Star Crossed Ladies of Legend: Return to Legend by Maddie James

Star Crossed Ladies of Legend: Return to Legend by Maddie James
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (88 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

When Jasmine Walker returns to Legend after a fifteen-year absence—she doesn’t expect her troubled teenage past to collide with her well-planned, professional future.
Ms. Addie Bynum leaves something for Jasmine Walker in her will, and Jasmine returns to Legend to meet with the attorney about the estate. She learns she’s been left with the contents of a safety deposit box and a letter explaining Ms. Addie’s wishes. A letter with requests Jasmine may not be able to fulfill.

The thing is, Ms. Addie’s wishes do not align with Jasmine’s busy life in Atlanta. Neither does running into her old high school love, Jack Ackerman, who has his own requests from Ms. Addie.

Have you ever finished a book and wanted to tell the author thank you? Star Crossed is a book that I enjoyed from the start. The author did an awesome job in writing and telling a story that I am so thankful to have read.

The book shows emotions of sadness for the lost of Mrs. Adeline Hamilton Bynum, a Legend resident who touched many local children through her participation in the county foster family program. Her passing brings Jasmine Walker back to Legend, Tennessee. Jasmine grew up with a drunk as a father and a mother who committed suicide and was blessed to have Mrs. Bynum around her as a teen. Unfortunately, shame and secrets lead Jasmine to leave town with her mind set to never come back. But Mrs. Bynum saw to it that she would return, and not only return but connect on a relationship that was prematurely severed.

Jack Ackerman was Jasmine’s high school boyfriend along with one of Legend’s star football players. Even though Jasmine left him and Legend over fifteen years ago, he still carries a strong love for her. Will they be able to rekindle the love they once shared? Or once secrets have been revealed will any hope of rekindling their love be lost?

Thank you to the author for writing such a great story. The writing style is wonderful. It delivers a pleasing and believable story in full. There is suspense and unnoticeable twists. This story gives a beautiful vision of love in various realms; young love between a boy and a girl, love from a caregiver who, even though she didn’t birth the children herself, felt compelled to see to them finding happiness and having a chance. And also, the love, no matter how odd it seems, from a father to know he isn’t able to be a good father and he loves his child enough to stay out of her life. The characters were believable and likable and I felt empathy for them.

Star Crossed is an inspiring lesson that in true love there is joy, sadness, loss, growth but overall it is unwavering and fixed like the stars.

Star Crossed is a truly enjoyable read that I recommend to anyone looking for a story that speaks volumes and that will still be felt after the last word is read.

Heart to Heart by Jan Scarbrough

Heart to Heart by Jan Scarbrough
Ladies of Legend: Return to Legend
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (78 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

When Jeremy’s aunt gives him a second chance, he must decide if he believes in the unbelievable and the pet psychic who teaches him about faith…and love.

Jeremy Hamilton’s company is cash-strapped and his personal life is a mess. Inheriting the bulk of Ms. Addie Bynum’s wealth is a godsend, but moving to the small town of Legend, Tennessee, to get that money is a big pain. Ms. Addie has given Jeremy a second chance under certain conditions. Will he take that chance?

Marty Fields is a pet psychic. She’s spent a lifetime explaining animal communication to skeptic citizens of her small town. Only Ms. Addie understands her gift. Keeping Ms. Addie’s six cats after the old lady’s death is the least Marty can do. Yet, she’s put her life on hold. Will the grandnephew’s arrival upset the rhythm of her comfortable existence?

Have you ever wondered what your pet is thinking?

Jeremy is definitely not an animal lover, and now his financial future and the fate of his business is in the paws of six cats. Jeremy’s frustration is completely understandable. He isn’t heartless in regards to his late aunt. He is just trying to save his company and the employees who depend on him. Marty doesn’t like the situation any more than Jeremy. She is just trying to honor the wishes of Ms. Addie, the only person who cared for Marty and accepted her unusual gift. Marty gently tries to give Jeremy helpful hints in dealing with the cats, but I don’t think Jeremy is trying very hard. Will Jeremy, Marty, and the cats find a way to coexist, or will the cats run Jeremy out of the house before the month is over?

Jeremy and Marty’s situation certainly is unique. However, I don’t think they were as rounded as they could have been. Jeremy is the typical uptight businessman trying to prove he can be a success, but ends up missing out on life in the process. Marty is the quirky young woman shunned by her small town looking for love and acceptance. Also, Jeremy and Marty always seem to be uncomfortable around each other. I expected them to be nervous at first, but hoped things would change as the story progressed. However, they didn’t spend very much time together and their interactions never really smoothed out. Whenever they spent any length of time around each other, it was always awkward. Consequently, their connection never clicked for me and their romance didn’t feel natural.

The cats were the real stars of Heart to Heart. The cats all had distinct personalities and their antics were hilarious. I’ve always had fun imagining what my pets are saying, so reading Ms. Scarbrough’s interpretation of how animals communicate was very entertaining and brought a smile to my face.

Overall, I liked Heart to Heart. It is a light and fun romance sure to delight animal lovers. Looking for a pleasant book to read in one sitting? I recommend giving Heart to Heart a try.

Absence of Reason: A Hilary Adams Mystery by Linda Y. Atkins

Absence of Reason: A Hilary Adams Mystery by Linda Y. Atkins
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (231 Pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

When a friend is accused of murder, a feisty attorney will have to outsmart a serial killer if she wants to prove her client’s innocence—and stay alive.

Criminal defense attorney, Hilary Adams, is about to tackle the case of her career—defending an accused serial killer. In each murder, the evidence gathered against her childhood friend, Professor Tom Blackstone, was overwhelming; the motive obvious, at least to the police and the local prosecuting attorney. But to Hilary, nothing in this case has been right from the beginning. It has all the earmarks of someone systematically setting up her client. But who would want to and why? Coeds, sexually assaulted and murdered, are turning up everywhere. Time is short and the list of suspects even shorter. Hilary has to act fast to save her client and in the end to save herself.

Hilary Adams is a very strong main character, who seems very real. She is whip smart, knows the law inside and out, and is determined to defend a childhood friend, Professor Blackstone, from charges of murder.  Combined with sexual assault, the charges could result in the death penalty if proven. Hilary seems to be the only one who doesn’t believe in the overwhelming evidence against her client. And her client isn’t helping her, as he slides into self-pity and depression. But Hilary can save him if indeed anyone can.

The supporting characters are also very well defined. There is Sam Monroe, ex-FBI and now a PI, who has a long friendship with Hilary. He does his job, even though he thinks that Hilary is blinded by her friendship with her client. Lieutenant Peter Elliott is certain that he has arrested the right man, but as things heat up and he is pressured to move faster than he feels is prudent, he begins to wonder about the case. He is in love with Hilary, although she isn’t ready for a steady relationship, but he also really respects her abilities as a lawyer. He agrees with her that the important thing is to catch the right murderer. Even the minor characters have depth, such as Hilary’s secretary Annie.

This is the first in a series, and I’ve already read the second, third, and fourth. Since this is the first, I was prepared that it might not be quite as strong as the others. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This is a very strong story which has been effectively crafted for maximum suspense. One technique that I found especially helpful in involving the reader and building suspense is the way the murderer’s point of view is used, not often, but most dramatically. I knew even before Hilary did that Blackstone was innocent. But I didn’t have a clue as to the identity of the real murderer until nearly the end. This meant that I was all but pushing Hilary, Sam, and Peter, in the directions they should go. As the suspense built, I found that the book was impossible to put down.

Mystery lovers are sure to enjoy Absence of Reason. In fact, I highly recommend the entire series of now four novels, a series which I hope continues to grow as I’m definitely a fan of Hilary Adams.

Isla’s Inheritance by Cassandra Page

Isla’s Inheritance by Cassandra Page
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Young Adult/Middle Grade, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (207 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Isla was content to let her father keep his secrets, but now she can’t stand the touch of iron and her dreams are developing a life of their own. She must discover the truth — before it’s too late.

Seventeen-year-old Isla Blackman only agrees to participate in a Halloween party séance because Dominic, an old crush, wants to. She is sure nothing will happen when they try to contact the spirit of her mother. But the séance receives a chilling reply.


Isla doesn’t want to upset her father by prying into the family history he never discusses. When the mysterious and unearthly Jack offers to help her discover the truth, Isla must master her new abilities to protect her loved ones from enemies she never knew existed.

Nothing can be kept secret from everyone forever.

At first I wasn’t sure what I thought of Isla. Her personality was described in great detail, but her flaws happened to be things that I find irritating. She definitely caught my attention, though, so I withheld further judgement until I got to know her better. I’m very glad I did this because Isla is the kind of protagonist who becomes more alluring the longer I spend with her. All of her flaws ended up making her a well-rounded, intriguing girl I was a little sad to say goodbye to.

Early on a section of dialogue mentioned that certain characters are much more sensitive to iron than they are to steel. This was confusing to me since steel is is made by smelting iron ore to remove impurities and make the metal stronger. I would have liked to have some sort of scientific or paranormal explanation for why this rule was the exact opposite of what I would have logically expected to be the case. It could have added a lot of depth to this part of the plot.

Isla’s close bond with Aunt Elizabeth brought warmth to this story. I’m a big fan of young adult fiction that treats adults with respect. By no means is Aunt Elizabeth perfect, but the unconditional love she has for her children and niece make me look forward to hearing more from her. She was a wonderful supporting character.

There were several instances when the pacing was uneven. The first few chapters were well paced and full of excitement, so I was surprised to find my interest flagging after that in large part because there were so many different things going simultaneously. While the subplots were interesting, some of them did have the tendency to steal the spotlight in situations when I would have rather learned more about the main plot.

The use of color in this book was interesting. Almost everyone agrees that red is an angry color and blue is a calm one. Ms. Page used these cultural assumptions in some pretty fun ways during the course of her tale. This wasn’t something I was at all expecting to occur, so seeing exactly where she went with them was even more amusing than it might have been otherwise.

Isla’s Inheritance made me smile. It’s a good choice for anyone who likes contemporary fantasy.

Deadline for Murder: The Hilary Adams Mystery Series

Deadline for Murder: The Hilary Adams Mystery Series by Linda Y. Atkins
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (384 Pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Defending a crime reporter accused of a double-homicide puts Hilary Adams to the test once more. Can she meet the deadline for murder?
Attorney Hilary Adams makes the difficult decision not to run for another term as Louisville’s top prosecutor. She’s determined to return to the defense side of the justice system. The only hitch is that her newfound resolve isn’t resonating too well with her husband Peter Elliott, Louisville’s police chief.

On the first day after her incumbency has ended, Hilary receives an unexpected and very hard to resist offer from Winfield Bennett, the managing partner of Louisville’s biggest white-shoe law firm. He wants her to head up a newly formed criminal litigation division. Unable to turn down such a prestigious position and the obscene salary package that accompanies it, Hilary accepts. She soon realizes, however, that the job comes with a hefty price tag—take on every case Win throws her way, including the representation of his old college chum, journalist Blake Hunter, a happily married man who can’t seem to remember how he woke up that morning in a seedy motel room with a very dead young woman.

Then, in quick succession, another murder victim turns up. Blake’s new boss is found brutally beaten and stabbed in exactly the same manner as the young woman. Evidence, including DNA left at each of the crime scenes, points to only one person as being the culprit in both slayings—Hilary’s errant client, Blake Hunter.

As always, Hilary has her work cut out for her. Once again, she’s up to the challenge.

Hilary Adams has just left her position as the Commonwealth Attorney in Louisville, Kentucky after she decided not to seek re-election. Instead she accepts an offer to head up a new criminal litigation division at a very prestigious law firm. Her first case is to defend a prominent journalist, Blake Hunter, from a murder charge after he wakes up one morning in a seedy motel totally unable to remember how he got there.

Hilary is a very smart lawyer and she is now married to Peter Elliott, Louisville’s police chief. He’d wanted her to run for re-election since it made sense to him that both of them would be on the same side, namely the prosecution of crimes. Hilary loves Peter, but finds it unfair that he should expect her to change her career. I thought that the interactions in this complex issue were handled very realistically and sensitively and it was fun to watch the two of them work this out. This side issue made the characters much more real and three dimensional.

The plot is very well-developed and Hilary has to match wits with a sociopath who has worked out what appears to be a full-proof plan to frame Blake Hunter. I was especially impressed with the way the tension developed, with excellent pacing, so that by the end, events reached the point of sheer terror.

The shifting point of view from Hilary to the murderer is extremely well done. The reader can see what’s happening, although the who is kept well concealed, and I was on the edge of my seat trying to ‘will’ Hilary to the solution. I needn’t have worried. She is well equipped to handle the situation even with a number of side distractions.

Deadline for Murder is the fourth in the Hilary Adams series, but it works fine as a standalone. I highly recommend it, and indeed the entire series. Linda Y. Atkins has crafted a fine main character with lots of interesting supporting characters in a deviously fiendish murder mystery.

The Gull Motel by Amie Denman

The Gull Motel by Amie Denman
A Barefoot Book
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (140 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Savvy Thorpe needs a vacation. Finally finished with college, she heads to her favorite shabby motel on Florida’s Gulf Coast where her aunt and uncle always save her room twenty-four. She quickly finds out, though, that The Gull Motel is not just her home away from home. It’s hers to manage while her aunt and uncle take an extended trip.

Skip McComber, The Gull’s former maintenance man, has been working on Savvy’s nuts and bolts for years. Now the new owner of the bar next door, his mission is to renovate a pirate bar while being a walking temptation for the girl he can’t get off his mind.

For Savvy, keeping her cool running a motel in Florida heat is one thing, but navigating the steamy waters of a former fling takes a whole other kind of savvy. In addition to the motel and the man next door, Savvy stumbles on a plot to swindle land from the residents of Barefoot Key. Devalued properties tumble like dominoes until Savvy musters her colorful crew from The Gull Motel to make the pillagers walk the plank.

Savvy has some great ideas for revitalizing The Gull Motel, but is it too little too late?

Savvy sure has a lot on her plate for a young woman fresh out of college. Not only is she completely in charge of The Gull Motel, but she is also trying to gain acceptance into a training program that would give her access to the finest hotels in the country. However, as Savvy puts more time and effort into sprucing up The Gull, she finds that the old motel and its quirky staff are quickly wiggling their way into her heart. As if that weren’t enough, Savvy unearths a plan that might threaten everything the residents of Barefoot Key hold dear. Can Savvy save The Gull and the community before it’s too late?

Savvy is definitely a woman who works hard and always plays by the rules. She does her absolute best no matter what job she’s been given. Even though Savvy plans on getting into that special training program, she doesn’t treat The Gull as second best. She works hard to make improvements without losing sight of what makes The Gull special. I admire her dedication and integrity.

Savvy and Skip are an interesting couple to watch. They have really good chemistry, but I thought it was a little odd that they never truly addressed their spring break fling. Savvy and Skip have been dancing around their attraction for years, and Ms. Denman provides a few glimpses into their hormone charged past. However, I was left wanting more. Knowing a bit more about their history would have made Savvy and Skip’s romance more compelling.

I must say that the Halloween party and the costumes of the motel staff is my favorite part of the story, especially Savvy’s costume. I won’t spill all the details. However, I will say that I have to give Savvy credit for not only trusting Skip to pick out the costume, but also for actually wearing it to the party. This really showed that Savvy can let go and have some fun and doesn’t take herself too seriously after all.

The mystery surrounding the nefarious plans for Barefoot Key was pretty simple. Even though it was quickly and easily solved, it still served to add just the right amount of tension into this otherwise light and fun romance.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Gull Motel. I had fun watching Savvy balance the challenges of managing a motel and her personal life. Not quite ready to leave summer behind? Pick up a copy of The Gull Motel for an afternoon of pure entertainment.

Politics Can Be Murder: A Hilary Adams Mystery by Linda Y. Atkins

Politics Can Be Murder: A Hilary Adams Mystery by Linda Y. Atkins
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (320 Pages)
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

When the law clerk for the chief justice of Kentucky’s Supreme Court dies in a mysterious hit-and-run, tongues begin to wag. After all, everyone knew about the justice’s penchant for young women, and this one was as beautiful as she was smart. Concerned that her death could be linked directly to him, Chief Justice Langford appeals to Hilary Adams, now Louisville’s Commonwealth’s Attorney, to keep him informed about any new developments that may crop up in the ensuing investigation. But when Hilary refuses, Langford angrily elects to pursue another route—one that effectively circumvents Hilary’s office, but one that ultimately leads to the chief justice himself falling victim to murder.

Though the details of Langford’s demise are shocking, his murder neither surprises nor displeases anyone, least of all his widow, who has more than a few wicked secrets of her own. But instead of ensuring long life, those sins, which she so carefully tried to conceal, ultimately prove to be the death of her too.

Faced with mounting pressure to solve the murders of both the chief justice and his wife—and to determine whether their murders had anything to do with the untimely death of the justice’s law clerk—Hilary, Homicide Lieutenant Peter Elliott, and investigator Sam Monroe unwittingly find themselves plunged into a complicated and twisted plot that, when unraveled, exposes an insatiable lust for uncompromising greed, a double whammy of double-crossing deceit, and a diabolical scheme of deadly blackmail, all carefully intertwined to advance a political agenda that has become cruelly out of control.

Hilary Adams, Louisville’s Commonwealth Attorney, turns down a request from the chief justice of Kentucky’s Supreme Court. Chief Justice Langford actually demands that Hilary keep him informed about the progress in the investigation of his law clerk’s death in a very strange hit-and-run. Hilary doesn’t even hesitate before she refuses to provide the information. However, the request makes her curious, and soon she, along with homicide lieutenant Peter Elliott and investigator Sam Monroe, is deeply involved in not just one, but three murders, with plenty of suspects, and a lot of political chicanery.

I really like Hilary Adams. She is a well-drawn, believable character. She is what I’d like to hope all lawyers could be, namely, strong, resourceful, loyal, smart, and most importantly, completely honest, with the highest integrity. Her friends and associates, Peter and Sam, also possess these qualities, which enable them all to keep ahead of the villains.

The action is fast-moving, with murder following murder. Hilary discovers that she has to work behind the scenes, trusting no one, as corruption in the mayor’s office and the police force is rampant. This all felt very real to me, and I suspect there is a lot more corruption in those places than any of us would want to believe. That’s why people like Hilary, Peter, and Sam are so important, and I worked right along with those three to solve this case. The ending took me by surprise. I’d narrowed down the suspects, but the actual solution and the reasons behind it were complex, something I really like in a mystery. I believed in the motives, as reprehensible as they were, and I understood the sick logic that resulted in the murders.

Mystery lovers are in for a real treat with Politics Can Be Murder.

Brain Matters: An Alie McCull Mystery by J. R. Scott

Brain Matters: An Alie McCull Mystery by J. R. Scott
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (320 Pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Reporter Alie McCull faces a political tempest of murder and deceit behind the backdrop of two corrupt government agencies. It is then that Alie discovers the Brain Matters.

One high-profile assassination. Two government agencies competing to bridle society with blackmail, mind-control and social engineering. And one vengeful reporter who will move heaven and earth to protect her stepson accused of a savage murder.

Alie McCull is followed by a trail of dead bodies as she unravels the truth of a conspiracy decades old. Using her reporter’s intuition is the only way she can solve the mystery and prove that, in the ugly face of corruption, the Brain Matters.

Alie McCull is an established crime reporter who now has to research a crime that her stepson has been falsely accused of. She is very smart as well as determined, which makes her a dangerous adversary for the criminals.

Alie is a very believable character with a lot of depth. She inspires confidence and loyalty in her family and friends. Even the criminals show a healthy respect for her abilities, and there is never any question of her integrity and honesty, something that turns out to be a rare commodity.

The plot is riddled with corruption and deceit, making the mysteries extremely complex and convoluted. I wasn’t any faster than Alie at figuring out just what was going on, and the ending leaves many questions.

The novel is set in 1958, and the setting is vividly described with complete accuracy. I really felt as if I had been transported back in time. Every detail fits with the period, making the action realistic and believable. The pacing is excellent, fast-moving and exciting. For example, the description of a car chase through Detroit is so vivid that I felt as if I were watching it in a movie. The chase really gets the adrenaline pumping.

The plot deals with a lot of political corruption and drug induced mind controls which makes the story very scary indeed and while the setting in the 1950’s might seem to distance the reader from the realities of some very scary politics, we all know that the possibilities are still very real. I found the story disturbingly frightening and very powerful, and I really admired Alie for standing up for what she knows to be right in spite of pretty daunting odds.

Mystery readers who love thrillers are sure to be captivated by Brain Matters. Beware though, if you pick it for a bedtime read, you may not get much sleep.

Pillow Talk by Ruth J. Hartman

Pillow Talk by Ruth J. Hartman
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (111 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

What happens when a tooth fairy falls in love with her dentist?

The dental community may never be the same.


Trixie Trident has a secret. Everyone knows she creates one-of-a-kind jewelry during the day. It’s what she does on her night job no one would ever guess. She’s a tooth fairy. Not the tooth fairy, just one of many. It would take her whole life just to combat the many misconceptions people have about TFs. Like how nobody wears tutus or uses a wand. Or stands three inches high. Nope, Trixie looks just like any other woman in her mid-twenties. And she’d tell people all of that stuff. If she was allowed to. But she’d sworn a sacred tooth fairy oath that she’d never tell a soul. And she hadn’t. Except for her best friend, who would never breathe a word to anyone.

Gray Keebler meets Trixie when she comes to his dental office as a new patient. He’s had lots of single women patients before, but not one has ever sparked his interest like Trixie. What is it about her that’s so unique? He can’t quite figure it out but he’s determined to try, even when she turns him down for a second date. Trixie is attracted to Gray like she’s never been to any man before. He’s what she always dreamed of in a man. And they even have the subject of teeth in common. But a relationship with the gorgeous dentist can never be. How could it when she’s a tooth fairy? Not only can’t she tell him, but he’d never believe her anyway.

Some secrets are easy to keep. Others require a lot more effort. Can you guess which kind Trixie is dealing with?

Trixie’s awkwardness was endearing. It worked well with everything else that was revealed about her character, and it also made her relatable. It was especially entertaining to see how her flaws affected her attempts to flirt or even to socialize in a large group. Having special powers doesn’t guarantee that everything else in your life will fall into place after all!

There is a secondary character in this tale who consistently acts in a seriously unprofessional manner. At times it was difficult for me to suspend my disbelief and climb all the way into the plot due to the some of the stunts that she pulls. They were just too over the top for someone in her position, especially given how the other characters respond to what she tries to do. It would have been helpful if more time had been spent explaining what was going on in this subplot.

The chemistry between Trixie and Gray took a little while to show up, but once it did it was undeniable. Their personalities and quirks are so similar that it some ways it was as if they’d known each other for years instead of only a few weeks. Sometimes there’s something to be said for pursuing someone who acts and thinks a lot like you do.

I’d recommend Pillow Talk to anyone in the mood for something lighthearted and fairly short.

Richard Berkeley’s Bride by Cate Parke

Richard Berkeley’s Bride by Cate Parke
Dreams of Oakhurst, Book One
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (279 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Will his ambitions and her fears imperil their future?

In Charlestowne, South Carolina Colony, 1769, a ship docks containing a treasure beyond most men’s dreams—Lord Edward’s lovely daughter, Alexandra—destined for one fortunate man, Richard Berkeley.

Although he’s the scion of a wealthy prominent family, the arranged marriage unlocks the door to far greater wealth and power than Richard ever hoped to achieve. He soon learns his lordship’s offer to instate him as his sole heir isn’t the only treasure worth risking his life for. Alexandra is the true prize.

Intrigued by the proud, wealthy beauty soon to become his wife, Richard sets aside his mistress. But Eliza Perrineau had long schemed to become Richard’s fiancée and is furious when he cast her off. Her plans for revenge quickly swell wildly and threaten to destroy Richard. Her cousin, Lord Thomas Graham plans to ensure his untimely demise and has him charged with her murder. Unless Richard can prove his innocence fast, he’ll swing for a crime he didn’t commit.
Alexandra has her own secrets—including deep-seated fears that imperil their chance for happiness. But Richard discovers Alexandra’s love is a prize worth protecting—if only he can help her overcome her fears and past struggles to create a marriage truly worthy of their love.

Can Alexandra spend a lifetime with a man she’s only known for two weeks?

Alexandra’s situation is definitely difficult. Not only is she abruptly called back to the colonies, but she learns she is to marry a man she knows nothing about. Even worse, she barely has any time to get to know him. Her trepidation at the thought of marrying a complete stranger is completely understandable, and I truly felt sorry for her. Fortunately, Richard is a kind and intelligent man. The chemistry between Richard and Alexandra is palpable from the moment they meet, but is chemistry enough to build a successful and happy marriage?

Alexandra is an interesting woman. She is smart, beautiful, and very well educated. Alexandra is very charming, and almost everyone seems to admire her. I found it interesting that Alexandra could be so outspoken about some of her more unconventional beliefs to those in her social circle. However, she was unable to express even her simplest feelings to Richard. Granted, they had a short time to get to know each other before they were married, but he is very gentle with her and gives her many opportunities to speak her mind.

Alexandra is the chief obstacle to her own unhappiness. At first, Richard gave Alexandra ample opportunities to express her thoughts and feelings to him, but she failed time after time to take advantage of these chances. Instead, she kept everything inside and insisted to everyone else that she was fine. Then she was surprised when Richard didn’t understand why she was unhappy. Alexandra is surrounded by people who love and respect her, and yet because she refuses to open herself up, she always feels alone. Richard is certainly not innocent of causing difficulties in their marriage. He treats Alexandra like a child many times, which only serves to push her away. It was very difficult for me to watch such a promising relationship slowly deteriorate. At times, I truly doubted whether or not Richard and Alexandra would be able to repair the damage they’d done.

After reading the blurb for Richard Berkeley’s Bride, I expected the situation concerning Richard being accused of murder to be a fairly large part of the plot. However, that situation was resolved so quickly that I feel the blurb is misleading. The blurb indicates that there will be some suspense regarding Richard’s attempt to prove his innocence, but this is not the case at all. Richard handles the accusations very well, and Lord Graham is nothing more than a minor annoyance who is almost comical in his attempts to disrupt Richard’s life.

Despite this issue, I enjoyed reading Richard Berkeley’s Bride. Richard and Alexandra make a great couple once they finally take the time to get to know each other. Their happy ending is certainly well deserved. Fans of historical romance might want to give this tale a try.