Friday, May 25, 2012

A Love Forbidden Heart of the Rockies Series- #2 By Kathleen Morgan

Kathleen Morgan explores themes of mercy, fidelity to one’s beliefs, and compassion for those different from oneself in this sweeping Western saga. Set amongst the wilds of the Colorado Rockies in 1879, this is a tale of a forbidden love and a faith tested in the midst of intolerance and the harsh realities of life on the untamed frontier. Moved by the desire for adventure and a yearning to help the Ute Indians, twenty-year-old Shiloh Wainright impulsively accepts a teaching position at the White River Indian Agency in northwestern Colorado. The new job, however, isn't what she imagined it would be, and Shiloh soon finds herself caught in the cross fire between the Utes, their unyielding Indian Agent, and the unrealistic demands of the US government. Her unexpected encounter with Jesse Blackwater, an embittered half-breed Ute and childhood friend, only complicates matters as they battle their growing feelings for each other amidst the spiraling tensions threatening to explode into a catastrophic Indian uprising.

Kathleen Morgan is the award-winning author of many novels, including those in the bestselling Brides of Culdee Creek series. She lives in Colorado.

Praise for Kathleen Morgan’s A Heart Divided - #1 in the Heart of the Rockies Series: 4 Stars “Morgan launches a new series, Heart of the Rockies, written with charm, wit and characters to be cherished. The characters are strong, able to solve problems with a open mind and heart, and have some giggles along the way.”—RT Reviews

“Believable characters and an attention to detail make this series debut from the author of the “Brides of Culdee Creek” series a sure bet for fans of Lori Wick.”—Library Journal “A Heart Divided reflects Kathleen's talent for penning complex characters, historical detail and an engaging romance.”—Rel Mollet

A Love Forbidden: A NovelA Love Forbidden: A Novel by Kathleen Morgan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A LOVE FORBIDDEN was a good story, especially for those with historical interests. But, as for the romance, it left me a little bit wanting.

Shiloh Wainwright enjoys adventure and wants to use her teaching skills for good. When she accepts a job to teach Ute Indian children, she realizes only upon her arrival that she wasn’t told about the obstacles that were plaguing the Agency encampment. Convincing the Ute’s to allow their children to be taught by the same people who are forcing them to give up their land might be more than she can overcome. When Shiloh unexpectedly runs into Jesse Blackwater, a friend from her childhood, old feelings she thought she’d dealt with quickly come to the surface.

Jesse Blackwater, is a half-Ute who worked on the Wainwright ranch. In fact, it was an incident on Shiloh’s family ranch that convinced him he would rather live with his People than in the white man’s world. Knowing an uprising is sure to happen, Jesse denies his rekindled feelings for Shiloh and does his best to convince her to leave.

A LOVE FORBIDDEN had all the elements for a good love story but not quite the intensity. I really liked the characters of Jesse and Shiloh but wished the author would’ve given us a better glimpse into the relationship that grew between them as kids. I prefer more interaction between the leads in a romantic book. Keeping relationships at arm’s-length for too long only tends to frustrate me.

Book provided for review purposes.

“Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Riveting Story of Love, Wealth & Secrets as Historic Chicago Prepares for 1893 World’s Fair

Marshall Field, Henry Studebaker, Pullman, Kimball, Glessner, Bissell, Armour and Rothschild— these names add up to business inventiveness and unbounded wealth in turn-of-the-century Chicago – but changing social classes are threatening the luxury of the elite Prairie Avenue, the playground for the rich and powerful. Olivia Newport introduces readers to a world of luxurious mansions, secrets and forbidden love in the Windy City.

Set on Prairie Avenue, The Pursuit of Lucy Banning gives an inside look to the rich and powerful on the eve of the 1893 World’s Fair in the Windy City. Olivia Newport transports readers to a time of opulence in the first installment in the Avenue of Dreams series.

Lucy Banning may live among Chicago's rich and famous, but her heart lies elsewhere. Expected to marry an up-and-coming banker from a respected family, Lucy fears she will be forced to abandon her charity work--and the classes she is secretly taking at the newly opened University of Chicago. When she meets an unconventional young architect who is working on plans for the upcoming 1893 World's Fair, Lucy imagines a life lived on her own terms. Can she break away from her family's expectations? And will she ever be loved for who she truly is?

From lavish upper-class homes to the well-worn rooms of an orphanage, Newport breathes life and romance into the pages of history--and everyone is invited.

Olivia Newport's novels twist through time to discover where faith and passions meet. Her husband and two twenty-something children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where day lilies grow as tall as she is.
The Pursuit of Lucy Banning: A NovelThe Pursuit of Lucy Banning: A Novel by Olivia Newport
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

THE PURSUIT OF LUCY BANNING was an enjoyable read that traveled at a steady pace.

Lucy Banning is not the usual upper crust socialite her mother would want her to be. Though she is engaged to be married to a long time family friend–who himself is a fledgling banker with his foot firmly planted in society–she longs for her independence. She already is testing the patience of her mother by volunteering at a local orphanage, but if her parents were to find out she’s enrolled at the local university, Lucy is sure they would put a stop to it.

Soon, her academics are not the only things Lucy is hiding. With the arrival of Charlotte–a new house maid–Lucy discovers Charlotte is hiding her newborn son. Instead of exposing Charlotte, Lucy helps her to find a place to board her son while she works. When Will Edwards-a college chum of her brother’s arrives-Lucy is immediately smitten with the young architect who seems to understand her need for living outside the walls of society’s elite.

When Lucy breaks off her engagement, with Daniel Jules, his behavior becomes disturbingly odd. Though he knows about the secret classes she is taking, Lucy and Daniel strike a bargain. But, Daniel’s behavior continues to be less than normal. When Will disappears and things go missing from her father’s den, Lucy decides Daniel is to blame and goes in search of some concrete evidence.

THE PURSUIT OF LUCY BANNING was enjoyable enough to read, but I wouldn’t call the story a standout. I enjoyed the characters, especially those of Lucy, Charlotte, and Will, but some of the storyline was a little underwritten. Daniel’s bizarre behavior seemed to be building to a climax, but in the end I was underwhelmed with its conclusion. I would’ve also liked to see the Banning matriarchs find out about Charlotte’s son and give their characters a chance to show more compassionate and depth than portrayed. Overall, I enjoyed the book and the casual cadence in which it traveled. I just would’ve preferred a little more action.

Book provided for review purposes.

“Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

View all my reviews