Blog Book Tour | “Unexpected Love: A Marriage of Convenience” (anthology) feat. stories by Heather Chapman, Mandi Ellsworth, Paula Kremser and Ashtyn Newbold on the ‘eve’ of Jorie’s 4th Blogoversary!

Posted Thursday, 30 March, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

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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 “Unexpected Love” 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.

Why I personally love mail-order brides & marriages of convenience stories:

I disclosed a bit about why I love this particular sub-genre whilst ruminating about my first Historical reading of a Liz Harris novel! She has become one of my favourite contemporary British Historical authors, especially in the umbrella of ‘Westerns’, as she had a particular knack for that setting and era. However, her convicting and moving sweep of Eastern culture and tradition truly touched my bookish soul (within ‘The Road Back’).

– see also my Review of ‘A Bargain Struck’

There is something about finding someone to love without the pretense of courtship and the complexities of meeting your in-laws which I suppose does have it’s particular allure! The merits of the union are generally worked out to be beneficial to both parties for different reasons and thereby, entering into a new approach on how love and marriage can be unified and bonding. Most of the stories of this nature, have a set of circumstances leading into how the two parties meet and why or how a marriage would be the best option for both to explore.

Your heart tugs against your soul, whilst trying to sort out for yourself – is this in their best interest or should they hesitate to go through with the plans!? When brides were sent West from the East on the rails, you have to wonder what was going through their minds, hearts and spirits. Did they have personal fears or doubts about what they were endeavouring to accomplish or did they simply embrace the unknown and take a gigantic leap of faith towards securing a better future than they had at present?

When I learnt of this anthology through Ms Chapman, I was overjoyed – I personally have a love affair at the moment with anthologies – generally swayed to dig inside Fantasy, Science Fiction and/or Cosy Horror short story and/or novella anthologies (or the collections known as ‘Nebula Award Showcase’) but in this particular instance, I get to move back into a familiar niche I used to read quite regularly before I became a book blogger! The tender and sweet INSPY Romance anthologies where you get to ‘meet’ #newtomeauthors and settle into their own personal styles of conveying a Romance that is dramatically told with an uplifting bent towards a positive outcome. I used to love collecting and gathering those anthologies – a few of which have come into my life since I started blogging but of whom still reside on my shelf ‘to be read’. The ill-fated expression we bloggers use to express our dearest desires to get to each of our lovelies but find the hours a bit fleeting to do so!

She contacted me in January and had the joy of ‘catching me’ in a good moment – as so much of December & January is a bit of a blur to me now, as those were the months where I was still moving out of the crisis of my father’s stroke and return home. If those blinked off the clock into oblivion imagine how I feel about February & March which were the months where I required a bit more ‘breathing space’ to reacquire my bookish joy (per this tweet I recently shared). One unexpected blessing has been finding a new ‘station’ to listen to with my headphones (via Slacker Radio) which is happily giving me back new hours of bookish contemplation! It’s called: Classical Tranquility and it is a wonderful ‘collection’ of compositions and composers I have known throughout my life! It’s quite brilliant, truly! It’s a nice change of pace from ‘ambient electronica’ of which is my fail-safe and station of choice when in need of a calming soundscape whilst reading, blogging or knitting.

I positioned this review to go LIVE on the day *before!* my 4th Blogoversary! Yes, can you imagine – I’m about to become a 4th Year Book Blogger this FRIDAY, the 31st of March, 2017! I cannot quite fathom this myself – but the joy for me will be surprising the authors I discovered throughout 2016 who shaped my literary world and bookish ruminations with stories which have never quite left me since I read them! It’s become a tradition of mine – a retrospective glimpse into which stories breathed in the most light into my bookish life! Coincidentally, due to naughty seasonal pollen allergies, I had to reschedule a review for Friday as well: Sally Christie’s The Enemies of Versailles, so it will be a lovely ‘kick-off’ into the weekend, whilst I host #ChocLitSaturday (@ChocLitSaturday) for April Fool’s discussing ‘Rom-Coms’ and the joy of comedic romances!

I wanted to spend my 4th Year celebrating stories and authors – whilst entering into Spring with a firm peace of mind knowing I have healed my heart past my father’s medical crisis and have found my joy once more in digging inside the writerly minds of the authors who are penning stories which keep me wicked alert, blessedly awake and dearly enthralled with their creative synergy!

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Notation on Cover Art: Can we take a pause to admire this lovely capture of nature & the innocence of youth? I love how the cover art fits well with first love, wilderness adventures and a tipping nod towards a different era. This is also part of the ‘Pure Romance’ series of stories released by Sweetwater Books – of which I am ready appreciator! I do love the sweetness of the Roms!

Blog Book Tour | “Unexpected Love: A Marriage of Convenience” (anthology) feat. stories by Heather Chapman, Mandi Ellsworth, Paula Kremser and Ashtyn Newbold on the ‘eve’ of Jorie’s 4th Blogoversary!Unexpected Love
Subtitle: A Marriage of Convenience Anthology

"Ashbrook Abbey"
Though decidedly against marriage, when Ambrose Notley discovers it may win him his uncle's good opinion (and his inheritance), he marries the orphaned Kate Mowbray. But will Kate be able to break down the walls that Ambrose has built around him?

"First Comes Marriage"
When Mae's sister and husband unexpectedly die, a greedy uncle threatens to steal custody of the children and their money. David, Mae's brother-in-law, marries Mae in the hopes of retaining custody of their niece and nephew. But will this love for show become something deeper?

"The Price of Her Heart"
When Faith MKinney witnesses a crime she shouldn't have seen, she's forced into hiding to protect her own life. As part of this, her uncle arranges her marriage to small-town sheriff Geoffrey. But when the men searching for her find Geoffrey as well, will he be able to protect her?

"Beauty and the Beholder"
When a marriage arranged by chance brings Fanny and Percy together, they quickly learn that clashing personalities and battles of wit are not a recipe for a happy match. How could a marriage between quick enemies ever result in something such as love? But fate has a way of bringing even the most unlikely hearts together...

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781462119790

on 1st March, 2017

Pages: 256

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),

an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

I have happily read stories by each of these authors and blogged my reactions to their stories previously with one exception: this was my first entry into the writing style of Ms Ellsworth! This is the one grace of finding anthologies – you might know a few authors or you might not know any of them, but there is the potential for discovering even just ‘one’ new author to love! Even though I have previously read debut novels & other stories by the other three authors, I was still undecided about one of them in regards to her narrative voice and pacing (Newbold) whilst remaining neutral going into this collection. I wanted to walk into the sections of this anthology as if i hadn’t read any other story by each of the authors – to give myself a fighting chance to have no expectations except to delight in what I would find within the stories themselves!

Converse on Twitter via: #UnexpectedLove + #Anthology

About Ashtyn Newbold

Ashtyn Newbold

Ashtyn Newbold discovered a love of writing early in high school. Inspired by regency period romance, she wrote her first novel at the age of sixteen. Because she can’t vacation in her favorite historical time periods, she writes about them instead. When not crafting handsome historical heroes, she enjoys baking, sewing, music, and spoiling her dog. She dreams of traveling to England and Ireland. Ashtyn is currently studying English and creative writing at Utah Valley University. She lives in Lehi, Utah, with her family.

About Heather Chapman

Heather Chapman

Heather Chapman currently resides in Soda Springs, Idaho, with her husband and four children. She graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University. Heather has worked in various administrative assistant roles and as an event planner. Heather has also worked as a piano accompanist and piano teacher on the side. She currently spends her time writing and working as a stay-at-home mother.

About Mandi Ellsworth

Mandi is an avid reader, a slow jogger, and disinterested in board games of any kind. She lives in Utah with her husband, three children and no pets.

About Paula Kremser

Paula Kremser

Paula Kremser focused on a career in science for a few years after graduating from Brigham Young University. Several years later when she moved with her young family to England, Paula seized the opportunity to focus on her love of the Regency Era. The enchantment of the aristocracy and the fascinating stories from every stately home she visits have been both research and inspiration for her first novel. Paula lives with her husband and four children in a charming village nestled in the Chiltern hills in Buckinghamshire.

For a hilarious look-see behind-the-scenes of how this photograph was captured read her Outtakes post! I believe that the photograph that was chosen captures her 'in the moment' with a spark of joy. Sometimes the best photographs are the ones we do not overly plan but rather happen spontaneously!

my review of unexpected love:

As per my usual disclosure – when it comes to anthologies – I never know which of the shorts or novellas are going to whisk out a fanciful attachment on my behalf, which is why I may or may not mention each story inclusive to the anthology but rather focus on the stories which moved me most or which gave me something to chew on even if it wasn’t one of my favourites.

| “Ashbrook Abbey” by Heather Chapman |

Chapman pulls the emotional conviction of her character’s anguish straight into the forefront of her entry; where you cannot help but feel the heaviness of losing one’s parents and the desolation of not wanting to move forward if it meant to be away from the life you once had. Kate is betwixt knowing what is the better course for herself – to continue to grieve or to do as the kindly Mr Notley suggested – to take the notion of hunting for a husband a bit more seriously which would not only secure her inheritance but provide her a clear-cut path to follow into a new dawn of her life. The weight on her shoulders is great but to have such a kind gentleman guiding her is a bittersweet as it closes the door on those she can never see or speak with again.

I had to smirk though on Chapman’s choices in phrases – (as you may have remembered or have decided to visit my review of her debut; her style of thing is one I dearly love reading!) she has a way of giving you something to smile over even if you feel the heavier emotions brewing just under the surface of the scene! I like this as it adds a lovely break in tension but also, in direction as Kate turnt introspective to consider Mr Notley’s words. He has a scheme pooling to mind – one which involves his nephews but Kate is a bit unsure if that is a wise choice of course. I can feel her issues – she wants her independence resolved to the fullest extent the law shall grant her as it was the 19th Century afterall! But, surely if she were to entertain the idea of marriage, she wouldn’t have to sacrifice more than she was willing to compromise!?

Such a cunningly simple proposition of inheritance yet Ambrose and James are pitted against each other to prove which of them is most worthy of having Ashbrook Manor! This plot soon thickened in such a clever crafting of contesting a will before it was necessary to read that I couldn’t help but muse of the similarities this story had with my beloved ‘first’ audiobook I reviewed! (see also Review) The deliciousness of the plot though is truly to ask both of the blokes what they truly want out of life – is it wealth, is it happiness or is it security with the hope of a tomorrow!? What will they decide and how will this affect their friendship? All good musings to have but to see how Chapman will wick out the rest of the plot is a charming find! It’s such wicked fodder and a sweet niche of a narrative to curl up inside!

As morose as Kate felt, it was equally on par with the stirring emotional angst in Ambrose’s chest! He was beyond vexed that his Uncle could even conceptionalise of such a scheme much less be the one who was willing to entertain it’s accord with his cousin James! The curious bit though is how the scheme was really meant to catch something more than an inherited estate! You had to give credit to Champman, as she was pulling off one of the hardest forays in mysteries – her plotting was similar to the ‘locked room’ effect, where all parties are contained in a singular space.

By the time the conclusion comes round – you are not quite ready to ‘let go’ of Ambrose and Kate! They truly embraced the title of this anthology for endeaviouring to seek out ‘unexpected love’ and the genuineness of how love is best when it is unconditional! This novella is full of the tender moments you hope to find in a budding romance, but so too, are the harder issues of settling old doubts and fears about one’s person. Ambrose lived his life in fear of inadequacy – to such an alarmingly extent it nearly muddled his hope for a well-lived future. Kate in turn, drew out Ambrose in a way no one ever had before – a touching reminder of her truer inheritance is not merely a place or a home but rather something quite wonderfully blessed; as she truly had embraced the lessons of her Mum and Da! You ache for more chapters – truly, this is a story you don’t want to put down nor a setting you wish to exit!

Learnt Ms Chapman has a new release pending EARLY 2018* entitled: ‘The Forgotten Girl’. I cannot tell you have excited I was to read the synopsis of her sophomore novel! Especially as it’s a coming-of age immigrant story set just after the opening of the 20th Century in the early Nineteen Hundreds! *originally this was meant to release in the latter half of 2017

| “First Comes Marriage” by Paula Kremser |

There is urgency and raw emotions fluttering into your mind as you take up the pace behind Letty’s insistence that whomever has come ringing round to be put-off for another day. Except of course, the bearer of the bell isn’t one to turn away but to welcome back home – she’s at a quandary of a state to accept Daniel is the rightful guardian over the children who have just lost their parents. Her sister was married and the children are her niece and nephew, but as some might look upon this circumstance – especially for the era in which the story is set, the gentleman believes he is in the right and she is naturally in the wrong! The vexation she must have felt hearing his cold words against her ears – whilst the blood rushed in her veins and her mind could not attach logic to find any reason he shouldn’t be tested against that course of action!

Letty’s entire world was involved in her sister’s affairs – including being there for the children (Mae and George) whereas Daniel (the absent brother!) had never spent time or effort to get to know them. He never thought he had too, as why rush when there was so much time yet to arrive? His matter-of-fact delivery of the facts surrounding this tedious situation at best were brash and at worst were insincere to her own emotional state! You truly do not trust him nor ‘like’ him in any shade of light because he’s dismissing Letty out of turn!

This is of course until he hears of an underhanded plot by his Uncle to steal custody out from under him – in a power play to get control of the estate’s assets and little to do with the welfare of the children. In some ways, it served him right to sweat under the worriment of what this legal issue would bring to him and to Letty; as he was far too rash in his haste to dismiss Letty when he was more than clueless about what was happening to his charges. Letty on the other hand, had to remain calm even if she felt herself steaming with hot emotions, she had to keep a level head if only to forestall the inevitable. She shared her plan with Daniel to take an audience with the judge and thereby leveraging a way to give Mae and George a better ‘second start’ after their period of grief concludes. The children are blessed with being a bit too young to fully conceive of what has befallen them, but each in their own way – the layer of protectiveness surrounding Daniel & Letty extends outward to the children, of whom they each are trying to to do right by.

The pacing of this novella is at a faster clip than the previous one – but plausible because of the time bearing down on the characters to decide their fate and the fate of the children! What was heart-warming is how Daniel and Letty dismissed their own petty reasons why each other was not suited to raise the children and instead determined the best course of action was to unite; stand as a united front against the Uncle’s claim against theirs as to whom would be the better guardian. It sounded so simple on paper I am sure, but to unite two very distinctively different spirits, I knew would cause great folly! If only for the fact Letty is an Italian immigrant and her perspectives on life and situations greatly differs from those of Daniel. He only tends to see things through one particular lens and generally does not always consider outside influences or an absence of knowledge. A fault he has had in the past and one that you might consider he could make again if circumstances repeated.

The legalities of the plight of the children is well-explained as much as the hasty manner in which this crazy Aunt and Uncle feel the best solution to their problem is to wed each other! Reminded me a bit about ‘Fool’s Rush In’ (the film with Matthew Perry!) – how sometimes you can rush so fast to resolve something you think is easy but turns out that that is right when the complications settle round your plans!

| “Beauty and the Beholder” by Ashtyn Newbold |

As stated, I was a bit on the fence about the writing style and pace of Ms Newbold – but dear hearts, Ms Newbold surprised me! This particular novella is such a stark contrast from the debut novel I read previously – where I found repeated sequences and a slower pace of getting further along to the point of a particular arc in the narrative. By contrast, I found conviction, emotional centreing and a strong presence of characterisations which were quite grounded in their lives to where nothing felt out of step or out of narrative scope for this novella! The voice inside this novella is very strong and the direction of the story was well in-tune with how it began. If anything this novella made me dearly hopeful to one day read Ms Newbold’s sophomore novel and continue to watch her develop the strength of her craft! Very thankful I held out a candle of hope a new story of hers might give me a chance to see her truer nature as a novelist and writer. She has grown in this novella – I look forward to continuing to follow her authorly journey!

Such a desolate opening – almost as if we arrived on the footfalls of loss and the only thing left were the regrets which can plague one’s mind when situations turn south. Percy was definitely not in a good frame of mind and he was not in the mood to rise above his depressive state either by mere whim of hope. You can sense something has happened, but what caused his negative outlook is yet to be known. You can however sympathise with what has become lost as he has endeared us with that much information. It’s a hard blow by half but it’s how he chose to handle his transition which spoke of his despair.

Oh! It is a re-telling of sorts! And, the joy of realising this was tenfold as I am going to be reading the canon original this coming month! I had a keen suspicion this was plotted after either one or two of my favourite stories – initially the title let me to falsely think of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (but having recently seen the breath-taking motion picture adaption with Emma Watson, I can understand why I was so readily hopeful!) – but as soon as Fanny starts to hear of her grandmother’s plot to marry her to Percy, I knew this was anchoured to Jane Eyre! Except with just the right amount of twists and changes to let it stand on it’s own merits! It’s not entirely a ‘re-telling’ in the traditional sense of the word, but rather, if you are familiar with Eyre, you will not be put-off by what Fanny’s grandmother is suggesting nor why she is so insistent upon it!

This of course also led me to remember the author I first mentioned on my top anchour – Ms Harris! As Fanny and the heroine of ‘A Bargain Struck’ share quite a bit in common with each other! Neither felt they were able to marry or be happy because of their deformity and the physical superficiality of their peers to place more emphasis on ‘looks’ than on the heart of a person’s soul.

Percy was surely a brute of a bloke – but most of his adverse personality was tied into his belief he no longer had a life to live and was no longer of consequence to anyone, much less that of a potential wife who would only grow to pity him. His self-deprecations were quite stern but warranted by a person who had not yet resolved their changed fate. It was good of him to have a relation who even cared a half whit about his health and well-being to ensure he would not be left alone or forgotten. The marriage of convenience in this story is a bit of a brokered marriage arranged by two caring spirits who only sought to bring two people together who had given up the hope of finding companionship if not a ready relationship of equal passions.

This is such an uplift of joy to read – the small gestures, the misunderstandings and the cute way in which Percy and Fanny relax around each other despite being bent on staying vexed by each other’s presence is what charmed me into their hearts! I loved too, how the story has such strong comedic timing threaded throughout it’s delivery! You cannot help but find yourself smirking here and there; plus too, there is much to have a giggle over! There is a lot of happiness in this novella but it starts off on such a hard dramatic keeling that you nearly weren’t prepared for how everything could turn back round again!

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A wicked impressive #anthology of #SweetRomance involving unexpected matrimony! I was so readily anchoured inside these novellas (with the exception of one) – I daresay they could have been extended to be short novels! The characters are memorable and lovingly conceived; the situations they must face are realistic & heart-warming. The entire collection is one that you can readily see yourself re-reading over & over again, due to the blessing of re-visiting the settings & being hugged up inside their lives once more if only for a short visitation! I look forward to more anthologies like these by Cedar Fort, as they truly brought back a lot of fond memories of my youth spent reading similar releases such as this one!

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This Book Review is courtesy of:
Cedar Fort Publishing & Media
on behalf of the blog tour:
(click to follow the route)

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 Unexpected Love (anthology) blog tour via Cedar Fort Publishing & MediaFun Stuff for Your Blog via

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Unexpected Love (anthology)”, book synopsis, author biography, author photographs of Mandi Ellsworth, Paula Kremser, Heather Champman & Ashtyn Newbold as well as the blog tour badges were all provided by Cedar Fort, Inc. and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2017.

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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 Thursday, 30 March, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Anthology Collection of Stories, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Birthdays & Blogoversaries, Blog Tour Host, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Coming-Of Age, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, England, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Mail-Order Brides & Marriages of Convenience, Mental Health, Romance Fiction, Singletons & Commitment, Sweet Romance, the Nineteen Hundreds, Unexpected Inheritance

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