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


 

 

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!


 

Spotlight on: Have You Met Nora? by Nicole Blades

Today it is my pleasure to shine the Bookfan spotlight on Have You Met Nora? by Nicole Blades.

Kensington; November 2017; $15.00; Trade Paperback

Description: (Spotlight content provided by the publicist)

She’s blossomed from wealthy surgeon’s beautiful daughter to elegant socialite to being the top fashion stylist in the country. And Nora Mackenzie is only days away from marrying into one of New York’s richest, most powerful families. But her fairy tale rise is rooted in an incredible deception—one scandal away from turning her perfect world to ashes . . .

What no one knows is that Nora is the biracial daughter of a Caribbean woman and a long-gone white father. Adopted—and abused—by her mother’s employer, then sent to an exclusive boarding school to buy her silence, Nora found that “passing” as a white woman could give her everything she never had. Every golden opportunity she seized and every deception she worked kept that powerless, forgotten girl forever in the past.

Now, an ex-classmate who Nora betrayed many years ago has returned to her life to even the score. She’s a woman who won’t be bought off, reasoned against, or pleaded with. Her machinations are turning Nora’s privilege into one gilded trap after another. Running out of choices, Nora must decide how far she will go to protect a lie or give up and finally face the truth.


Praise for Have You Met Nora?
“Emotionally intense. Nicole Blades weaves a compelling web of secrets as a desperate woman struggles to overcome her past and secure her future, no matter the price.” —Colleen Faulkner, author of What Makes a Family
*

“…stunning, riveting, and positively unpredictable. This is a deft and searing commentary on identity and race. Nicole Blades has written a book that feels effortless to read and yet pulls no punches, offering a point of view that is piercing and uncompromising. You will be thinking about this book long after it’s over.” —Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of One True Loves, Maybe in Another Life, After I Do and Forever Interrupted


About the author:  

Nicole Blades launched her journalism career working at Essence magazine, co-founded the online magazine SheNetworks and worked as an editor at ESPN and Women’s Health. Her essays have been featured in The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, MarieClaire.com, WashingtonPost.com, Health, SELF, and Buzzfeed.  Blades can be heard co-hosting her new podcast, “Hey, Sis!,” and lives in Connecticut with her husband and their son.  Here is her most recent piece in The New York Times: Help! It’s Wear Your Teacher’s Favorite Color Day.


US Giveaway: Summer Dance by Nan Rossiter

My review of Summer Dance posted on Tuesday, May 30 (click the title for review). Author Nan Rossiter has generously offered a copy of her new book to one lucky winner – scroll down for the US Giveaway!

Description:  New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nan Rossiter brings together characters from her acclaimed novel Nantucket in a powerful, heartwarming love story that bridges past and present.

When Liam Tate was seven years old, his uncle Cooper opened his heart and his Nantucket home to him. In the intervening decades, Liam has found both love and loss on the island, and since learning of his son Levi’s existence, a new kind of happiness. Yet one piece of his family history remains elusive—the long-ago romance between his uncle and Sally Adams. Now Sally has a revelation that sets the whole town abuzz: She’s publishing a book about what happened during the summer when she and Cooper first met, painting a picture so vivid it feels like yesterday . . .

In 1969, Winston Ellis Cooper III lands on Nantucket with only a duffel bag and a bottle of Jack Daniels. He finds a sparsely furnished beach cottage, about as far from Vietnam as he can get. But even here, Cooper can’t withdraw from the world entirely. Especially once his eyes meet Sally’s in the flickering lights of a summer dance. The effects of that fiery affair can still be felt decades later. And as the story unfolds, there are new lessons for all to learn about life’s triumphs and heartaches, and about loving enough to let go.

US Giveaway

Please click here and fill out the form

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Giveaway ends on June 9, 2017


 

Summer Dance by Nan Rossiter

  • Title:  Summer Dance
  • Series:  Nantucket #2
  • Author:  Nan Rossiter
  • Pages:  352
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  May 2017 – Kensington
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  Summer Dance is the story of Sally Adams. We met Sally in the first book of the Nantucket series. She was the love of the protagonist’s uncle Coop in that book (Nantucket).

Sally has always wanted to write a book and decides that a memoir would be the way to go. Her life was deeply impacted by the death of her mother when Sally was a little girl. Her father made sure she was fed, clothed and educated but wasn’t able to give her much direction in the important things in the life of a girl. He did tell her that humans “make mistakes. Hopefully, we learn and move on…and God forgives us.” The decisions regarding her education and religion would guide her life for decades. That had positive and negative consequences but all made for a good memoir.

Sally could be a frustrating character but, at the same time, very human. She seemed to find forgiveness for almost everyone in her life but herself. Guilt consumed her and she felt undeserving of true happiness because of her sins. From the time she was a little girl she knew if she wasn’t good she wouldn’t get to heaven to see her mother someday. Sally strove to be a ‘good Catholic’. So, while it was frustrating for this 21st century Catholic to read about those mid-20th century days I also felt sympathy for Sal. Ultimately she was a good person who tried her best and had many people who loved her.

I like a ‘book within a book’ novel and Nan Rossiter did a great job with it. Sally’s life was filled with good times as well as times of heartache – much like anyone. Summer Dance is a wonderful companion to the first book and I hope this saga will continue. There are a couple of loose ends at the close of the novel that seem a natural lead-in to a book 3.

Recommended to fans of the author, a Nantucket setting, and family sagas. Also included is a Reading Group Guide as well as a sneak peek chapter of the first book in the series.


Advance praise for Summer Dance:

“Rossiter returns to the characters from her novel Nantucket in this coming-of-age story.” – Publishers Weekly 

“Continuing the story started in Nantucket, Rossiter revisits the New England island with a quiet look back at one woman’s past with the man she loved…It’ s a pleasant love story fit for a summer read.”– RT Book Reviews 


About the author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nan Rossiter’s adult fiction is often compared to the work of Nicholas Sparks – especially her first novel, THE GIN & CHOWDER CLUB. Nan’s second novel, WORDS GET IN THE WAY, is an uplifting story about a single mom whose young son has autism. Her third novel, MORE THAN YOU KNOW, touches on the bonds of sisterhood and the tragedy and despair of Alzheimer’s. UNDER A SUMMER SKY ties the first three books together in an unexpected way, and NANTUCKET touches on the difference time can make, the truths that never alter, and the bittersweet second chances that arrive just in time to steer a heart back home. FIREFLY SUMMER is an uplifting story of the resilience of sisterhood and the bright glimpses of joy and solace that, like fireflies after rain, can follow the deepest heartaches, and Nan’s new novel, SUMMER DANCE, brings together characters from her acclaimed novel NANTUCKET in a powerful, heartwarming love story that bridges past and present.

Nan is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and is also the author-illustrator of several books for children including, most recently, THE FO’C’SLE: HENRY BESTON’S OUTERMOST HOUSE, called “a lovely vision of one man’s communion with nature” by Publisher’s Weekly.

Nan lives in rural Connecticut with her husband, two handsome sons and a black Lab named Finnegan.

To learn more visit http://www.nanrossiter.com


 

Review/US Giveaway: Firefly Summer by Nan Rossiter

  • Firefly Summer (7:26)Title:  Firefly Summer
  • Author:  Nan Rossiter
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  352
  • Published:  July 2016 – Kensington
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  The close-knit Quinn siblings enjoyed the kind of idyllic childhood that seems made for greeting cards, spending each summer at Whit’s End, the family’s home on Cape Cod. Then comes the summer of 1964, warm and lush after a rainy spring—perfect firefly weather. Sisters Birdie, Remy, Sailor, Piper, and their brother, Easton, delight in catching the insects in mason jars to make blinking lanterns. Until, one terrible night, tragedy strikes.

Decades later, the sisters have carved out separate lives on the Cape. Through love and heartbreak, health issues, raising children, and caring for their aging parents, they have supported each other, rarely mentioning their deep childhood loss. But one evening, as they sit together at Whit’s End to watch the sun set, the gathering fireflies elicit memories of that long-ago night, and a tumult of regrets, guilt, and secrets tumble out.

Poignant yet hopeful, Firefly Summer is an uplifting story of the resilience of sisterhood and the bright glimpses of joy and solace that, like fireflies after rain, can follow even the deepest heartaches.  (publisher)

My take:  I’m from a big family of seven girls and one boy so I love novels about siblings, especially sisters. Nan Rossiter’s new novel is about four sisters in their late-fifties to mid-sixties. When they were young, more than fifty years earlier, tragedy struck the family and had a profound effect on each sibling.

Birdie, the oldest feels responsible for the tragedy and has increasingly self-medicated with wine. It’s taking a toll on her marriage as well as her relationship with her sisters. Remy was widowed young and made her life’s focus raising her three children. Now she has an unexpected chance of love. Sailor, having just filed for divorce from her philandering husband, has realized her dream of living on the Cape near her sisters. Piper, the youngest sister, is feeling the physical changes women of a certain age go through and is a bit disconcerted by it all.

I loved reading Firefly Summer. The Cape setting was lovely. There’s so much I identified with – a bit in each sister. I found that so enjoyable. There’s not a lot of fiction out there with characters in my age demographic so I relished in reading it. The future is uncertain for all the siblings, just as it is for all of us. What is certain is that if one remains optimistic in life it makes the tough times a little easier to endure. And, in this novel as well as my case, having sisters is always a plus. Recommended.


Praise for the novels of Nan Rossiter

“Nan Rossiter is at the peak of her storytelling abilities with Under a Summer Sky, which is told with the kind of compassion, grace, and wisdom that is nearly unrivaled in contemporary fiction.”—Examiner.com

“Eloquent and surprising…I love this story of faith, love, and the lasting bonds of family.”—Ann Leary, author of Outtakes from a Marriage on The Gin & Chowder Club

“A gripping story of three sisters, of love lost and found and a family’s journey from grief to triumph. A sure winner.”—Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author, on More Than You Know


About the author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nan Parson Rossiter’s adult fiction is often compared to the work of Nicholas Sparks – especially her first novel, THE GIN & CHOWDER CLUB. She hopes readers who enjoyed GIN & CHOWDER (or those who haven’t discovered it yet!) will look for the same characters in the Christmas anthology, MAKING SPIRITS BRIGHT. Nan’s second novel, WORDS GET IN THE WAY, is an uplifting story about a single mom whose young son has autism. Her third novel, MORE THAN YOU KNOW, touches on the bonds of sisterhood and the tragedy and despair of Alzheimer’s, and her new novel, UNDER A SUMMER SKY, ties them all together in the spring of 2014.

Nan is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and is also the author-illustrator of several books for children including, most recently, THE FO’C’SLE: HENRY BESTON’S OUTERMOST HOUSE, called “a lovely vision of one man’s communion with nature” by Publisher’s Weekly.

Nan lives in rural Connecticut with her husband and two handsome sons.

To learn more visit www.nanrossiter.com


US Giveaway

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Firefly Summer (7:26)

Giveaway ends August 13, 2016