from the bottom of my heart if you’d leave a review at Spotify or Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts. Reviews are very important to help a little podcast like this one get noticed by like-minded listeners. You can find read the show notes at sparklingvintagelife.com  under Episode 30. You can also find me on Facebook as Jennifer Lamont Leo, or send an email to jenny@sparklingvintagelife.com. And tune in again soon when I’ll be discussing another aspect of A Sparkling Vintage Life.

 

Heat up your summer reading with July new releases!

 

July 2020 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.


Contemporary Romance:
 

How Sweet It Is by Robin Lee Hatcher — A businessman trying to reconnect with his brother returns to his hometown and rents the apartment where his great-great-grandparents lived during the late 1920s. He never suspects his attractive landlady, a struggling restaurant owner who works with women at a local shelter, is the one person who might help him reach his brother. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

 

Love’s Autumn Harvest by Patricia Lee — A widow, a divorcee, and a widower find themselves in a love triangle that gets complicated as each one finds themselves drawn into the tangled web they weave. (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Ready to Trust by Tina Radcliffe — Rancher Reece Rainbolt’s shocked to learn he’s inherited half of Claire Ballard’s family farm—and that he’s a father. Now Claire’s determined to break ties with the man who once left her behind. But Reece will buy her half only on one condition: she must stay in town to help with the harvest…and let him get to know his little girl. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

The Truth About Fame by Toni Shiloh — When a superstar’s bodyguard pretends to be her fiancé to flush out her stalker, the woman starts falling for a happily ever after that’s just as fake as her tabloid life. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Falling for the Innkeeper by Meghann Whistler — Single mom Laura Lessoway won’t accept her mother’s plan of selling her late grandmother’s inn without a fight. But when big-city attorney Jonathan Masters arrives to arrange an offer from his client, she’s drawn to him. And working together as he helps with repairs only brings them closer. With his career and her home on the line, can they ever find common ground? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Historical Romance:

A Place to Call Home by Susan Page Davis, Susanne Dietze, and Erica Vetsch — Duck for cover in the Superstition Mountains as a woman flees her capture and a marshal pursues his prisoner while the couple is handcuffed together. Exit a stagecoach in an Idaho boom town, where a mail-order mix-up has everyone scrambling to right an embarrassing mistake—or was it really a blessing? Gallop into Fort Bliss, Texas, where a battle wages between an eastern fashion artist and a US Cavalry surgeon for the custody of two orphans. Delight in the journey as faith and romance intersect in these three full-length novels. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Gentleman Spy by Erica Vetsch — A bluestocking and a newly minted duke join forces to unravel a mystery…but the greatest mystery might be the duke’s true identity. (Historical Romance from Kregel Publications)


Mystery:
 

A Bitter Brew by Elizabeth Ludwig — The cousins are thrilled when Jan is invited to compete in a nationally televised baking contest. Things go awry, however, when the prize money disappears. Worse, Jan and Elaine find themselves as the prime suspects! Certain they are being framed, the cousins seek out clues that will lead them to the thief. Can they do it before the contest ends, or will they fall faster than Jan’s award-winning souffle? (Cozy Mystery from Guidepost Publications)

Murder at Madison Square Garden by Linda Shenton Matchett — A private investigator helps a scrappy, female photojournalist, who is accused of murder after an assassination attempt on Charles Lindberg at the America First rally leaves another man dead. (Historical Mystery from Shortwave Press)


Romantic Suspense:
 

Explosive Situation by Terri Reed — With his K-9 partner at his side, can he survive false accusations and a bomber? Detective Henry Roarke’s determined to prove his innocence to internal affairs officer Olivia Vance—but first he must survive the bomber targeting him and his bomb-sniffing K-9, Cody. With a coming baby to protect and an investigation to pursue, Olivia has her hands full…until she becomes a target, as well. Can they catch the bomber before they all lose their lives? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

 

Rocky Mountain Revenge by Rhonda Starnes — To survive her deadly homecoming, she’ll need to trust a man from her past… Temporarily home to help at her family’s vet clinic, Grace Porter has no intentions of staying—but someone’s determined she won’t live long enough to leave. With both Grace and her sister in the crosshairs, her ex-boyfriend, Police Chief Evan Bradshaw, must protect them. But can the single dad lawman uncover the truth about why a killer’s out for vengeance before time runs out? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Suspense:

Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks — Forensic sketch artist Tucker Landry and American heiress Piper Boone form a bond after surviving a mass shooting on Curlew Island. Amid rumors of the Curlew Island Curse which whispers say has taken the lives of several members of Piper’s family, the pair must unravel the Boone family’s true history before Piper becomes the next victim. (Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)


Young Adult:
 

Heart of a Princess by Hannah Currie — Behind the smiles and designer clothes, Princess Alina has a secret. She’s barely holding it together. After a moment of panic almost ends in tragedy, Alina is sent to a refuge far from the palace to recuperate. Her family claim it’s for her own good but – faced with cows, knife-beaked ducks and far too many of her own insecurities – Alina is pretty sure it will kill her first. And Joha Samson, infuriating man that he is, will laugh as it does. Only there’s more to Joha than she realizes, and more to herself too. When the time comes to make a stand, will she find the courage? (Young Adult from WhiteFire Publishing)

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:

Before Summer’s End by Johnnie Alexander, Brenda S. Anderson, Eleanor Bertin, Sara Davison, Deb Elkink, Stacy Monson, and Marion Ueckermann, A collection of stories of faith, family, and forgiveness. (General Contemporary)

Honor Bound by Carol Ashby, Honor had forced him to act. Time would tell if he’d regret it. (Historical)

Ralley Point: Place Of Refuge by Daniel Bishop, The Baskins overcome the loss of their unborn child and come to a place of refuge, redemption, restoration. (General Contemporary)

Two Autumns, One Spring by Elizabeth Ann Boyles, A deceitful mother-in-law, Nagasaki’s vengeful official, conflicting beliefs—all work against a near-perfect marriage in 1861 Japan. (Historical)

The Sugar Baron’s Ring by Lorri Dudley, A ring is her only tie to a distant homeland, until a marooned Englishman anchors her heart. (Historical Romance)

Let Him Go by LuAnn K. Edwards, Keedryn and Blake acknowledge their love in this wholesome romance, only to find trouble brewing at the office and turmoil bursting in their hearts. (Contemporary Romance)

Afraid of the Light by Cynthia Ruchti, Clinical psychologist Camille Brooks vows she’ll never let another family suffer from the fallout of a hoarding disorder like her mom’s, but soon discovers that she has her own collection of hurts to confront. (General Contemporary)

Deadly Hideaway by Marissa Shrock, A relaxing getaway. A rocky romance. And a dead body. Will life ever be normal? (Cozy Mystery)

The Cowboy’s Missing Memory by Shannon Taylor Vannatter, He needs to remember and she’s his best hope to help him reclaim his past and build a future. (Contemporary Romance)

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