Hello Bookworms! It’s that time to post a new batch of books of the extensive To Be Read Pile. For the month of April, I’ve set a modest goal of 20 books. Without further ado, my TBR is:
Miss Amelia Stalwood may live in London at her absent guardian’s townhouse, but she’s never actually met any nobility, and instead of aristocrats, her closest friends are servants.
Quite by happenstance, she’s introduced to the Hawthorne family and their close family friend, Anthony, the reformed Marquis of Raebourne. They welcome her into their world, but just as she’s beginning to gain some confidence and even suspect she may have caught Anthony’s eye, she’s blindsided by an unexpected twist in her situation accompanied by nasty rumors.
Will she lose her reputation when the world that has only just accepted her turn its back on her, or will she rest in the support of the friends who’ve become like family and the man who’s shared his faith and captured her heart?
Faced With an Uncertain Future, Sometimes All You Have Left Is the Courage to Dream.
BRIANNA AND COLLEEN O’LEARY know their Irish immigrant father expects them to marry well. Recently he’s put even more pressure on them, insinuating that the very future of their Long Island horse farm, Irish Meadows, rests in their ability to land prosperous husbands. Both girls, however, have different visions for their futures.
Brianna, a quiet girl with a quick mind, dreams of attending college. Vivacious Colleen, meanwhile, is happy to marry—as long as her father’s choice meets her exacting standards of the ideal groom. When former stable hand Gilbert Whelan returns from business school and distant relative Rylan Montgomery visits Long Island during his seminary training, the two men quickly complicate everyone’s plans.
As the farm slips ever closer to ruin, James O’Leary grows more desperate. It will take every ounce of courage for both sisters to avoid being pawns in their father’s machinations and instead follow their hearts. And even if they do, will they inevitably find their dreams too distant to reach?
Amelia Barrett gave her word. Keeping it could cost her everything.
Amelia Barrett, heiress to an estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s baby. She’ll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father—a sea captain she’s never met.
When the child vanishes with little more than an ominous ransom note hinting to her whereabouts, Amelia and Graham are driven to test the boundaries of their love for this little one. Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she’s forced to examine her soul and face her one weakness: pride. Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline. And away from the family he has sworn to love and protect. Both must learn to accept God’s sovereignty and relinquish control so they can grasp the future He has planned for them.
Worlds lie between the marketplaces of India and the halls of a magnificent country estate like Highland Hall. Will Julia be able to find her place when a governess is neither upstairs family nor downstairs help?
Missionary Julia Foster loves working alongside her parents, ministering and caring for young girls in India. But when the family must return to England due to illness, she readily accepts the burden for her parents’ financial support. Taking on a job at Highland Hall as governess, she quickly finds that teaching her four privileged, ill-mannered charges at a grand estate is more challenging than expected, and she isn’t sure what to make of the estate’s preoccupied master, Sir William Ramsey.
Widowed and left to care for his two young children and his deceased cousin’s two teenage girls, William is consumed with saving the estate from financial ruin. The last thing he needs is the distraction of a kindhearted-yet-determined governess who seems to be quietly transforming his household with her persuasive personality, vibrant prayer life, and strong faith.
While both are tending past wounds and guarding fragile secrets, Julia and William are determined to do what it takes to save their families—common ground that proves fertile for unexpected feelings. But will William choose Julia’s steadfast heart over the wealth and power he needs to secure Highland Hall’s future?
SHE HAS A SECRET TO KEEP. BUT WILL SHE GIVE HER HEART AWAY?
Lucy Banning may live on the exclusive Prairie Avenue among Chicago’s rich and famous, but her heart lies elsewhere. Expected to marry an up-an-coming banker from a respected family, Lucy fears she will be forced to abandon her charity work and squeeze herself into the mold of the well-dressed wife who spends most of her time and money redecorating.
When she meets Will, 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?
Get swept away into the lavish world of Chicago’s high society as Olivia Newport brings to life an age of glitz and grandeur, start social contrasts, and one woman who dares to cross class lines for what she believes.
The arrival of the new Earl of Hawkesbury has the entire village aflutter—everyone except Lavinia Ellison, that is. In fact, in Livvie’s eyes, he is just as arrogant and thoughtless as his brother—who stole the most important person in her world.
Nicholas is weighed down by guilt, by ancestral obligations, and by the legacy of war. He hadn’t anticipated that a perfunctory visit home would engage either his mind or his heart. Then the hoydenish, intelligent, and very opinionated Miss Ellison challenges him to see past his pain and pride. But when society’s opposition, his brother’s reckless past, and a shocking family secret, there may be too many obstacles for the two of them to ever truly get along.
Fans of Georgette Heyer, Lori Wick, and Julie Klassen will enjoy the spirited exchanges between the bluestocking minister’s daughter and the bruised war hero as they move past their painful histories and presumptions to a humbled appreciation of God’s grace and the true strength of love.
Lady Miranda Hawthorn acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother’s old school friend, the Duke of Marshington. Since she’s never actually met the man, she has no intention of ever sending the letters and is mortified when her brother’s mysterious new valet, Marlow, mistakenly mails one of the letters to the unsuspecting duke.
Shockingly, this breach of etiquette results in a reply from the duke that soon leads to a lively correspondence. Insecurity about her previous lack of suitors soon becomes confusion as Miranda finds herself equally intrigued by Marlow, a man she has come to depend upon but whose behavior grows more suspicious by the day. As the secret goings-on at her family’s estate come to light, one thing is certain: Miranda’s heart is far from all that’s at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.
Will Maggie Listen to the Warnings of Those She Trusts Most or the Leadings of Her Heart?
THE ANSWER TO MAGGIE MONTGOMERY’S dream of seeing America has arrived at just the right time. Not only will she be reunited with her beloved brother Rylan, but she’ll finally be able to escape Neill Fitzgerald and his increasingly unwanted attentions. She’s intent on never returning to Ireland, hoping to build her future in the land of opportunity and perhaps find the love of her life.
While visiting Irish Meadows, she meets an intriguing man she thinks is a stable hand. Only when her brother demands she stay away from Adam O’Leary does she learn he’s Rylan’s brother-in-law, recently released from prison. Nonetheless, Maggie can’t seem to make her stubborn heart conform to her brother’s request.
Adam O’Leary has never felt worthy of his place in the family. Now a free man, Adam’s only desire is to earn back his family’s trust. Falling in love with the newly arrived Maggie, however, was never in his plans. Despite everyone’s efforts to keep them apart, the two develop a bond it seems nothing can break—but they soon discover the past isn’t easy to overcome.
PATIENCE CREIGHTON HAS DEVOTED HER LIFE TO RUNNING HER FATHER’S BOARDING SCHOOL. BUT WHEN THE ENIGMATIC MASTER OF THE ESTATE APPEARS AT HER DOOR, BATTERED AND UNCONSCIOUS, THE YOUNG HEADMISTRESS SUDDENLY FINDS HER LIVELIHOOD—AND HER HEART—IN THE HANDS OF ONE DANGEROUSLY HANDSOME GENTLEMAN.
At twenty-five, Patience Creighton is already a spinster. The busy headmistress of Rosemere always expected a dashing man to sweep her off her feet and take her away . . . but that man never came. And since her father’s death, keeping the school running and her mother happy has been plenty to keep her occupied.
William Sterling dallied his way into financial trouble and mortal danger. When he is assaulted by his creditors’ henchmen on the road home from a tavern, he guides his horse to the doorstep of his tenant, the Rosemere School for Young Ladies. After being tended to by Patience, the wounded William rides off into the dawn—but makes a point to learn more about the lovely headmistress.
As he spends more time at Rosemere, something delicate beings to develop between William and Patience. But that will not deter William’s creditors. With little money to repay his debts, and less for the upkeep of his estate, it becomes clear that sacrificing Rosemere may be the only way to preserve his legacy. But it may also cost him his happiness.
What if the title, the estate, the life of security and splendor . . . what if it isn’t enough?
Strong-willed and beautiful, debutante Katherine Ramsey feels ready to take the London social season by storm, and she must. Her family estate, Highland Hall, has been passed to older male cousin Sir William Ramsey, and her only means of securing her future is to make a strong debut and find a proper husband. With her all-knowing and meddling aunt as a guide, Katherine is certain to attract suitors at the lavish gatherings, sparkling with Great Britain’s elite.
When a shocking family scandal sidelines Katherine, forcing her out of the social spotlight, she keeps a low profile, volunteering with the poor in London’s East End. Here Katherine feels free from her predictable future, and even more so as a friendship with medical student Jonathan Foster deepens and her faith in God grows. But when Katherine is courted anew by a man of wealth and position, dreams of the life she always thought she wanted surface again. Torn between tradition and the stirrings in her heart for a different path, she must decide whom she can trust and love—and if she will choose a life of serving others over one where she is served.
THE WHOLE WORLD IS COMING TO CHICAGO. CHARLOTTE’S WHOLE WORLD IS COMING DOWN AROUND HER.
While the rest of Chicago focuses on the enormous spectacle of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, Charlotte Farrow’s attentions are entirely on one small boy—her boy—whom she has kept a secret from her wealthy employers for nearly a year.
When the woman who has been caring for her son abruptly returns him to the opulent Banning home, Charlotte must decide whether to come clean and face dismissal or keep her secret while the Bannings decide the child’s fate. Can she face the truth of her past and open her heart to a future of her own? Or will life’s struggles determine her path?
This compelling story of courage, strength,and tender romance captures the tension between the glittering wealthy class and the hardworking servants who made their lives comfortable.
All she wants is to marry for love. And as the belle of the season, Lady Charlotte Featherington should have her choice of suitors. But even this captivating lady must obey her noble papa’s wishes—and the marquess has determined that his daughter will wed a widowed duke, not, a dashing young lord.
All the ninth Duke of Hartington wants is for the lady who has captured his heart to love him in return, despite their arranged marriage. But the betrayal of his first wife and the scandal she dragged him into make it nearly impossible for William to believe a woman’s heart can ever be trusted.
Now this wounded widower and the romantically inclined young lady must find a way to negotiate a future together and learn the real meaning of both trust and love. Can the legacy of grace help them find healing and hope?
Lady Georgina Hawthorne has always known she must marry well. After years of tirelessly planning every detail of her debut season, she is poised to be a smashing success and have her choice of eligible gentlemen.
With money and powerful business connections but no title, Colin McCrae is invited everywhere but accepted nowhere. He intends to marry someday, but when he does it will not be to a shallow woman like Lady Georgina, whose only concerns appear to be status and appearance.
But beneath her flawless exterior, Georgina’s social aspirations stem from a shameful secret she is desperately trying to keep hidden—and that Colin is too close to discovering. Drawn to each other despite their mutual intent to avoid association, is the realization of their dreams worth the sacrifices they’ll be forced to make?
If Two Wounded Souls Can Find Healing, Love May Not Be Far Behind.
WIDOWER DR. MATTHEW CLAYBOURNE is devoted to two things: his work with wounded soldiers and his four-year-old daughter, Phoebe. When Deirdre O’Leary, a feisty New Yorker, arrives in Toronto requesting he use his skills to help her stricken mother, he won’t abandon either of these priorities to care for one older woman. However, when his daughter suffers a health scare and needs a respite, Deirdre offers a trade—they can escape to the peace of her family’s farm, if he will care for Mrs. O’Leary.
Matthew agrees for his daughter’s sake, but is intent on staying as short a time as necessary. The sojourn at Irish Meadows does wonders for Phoebe, and as she begins to flourish, Matthew finds himself drawn to the O’Learys, especially to the captivating Deirdre. But since he has no intention of leaving his life up north forever, and Deirdre has sworn off marriage in favor of her career, how will they deal with the undeniable attraction between them?
HER SECRET CLOAKS HER IN ISOLATION AND LONELINESS. HIS SECRET TRAPS HIM IN A LIFE THAT IS NOT HIS OWN.
Cecily Faire carries the shame of her past wherever she treads, knowing one slip of the tongue could expose her disgrace. But soon after becoming a lady’s companion at Willowgrove Hall, Cecily finds herself face-to-face with a man well-acquainted with the past she’s desperately hidden for years.
Nathaniel Stanton has a secret of his own—one that has haunted him for years and tied him to his father’s position as steward of Willowgrove Hall. To protect his family, Nathaniel dares not breath a word of the truth. But as long as the shadow looms over him, he’ll never be free to find his own way in the world. He’ll never be free to fall in love.
When the secrets swirling within Willowgrove Hall come to light, Cecily and Nathaniel must confront a painful choice: Will they continue running from the past . . . or will they stand together and fight for a future without the suffocating weight of secrets long kept?
The Great War shakes the world of a spirited young woman and the brave British pilot she loves, taking her from London to her family’s magnificent country estate, and sending him into the war-torn skies over France.
Penny Ramsey has always considered Highland Hall her home, but when Britain becomes involved in World War I, she travels to London to help her sister Kate with the eight orphan children and her husband, Jon, have taken into their home. Doing her part for the war effort takes priority over Penny’s dreams of romance until she meets Alex Goodwin, a Royal Naval Air Service pilot in training.
Alex is determined to prove his worth and do his part to defend his country. Knowing he is heading off for the dangerous assignment of chasing Zeppelins in France, he feels it’s unwise to form any romantic attachments. But he can’t help admiring the pretty, warm-hearted Penny and wondering what it would be like to find her waiting when he returns home from the war.
As Penny writes to Alex, their friendship blossoms, and she becomes his tie to home and normalcy as he faces the hardships of war. But being an RNAS pilot means confronting the enemy, and the fallout from those experiences pushes Alex beyond Penny’s reach. Can God mend the brokenness left by the losses of war?
In a world where everyone is putting on a show, there is a love that is genuine.
Sarah Cummings has one goal in life—to break into Chicago’s high society. Desperate to stop serving dinner to members of the wealthy Banning family and to start eating at society tables, Sarah spends her meager free time altering cast-off gowns to create the perfect wardrobe for her future.
When opportunity knocks at a chance meeting, she presents herself as Serena Cuthbert, weaving a fictitious past to go with her fictitious name. But as she gets closer to her goal—and closer to Simon Tewell, director of St. Andrew’s Orphanage—Sarah fins that she must choose between the life she has and the life she dreams of.
Can she piece together the perfect life from scraps? Or will it all come unraveled in the face of true love?
Will a damaged reputation and desire for society’s approval thwart the legacy of grace?
Tainted by scandal and forced to leave London for the quieter Brighton countryside, the Honorable Miss Clara DeLancey is a shadow of her former society self. She’s lost the man she loved to another and, in a culture that has no patience for self-pity, is struggling with depression. A chance encounter brings her a healing friendship with the sisters of an injured naval captain. But Clara’s society mama is appalled at the new company she’s keeping.
Captain Benjamin Kemsley is not looking for a wife. But his gallant spirit won’t let him ignore the penniless viscount’s daughter—not when she so obviously needs assistance to keep moving forward from day to day. Can he protect his heart and still keep her safe?
When they’re pushed into the highest echelons of society at the Prince Regent’s Brighton Pavilion, this mismatched couple must decide if family honor is more important than their hopes. Can they right the wrongs of the past and find future happiness together—without finances, family support, or royal favor?
Lord Trent Hawthorn couldn’t be happier he is not the duke in the family. Free to manage his small estate and take his time discovering the life he wants to lead, he has grand plans of someday wooing and falling in love with the woman of his choice. When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he barely knows, his dream of a loving marriage like his parents’ seems lost forever.
Life for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier when she hid in her older sister’s shadow—which worked until her sister got married. But even with her socially ambitious mother’s focus entirely on her, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience before she’s been introduced to society.
With nothing going as expected, can Trent and Adelaide’s marriage of obligation survive their own missteps and the pressures of London society to grown into a true meeting of hearts and minds?
Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, so he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. While he’s certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, she is strangely elusive, and he can’t seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.
Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, she has no choice but to agree to a bargain that puts her at odds with all her romantic hopes—as well as her conscience. And the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she regrets the unpleasant obligation that prevents her from any dream of a future with him.
As all Griffith’s and Isabella’s long-held expectations are shaken to the core, can they set aside their pride and fear long enough to claim a happily-ever-after?