A Texas Kind of Christmas

A Texas Kind of Christmas by 

Jodi Thomas  Celia Bonaduce   Rachel Miles

Expected publication:  Oct. 29, 2019 – Kensington Books

Book courtesy of the Kensington and NetGalley

Description:

It’s Christmas Eve, 1859, and everyone who’s anyone is headed to the glorious St. Nicholas Hotel for the most talked about ball of the season. It’s the kind of Texas night where anything can happen—even love . . .
 
ONE NIGHT AT THE ST. NICHOLAS
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jodi Thomas
 To escape her stepmother’s plot to marry her off, Texas heiress Jacqueline Hartman spends Christmas Eve sharing a hideout with an accused bank robber. After a night in Nathaniel Ward’s arms, Jacqueline is certain she has met her match after all. But will his heartfelt promise of love lead to his demise at the hands of the law?
 
BIRDIE’S FLIGHT * Celia Bonaduce
Seamstress Birdie Flanagan gets the surprise of her life when she receives a beautiful gown—and a sudden invitation—for the ball of the season! Birdie creates a stir from the moment she arrives, capturing the eye of the dashing Captain Douglas Fairbanks.  But will a secret from her past keep her from her long-awaited happily-ever-after?
 
SPIRIT OF TEXAS * Rachael Miles
When lovely spinster Eugenie Charpentier makes a trip across the Texas frontier with former Texas Ranger Asher Graham, she dreams of an adventure, and the rough-and-tumble cowboy is happy to oblige. But both Eugenie and the rugged lawman are keeping secrets. Can they find each other—and love—on the dance floor at the Christmas ball?  (publisher)

My take:  What initially sold me on this book was seeing Jodi Thomas’s name. I think it’s the first time I’ve ready anything by Celia Bonaduce and Rachael Miles. It turned out to be a great introduction because I’ve added them both to my TBR list. I’m a fan of historical romance of this era and a US setting and I’m glad to have found new-to-me authors. I enjoyed their writing style.

The connection shared by the three novellas is a Christmas Ball hosted at the grand Dallas hotel, The St. Nicholas. It is the destination and main setting for the characters but Christmas plays a minor role. At the forefront are well-to-do fathers looking to marry off their daughters, a financially independent spinster who might have found her soul mate, and the terrible beauty that is the Texas terrain. I enjoyed each story and recommend the book to fans of the authors and historical romance.


THE HISTORY BEHIND A TEXAS KIND OF CHRISTMAS: 

➢ Sarah Horton Cockrell opened the St. Nicholas Hotel in 1859 under her own management, one year after her husband, Alex Cockrell, died at the hands of a Dallas sheriff. It was known as one of the most fashionable, grand hotels of its time until it burned down in the Dallas Fire of 1860. It was the first building constructed taller than two stories and the crowning social event Dallas society was the grand ball with which it made its debut. Sarah Horton Cockrell named the hotel after the man she chose as its manager – Nicholas H. Darnell, a captain in the Indian wars of 1839, Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Texas Congress of 1842, and Lieutenant Governor elected in the first state election of 1846. 

Sarah Horton Cockrell (1819-1892) 

➢ An astute businesswoman, real estate maven and transportation pioneer whose wealth and power defied gender conventions of the time, Sarah Horton Cockrell went on to own nearly 1⁄4 of Downtown Dallas, opening the Dallas Hotel (later known as the St. Charles), a number of flour mills and other businesses. She constructed the first iron bridge across the Trinity, leading to enormous economic development for the state. 

➢ After Sarah Horton Cockrell’s death in 1892, The Dallas Morning News’s obituary stated that her funeral procession and floral tributes were among the largest ever seen in Dallas.


ABOUT THE AUTHORS 

Jodi Thomas is a New York Times bestselling author and fifth-generation Texan who sets many of her award-winning stories in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A multi-RITA Award winner and member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame, she’s written over 50 novels with millions of copies in print. Her most recent releases are The Little Tea Shop on Main and her historical anthology, A Texas Kind of Christmas (Nov. 2019). The first book in her new series with Kensington, Breakfast at the Honey Creek Café, comes out May 2020. Please visit her at http://www.JodiThomas.com.


Celia Bonaduce, also the author of The Venice Beach Romances and the Welcome to Fat Chance, Texas series, has always had a love affair with houses. Her credits as a television field producer include such house-heavy hits as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition; HGTV’s House Hunters and Tiny House Hunters. She lives in Santa Monica, CA, with her husband and dreams of one day traveling with him in their own tiny house. She can be found online http://www.CeliaBonaduce.com

Rachael Miles is an acclaimed romance novelist and historian specializing in the 19th century, as well as a professor of literary history. A fifth-generation Texan and native of Dallas, she now lives and teaches in New York. Visit her online at http://www.RachaelMiles.com.


Meet Jodi Thomas, Rachael Miles & Celia Bonaduce at these Upcoming Events! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2019 @ 6pm DALLAS WOMAN’S FORUM at the Alexander Mansion of Dallas Cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres with Jodi Thomas, Rachael Miles & Celia Bonaduce (Author Talk, followed by Q&A and Book Signing) 4607 Ross Avenue Dallas, Texas 75204 

Thursday, November 21, 2019 @ 11am DALLAS WOMAN’S FORUM at the Alexander Mansion of Dallas Luncheon with Jodi Thomas, Rachael Miles & Celia Bonaduce (Author Talk, followed by Q&A and Book Signing) 4607 Ross Avenue Dallas, Texas 75204 

Thursday November 21, 2019 @ 6pm INTERABANG BOOKS 10720 Preston Rd #1009B Dallas, TX 75230 

Saturday, November 23, 2019 @ 11am DALLAS ARBORETUM – Rosine Hall 8525 Garland Rd. Dallas, Texas 75218


 

 

One Wish: A Christmas Story by Jodi Thomas

One Wish: A Christmas Story by Jodi Thomas

Expected publication:  Oct. 29, 2019 – Zebra

Digital galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

My take: Maggie has a journal where she has recorded wishes over the years. Ranging from flowery, hopeful wishes to now – when she wishes to spend a day with a good man. She doesn’t hold out much home that she’ll get her wish.

On a night just before Christmas she’s the only person in her mercantile when three men with bad intentions come in and threaten her. They don’t realize there’s another person in the shop and he upsets their plan. He is a man from Maggie’s past. She and Sam knew each other as children. Twenty years have passed and they have an opportunity to get re-acquainted.

This is a novella about finding friendship and possibly love. It’s a warm story peppered with Jodi Thomas’s trademark humor. I enjoyed it! The format is perfect when you need a little escape during a busy day.


 

The Valentine’s Curse by Jodi Thomas

The Valentine’s Curse by Jodi Thomas

Published:  Dec. 18, 2018 – Kensington

Book provided by the publisher and NetGalley

Description:  New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas takes you back to the Old West, where two strangers find love in the least likely place, with the least likely person, just in the nick of time . . .
 
As a Yankee in Texas two years after the Civil War, cowboy Broderick Monroe is given the jobs no one else wants to do—including keeping company with the cursed Widow Allen at the annual Valentine’s Day dance thrown by his boss’s wife.
 
After losing two husbands to the war, Valerie Allen has become a local pariah. Rumor has it that if a man touches her, he’ll be dead by morning. But Brody believes in curses about as much as he believes in love.
 
One secret embrace in the moonlight leads Valerie to think she has found a kindred spirit, but fate—and the curse—aren’t done with her yet . . . (publisher)

My take:  This novella was originally part of the anthology Be My Texas Valentine (published in 2012). It’s a story of two people who’ve been dealt some hard blows by life. When they meet at a Valentine’s dance they know they aren’t meant to be. He agreed to sit next to her when asked by his boss’s wife and she is too proper to disagree. But that doesn’t mean she must speak to him. She’s known around the county as a cursed widow. He’s known as a Yankee and only tolerated because of his strong work ethic. As always happens in a Jodi Thomas story, unexpected circumstances will change the course of lives and this reader loved finding out how. Told in the author’s warm and charming style this is a novella her fans and those of historical western romance will want to read. I’m glad I finally discovered it!


 

The Sins of Lord Lockwood by Meredith Duran

  • Title:  The Sins of Lord Lockwood
  • Series:  Rules For The Reckless #6
  • Author:  Meredith Duran
  • Pages:  368
  • Published:  February 2018 – Pocket Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Back from the dead, an earl seeks vengeance.

Liam Devaliant, Lord Lockwood, was born into a charmed life. Charismatic, powerful, and wild, he had the world at his feet – and one woman as his aim. His wedding to Anna was meant to be his greatest triumph. Instead, in a single moment, a wicked conspiracy robbed him of his fortune and freedom.

…But will his long-lost countess pay the price?

Four years later, Liam has returned from death with plans for revenge. Standing in his way, though, is his long-absent bride. Once, he adored Anna’s courage. Now it seems like a curse, for Anna refuses to fear or forget him. If she can’t win back Liam’s love, then she means at least to save his soul…no matter the cost.

My take:  Anna is in need of a husband in order to maintain control of her land and title. Liam is in need of a wealthy wife in order to take care of the debts incurred by his estate. Neither want to be saddled with a mate that will force a change in lifestyle so when they find they actually enjoy the other’s company a match is made. The wedding follows fairly quickly and then, when the couple is ready to depart on a perfect honeymoon, the groom disappears leaving the bride bewildered, hurt and then angry. Especially when Liam reappears four years later.

This is a novel that shifts from the time of the wedding to after Liam’s return. That worked to flesh out the story without getting too far into an emotional whirlpool – which could easily have happened if told in a linear way. Liam became a sympathetic character the more I learned what happened to him. And yet I could understand Anna’s frustrations and anger because she could only work with the information he allowed her to know. Meredith Duran made me care about her characters. I loved the supporting ones as well. This isn’t a happy-go-lucky historical romance. There are raw emotions explored which made the outcome even more rewarding.

This novel can stand alone. Of the six I’ve only read this and the fifth book. I’d love to catch up in the series.


About the author:

Meredith Duran is the author of ten previous novels, including The Duke of Shadows (winner of the Gather.com First Chapters Romance Writing Competition); Wicked Becomes You (included on the Woman’s World List of Best Beach Reads for Summer 2010), and the USA TODAY bestseller and RITA Award Winner Fool Me Twice. She blames Anne Boleyn for sparking her lifelong obsession with British history, and for convincing her that princely love is no prize if it doesn’t come with a happily-ever-after. She enjoys collecting old etiquette manuals, guidebooks to nineteenth-century London, and travelogues by intrepid Victorian women. Visit her at MeredithDuran.com, on Twitter @meredithduran and Facebook: AuthorMeredithDuran


The Sins of Lord Lockwood

By Meredith Duran

Publication Date: February 27, 2018

ISBN: 9781501139048

Price:  $7.99  – Paperback – Pocket Books


 

A Lady’s Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran

  • a-ladys-code-of-misconductTitle:  A Lady’s Code of Misconduct
  • Series:  Rules for the Reckless, #5
  • Author:  Meredith Duran
  • Pages:  384
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  February 28, 2017 – Pocket Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL…
Trapped in the countryside, facing an unwanted marriage and the theft of her fortune, Jane Mason is done behaving nicely. To win her freedom, she’ll strike a deal with the most dangerous man she knows—a rising star in politics, whose dark good looks mask an even darker heart.

…NEVER GOES TO PLAN.
The bitter past has taught Crispin Burke to trust no one. He’ll gladly help a lovely young heiress, provided she pays a price. Yet when a single mistake shatters his life, it is Jane who holds the key to his salvation. And in a world that no longer makes sense, Crispin slowly realizes that she may be the only thing worth fighting for…  (publisher)

My take:  This was my first full-length Meredith Duran book and I enjoyed it. We have Jane whose parents died leaving her in the care of her father’s brother (and family). She’d been raised with respect, a sense of adventure, and a thirst for knowledge. Now in her early twenties she’s been relegated to a corner and virtually ignored by her relatives. But they love her inheritance. Their goal is to see her married to their son (her cousin) and the money will go to the family.

Then we have Crispin. He’s a second son so not much use to anyone but himself. Because of events during his formative years he’s become a man intent on gaining political power by any means possible – maybe that will impress his father. For now he’s seeing a partnership with Jane’s uncle as useful in attaining his goal. When Jane puts her own plan for a better life into play Crispin finds himself helping her. When the unexpected happens their plans take a turn neither would have though possible.

A Lady’s Code of Misconduct was a fun read. I enjoyed Duran’s characters and plot. The amnesia and marriage of convenience tropes played out in such an entertaining way. Plus, there’s a villain who made me think of a Regency era James Bond villain 🙂 Unexpected, for sure! I also liked the foreshadowing of the next book in the series. At least I think it could be the next. Looking forward to it.


Praise for A Lady’s Code of Misconduct:

“A sham marriage, political intrigue, and a case of amnesia provide a backdrop for this absorbing Victorian romance…Although Duran (Luck Be a Lady, 2015, etc.) has written a novel as layered as an onion, the characters are well-drawn and the plot flawlessly executed. Add in some very steamy sex, and the fifth installment of Duran’s Rules for the Reckless series can’t help but delight. This book weaves its spell so thoroughly that the most fortunate reader will be the one who has time to read the entire thing in one sitting. A masterful tale of suspense, forgiveness, and love.”

Kirkus Starred Review for A Lady’s Code of Misconduct

 

“Romance at its finest.”

New York Times bestselling author Liz Carlyle for A Lady’s Code of Misconduct

 *  *  *

Praise for the Rules for the Reckless series:

“This flawless novel in the Rules for the Reckless series, set in 1886 London, pivots seamlessly to Catherine Everleigh and Nick O’Shea, lively characters who won readers’ hearts in Lady Be Good…These intelligent, multilayered characters embody the best aspects of this wonderfully indulgent series.”

Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW, Luck Be A Lady)

 

“Hot on the heels of Lady Be Good comes Catherine Everleigh’s story, and readers know they’ll be in for a fun, sexy and poignant roller coaster ride. Well-paced, simmering with sexual tension and peopled with memorable characters, this is a love story to be savored.”

—RT, TOP PICK HOT REVIEW (Luck Be A Lady)

 

“Love transcends the limits of wealth and social rank in the smart, likable third Rules for the Reckless historical…Duran gives her characters depth: Christian grapples with his desire for revenge and anxiety over unexpectedly becoming his father’s heir, and Lilah is a pawn who fears exposure and ruin. Readers will especially look forward to Catherine finding her own romance in a future installment.”

—Publishers Weekly (Lady Be Good)


About the author:

MEREDITH DURAN is the author of ten previous novels, including The Duke of Shadows (winner of the Gather.com First Chapters Romance Writing Competition), Wicked Becomes You (included on the Woman’s World list of Best Beach Reads for Summer 2010), and the USA Today bestseller and RITA Award–winning Fool Me Twice. She blames Anne Boleyn for sparking her lifelong obsession with British history, and for convincing her that princely love is no prize if it doesn’t come with a happily-ever-after. She enjoys collecting old etiquette manuals, guidebooks to nineteenth-century London, and travelogues by intrepid Victorian women. Visit her atMeredithDuran.com, on Twitter @meredithduran and Facebook AuthorMeredithDuran.

*  *  *

A LADY’S CODE OF MISCONDUCT

Fifth in the Rules for the Reckless series

By Meredith Duran

Publication Date: February 28, 2017

Pocket Books

ISBN: 9781501139024

Price: $7.99

Historical Romance

a-ladys-code-of-misconduct

Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh

  • someone-to-hold-feb7Title:  Someone to Hold
  • Series:  Westcott #2
  • Author:  Mary Balogh
  • Pages:  400
  • Published:  February 7, 2017 – Jove Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  A reversal of fortune befalls a young woman in the latest Westcott novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Only a Kissand Someone to Love.
 
Humphrey Wescott, Earl of Riverdale, has died, leaving behind a fortune and a scandalous secret that will forever alter the lives of his family—sending one daughter on a journey of self-discovery…
 
With her parents’ marriage declared bigamous, Camille Westcott is now illegitimate and without a title. Looking to eschew the trappings of her old life, she leaves London to teach at the Bath orphanage where her newly discovered half-sister lived. But even as she settles in, she must sit for a portrait commissioned by her grandmother and endure an artist who riles her every nerve.
 
An art teacher at the orphanage that was once his home, Joel Cunningham has been hired to paint the portrait of the haughty new teacher. But as Camille poses for Joel, their mutual contempt soon turns to desire. And it is only the bond between them that will allow them to weather the rough storm that lies ahead…  (publisher)

My take:  Mary Balogh continues her Westcott series with Someone to Hold. It is Camille Westcott’s story – she’s more bewildered and hurt than angry about her situation. Little by little she wakes up to her new circumstances and decides to actually do something about her new path in life. That path takes her to an orphanage in Bath where she decides she’d like to give teaching a try.

Seemed a bit of a fish out of water story to me but Balogh made it work. I think my favorite parts of the story centered around the orphanage and school scenes. Camille blossomed in her new surroundings and discovered things about herself she didn’t know in her old life. She also discovered Joel, the local portrait artist who volunteered to teach painting at the orphanage school. He grew up at the orphanage and could share that perspective with Camille. The two became friends and then more.

Although I thought the pacing was a bit uneven it was a nice story about finding new possibilities in even the most dire circumstances and about finding family when you thought all hope was lost. Recommended to fans of the author and historical romance.

Finish the Series 2016 Challenge Wrap-Up

I’ve been working toward reading three series for a few years. In 2016 I managed to finish reading the Brothers Sinister series by Courtney Milan:

the-governess-affair  the-duchess-war  a-kiss-for-midwinter  the-heiress-effect  the-countess-conspiracy  the-suffragette-scandal  talk-sweetly-to-me