Two mini reviews: Identity and The Tapestry of Grace

Below are mini-reviews of two very different books: Identity by Nora Roberts and The Tapestry of Grace by Kim Vogel Sawyer. Identity is a thriller and The Tapestry of Grace is Christian Historical Fiction. Click on the covers for buy links and book descriptions on Amazon. Mini-reviews are just a slightly condensed version of the reviews I usually provide.


This is a very compelling thriller that was hard to put down. I connected with the characters immediately and the villain is oh, so very evil. I was kept enthralled throughout the whole book. The ups and downs of the main character were heartbreaking, but her resilience was inspiring. I loved the entire supporting cast.

The narrator of the audiobook, January LaVoy, did a fantastic job giving distinct personalities and voices to the characters she portrayed. I would seek out her work again.

This is a book for readers who enjoy strong women characters and I hope you pick it up.

I received a free copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press and MacMillan Audio via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.


This is a heartwarming Christian novel set in Alexandertol, Kansas, in 1895. Augusta Dyck, a widow and mother who is also the town’s teacher, becomes a part of a new Frauenverien, a group of women in the Mennonite church who band together to help provide for widows and orphans. Augusta immediately begins petitioning the group to help Konrad Rempel, a widower with twin boys. She can tell he needs someone to care for the boys while he is working as a blacksmith. Konrad, however, is reluctant to receive help. The group’s overbearing leader, Martina Krahn, suggests an apprenticeship for one of the twins with her husband, a wainwright. But she has ulterior motives, hoping a child will save her marriage and give her husband something that she cannot.

The town of Alexandertol is based on the German Mennonite communities that relocated to America after suffering religious persecution in Russia. The town’s cast of characters is well-written, and it is fun to follow their daily lives and see what life was like for them in 1895. There are many Christian messages in this book, including dealing with guilt, the rewards of helping others, having faith, and asking God for help. However, the greatest message is that God can take something bad and turn it into something wonderful. The reader is introduced to the history of the Frauenverien, which was an actual organization set up by German communities at that time to help those in need. With likable characters and a heartfelt message, this is a book that readers of Christian fiction will enjoy.

I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook via The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.

Book Tour and #Bookreview: Godmersham Park: A Novel of the Austen Family #JaneAusten #PegasusBooks #AustenprosePR


  • Title:Godmersham Park: A Novel of the Austen Family
  • Author:Gill Hornby
  • Genre:Historical Fiction, Biographical Historical Fiction, Austenesque
  • Publisher: ‎Pegasus Books (November 1, 2022)
  • Length: (416) pages
  • Format: Hardcover, eBook, & audiobook 
  • ISBN: 978-1639362585
  • Tour Dates: October 24 – November 13, 2022


A richly imagined novel inspired by the true story of Anne Sharp, a governess who became very close with Jane Austen and her family by the #1 International bestselling-author of Miss Austen.

On January 21, 1804, Anne Sharpe arrives at Godmersham Park in Kent to take up the position of governess. At thirty-one years old, she has no previous experience in either teaching or fine country houses. Her mother has died, and she has nowhere else to go. Anne is left with no choice. For her new charge—twelve-year-old Fanny Austen—Anne’s arrival is all novelty and excitement.

The governess role is a uniquely awkward one. Anne is neither one of the servants, nor one of the family, and to balance a position between the “upstairs” and “downstairs” members of the household is a diplomatic chess game. One wrong move may result in instant dismissal. Anne knows that she must never let down her guard.

When Mr. Edward Austen’s family comes to stay, Anne forms an immediate attachment to Jane. They write plays together and enjoy long discussions. However, in the process, Anne reveals herself as not merely pretty, charming, and competent; she is clever too. Even her sleepy, complacent, mistress can hardly fail to notice.

Meanwhile Jane’s brother, Henry, begins to take an unusually strong interest in the lovely young governess. And from now on, Anne’s days at Godmersham Park are numbered.


  • “This is a deeply imagined and deeply moving novel. Reading it made me happy and weepy in equally copious amounts…I read it straight through without looking up.”— Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Bookclub
  • Hornby’s skillful mix of fact and fiction captures the complexities of the Austens and their era, and her crisp, nimble prose sparkles throughout. Best of all, Hornby genuinely channels the sentiment of 19th-century English literature. Janeites aren’t the only readers who will relish this smart, tender tale.”— Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • “…a well-written and delightfully observant novel…an excellent read.”— The Historical Novel Society


Anne Sharp, who had enjoyed a comfortable life before the death of her mother, suddenly finds herself in search of a job after her father shows her to the door. In one interview with a shady lawyer, she learns her father is cutting her allowance to the bone and evicting her from her home. A job interview is suggested, and she arrives at Godmersham Park as the governess of Fanny Austen, daughter of Edward and Elizabeth Austen. Anne’s position is a tough one, as she is not considered part of the family or truly a servant, and has no real support group to call her own. When she meets Fanny’s aunt, Jane Austen, a fast friendship is formed.

I was struck at once by the writing talent of Gill Hornby. Anne’s arrival at Godmersham Park and her uncertainty there are described beautifully: “First impressions are wont to linger and, as yet, she knew nothing of these people and what might offend them. So she stood still and patient upon the black and white chequered floor, like a small pawn on a chessboard.” This is the perfect description of Anne’s time at Godmersham Park, as she was always wary of offending both the family and the servants.

I was caught up in the novel immediately, as Anne was informed of her loss of income and change in status by an unscrupulous lawyer, but that part of the story was not really explored to its fullest. Since this is historical fiction, I would have liked the author to give us some real closure there. Anne’s time at Godmersham was fairly short, as she only spent two years there. The best parts of the book were her interactions with Jane and the glimpse into the Austen family dynamics.

The two-year period at Godmersham was not the happiest time for Anne, and while this is an intriguing book, it is not cheerful or uplifting for the most part. The friendship with Jane and the interactions with Fanny are the bright spots in this book. Elizabeth, the mistress of the house, comes across as unsympathetic and almost cruel, especially when she sends Anne for barbaric “treatment” for her headaches. As someone who has suffered migraines, I was furious when Elizabeth forced open the curtains in Anne’s room, insisting that the light would make her feel better. It drives home the truth that servants in those days were often not allowed to have feelings or express complaints to those considered above their station.

Godmersham Park also reminds us of the plight of women two hundred years ago. If they did not marry, they were at the mercy of their fathers or brothers, and had no real rights of their own. If they did marry, they basically belonged to their husbands. This is beautifully written, true to the period historical fiction. And because it is true to the period, it is definitely not all sweetness and light. At the same time, it provides a window into Anne’s friendshp with Jane Austen, and shows how kindred spirits can recognize each other instantly.

In the author’s note, we learn that Anne found some success after leaving Godmersham Park. I would have loved that to have been a part of the book.

I received a free copy of this book from Pegasus Books via Austenprose PR. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.


Gill Hornby is the author of the novels Miss Austen, The Hive, and All Together Now, as well as The Story of Jane Austen, a biography of Austen for young readers. She lives in Kintbury, England, with her husband and their four children.




#Blogtour and #Bookreview: The Belle of Belgrave Square by #MimiMatthews #Austenprose


  • Title:The Belle of Belgrave Square
  • Series: Belles of London (Book 2)
  • Author:Mimi Matthews


A BookBub Best Romance of 2022

A London heiress rides out to the wilds of the English countryside to honor a marriage of convenience with a mysterious and reclusive stranger.

Tall, dark, and dour, the notorious Captain Jasper Blunt was once hailed a military hero, but tales abound of his bastard children and his haunted estate in Yorkshire. What he requires now is a rich wife to ornament his isolated ruin, and he has his sights set on the enchanting Julia Wychwood.
For Julia, an incurable romantic cursed with a crippling social anxiety, navigating a London ballroom is absolute torture. The only time Julia feels any degree of confidence is when she’s on her horse. Unfortunately, a young lady can’t spend the whole of her life in the saddle, so Julia makes an impetuous decision to take her future by the reins—she proposes to Captain Blunt.
In exchange for her dowry and her hand, Jasper must promise to grant her freedom to do as she pleases. To ride—and to read—as much as she likes without masculine interference. He readily agrees to her conditions, with one provision of his own: Julia is forbidden from going into the tower rooms of his estate and snooping around his affairs. But the more she learns of the beastly former hero, the more intrigued she becomes…


  • “A grand cross-class romance, a twisty mystery, and emotional internal struggles combine to excellent effect…fans and new readers alike will root for this well-earned love story.”— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • “[C]ombines deception, risk, and a resourceful heroine to create an intoxicating, suspenseful romance. Highly recommended.”— Library Journal (starred review)
  • “If you’re a fan of Beauty and the Beast, this regency romance will rapidly become a new favorite of yours. Wallflower meets an infamous war hero in this fascinating and intriguing love story.”— BuzzFeed
  • “Mimi Matthews never disappoints, with richly drawn characters and couples whose individual shortcomings become strengths, when paired together. In this Beauty and the Beast retelling, we get to root for two underdogs who get to rewrite their own stories.”— Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wish You Were Here


Instead of a super professional blogger review, this is going to be a review done by me as a fan: I loved it! I loved it! Is there a Mimi Matthews fan club? I want to join! It was such a great experience to follow Jasper and Julia through London society and beyond, and it was amazing to watch their relationship develop. I loved that neither one is perfect. They both have their flaws and reasons why society avoids them. I adored their romance and the way it started with horses and books. This novel is not just a romance. It’s very bookish too, and Julia’s love of books is just the start of it. Lovers of bookish novels will not be disappointed if they check this one out, because book-related surprises await!

Julia’s growth by the end of the novel had me cheering her on! I am not usually a huge fan of romance, but this Belles of London series has hooked me and I want to read more. Although this is Book Two in a series, it can easily be read as a standalone. I would definitely recommend you read them both, and I look forward to more books in this series.

My rating is actually 5.5 stars because this book scored off the charts in the “how did it make me feel” category. Sadly I can only give it 5 stars on Amazon, etc.

I received a free copy of this book from Austenprose Book Tours. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.




USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, and Kirkus, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a retired Andalusian dressage horse, a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats.



Join Mimi at her Victorian Reading Room Facebook Group for exclusive access as she shares her love of writing, historical romance, Victorian fashion, brooding heroes, independent heroines, and of course, her beloved pets!


Discover intriguing insights into The Belle of Belgrave Square and Mimi’s writing life in this exclusive interview at


Mimi has generously offered a fabulous giveaway through Rafflecopter.

Giveaway period: October 3 – October 30

Terms & Conditions:

Giveaway hosted by Mimi Matthews. No Purchase Necessary. Entrants must be 18 years or older. Open to US residents only. All information will remain confidential and will not be sold or otherwise used, except to notify the winner and to facilitate postage of the book to the winner. Void where prohibited.

Giveaway Details:

1 winner (selected at random by Rafflecopter) receives a paperback copy of The Belle of Belgrave Square, signed and annotated by the author with personal comments, underlining of her favorite lines, and other highlights by Mimi Matthews.

The giveaway is open from 12:01 am Pacific time 10/03/22 until 11:59pm Pacific time on 10/30/22.

The winner will be announced on Mimi’s blog on 10/31/22.

Link to Rafflecopter Giveaway

Self-Published Saturday: Books on Sale!

Here are some great books from two indie authors that are on sale today!

First up are two books from award-winning historical novelist Gail Meath: Songbird, which is the first book in the Jax Diamond mystery series, Framed, which is the second book in the series, and Fire Blossom, a historical western. Click on the photos to buy these books on Amazon.

See all of Gail’s books on her Amazon page.

Next up is a wonderful book of Christian poetry with accompanying photographs from amazing Christian poet Louise Belanger.

See Louise’s books on her Amazon page.

Sunday Post – Life is a Garden

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at the @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See the rules here.


It was a busy work week, but I’ve started reading several books for the August edition of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society.

I also have been repotting my tomato seedlings. I started them in little pods under a grow light and I’m putting them in larger peat cups before they go into the ground at the end of May. The next step is to start placing them outside in partial shade so they can get used to being outside full time. My husband has the garden all tilled up and ready to go. I love the gardening cycle. Spring is for planting, Summer is for tending, Fall is for harvesting and canning, and in Winter we enjoy the fruits of our labor. I know it’s not as cut and dried as that, but it is a consistency that can be relied on. I have actually missed my tomato garden, so it will be nice to see it again! I’m also planting peppers and onions. I will be canning salsa from ingredients I grew myself.


Monday I reviewed A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice, a retelling of the sinking of the Titanic from the point of view of the Captain of the Carpathia, who led a rescue of many survivors.

On Monday I also reviewed The Salt Fields by Stacy D. Flood. This is a powerful book about a man who boards a train so he can leave the South behind. It is so well written that I had to include two quotes from the book itself in order to do it justice.

On Tuesday I reviewed the audiobook of The Wedding Season by Katy Birchall. This is a tale about a jilted bride that is both sad and laugh-out-loud funny. I have previously reviewed The Secret Bridesmaid by Birchall, and I love her writing style.

I also attempted Top Ten Tuesday and even though I got the directions wrong, I still enjoyed it.

Work and reading kept me busy until Saturday, and then I posted a review of The Coronation by Justin Newland for Self-Published Saturday.


Today, besides the Sunday Post, I will be reviewing Freedom or Death, Book 4 of Adria Carmichael’s Juche Series, a coming-of-age dystopian saga set in a North Korean concentration camp.

Monday I will be reviewing The Adoption by Jenna Kernan as part of a blog tour for Bookouture. I had posted last week I would be reviewing it on Friday, but I had the date wrong. So look for it on Monday.

On Wednesday, I will review The Commandant’s Daughter, by Catherine Hokin. This is book one of the Hanni Winter series. I reviewed this book for the May edition of Historical Novels Review.

On Thursday, I will be posting a review of The Girl from Lamaha Steet, which is author Sharon Maas’s memoir about her childhood in Guyana and time spent in an English boarding school.

For Self-Published Saturday, I’ll be reviewing A Class Coveted by Susie Murphy.


I’m finishing up The Girl from Lamaha Street and starting A Class Coveted, mentioned above.

I will also be reading The Pilot’s Girl by Catherine Hokin, which is the sequel to The Commandant’s Daughter mentioned above. I will be reviewing The Pilot’s Girl for the August edition of Historical Novels Review.

Blog Tour and Book Review: A Catalogue of Catastrophe by Jodi Taylor–Historical Fiction Meets Science Fiction



For fans of Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club series, Jasper Fforde and Doctor Who.

Finally – finally! – Max has that nice office job she’s always wanted. The one with no heavy lifting and no one tries to kill her. Well, one out of two’s not bad…

Punching well above their weight, Max and Markham set out to bring down a sinister organisation founded in the future – with a suspicious focus on the past.

Max’s focus is staying alive long enough to reunite with Leon and Matthew, alternately helped and hindered by St Mary’s. Who aren’t always the blessing they like to think they are.

But non-stop leaping around the timeline – from witnessing Magna Carta to disturbing a certain young man with a penchant for gunpowder – is beginning to take its toll. Is Max going mad? Or are the ghosts of the past finally catching up with her?

What people are saying about Jodi Taylor:

Once in a while, I discover an author who changes everything… Jodi Taylor and her protagonista Madeleine “Max” Maxwell have seduced me’

‘This amazing series is anything but formulaic. Just when you think you’ve got to grips with everything, out comes the rug from under your feet’

‘Addictive. I wish St Mary’s was real and I was a part of it’

‘St Mary’s stories are the much-anticipated highlight of my year’

‘Jodi Taylor has an imagination that gets me completely hooked’


Another wonderful, action-packed trip through history with the crew of St. Mary’s, a group of historians who “investigate major historical events in contemporary time. DO NOT call it time travel.” This is Book 13, and Max, while still working as a “recovery agent” along with Markham, finds herself with a new office job. She is also fighting strange symptoms that have started to happen whenever she does a time jump. This is not a standalone and the reader will benefit from beginning with Book 1, Just One Damned Thing After Another, and reading the series in order.

Whenever another St. Mary’s book is available, I drop everything to read it. The cast of characters is fun-loving, witty, and smart, and they go through events that are sometimes hilarious, often dangerous, and occasionally tragic. And there are always fascinating history lessons. In this installment, we learn about the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 and the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. The past comes to vivid life, and our historians throw themselves right in the middle of it. Filled with humor, heartache, and history, this is a series that will leave you craving more. Fans will rejoice at this newest installment that heavily features Markham, a fan favorite. New readers of this series are advised to take a time jump to book one and start an adventure they will never forget. I envy those who get to read it for the first time. Whether it’s a laugh, a learning moment, or a punch in the gut, this series has everything.

I happily received a free print copy of this book from Headline via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.


Jodi Taylor

Jodi Taylor is the author of the bestselling Chronicles of St Mary’s series, the story of a bunch of disaster-prone historians who investigate major historical events in contemporary time. Do NOT call it time travel!

Born in Bristol and educated in Gloucester (facts both cities vigorously deny), Jodi spent many years with her head somewhere else, much to the dismay of family, teachers, and employers, before finally deciding to put all that daydreaming to good use and pick up a pen. She still has no idea what she wants to do when she grows up.





Self-Published Spotlight: Village Teacher by Nguyen Trong Hien (Neihtn) is #Free right now!

Self-Published Spotlight is my effort to help promote self-published books. Today Neihtn, who also writes as Nguyen Trong Hien, is in the Spotlight! The ebook of Village Teacher is FREE on Amazon from today until March 18th! Pick up your copy at the link below.


At the end of the 19th century, during the early years of French colonization, a village teacher participates in the palace examinations in the imperial city of Hue, Vietnam. There he meets a young Vietnamese-French woman. Despite their attraction for each other, a series of trials and adversities challenge them both. Set against a well-detailed background of political intrigue and social prejudice, their love faces opposition from family and society, as people they never suspect as enemies threaten to put an end not only to their relationship but also to his life.

My 5-STAR review of Village Teacher is here.


Again, the promotion lasts through March 18th.

Book Review: Under A Sky of Memories

This is another review I did for the February edition of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. It is set during World War II, but has a take on it I haven’t seen before. There are so many books coming out that are set during World War II that I really look for unique perspectives before I decide to read them. This is based on a true story.

In 1943, three nurses from different backgrounds meet at training in Kentucky and become part of the 807th Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron, charged with transporting the wounded to safety during World War II. Evelyn has been caring for her father and sisters after the death of her mother and has finally left to make her own way in the world. Dot was jilted by her fiancé on the eve of her departure, but is still clinging to her engagement ring, afraid to admit the truth. Vita was born in high society and is used to the finer things, but left it all to pursue a different path. Together the three women face incredible danger when their transport plane crashes in Nazi-occupied Albania. Based on a true story, this historical thriller follows a group of nurses and medics, and their flight crew, as they attempt to survive in harsh conditions with the enemy in constant pursuit.

This is a thrilling novel full of suspense, intrigue, and romance. It is told from three points of view—Evelyn, Dot, and Vita—which is crucial in making a more compelling story. The three main characters are well-written and captivating, and the romances are engaging and believable for the circumstances. The true events, expertly woven together with fictional characters, make for a fascinating read. Descriptions of the harsh conditions and perilous journey make you feel as if you are there, and the author does not hold back on the agony, suffering, and physical toll of such a situation. This adds another layer of authenticity to this book. Under a Sky of Memories takes us through snowstorms, dangerous terrain, and bullet fire during a perilous attempt at survival, and throws in romance and heartache along the way. Highly recommended for fans of World War II fiction.

I received a free copy of this book from Lake Union Publishing via Historical Novels Review Magazine. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.


Soraya M. Lane graduated with a law degree before realizing that law wasn’t the career for her and that her future was in writing. She is the author of historical and contemporary women’s fiction, and her novel Wives of War was an Amazon Charts bestseller. Soraya lives on a small farm in her native New Zealand with her husband, their two young sons and a collection of four legged friends. When she’s not writing, she loves to be outside playing make-believe with her children or snuggled up inside reading.






Amazon *Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read this book for free.


Self-Published Saturday: Free Books!

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help self-published and indie authors market their books. Marketing is possibly the most daunting effort that self-published authors face, and if I can help with that in even a small way, I am happy to do it.

Below are three books that you can pick up free today and they are all the beginnings of wonderful series’.

The Demon of Yodok by Adria Carmichael is the first book in a thrilling YA dystopian series, Juche, set in a concentration camp in North Korea. It is free today and tomorrow on Amazon, and you can pick it up here. My previous review of The Demon of Yodok is here.




Just a reminder that Songbird by Gail Meath, the first book in the Jax Diamond Mysteries series, is free on ebook until March 14th. My review of Songbird is here.


Amazon US

Amazon UK

Daughter of Time by Sarah Woodbury is the first book in the After Climeri series, about a woman who goes back in time to medieval Wales. There are 20 books in the series. Sarah Woodbury is an amazing success story among self-published authors, having sold over a million books. She has written 40 novels, all independently published.


Amazon US

Amazon UK

Book Review: A More Perfect Union

The review below is one I did for Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. This book just ripped my heart out. I saw it was classified as a romance, but it’s way more than that. It’s richly layered, deeply personal, extremely important historical fiction. This was an editor’s choice in the February 2022 edition of Historical Novels Review.

Henry O’Toole escapes the Irish potato famine of 1848 and comes to America, unprepared for the hatred against the Irish that greets him in New York. Changing his name to Henry Taylor, he eventually becomes a traveling blacksmith in Virginia, where he meets Sarah, who is enslaved on the Jubilee plantation. When they fall in love, an uphill battle awaits them as interracial marriage is illegal and considered immoral at that time. Also on the plantation is the enslaved Maple, who is actually the half-sister of the mistress of the house. Maple has been forcibly separated from her husband and child in order to serve her sister. Based on the story of the author’s own great-great grandparents, this is a novel that will captivate, shock, and yes, enrage the reader.

What a stunning debut novel by Tammye Huf! The extreme injustice of the time is so well portrayed that it had me in tears. The beautiful love story of Henry and Sarah is made all the better knowing that this is based on a true story. The chapters are divided into multiple points of view, which makes for a compelling read. The author does not hold back in portraying the evil of one man owning another, and the depraved reality of the lashes, neck rings, slave markets, and chains is brought forth for all to see. The truth about the so-called respectable men and women of that era is sobering, but the lights of hope woven into this story are shown in Henry, Sarah, and others who are willing to take risks in order to help. A More Perfect Union is a love story, but also a shocking and heart-rending look at the realities of slavery. It is a must-read for those who want to know the truth about the pre-Civil War South.


Tammye Huf

(In her own words) Originally from the east and west coast of the USA, I have lived in the UK with my husband and three kids for the last twenty years. I love nothing more than to immerse myself into new places and experiences, and I love the way that books allow me to do that, traveling the globe or even back in time with the turn of a page.

Since earning my BA from Wellesley College, I have been a teacher of various ages and abilities as well as a copywriter and a translator. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing my short stories published in several literary magazines and being named the third-place winner of the London Magazine Short Story Prize 2018. My debut novel, A More Perfect Union, was published in the UK in October 2020 with Myriad Editions and will be published in the USA in January 2022 with Grand Central Publishing.