Kissing Under the Mistletoe by Bella Andre

kissing under the mistletoe

  • Title:  Kissing Under the Mistletoe
  • Author:  Bella Andre
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Christmas
  • Published:  September 2013 – Harlequin MIRA
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  The Sullivan siblings have captivated the hearts of readers worldwide, and this Christmas, New York Times bestselling author Bella Andre shares the love story that started it all… 
For Mary Sullivan Christmas is, and always has been, about family. And this year is no different. As she awaits the arrival of her eight children and their partners at the cottage in Lake Tahoe, she hangs the ornaments that they made for her over the years. Each decoration brings with it a tide of memories, all of which she holds dear to her heart. 
But when she comes across the oldest ornament, the one her beloved husband, Jack, gave her on their very first Christmas together, Mary is immediately swept back to the first days of their whirlwind romance, to the love that would be the foundation on which they built the family she is so proud to call her own.  (publisher)

My take:  This Christmas addition to The Sullivans series is heartwarming and made me want to catch up in the series.  Reading about the love story of the Sullivan siblings’ parents gives readers an idea of the strong foundation of this family.  It’s a love at first sight story that seems too good to be true. But this is a Christmas Romance so anyone who reads it is probably expecting that and more. They won’t be disappointed. Recommended to fans of The Sullivans series and Christmas Romances.

Highs in the Low Fifties: How I Stumbled through the Joys of Single Living by Marion Winik

highs in the low fifties

  • Title: Highs in the Low Fifties: How I Stumbled through the Joys of Single Living
  • Author:  Marion Winik
  • Genre:  Memoir
  • Published:  June 2013 – skirt!
  • Source:  Etch Communications

Synopsis:  A cross between Nora Ephron and David Sedaris, longtime NPR commentator Marion Winik has a uniquely hilarious and relatable way of looking at life. Her stories of being single in middle age, marked by stylish writing and stunning candor, may be her funniest – and bravest – yet.

Highs in the Low Fifties follows Winik’s attempt to rebuild her world as a once-widowed, once-divorced single mom. With her signature optimism, resilience, and poor judgement, Winik dives into a series of ill-starred romantic experiences. some are pathetic, some are sweet, and some are downright incredible. she gets propositioned (for money) by a sexy Salvadoran doing construction work on her basement, meets an emotionally unavailable dreamboat on Craigslist, and makes out with a former student. Her clarity about her mistakes and ability to find humor in the darkest moments – in love, and in all parts of life – has won her a growing crowd of devoted followers… and a few voyeurs.  (book flap)

My take:  I especially enjoy memoirs when the writer is in my age group. That was the case with Marion Winik. As I read I realized we couldn’t be more different from each other. Where she has taken huge bites out of life and gobbled them down I’m a small bite girl who chews carefully.

Reading about Winik’s attempts at dating in midlife was like driving past a recent car wreck on the freeway – it’s hard not to look. I couldn’t stop reading even though a few times I was uncomfortable with what she experienced. That says more about me than the author, I think.

I don’t think I did that much coke, really, and even my sister, who tends to have a sharper take on such matters, agrees with me. Nonetheless, the wages of sin and narcissism just keep rolling in. As a greeting card I tacked on my bulletin board years ago says, “If you can’t be a good example, you’ll just have to serve as a horrible warning.”  (page 209)

Winik’s writing is sharp and engaging. If you’re a fan of the author and memoirs of this type I think you’ll probably enjoy Highs in the Low Fifties.


A Fool’s Gold Christmas by Susan Mallery

a fool's gold christmas

  • Title:  A Fool’s Gold Christmas
  • Series:  Fool’s Gold #9.5
  • Author:  Susan Mallery
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  October 2013 – Harlequin
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  The cheer in Fool’s Gold, California, is bringing out the humbug in dancer Evie Stryker. An injury has forced her to return home to her estranged family. So she won’t add to the awkward scenario by falling for the charms of her brother’s best friend, no matter how tempting he is. When she’s recruited to stage the winter festival, she vows to do as promised, then move on, anywhere but here. 

Jaded lawyer Dante Jefferson is getting used to the town he now calls home, but the pounding of little dancers’ feet above his office is more than he can take. When he confronts their gorgeous teacher, he’s unprepared for their searing attraction. Evie is his best friend’s sister—off-limits unless he’s willing to risk his heart. Dante has always believed that love is dangerous, but that was before he had to reckon with the magic of a certain small town, where miracles do seem to happen….  (publisher)

My take:  If you’ve read the previous books in this series you know Fool’s Gold, CA prides itself on celebrating holidays in a big way. Christmas is no exception – the annual Christmas Eve performance of The Dance of the Winter King features the young students of the town dance classes. Evie, the dance teacher, has a personal history she’s worked hard to overcome. The same could be said for Dante. When the two get together (after agreeing on a no-strings arrangement) they set themselves up for disappointment during what should be the happiest time of year.

Over all I enjoyed this Christmas addition to the series. The only thing that kept me from loving it is the trope of the guy doing something that causes emotional pain to the girl. That issue aside, I liked Mallery’s story and characters. They are as charming and attractive as usual. The HEA wrapped everything up with a nice bow and left me looking forward to the next book in the series.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

letters from home so big the language of sparrows

Last week on Bookfan:

What I’m reading:

  • Armed (Alex Harris Mystery series, #1) by Elaine Macko
  • My Own Miraculous by Joshilyn Jackson

Happy reading!

Audiobook: Ocean Beach by Wendy Wax

  • Ocean BeachTitle:  Ocean Beach
  • Author:  Wendy Wax
  • Narrator:  Amy Rubinate
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Publisher:  October 2013 – Tantor Media
  • Length:  11 hours 50 minutes
  • Source:  Purchased

Synopsis:  Unlikely friends Madeline, Avery, and Nicole have hit some speed bumps in their lives, but when they arrive in Miami’s South Beach neighborhood, they are all hoping for a do-over. Literally. They’ve been hired to bring a once-grand historic house back to its former glory on a new television show called Do-Over. If they can just get this show off the ground, Nikki would get back on her feet financially, Avery could restart her ruined career, and Maddie would have a shot at keeping her family together.

At least, that’s the plan – until the women realize that while having their work broadcast is one thing, having their personal lives play out on TV is another thing entirely. Soon they are struggling to hold themselves, and the project, together. With a decades-old mystery – and the hurricane season – looming, the women are forced to figure out just how they’ll weather life’s storms.  (publisher)

My take: Once again Wendy Wax delivers a novel that, partnered with Amy Rubinate’s narration, thoroughly entertained me. The ladies of Ten Beach Road are back and trying to make a go of renovating another grand Florida home – this time on the Atlantic coast.  They hope to turn the filmed experience into a home-reno show for a cable channel. What they didn’t notice when they signed on for the pilot was the fine print. Every minute will be filmed and the show will be presented as a reality show. Yikes! Couple that aspect with a mystery the homeowner would like to solve and you’ve got the makings of a good story. 

There’s drama in each woman’s personal life too. I won’t go into each one but suffice it to say that the drama moved the plot and at the end of the novel there are enough unwrapped stories to make me think there could be another novel in this series. I’m hoping.

If you enjoyed Ten Beach Road I think you’ll like Ocean Beach. Amy Rubinate’s narration enhanced my enjoyment of the novel.

Guest Post (and a giveaway): Maria Constantine

Today I’m pleased to welcome author Maria Constantine to Bookfan. She’s here to tell us about her new book My Big Greek Family. Look for the giveaway info at the end of the post. Thanks for stopping by, Maria!
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big greek06Looking through notebooks slotted on my bookshelf, I am taken back to the places that inspired me as I was writing My Big Greek Family. I rarely leave the house without a small notebook tucked in the folds of my bag to retrieve when something triggers my imagination. I never completely switch off when I am writing a book: even when I am not consciously thinking of the plot and characters, the story shadows my every waking and sleeping moment. If I do not jot down ideas, they may easily be forgotten; at times all I need is a few key words to jolt my memory, but sometimes I make more detailed notes to use later at my desk.
A place I particularly enjoyed making notes at was the Acropolis in Athens. I have fond memories of preparing chapter sixteen. It had been a hot June afternoon and even though I was alone, I had not felt alone. I had made the trip knowing that part of the story was to be set in Greece. I will never forget sitting near the Parthenon and taking in the experience through the eyes of my characters, Georgina and Sophia, whilst writing pages and pages of notes. The holiday was not only a physical journey for the sisters, it was an inner journey too where they found the courage to make changes in their lives. High up on the hills of Athens, with the Parthenon forming the backdrop, was the perfect place for Sophia to tell Georgina about her spiritual journey.
For some chapters I did not need to travel far or carry out much research, as my Greek-Cypriot origins provided a treasure-trove of memories to draw upon. The opening chapter sees Georgina celebrating her thirtieth birthday and from the outset I had planned the story to start with a family party, placing the reader at the heart of a bountiful Greek family living in London. Dialogue was key to creating the parents’ characters and initially I struggled with not following grammar conventions, as I wanted the characters to sound authentic. But after a while Christina’s voice became so strong that following correct grammar was no longer a stumbling block to creating the mother in the story.
Harry was a character who took me by surprise. It felt as if he knew who he was even before I did; he flowed from the pages and entered the story with ease. I knew from the outset that Sophia was going to meet someone in Greece, but I had not mapped out his character at the beginning. He was great fun to create and I particularly enjoyed writing the beach scenes. There were some scenes that were emotionally demanding to write, such as Georgina processing the death of a parent at her school, which took her back to the loss of her aunt: I had to go to that place of pain too if I was to enter my character’s mind and emotions. But the tears were often balanced with times of laughter as I explored the humour of Georgina and her sisters; there were many times I would sit back in my chair and smile at the bantering between the siblings.
Writing My Big Greek Family has been a journey and one that I hope many readers will enjoy sharing too as they get to know Georgina and her family.
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About the author:  Maria Constantine was born and raised in Muswell Hill, North London. Her parents emigrated 0sCpcMsg9GEOXw2n0ephYUS-q3AQieKfma47UUIUzmkto the UK from Cyprus in the 1960s and her Greek-Cypriot origins were a source of inspiration for her debut novel, My Big Greek Family.
Maria studied Law at Queen Mary University and Lancaster Gate Law College before studying French and German at the London Institut Francais and the Goethe Institut. She taught English as a foreign language during the five years she spent living in Germany, and has travelled widely across Europe, immersing herself in a range of different cultures. 
On returning to London, married and with children, Maria juggled family life and writing; she’s a true example of a modern author-entrepreneur, having studied proofreading and editing at her local college. 
Maria is a keen cook and shares some of her many authentic Greek recipes, which have been passed down to her by her mother, both in the novel and on her website. She is currently working on a sequel.
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And now the giveaway!
I have one eBook (epub or mobi) to give away to one lucky winner.
Please click here to fill out the form.Giveaway now closed
Giveaway ends Sunday, December 1st at 5pm (EST)

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

sleigh bells in the snow  Armed

Last week on Bookfan:

What I’m reading:

  • Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan
  • Old Man River by Paul Schneider

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I hope you’ll take a minute to vote for Harlequin’s More Than Words program. Read about the nominees at this link  and then cast your vote at this link. You can vote each day through November 21st.

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The first snow of the season arrived last Monday – click for a closer look

Happy reading!

Redesigning Rose by Lydia Laceby

redesigning rose

  • Title:  Redesigning Rose
  • Author:  Lydia Laceby
  • Genre:  Contemporary Women’s Fiction; Chick Lit
  • Published:  June 2013 – Lydia Laceby
  • Source:  Author

Synopsis:  Rose Parker’s husband has been lying. About everything.

When a conversation with her husband triggers questions, Rose Parker uncovers alarming answers that shatter her perfect life. But it is only when she shoves her belongings in her SUV and drives off that Rose realizes just how far from perfect her life actually was. She has nowhere to turn.

While debating between distressing sleeping arrangements-her mother’s house full of questions or a hotel room with too much solitude-Rose bumps into an acquaintance from her gardening class and allows bubbly, exuberant Becky to indulge her in a wild night full of whiskey, weeping, and whispered confidences. Suddenly, Rose has a new friend, a roof over her head, and two gorgeous men moving her out of her marital home.

As Rose struggles to settle into her new life, she remains determined to comprehend her past. And with time and distance and especially wine, comes knowledge. Frank wasn’t the only one lying to her. Rose was lying to herself. (author)

My take:  It was easy to sympathize with Rose and her new situation. She found out her husband was not the man she thought – perhaps something she’d known all along. With some distance between them she realized she had become a different person since marrying him. With that awareness Rose started on a path to rediscover her true self.

I loved the new people in Rose’s life beginning with Becky, the acquaintance who takes her in, as well as Becky’s brother, other friends, and Rose’s mother. They all had a hand in helping Rose move forward. It wasn’t an easy path. She moved backward a couple of times but eventually learned to listen to and trust her instincts again.

Redesigning Rose is Lydia Laceby’s debut novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story and characters charmed me and I couldn’t help thinking as I read that it would make a good movie. Recommended to fans of Chick Lit.

Audiobook catch up

a hundred summers

  • Title:  A Hundred Summers 
  • Author:  Beatriz Williams
  • Narrator: Kathleen McInerney
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction; Romance
  • Published:  May 2013 – Penguin Audio
  • Length:  11 hours 35 minutes
  • Source:  Purchased

Synopsis:  Memorial Day, 1938: New York socialite Lily Dane has just returned with her family to the idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island, expecting another placid summer season among the familiar traditions and friendships that sustained her after heartbreak.

That is, until Greenwalds decide to take up residence in Seaview.

Nick and Budgie Greenwald are an unwelcome specter from Lily’s past: her former best friend and her former fiancee, now recently married – an event that set off a wildfire of gossip among the elite of Seaview, who have summered together for generations. Budgie’s arrival to restore her family’s old house puts her once more in the center of the community’s social scene, and she insinuates herself back into Lily’s friendship with an overpowering talent for seduction… and an alluring acquaintance from their college days, Yankees pitcher Graham Pendleton. But the ties that bind Lily to Nick are too strong and intricate to ignore, and the two are drawn back into long-buried dreams, despite their uneasy secrets and many emotional obligations.

Under the scorching summer sun, the unexpected truth of Budgie and Nick’s marriage bubbles to the surface, and as a cataclysmic hurricane barrels unseen up the Atlantic and into New England, Lily and Nick must confront an emotional cyclone of their own, which will change their worlds forever.  (publisher)

My brief take:  Beatriz Williams’ story of wealthy people and soap-like drama was a good beach read. I love the era. It was  post-1929 crash and pre-WWII which encompassed financial difficulties, prejudice, and people ignoring much of what was happening in the rest of the world. Add in the personal issues of failed friendships, betrayal, a broken engagement and an uncomfortable summer season that brings Budgie, Nick and Lily back together and you’ve got a juicy story. I enjoyed listening to A Hundred Summers. Kathleen McInerney’s narration was top notch.

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the firebird

  • Title:  The Firebird
  • Author:  Susanna Kearsley
  • Narrator:  Katherine Kellgren
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction; Paranormal; Time Travel
  • Published:  January 2013 – Audible, Inc.
  • Length:  14 hours 39 minutes
  • Source:  Purchased

Synopsis:  Nicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes glimpses those who have owned it before. When a woman arrives with a small wooden carving at the gallery Nicola works at, she can see the object’s history and knows that it was named after the Firebird – the mythical creature from an old Russian fable.
Compelled to know more, Nicola follows a young girl named Anna who leads her into the past on a quest through the glittering backdrops of the Jacobites and Russian courts, unearthing a tale of love, courage, and redemption.  (publisher)

My brief take:  I enjoyed this follow up (continuation) to The Winter Sea. I’m a fan of these adventures Susanna Kearsley takes us on. I rate it 4.5 stars and the fantastic narration by Katherine Kellgren moves it up to 5 stars.

I also followed the Kindle edition from time to time. An added bonus of the print book are the author’s notes at the end. Kearsley answered questions I’d had in mind while reading such as what is historically accurate and what is filled in to connect dots. I always wonder about those things while reading historical fiction. I don’t care what the answers are if the story grabs me – something that is never a problem with Kearsley’s novel. Like I mentioned, I’m a fan!

This book is part of the Slains series and I realized too late that I was reading them out of order. No matter, I have The Shadowy Horses on my shelf and look forward to reading it. Can’t wait to meet the sigh-worthy Rob from the beginning 🙂

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

my own miraculous (short story)  the goldfinch  the theory of opposites  the life I now live

Last week on Bookfan: (since I missed posting last Sunday I’m highlighting the past two weeks)

What I’m reading:

  • A Fool’s Gold Christmas by Susan Mallery
  • Redesigning Rose by Lydia Laceby

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I hope you’ll take a minute to vote for Harlequin’s More Than Words program. Read about the nominees at this link  and then cast your vote at this link. You can vote each day through November 21st.

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Only a few days left for US audiobook lovers to bid on exciting items in this

online auction benefitting ALS and Bob Deyan.

Auction flyer correct

Time to vote for Harlequin’s More Than Words award winners!


Harlequin has just opened the voting for their annual More Than Words awards – a charitable program that honors women, real-life heroines, making a difference in their communities.

How often do we get a chance to say thanks to someone who is dedicating their life to helping other people? By voting for your favorite woman and charity, you give one of these impressive women a chance to win $15,000 for her charity of choice and to be paired up with a bestselling Harlequin writer, who will turn her inspiring story into a novella that’s released to the public as a free e-book.

There are 5 finalists and only 3 winners, so vote now and vote as often as once a day through November 21st at 11:59pm EST. Winners will be announced in January.

Vote at this link

Linda Burston has been the Support Coordinator at the Women’s Lunch Place for the last 14 years. As a former homeless drug addict rehabilitated through the help of the Women’s Lunch Place, she is determined to help homeless and poor women get off the streets and develop independence. Learn more about Linda here:

Sarah Cronk, the Founder of The Sparkle Effect, also serves as its President and Creative Director. Currently a student at Whitman College, Sarah helped to create and coach the nation’s first high-school based inclusive cheerleading squad at Pleasant Valley High School in Bettendorf, Iowa, when she was just 15 years old. The Sparkle Effect is a student-run program that empowers teens nationwide to include students with disabilities in school-based cheerleading and dance programs. Learn more about Sarah here:

Shari Duval is the president of K9s For Warriors, a non-profit organization that provides service dogs to combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury as a result of the wars since 9/11. The service is free and gives each warrior a three week, live-in program with a trained service dog, equipment, vet care, all meals and emotional support. Learn more about Shari here:

Ann McGee, founder of Miracle Flights for Kids® , recognized the need for coordination of aviation services that could provide no cost transportation for blood, donor organs, and sick children to medical facilities around the country that they otherwise couldn’t get to because of financial hardship. Through her dedication, the program has grown from a handful of flights for local kids to a nation-wide effort that flies boys and girls from all corners of the country. Learn more about Ann here:

Megan Yunn, founder of Beverly’s Birthdays, believes in spreading birthday cheer 365 days a year and that every child, regardless of personal or financial circumstances deserves a birthday celebration. The organization currently serve ten homeless shelters in the Pittsburgh region by throwing birthday parties for the children living in the shelters. Megan receives no income from the organization and hopes that in the future, Beverly’s Birthdays can provide a birthday celebration for every child living in transitional or emergency shelters in the Pittsburgh region. Learn more about Megan here:

The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg

the all-girl filling station's last reunion

  • Title:  The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion – A Novel
  • Author:  Fannie Flagg
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Published:  November 2013 – Random House
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  With her last daughter’s wedding behind her, Sookie Pool is looking forward to relaxing with her husband on a much-needed vacation when she receives a registered letter that turns her life upside down. The letter pushes Sookie on a journey of discovery as she tries to solve the mystery that has suddenly taken over her life.

Filled with colorful characters, my favorite of the book was Sookie. Although I didn’t identify completely with her there are certain aspects of Sookie that every woman will understand. I think we’re all on the same journey – just at different places along the way.

Fannie Flagg is one of my favorite authors. I adore her charming and funny way of telling a story that never fails to pull me completely in. That was the case in this novel. She also taught me about the WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots) of WWII. I’d always heard about the war effort on the home front but the WASPs were new to me. What an amazing group of women!

The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion is one of my favorite books of 2013. If you’re looking for a book that will make you laugh out loud and possibly learn something new you’ll want to read this wonderful novel.

Note:  You can learn more about the WASPs here.

Provence, 1970 by Luke Barr

provence, 1970

  • Title:  Provence, 1970  MFK Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste
  • Author:  Luke Barr
  • Genre:  Biography; Memoir
  • Published:  October 2013 – Clarkson Potter
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Provence, 1970 is about a singular historic moment. In the winter of that year, more or less coincidentally, the iconic culinary figures James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Richard Olney, Simone Beck, and Judith Jones found themselves together in the South of France. They cooked and ate, talked and argued, about the future of food in America, the meaning of taste, and the limits of snobbery. Without quite realizing it, they were shaping today’s tastes and culture, the way we eat now. The conversations among this group were chronicled by M.F.K. Fisher in journals and letters—some of which were later discovered by Luke Barr, her great-nephew. In Provence, 1970, he captures this seminal season, set against a stunning backdrop in cinematic scope—complete with gossip, drama, and contemporary relevance.  (publisher)

My take:  Luke Barr’s affection for his great-aunt Mary Frances Kennedy (MFK) Fisher is apparent in Provence, 1970. His narrative and anecdotes (culled from MF’s diaries and letters) of the last months of 1970 as well as the years before and after make for an interesting reading experience. The principal players have strong opinions where food and eating are concerned. I found myself in the camp of Beard, Fisher and Child. Cooking should not be intimidating or come with a purist attitude when presenting recipes for the masses. Rather, stress the importance of quality ingredients. Simplicity can be its own form of beauty. At least, that’s how I took the message.

Adding to the story were cooking purists who seemed to enjoy looking down their collective nose at American chefs. Their catty remarks about Fisher, Beard and Child seemed to be steeped in jealousy and self-loathing. Who knew? Not this foodie neophyte, that’s for sure.

At any rate, the late 1960s and the 1970s were times of great cultural change in the US and the world. The same could be said of the food world. Child and Beard were at the helm in showing regular people how to cook good food. And MFK Fisher wrote about eating good food. I enjoyed Provence, 1970 and think fans of cooking or any of the chefs listed, culinary students, and fans of books about eating will want to read it.

Promise Me Texas by Jodi Thomas

promise me texas

  • Title:  Promise Me Texas
  • Series:  Whispering Mountain #7
  • Author:  Jodi Thomas
  • Genre:  Historical Romance; Western
  • Published:  November 2013 – Berkley
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  On a midnight train, four hours away from her wedding, Beth McMurray discovers the devastating truth about the powerful senator she’s about to marry. Convinced nothing could make this stormy night worse, the train wrecks, and she tumbles straight into the arms of an outlaw.

Andrew McLaughlin doesn’t believe in loving except between the pages of his journal. He loved deeply once and thinks he’ll never survive another loss. To help a friend, he climbs aboard a train heading toward Dallas. In the moment before the train crashes, he saves a beautiful woman and is injured in the fall. He wakes up to find she’s claimed him as her fiancé – and now they’re both on the run and destined to do everything it takes to make an unexpected promise of love come true.  (Book cover)

My take:  Promise Me Texas is the latest book in the Whispering Mountain series. It’s the story of the youngest McMurray daughter, Beth. Not only does she find herself with a pretend husband but she’s suddenly looking after two young brothers, a teenage girl and a boy on the verge of adulthood.

This unlikely group of six sets off on a journey in search of better lives. Along the way they’ll meet interesting characters – from outlaws to Texas Rangers. In addition to Beth and Andrew’s story the subplots involving the younger characters pulled at the heartstrings. The plight of these children in 1870s Texas was formidable. Thankfully, they had Beth and Andrew looking out for them.

I really enjoyed Promise Me Texas. Drama, humor and an unusual love story (or two) combine for an entertaining read. Fans of the Whispering Mountain series will be happy to read the newest book and if you, like me, have good memories of TV westerns of the 1960s (The Big Valley, to name one), I think you’d love it. Promise Me Texas could stand alone but I recommend the entire series.