Barkerville Beginnings: British Columbia by A.M. Westerling

Barkerville Beginnings (British Columbia) by A.M. Westerling
(Canadian Historical Brides Book 4)
Publisher: BWL Publishing Ltd.
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (324 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Faced with financial ruin and the loss of her good name, Rose Chadwick decides to make a new start for herself and her young daughter Hannah in the rough and tumble gold rush town of Barkerville, British Columbia. However, making a new life is not so easy when it’s built on lies. And, long suppressed emotions within her are stirred when she meets a handsome young Englishman.
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Viscount Harrison St. John knows he’s expected to marry well to bolster his family fortunes. Instead, he leaves England to pursue riches in the gold fields of a frontier town in the far off wilds of Canada. Soured on love because of a betrayal by his former fiancé, Harrison resists the attraction he has for Rose. Particularly considering she appears to be a happily married woman with a daughter of her own.

Will dark secrets from Rose’s past keep them apart? Or will they find love, happiness and a new life together in the bustling town of Barkerville?

I thought the synopsis sounded intriguing when it said a Viscount was going to pursue riches in the goldfields of Canada. I was curious what secrets Rose had in her past. I needed a book to read for my two hour flight and this one sounded like it would be a promising enjoyment. Barkerville Beginnings is book four in the Canadian Historical Brides series however it can be read as a stand alone.

I wasn’t disappointed at all as I read the developments between the hero, Harrison, and the heroine, Rose. Gosh golly, the hardships they went through was enough to stress me out. Yet, the ending was worth the torment. I’m just so thankful for our modern day conveniences in life. I think I would have died if I was Rose. It’s insane how she persevered through every challenge thrown at her. Then there was Harrison trying to figure out how to get rich panning for gold. He ran into one crisis after another.

The romance between Harrison and Rose was slow and sweet. There were so many elements working against them in the plot that I had to wonder if they’d ever reach their happily ever after ending.

The ending was bittersweet. In some ways I wanted the story to move along a littler faster and at the same time I was sad when it did finally end. Rose and Harrison more than deserved their happily ever after.

A Heart Enslaved by A. M. Westerling

A Heart Enslaved by A. M. Westerling
Publisher: Books We Love Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (343 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Banished from his homeland for a crime he didn’t commit, Thorvald Stronghawk knows selling the Frisian beauty he’s captured will bring him the blood money needed to regain his good name. When the man who accused Thorvald of the crime is the one buying Gisela, Thorvald must decide what he wants more: To recover his reputation among his fellow countrymen, or tame the woman who has vowed to hate him forever for destroying her home and family.

Gisela of Falkenstead realizes the handsome, self assured Viking views her as nothing more than chattel to be bought and sold rather than a woman with a life and mind of her own. Although her head tells her to escape the man she thinks is nothing more than a savage murderer, her heart has other ideas.

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A Heart Enslaved was a well written story. During a two hour plane ride, the plot kept me turning the pages, completely absorbed in what was going on. There were some suspenseful moments threaded throughout even though the synopsis practically gives away a chunk of the plot, but if you think it sounds appealing then it’s a safe decision to read this book.

Thorvald Stronghawk is the hero and while I enjoy a strong, handsome, duty bound individual who also possesses a heart, I couldn’t get completely past what he did to the heroine’s family. I guess it’s my own personal hang up because I can’t accept the Viking traditions as written. I discovered I prefer a more civilized hero versus Thorvald’s neanderthal ways; thankfully Thorvald isn’t completely like a typical Viking man. The hero was lucky because, Gisela, the heroine, was able to forgive him for “destroying her home and family.” Trust me, that sentence isn’t a spoiler since it is stated in the synopsis.

Their relationship worked because even Gisela struggled with overcoming the tragedy and injustice that was inflicted upon her. She did point out that it wasn’t specifically at Thorvald’s hand, but it was at his direct order. Even at the time of the order, Thorvald expressed regret. In fact, the hero didn’t even want to be a viking but he had no other choice since he himself was “banished from his homeland for a crime he didn’t commit” and was trying to earn “blood money to regain his good name”. I understand the whys behind the plot conflict but I found it sad and it tugged at my heart. Fortunately, together the hero and heroine were well balanced and good for each other and that made A Heart Enslaved a pleasurable read.

Before I read this novel I didn’t have any previous knowledge of the ways of Vikings, but after reading about all the stuff the hero and heroine had to suffer through back then, I can safely say that I am not a fan of the Viking lifestyle.

As for their relationship being spicy, there was only one scene that qualifies for that heat level. I would have preferred a little more romance between the couple, but given the circumstances, it made sense that it took them both a long time to acknowledge their feelings for each other. This book is more on the sensual side rather than spicy.

Overall, I’d recommend this book because Heart Enslaved was a really good read. I was intrigued with finding out if Gisela would “find love and happiness in Thorvald’s arms” and I wasn’t disappointed. This story is entertaining, but I bet it will be especially good for fans who love those old-time Viking heroes.

Brides of Banff Springs by Victoria Chatham

Brides of Banff Springs by Victoria Chatham
Publisher: Books We Love Publishing
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full length (161 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Dryas

In the Dirty Thirties jobs were hard to come by. Having lost her father and her home in southern Alberta, Tilly McCormack is thrilled when her application for a position as a chambermaid at the prestigious Banff Springs Hotel, one of Canada’s great railway hotels, is accepted.

Tilly loves her new life in the Rocky Mountain town and the people she meets there. Local trail guide Ryan Blake, is taken with Tilly’s sparkling blue eyes and mischievous sense of humor, and thinks she is just the girl for him. Ryan’s work with a guiding and outfitting company keeps him busy but he makes time for Tilly at every opportunity and he’s already decided to make her his bride.

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Will they find the missing bride and will Tilly accept Ryan’s proposal?

In 1935 a young woman Matilda ‘Tilly’ McCormack leaves everything behind in Medicine Hat, Canada to come to the well-known The Banff Springs Hotel for a job as a housekeeper. While she stands on the railroad station, she misses the last car to the hotel and was worried about how to get to her job in time. She meets Ryan Blake, who works for the hotel transporting guest’s luggage and guiding the tourists via horseback around the beautiful area. He offers to take her with him in his cart. Tilly was instantly attracted to him. A great quote about how their relationship is going to develop is, “I think I’m going to have to marry you”.

Tilly is a perfect match for him. She is tender, hardworking, with a spine of steel. She lets Ryan know in no uncertain terms that she has her own opinions and she should have a say in matters. She makes friends easily, especially her roommate Felicity ‘Flics’ takes her under her wing and introduces her to some of the other workers. What surprises everyone is how she became friends with one of the guests, Burma Evans. Although they do not have much in common Tilly feels sorry and somewhat responsible her welfare. What really made Tilly mad and sorrowful is seeing the situation between Burma and her fiancée. This is a great example of how every woman is treated the same no matter their cast in life.

There are three different relationships going on at the same time, each one showing an example of how each circumstances and personalities can affect a relationship. The first couple is Tilly and Ryan. Their relationship is incredibly strong, both of them finding love in each other’s arms. They are not embarrassed to show the world how they feel.

The second relationship is Fliss and Saul, who is a bellhop at the hotel. They are not allowed to show their wedding rings or their feelings. Then there is the third relationship between Burma Evans, a rich socialite who has plans to marry Frederic Vanderoosten, a handsome young man who is full of charm until he gets what he wants.

I really enjoyed this book because of the wonderful characters and the wonders of the environment and the culture. It’s enjoyable being able to see the different relationships and knowing that each one has its own problems but the way each one supports the other will determine how things will turn out. If you enjoy a sweet romance book this is a great book for you.