Friday, October 27, 2023

To Spark a Match by Jen Turano

To Spark a Match (The Matchmakers #2)
By Jen Turano
Published by Bethany House
Publication Date: November 14th, 2023

Description from the Publisher:
After five unsuccessful Seasons on the marriage mart, Miss Adelaide Duveen has resigned herself to the notion that she's destined to remain a spinster forever--a rather dismal prospect, but one that will allow her to concentrate on her darling cats and books. However, when she inadvertently stumbles upon Mr. Gideon Abbott engaged in a clandestine activity during a dinner party, Adelaide finds herself thrust into a world of intrigue that resembles the plots in the spy novels she devours.
Former intelligence agent Gideon Abbott feels responsible for Adelaide after society threatens to banish her because of the distraction she caused to save his case. Hoping to return the favor, he turns to a good friend--and one of high society's leaders--to take Adelaide in hand and turn her fashionable.
When danger surrounds them and Adelaide finds herself a target of the criminals in Gideon's case, the spark of love between them threatens to be quenched for good--along with their lives.

About the Author
Named one of the funniest voices in inspirational romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today bestselling author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publishers Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She's been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers' Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. She and her family live outside of Denver, Colorado. Readers can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and at

My review:
This book is packed with funny dialogue, even funnier mishaps, an entertaining plot, and endearing characters. I loved Adelaide and Gideon in the previous book (which you don't have to read to understand this one, but you should read because it's great), so I was happy to see them together in this book. I liked the mystery element quite a bit and was eager to see how that played out. There were some times when Adelaide's very long-winded conversations and escapades started to annoy me (but that could just be because of my mood and a reflection of how busy I am in life and don't have time for run-away conversations, not indication that something is wrong with the book), and I wish the underlying attraction between Gideon and Adelaide had been shown a bit more. Overall, though, this is a funny story that Turano fans will lap up.
4 stars.
I read an ARC provided by the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

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Saturday, October 7, 2023

The Letter Tree by Rachel Fordham

The Letter Tree
By Rachel Fordham
Published by Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: October 31, 2023

Description from the publisher:
Mere words can’t end their families’ feud, but the Campbell heir and the Bradshaw heiress plan to write a future together. 

Buffalo, NY, 1924
Laura Bradshaw adores stories with happily ever afters. But since her mother died seven years ago, the Bradshaw Shoe Company heiress has been as good as locked away in a tower. Her overbearing father cares little for her dreams, throwing himself instead into his tireless takedown of his competitor, the Campbell Shoe Company. However, Laura has been gifted with a a mysterious friend with whom she’s been exchanging letters.
As heir to the Campbell Shoe Company, Isaac Campbell is a sought-after bachelor who has never felt an inkling of desire for the women who constantly bat their eyes at him. His thoughts are consumed by an oak tree in the Buffalo Zoo—or rather, the mystery woman he exchanges letters with courtesy of the tree. She’s been one of Isaac’s only joys in a life consumed by his father’s tireless hatred of Bradshaw. A hatred that, Isaac is coming to realize, may affect him more personally than he ever imagined.
When Laura’s father orchestrates a match between her and an important business owner, she resolves to pursue her only chance at freedom. But Isaac believes their story isn’t bound for a tragic ending. He’s certain there’s more to the Bradshaw-Campbell feud than meets the eye. And he won’t stop digging until he uncovers the truth that might bridge the divide between him and the woman whose words have captured his heart.

My Review:
This is a great choice for readers who like a slow, sweet romance with interesting historical details and a hint of mystery.  Laura and Isaac are just a sweet couple, and I liked seeing both of them learn to stand on their own feet and stand together, not just bow down to the expectations of their fathers. 

I loved the setting in Buffalo, NY and the glimpses of the zoo and the happenings around the area in the 1920s, like a person going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. (The setting might have been my favorite thing about the story--although I'm biased because I grew up just two hours outside of Buffalo and miss upstate NY!) 

I also really liked the mystery element, with Laura and Isaac trying to figure out what caused the rift between their families. 

The story felt a bit slow sometimes, but overall, I really liked it! 4 stars.

I read an ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.