March “To Be Read” Pile . . .

 

Hello Bookworms!  It’s that time to post a new batch of books of the extensive To Be Read Pile. For the month of March, I’ve set a modest goal of 21 books. Without further ado, my TBR is:

 

 

Escape to the beautiful Smoky Mountains as Hickory Ridge recovers from the ravages of war, and one young woman arrives to make a new start.

Alone and penniless following her father’s death and a broken engagement, Bostonian Ada Wentworth journeys to Hickory Ridge to take a position as a lady’s companion to the elderly Lillian Willis. Using the millinery skills handed down from her mother, Ada hopes to earn enough money to establish her own hat shop back east. But then she meets Wyatt Caldwell, Lillian’s Texas-born nephew, and suddenly her plan seems far less simple. As Ada becomes a part of life in Hickory Ridge—joining the church quilting circle, helping a beautiful little girl at the orphanage, she finds her feelings for Wyatt growing ever more serious. But Wyatt has plans of his own. Plans that will take him far from Hickory Ridge.  Can she trust Wyatt with her future . . . and her heart?

 

 

She’s an outlaw.

He’s a preacher.

Both are in need of a miracle.

Sarah Prescott has never known a respectable life. Just a hardscrabble childhood and brothers who taught her to shoot first and ask questions later.

Justin Wells left Boston in disgrace, heading out alone on the dusty trail to Texas. But when the once-respected clergyman encounters a feisty redhead in handcuffs with a dying U.S. Marshal at her side, their journey takes a dramatic turn.

His high-society expectations and Sarah’s outlaw habits clash from the start. With a price on her head and towing an orphaned baby rescued from the brink of starvation, Justin and Sarah make the difficult journey toward Rocky Creek.  There, justice will be meted out. Perhaps—they hope—with a healthy portion of grace.

Filled with mishaps, laughs, and adventure, Margaret Brownley’s inspiring romance will keep readers cheering for Sarah as she struggles to become a true lady.

 

 

Longing for a new start, Crystal Clark arrives amid the splendor of the high country in June 1892. After the death of her father, Crystal is relieved to be leaving the troubles of her Georgia life behind to visit her aunt’s cattle ranch. Despite being raised as a proper Southern belle, Crystal is determined to hold her own in this wild land—even if a certain handsome foreman named Luke doubts her abilities.

Just when she thinks she’s getting a handle on the constant male attention from the cowhands and the catty barbs from some of the local young women, tragedy strikes. And saving the ranch from a greedy neighboring landowner means Crystal must take charge of a cattle drive, ready or not. Can she rise to the challenge? Or will she head back to Georgia defeated?

 

 

Socialite Sarah Dobbs never thought she’d be a mail-order bride. But, then, she never thought she’d be destitute, shunned and her young sister’s only hope for a normal life. Drawn to Texas by the poetic letters she calls her paper roses, Sarah believes her secrets will be safe here. But the town is deeply divided and harbors its own secrets, including the identity of the person who murdered Sarah’s fiancé. There’s no one she can trust, not Clay Canfield, and certainly not God.  He’s abandoned her.

Talented physician Clay Canfield has only one desire: to find the man who murdered his brother and exact vengeance.  He’ll never marry again, especially not a woman burdened with a child. As for faith, that’s not for him, any more than it is for Sarah.

But God has plans for Sarah and Clay, plans that challenge everything they hold dear.

 

 

This Wild West adventure just might be the life she was meant to live.

The future is clearly mapped out for New York socialite Eugenia “Gennie” Cooper, but she secretly longs to slip into the boots of her favorite dime-novel heroine and experience just one adventure before settling down. When the opportunity arises, Gennie jumps at the chance to experience the Wild West, but her plans go awry when she is drawn into the lives of silver baron Daniel Beck and his daughter and finds herself caring for them more than is prudent–especially as she’s supposed to go back to New York and marry another man.

As Gennie adapts to the rough-and-tumble world of 1880’s Colorado, she must decide whether her future lies with the enigmatic Daniel Beck or back home with the life planned for her since birth. The question is whether Daniel’s past–and disgruntled miners bent on revenge–will take that choice away from her.

 

 

DO YOU BELIEVE IN LOVE AT FIRST FIGHT?

Any ship arriving from England means good news for Virginia colony farmers. The “tobacco brides” would be on board-eligible women seeking a better life in America, bartered for with barrels of tobacco from the fields.

Drew O’Connor isn’t stirred by news of a ship full of brides. Still broken-hearted from the loss of his beloved, he only wants a maid to tend his house and care for his young sister.

What he ends up with is a wife—a feisty redhead who claims she is Lady Constance Morrow, daughter of an Earl, brought to America against her will. And she wants to go straight back to England as soon as she can. She hasn’t the foggiest notion how to cook, dares to argue with her poor husband, and spends more time working on mathematical equations than housework. What kind of a wife is that? Drew’s Christian forbearance is in for some testing.

Headstrong and intelligent, deeply moral but incredibly enticing, Constance turns what was supposed to be a marriage of convenience into something most inconvenient, indeed.

 

 

EDYTHE AMSEL IS DELIGHTED with her first teaching assignment: a one-room schoolhouse in Walnut Hill, Nebraska.  Independent, headstrong, and a firm believer in a well-rounded education, Edythe is ready to open the world to the students in this tiny community. But is Walnut Hill ready for her?

Having raised his nephews since their parents’ untimely deaths, Joel Townsend is thrilled to learn the town council has hired a female teacher. His sons could use a woman’s influence. But he sure didn’t bargain on a woman like Miss Amsel. Within the first week, she has the entire town up in arms over her outlandish teaching methods. Of course, Joel can’t help but notice that she’s also mighty pretty—and just might make a good mother for his boys.

When Edythe decides to take her pupils to hear Miss Susan Anthony speak on the women’s suffrage amendment, the town’s outcry reaches new heights. Even Joel isn’t sure he can support her newfangled ideas any longer. And if he can’t trust her to teach the boys, how can he trust her with his heart?

 

 

 

She’s a beautiful young widow. He’s a charming Charlestonian with a taste for adventure. Both need a place to call home.

Fall in love with Carrie and Griff as they each struggle to make peace with the past and find new hope for the future.

For Carrie Daly, life seems to consist mostly of mourning and ashes. Widowed when her young husband died at the battle of Shiloh, Carrie has spent the intervening years living quietly on her family’s farm with Henry, her older brother.  But then Henry marries Mary Stanhope, a difficult widow with two rowdy sons in tow. Feeling that there is no longer a place for her on the farm, Carrie moves to the genteel but shabby Verandah Ladies Hotel and takes a job at Nate Chastain’s book shop, intending to make a new life for herself.

But a chance meeting with Griff Rutledge, a newcomer to Hickory Ridge, changes everything.

It will take a leap of faith on both their parts to redeem the hurts of the past and claim God’s promise of beauty for ashes.

 

 

Jenny Higgins is certain falling in love and finding a husband are matters of the mind. Her heart has other plans.

After their parents died, Jenny felt responsible for seeing that her two younger sisters were well taken care of. Tipped off by an article naming Rocky Creek the town with the highest number of eligible bachelors, Jenny rolled into this Texas town with a clear objective: find suitable husbands for her two sisters and then start fresh somewhere far, far away.

Jenny believes that women who fall in love at first sight often wish they’d taken a second look, so she diligently beings to follow all the rules set forth in her handy manual on how to land a husband.

But while Jenny is interviewing the less-than-promising candidates, her sisters are falling in love the old-fashioned way—with men of their choosing. And the longer Jenny stays, the more her sense of control slips away. The town isn’t living up to her expectations, her sisters are rebelling against her practical choices, and soon her own heart starts to betray her, as U.S. Marshall Rhett Armstrong stirs emotions in her that weren’t part of her plan.

To relinquish her control to God and calm her restless spirit, she’ll need to give her foregone conclusions about marriage, love, and faith.

 

 

Juliana Brady is alone in an 1890s Montana mining town, with few prospects for making a living. But she is determined not to be dependent on the charity of others.

Josh McBride is trying to scrape up a living from his sheep herd while he builds his ranch. But when he discovers some rare stones on his property, he’s tempted by the prospect of fast money.

When their paths cross, Juliana and Josh must make a choice—the world’s riches and promises, or the eternal value of love.

 

 

Longing for adventure, Priscilla Morton leaves Boston and heads for Texas, never dreaming that the adventure she seeks will leave her badly injured and her parents dead. Priscilla is determined to rebuild her life and make a home for herself in the beautiful Hill Country, but the bandits who took her parents’ lives also destroyed her hope for the future.

Ranch foreman Zachary Webster knows what the future holds for him, and it’s not a woman like Priscilla. She deserves a cultured East Coast gentleman, not a cowboy who’s haunted by memories of his mistakes. The best thing he can do is leave her alone.

When necessity draws them together, Priscilla and Zach begin to forge a life that, like the scattered petals of her childhood, is filled with promise. But then the past intrudes.

 

 

When an aspiring reporter and a Pinkerton detective get tangled in Doc Holliday’s story—and each other—sparks can’t help but fly.

Despite her father’s attempts to marry her off, Anna Finch dreams of becoming a reporter. A chance encounter with legendary gunslinger Doc Holliday gives her the opportunity of a lifetime, but Pinkerton agent Jeb Sanders is about to ruin everything.

Though her father hired Jeb to keep her out of mischief, Anna’s inconvenient attraction to her hired gun only multiplies her troubles. She doesn’t realize Jeb has a score to settle with Doc Holliday, or that her association with the famous outlaw will affect more than just her marriage prospects. Between her father’s desperation to see her wed and Jeb shadowing her every move, getting the story and fulfilling her journalistic ambition just got far more complicated than she ever imagined.

 

 

FIVE RULES for PROPER 19TH-CENTURY LADIES.

SPEAK POLITELY.  Even when you’re the only respectable woman around, protesting San Francisco’s decadent surrender to gold fever.

DRESS MODESTLY.  Wear your sunbonnet at all times. Ensure nobody sees your men’s boots muddied by the city streets.

REMAIN DEVOTED TO FAMILY.  Protect your siblings from the temptations that surround them, even against their wishes.

STAND ABOVE REPROACH.  Most difficult when a captivating man turns out to be a saloon owner.

RISE ABOVE TEMPTATION.  No accepting gifts. No bestowing favors. No impeachable behavior . . . well, maybe just one . . . little . . . kiss?

WHEN THESE RULES BECOME INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT TO UPHOLD, CAN RACHEL VAN BUREN REMAIN A BEACON OF VIRTUE IN A CITY OF VICE?

 

 

Ostracized by her tribe because of her white father, Lizzie Dawson lives alone in the mountains of Alaska, practicing the ways of her people even as she resides in the small cabin her father built for her mother. She dreams of reconciling with her grandparents to fulfill her mother’s dying request, but she has not yet found a way to bridge the gap that separate her from her tribe.

Clay Selby has always wanted to be like his father, a missionary who holds a great love for the native people and has brought many to God. Clay and his stepsister, Vivian, arrive in Alaska to set up a church and school among the Athbascan people. Clay is totally focused on this goal . . . until he meets a young, independent Indian woman with the most striking blue eyes he’s ever seen.

But Lizzie is clearly not part of the tribe, and befriending her might have dire consequences for his mission. Will Clay be forced to choose between his desire to minister to the natives and the quiet nudging of his heart?

 

 

Immerse yourself in the exciting and unpredictable world of a woman newspaper editor.

Ethan and Sophie long to share a future together.  But the secrets they’re keeping could tear them apart.

Sophie Robillard Caldwell has spent a lifetime guarding her heart . . . and a life-changing secret. Hoping to follow in the footsteps of the newspaperwomen she has come to admire, she returns to Hickory Ridge from Texas to revive the local paper, the Gazette.

Ethan Heyward, son of a Georgia planter has come to town to build and manage Blue Smoke, a luxury resort soon to open at the top of Hickory Ridge.  He, too, is harboring a secret too painful to share with anyone . . . even Sophie.

It will take all of their trust and all of their faith to confront the past and embrace their future.

 

 

Trouble follows Lucy wherever she goes. So does a vision of second chances . . . and love.

Lucy Fairbanks dreams of working as a photographer at the Rocky Creek newspaper. Her deepest hope is that her father will see her as an artist, the way he thought of her deceased mother, whose paintings still hang on their walls.

But disaster follows Lucy on every photo assignment: a mess of petticoats and ribbons, an accidental shooting, even a fire.

When Lucy meets David Wolf—a rugged, reclusive man who lives on the outskirts of town—she thinks she can catch the attention of the town with his photograph. She doesn’t count on her feelings stirring whenever she’s near him.

Two things happen next that forever change the course of Lucy’s life. But will these events draw her closer to God or push her further away? And how will David accept this new vision of Lucy?

 

 

Still cautious after a broken engagement, April McBride fully intends to guard her heart when she travels to Lewiston, Montana, to attend her brother’s wedding. One look around the small mining town convinces April that doing so won’t be difficult—just a bunch of dusty shops, bad service, and ill-bred cowboys. But a run-in with horse trainer Wes Owen opens up vast possibilities for frustrations, embarrassment, friendship, and . . . love?

Can April and Wes see past their differences to envision a future together? Or are they destined to live the rest of their lives alone?

A Love of Her Own is an adventurous, sparked-filled ride through love in the turn of the century Montana.

 

 

Harriet Kirk is certain that becoming Ladreville’s schoolteacher is just what she needs—a chance to put the past behind her and give her younger siblings a brighter tomorrow. What she didn’t count on was the presence of handsome former Texas Ranger Lawrence Wood—or the way he slowly but surely claims her fragile heart. But can Harriet and Lawrence ever truly put the past behind them in order to find happiness?

 

 

Unlikely romance is sometimes just an inconvenient marriage away

Charlotte Beck may be entering adulthood, but she can’t seem to keep to her stubborn, independent spirit from bucking social protocol. Fed up with her behavior, Charlotte’s father Daniel pressures her to settle into a nice marriage despite knowing she is set on going to college. Then Daniel sees Charlotte with the handsome but annoying English astronomer Alex Hambly, and everything changes.

Though Alex and Charlotte can barely stand one another, Daniel offers them a deal they can’t refuse: if they agree to marry, he will save Alex’s family from financial ruin and grant Charlotte the freedom to go to college. Reluctantly the couple agrees, but in private they plot to annul the marriage as soon as possible.

But when Alex’s feelings change and he refuses to dissolve their contract, will Charlotte find a way out of her vows? Or will she discover that maybe this marriage isn’t so inconvenient after all?

 

 

THE WEDDING IS ALL PLANNED . . .

Some Just Needs to Tell the Bride.

In 1860s Seattle, redwoods were plentiful but women scarce. Yet a man with a wife could secure 640 acres of timberland for free.

Joe Denton doesn’t have a wife, though. His died before she could follow him to Seattle, and now the local judge is threatening to take away his claim. In desperation, he buys himself a Mercer bride—one of the eastern widows and orphans brought to the Territory by entrepreneur Asa Mercer.

Anna Ivey’s journey west with Mercer is an escape from the aftermath of the Civil War. She signed on to become a cook—not a bride. When she’s handed over to Denton, her stubborn refusal to wed jeopardizes his land. With only a few months before he loses all he holds dear, can he convince this provoking, but beguiling, easterner to become his lawfully wedded wife?

 

 

Experience the serenity of life on a Tennessee Quaker farm in this new story of love and betrayal, forgiveness and second chances.

Olivia gave her heart to the wrong man. Cast out of her father’s house, she accepts an offer of marriage from Luke McKenzie, the younger brother of the man who stole her virtue and her hopes for the future. The young couple embark on a harrowing journey from the North Carolina mountains to Tennessee where they intend to make a new start and a home for the child who is coming. When an accident on an icy mountain trail leaves Luke unable to travel, he and Olivia take shelter in the home of a Quaker family. As Luke’s injuries heal and Olivia comes to terms with her mistakes, the couple struggle to make for themselves a proper marriage.

 

What’s in your March TBR Pile?

 

 

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