+Blog Book Tour+ Willow Springs by Carolyn Steele #PureRomance a debut from Cedar Fort Publishing & Media!

Posted Sunday, 24 August, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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 Willow Springs by Carolyn Steele

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)

Official Author Websites:  Site | @CarolynSteeleUT | Facebook

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #WillowSprings OR #CarolynSteele

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Acquired Book By: 

I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “Willow Springs” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

This particular book launches the new “Pure Romance” line of Inspirational Romance from Cedar Fort! I have a long-standing appreciation of reading inspiring stories of Romance (i.e. one of my original beloved stories was Frontier Lady by Judith Pella; you can read more on my review of Chain of Mercy) whether they are individual novels or novellas in print editions (i.e. Heartsong Presents or Love Inspired series),… I simply love being wrapped inside the lift of joy and spirit of a spiritual-centered romance! When I realised this was going to be the launch of a new series of novels, I simply could not pass up the chance to get to know this line from day one – forward! Besides, I have a soft spot for Westerns — if it has to do with the Frontier American small townes or life on the emerging frontier itself, there is a strong chance I’ll settle inside the story! Hence why I always loved watching Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman! (until the writing went a bit off-kilter in the latter seasons!)

One bit of an interesting connection to the story, is that part of my ancestry lies in Sweden! To read about a Swedish immigrant who was attempting to carve out a new life for herself felt like a natural fit for me! I always love reading stories that form connections to my ancestral past. Little snippets of insight I might not otherwise have had the pleasure of finding revealed.

+Blog Book Tour+ Willow Springs by Carolyn Steele #PureRomance a debut from Cedar Fort Publishing & Media!Willow Springs
by Carolyn Steele
Source: Direct from Publisher

Husbands. Crissa had to suppress a shudder at the thought. If I had wanted a husband, I would have stayed in Boston. Indeed, Crissa considered Willow Springs to be the nearest thing to her idea of purgatory. She certainly did not plan to stay here long.

Swedish immigrant Crissa Engleson fled Boston hoping to start a new life, unknown and unencumbered, on the American frontier. The quiet gold mining town of Willow Springs in the Utah desert seemed the perfect spot—until the intrigue of her past and rivalries of the town’s leading families enveloped her.

Unaware that a relentless bounty hunter is pursuing her, Crissa falls in love with Drake Adams, a handsome Pony Express rider and the son of an influential mine owner. While Drake returns Crissa’s interest, their courtship is thwarted by the pursuit of one of Drake’s rivals, who may be motivated more by malice than by love.

To realize her dreams, Crissa must confront her painful past and fight for her future head-on.

Places to find the book:

Also by this author: Soda Springs

Series: Pure Romance,


Also in this series: Sophia, The Second Season, To Suit a Suitor, Mischief & Manors, Unexpected Love, Lies & Letters, The Darkest Summer, The Secret of Haversham House, Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor


Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Western Fiction


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 12 August, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 231

Carolyn Steele

Author Biography:

Born and raised in Utah, Carolyn Steele was introduced to western novels at a very young age by her grandfather, the son of a gold miner. She has been writing technical and marketing communications for most of her adult life. Her nonfiction articles have appeared in numerous national magazines. She earned her undergraduate degree in Communications from the University of Utah.

Married and living in Salt Lake City, Utah, Carolyn loves researching obscure history then weaving it into stories. She also enjoys family dinners with her children and grandchildren, photography, travel, golf, reading, and all forms of needlework.

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Frontier Americana : Small Townes & Immigrants:

The American West was such a difficult area for settlers, frontier families, and those who were striving to make a new beginning inside their lives for the better. It is in a small towne on the route of the Pony Express, we enter the life of an immigrant (Crissa) who is living away from her parents in order to make a proper living for all of them. Here on the outskirts of the wilds of the West, we discover that for all the graces of small towne living one of the worst bits is uncovering projected jealousy through misunderstandings! I appreciated how the dusty and exhausted mining towne was brought to life, to show a reflection of difference between those who worked the mines and the townesfolk themselves, who attempted to provide the civilisation! It is rather interesting that I am reading about a second towne on the edge of elsewhere directly supported by a mine! The last story of course, was Flight to Coorah Creek, where I found myself over the moon in love with the inhabitants and the life of an ambulance aeroplane pilot! The similarities had me in a fit of smiles as I started to read Willow Springs!

I always have a particularly keen interest in ‘second chance stories’ and ‘stories of new beginnings’, where people are working hard to redeem their past and/or simply want to take off someplace new and forge a different kind of life than they had previously. I love the adventurous spirit as much as the true strength of belief that leaving everything you knew behind in your old life was necessary to create a new future; once you find where your feet land. Small towne fiction is always an ideal setting where characters can interact and yet, remain apart from each other as long as necessary at the same time. Observing the inter-dramatics of where the towne bends or yields rather to whichever new presence has arrived is part of the delight taking the journey through the story itself! Most of our ancestors, including my own, took it upon themselves to dig deep and strive towards seeking out new land, new experiences, and a new way of living when they originally came over from the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond. How lovely then it is to curl inside a historical story just a few stones outside our own living history to walk inside a person’s shoes who dared to do what our own ancestors did!

My Review of Willow Springs:

Inns, boarding houses, and restaurants were the bare necessities to keep frontier life on the cusp of being a bit more self-sufficient on a similar vein as their neighbouring large cities. I love how the action of hosting and waitressing inside of a small mining towne opens this inspiring romance to the expanding picture that surrounds Willow Springs! A towne where an unforgiving and oft-times judgmental township of residents eagerly jump on a bandwagon if it suits their fancy to cast aspersions on someone they hardly know properly! The fitting strength of determined grit and the lift of faith in knowing she was on the right path towards supporting her own kin, is what roots Crissa Engleson into the heart of the story; and sympathetically into a reader’s heart as well. Here we find her balancing an honest day’s work against the joys of spending time with the Inn Owner’s (Molly) children. The fact that she finds the dashingly handsome and coy mannerisms of one of the Pony Express Riders rounds out the introductory joy!

Most Western dramas have a darker shade of a soul living near to the main characters, and Steele doesn’t disappoint by including Garth Wight into the folds of the chapters! An ego-ridden brute of a bloke bent against years of angst, drunken reverie, and a path never materialising in front of him to stake a claim for gold, Garth is the type of fellow any girl would be smart to avoid! His bold and curt behaviour towards Crissa was not only uncalled for but it stirred the stoking fire of where the arc of the climax might take this sweet girl from Sweden! Seeing her speak in her native tongue as she attempts to make sense out of her everyday blights and adventures warmed my spirit as I appreciate when speakers of different languages can find their own voices to be heard in fiction. It gives a proper sense of dimension and an equality in literature that strives to reflect the world’s melting pot.

Crissa’s friendship with the Inn’s cook Marida, gives the most comedic moments by far, as the cook is never far from giving her a jolt of common sense intermixed with a reassuring ear when life is turnt upside down. Marida is feisty as she is nurturing, although I’d wager she’d rather be known for the former! Yet, when Crissa was celebrating the good news Marida had given her about her beau, she internally could not help but stop to wonder if a similar life of happiness was indeed meant for her own path. It was in this moment of uncertainty laced with thoughts of the past, Crissa was taken off guard and attacked quite brutally by Garth. His arrogance and aggression left her shattered emotionally, physically bruised, and inside the tight-knit community she found her footing was lost; the eyes of the towne judging her negatively though she did nothing wrong. This is typical of the era in which Crissa lived, but for me, I felt for her dearly in this moment as she was attempting to align herself with a solid group of trusted friends whilst she tried to make Willow Springs her home.

On the footheels of that fated night behind her, Crissa in true fashion to settle down the rumours had to make a quick exit out of towne, which led her directly back to a loving couple who were her surrogate family. Seeing the landscape of Salt Lake City (a city I’ve only seen visually on camera and/or during the Winter Olympics coverage) is painted beautifully for any reader who loves to knit inside of a backdrop which has a propensity for natural beauty. Steele gives out such a breath of wonder for a part of the country I know very little about, I nearly felt as though I were breathing in the vistas as Crissa observed them herself.

Your heart stirs as you read the story, as the drama continues to unfold at an alarming rate, especially after a precognitive dream cuts Crissa’s visiting plans short. The pulse of emotion is tight as the successive chapters reveal a bit of darkness looming over her young shoulders, and a bit of anguished grief as well. Her heart swells and bleeds through the intrepid sorrow of losing a dear friend of hers and in an attempt to bring normalcy to the children left behind, she starts to further question if her own path is going to be set to rights. The inclusion of her letters and her innermost thoughts as she tries to work out the best path through spiritual guidance and a cluster of hope tethered to her frazzled nerves, Crissa once more has to pick up the pieces of her life.

Steele has written an aptly real and raw romantic suspense novel, as just when you think every wicked and evil reason Crissa has turnt to live outside the shadow of her past, something new arises to draw her closer into harm. The vileness of how human behaviour can be quickly turnt to malice under the right circumstances knits the suspense into the backdrop of the romance; half budding and delayed from blooming. Intermixed into the thick of it is a beautiful yet deadly storyline about herbalists and the various uses of apothecary knowledge. All of this accumulates to a thundering run towards the ending — where your lurching forward with eager anticipation and with a bit of shock horror how one woman’s plight could take her so far deep into the psychosis of the human mind.

On the writing style of Carolyn Steele:

As soon as I started to read this novel, I was instantly thinking about a new Hallmark Channel tv series (thankfully, renewed for a second season!) When Calls The Heart (also a small mining towne); mostly as women in both story-lines have to prove their moxy, their faith, and their willingness to forge a life in a place where ‘rough and ready’ has yet to docile the wilds of the West. Her gentleness in conviction of a faith-centered life is a true lift of joy to read, as she allows her characters the grace to experience their lives with a spirituality that shines through their actions. The inner-workings of seeing where their personal thoughts lie (especially Crissa’s) on how their life is stitching together is a bit of bliss, as each shared moment of their internal world is written in italics (the same with the letters). The full effect of the latter years of the 19th Century are representative of the dialogue exchanges Crissa has with Marida, as Marida’s accented (of Italian decent) English is a bit different from Crissa’s who talks more like an avid reader than a regular commoner.

A sturdy voice for a romance, Carolyn Steele’s debut novel is wrapped inside the Inspirational category of offerings creating a heart-warming fixture for any reader of clean romance. The fact it happens to be the launching novel for the new series of stories under the ‘Pure Romance’ line of novels by Cedar Fort, extends the joy of finding it. The joy of reading the story was a double-fold blessing as the lulling canopy of reading this novel helped to ease my own tensions from being a new self-hosted book blogger. I felt a lot of anxiety consume me over the weekend, as the hours spent sorting out a new hosted site and a heap of upgrades made me feel a bit harried to say the least. Soaking inside Willow Springs, is like walking inside the comfort of a familiar tale of a family friend whose strength and spirit helped renew your own. Reading is such a calming balm to me and this story was a pure joy to consume. I cannot wait to discover what Ms. Steele will pen next nor to follow the joy of where the Pure Romance line will be taken through Cedar Fort!

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This Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of Cedar Fort, Inc:

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Virtual Road Map of “Willow Springs” Blog Tour can be found here:

Willow Springs Blog Tour with Cedar Fort

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Click-through to mark your calendars for:

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{SOURCES: Author photograph, Author Biography, Book Synopsis and Book Cover of “Willow Springs” were provided by the author Carolyn Steele and used with permission. The Cedar Fort badge was provided by Cedar Fort, Inc. and used by permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Bout of Books

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Sunday, 24 August, 2014 by jorielov in 19th Century, Apothecary, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Brigham Young, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Deception Before Matrimony, Domestic Violence, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Equality In Literature, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Herbalist, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life in Another Country, Mormonism, Naturopathic Medicine, Salt Lake City, Small Towne Fiction, Utah, Western Fiction, Western Romance, Widows & Widowers




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