#HarlequinHeartwarming Blog Book Tour | “Trusting Her Heart” (Meet Me At The Altar series, Book Three) by Tara Randel

Posted Tuesday, 13 August, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 3 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquiried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “Trusting Her Heart” direct from the author Tara Randel in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I appreciate reading the Meet Me At the Altar
series by Tara Randel:

I was quite chuffed this new series I am reading involves brothers, as previously mentioned I had just concluded another Harlequin Heartwarming series about the Blackwell Brothers! In this series, Randel has four brothers to keep her busy with their stories! Deke and his brothers, Dylan, Dante and Derrick were all law enforcement blokes with a dedication to their Mum. It was heartwarming to note how dedicated they were to their mother and to what lengths they were willing to take to ensure her safety and security. In this way, Randel had started to lay down a compelling foundation to this series – even though this is the second chapter of their lives rather than the first. She gives you quite a bit of back-story on the brothers but I am sure there was quite a bit more in The Lawman’s Secret Vow.

One of my favourite discoveries in this novel was seeing the ample time given for each character to introduce themselves – as you would expect to find them living their life. Meaning, when we were in the office with Grace, she held nothing back but revealled her strengths and a few of her faults; like the spiced tongue she had when she felt uncomfortable and let her spunk emerge to the point of turning people away. As we spent time with Deke, we learnt how close he is to his brothers but it didn’t feel like his section was being narrated through the lens of feminine perspective. It’s hard not to let that happen, especially as most of these kinds of stories are written by women. I always appreciate those who can keep either a dual focus spilt between their heroine and hero and/or allow their men to sound as you would envision them to sound as your reading. It brings more realism to the stories I think and it was lovely to see being done in His Honor, Her Family.

What you have is a story built out of the fragility of family, where adult children have to step up and help curate strong changes within their own families. Deke and his brothers were attempting to highlight a potential threat in their mother’s life whilst Grace was caught up in the drama of her own family’s trials. She was the caregiver of the family – constantly looking out for everyone but forgetting about her own self-care; a pattern of behaviour that stemmed all the way back to her days in high school. She had a bit of an edgy grudge against the towne itself – whilst part of her couldn’t break her conscience over the guilt it would take against her soul to return to her old life before she knew her siblings and mother were well cared after. For Grace, she took her role in her family quite seriously – to the brink of forsaking her own affairs.

Randel brings together all the hearty emotional drama you would expect out of an intergenertional saga – thereby, fusing the series with a heartfelt light of deciding what is most important to a person’s life. If family is important, than you have to determine what lengths you will embrace to resolve things once everything goes upside down. This is a story where you have people realising their reaching crossroads in their lives and they need to find the courage to follow through with their plans to either a) fix what is wrong or b) find a new beginning to effectively change their life before its too late to live it.

-quoted from my review of His Honour, Her Family
(Meet Me At the Altar series, Book Two)

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#HarlequinHeartwarming Blog Book Tour | “Trusting Her Heart” (Meet Me At The Altar series, Book Three) by Tara RandelTrusting Her Heart
Subtitle: Meet Me At The Altar
by Tara Randel
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Can a love built on lies…

…survive the truth?

Serena Stanhope fears her dark past might ruin the life she’s built as a successful shop owner. Especially when handsome Logan Masterson suddenly arrives in town asking questions about her background. He seems to have his own secrets, but the pair share an instant connection and Serena finds herself falling for Logan. He could destroy everything—or he could be the chance at love she thought she’d never have…

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Romance Fiction

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1335510808

Also by this author: His One and Only Bride, His Honor, Her Family, Always the One, (#25PagePreview) of Stealing Her Best Friend's Heart, Stealing Her Best Friend's Heart, Her Christmastime Family

Also in this series: His Honor, Her Family, Always the One

Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 6th August, 2019

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming

Converse via: #Contemporary + #Romance and #HarlequinHeartwarming

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Meet Me At The Altar series:

The Lawman's Secret Vow by Tara RandelHis Honor, Her Family by Tara RandelTrusting Her Heart by Tara Randel

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how this series began within the pages of : The Lawman’s Secret Vow

To have and to hold — until the case is solved?

When an undercover assignment pairs laid-back Florida detective Dante Matthews with by-the-book cop Eloise Archer, he knows it won’t be easy. And not just because they’re competing for the same promotion. Now they’re living together under the same roof, and it’s getting harder to ignore his deepening feelings for his “wife.” Can he convince Eloise to partner up—for life?

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About Tara Randel

Tara Randel

USA Today Bestselling Author Tara Randel has enjoyed a lifelong love of books, especially romance and mystery genres, so it didn't come as a surprise when she began writing with the dream of becoming published. Family values, mystery and, of course, love and romance are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. Tara lives on the West Coast of Florida, where gorgeous sunsets inspire the creation of heartwarming stories, filled with love, laughter and the occasional mystery.

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a bit of a note about why I didn’t get to secure a copy of the first novel from this series:

I had intended to fetch a copy of The Lawman’s Secret Vow via inter-library loan prior to my tour stop for Trusting Her Heart; however, my local library is now hindered by a state-wide switch in how ILLs are processed. In other words, my ILL days are on perpetual hiatus until a new version of the services are disclosed; this will cut into how I approach reading Harlequin Heartwarming series as I predominately borrow the stories in sequence betwixt and between my blog tours I am hosting on behalf of the imprint. I will continue to read them (even if I have to read out of sequence now) as I love the uplifting feeling I have after I’ve read them whilst I appreciate each new Heartwarming author I get to discover whilst participating on the blog tours. The added blessing of course is having an already known author return on a tour and I either a) get to read a new series of theirs or b) continue to enjoy a series I am already in process of reading!

Thereby, this is one of the first tours affected by this new situation as I previously disclosed this bit of angst in my bookish life whilst celebrating the joy of reading Single Dad to the Rescue! I might get a bit lucky locally as I sometimes can source Heartwarming stories second-hand but it is a bit random as much as the fact one of the local libraries I pull from to borrow these lovelies does have a few in their card catalogue but they keep selling them off during their book sales! I wish I could have taken advantage of that yet apparently having book budgets is a new concept to certain libraries? I tried to explain why I lean on inter-library loans but it felt like I was talking to a wall.

Thankfully, I’ve read the second in this series and now have moved into the third; the day I get to bring home a copy of The Lawman’s Secret Vow to round out my copies of the series for my own personal library will be a day full of smiles and bookish joys!

My review of trusting her heart:

Serena’s store Blue Ridge Cottage is the kind of eclectic papery shoppe I’d love to find IRL! Especially as it brings me back to the joyful past of being an ardent letter writer who loved sending letters through the post office! Stationery stores and typewriter repair shoppes are a bit harder to come by these days as much as a solidly outfitted scrapbooking and/or rubberstamp shoppe for those of us who love paper crafting, mixed media collage and the art of creating handmade greeting cards. You can get lost inside a store like Serena’s inasmuch as you could a book shoppe! The choices, the designs and the curiously clever way she used vintage furnishings to display her wares was enticing enough but it was the soul sister vibe she carried off by endearing herself to fellow typospherians which made it seem sweeter somehow!

Mrs M is quite the stitch and a half! She is the kind of landlord who has a grandmotherly attitude which lands her into a bit of a tricky spot when she wants to earnestly offer her grandson to a winning match such as Serena! She can’t help herself really, if you observe her as she tries to encourage a love match between two singleton’s who aren’t entirely ready for the prospect of a relationship! Matching is a fun activity for the person whose doing the pairings but for those on the opposite end of the match? I could see why Serena was hesitating to acknowledge the cunning smiles and the curious way Mrs M attempted to stall in the shoppe long enough for Logan to collect her for their day out.

Logan enjoys his job a bit too much if you ask me! He gets too much pleasure out of uncovering a person’s secrets and of finding out what they wish to hide from the world. Not that that is always a bad thing mind you, but in his eyes? He seems to place himself above reproach and just because there was a bad apple incident who affected his grandmother’s life years ago; he’s now embolden to believe others will follow suit. Others like Serena who just want to carve out an honest business and make it as an independent shoppe owner in an era of chains and box stores. You had to feel for him a bit – for his misguided sense of duty as it is one thing to honour your grandmother and protect her interests but it is another to marginalise everyone just because you can’t believe that someone would be honourable and trustworthy. Even Mrs M called him on that!

Serena loved being involved in the local activities Golden provided but sometimes the cost of participation was more than she was willing to yield. You could almost see the mistake in judgement on her face when Logan started to grill her again for information. He thinks he’s this suave bloke who could charm the daisies off any woman but in reality, he’s hard-edged and if your intuitive, you can see what he’s doing even before he finishes his enquiry.

Logan and Reid are typical brothers but have an atypical situation between them; as they argue and disagree with the best of siblings. They try to find common ground but only realise how far apart they truly are from one another which is quite sad and sombering. You’d think they could take the cues from their grandmother who sees them as equals and realise what they have between them is something to feel blessed by rather than continual angst but if I’ve learnt anything about siblings its that its never cut and dry to bring them back together. Randel rounds out the family drama with the their father being the one stone in their shoe neither brother can shake as he undercuts the work Reid does for him and he tries to underscore the work Logan feels meant to do. In other words, their quite the dysfunctional family who have a grandmother trying to keep the glue of their connection together by mothering them as much as she can.

The longer you spend time in Golden and the Blue Ridge mountains of Northern Georgia through the eyes of Ms Randel, the more you realise that there are more temperate places to live than the volcanic insanity some of us have to contend with on a regular basis! The warmth of joy in being in the mountains where the air is cooler and the natural backdrop is breath-taking to drink in each day you step outside is a refreshment of its own. I loved the depictions of Golden and the ways in which Randel wanted you to feel as anchoured to this small close-knit towne as much as Serena felt herself welcomed in by both the landscape and the people who call it home. Its the kind of place where you can renew yourself by starting over and/or reinventing yourself to where the past can remain where it belongs firmly closed from sight.

I did have a chuckle of a laugh over Serena’s father! He keeps thinking she’s overreacting to everything even though we, as readers, can see what is fuelling her concerns are justified. The laughter came into play because rather than focusing on his daughter’s anxieties about the truth of their past surfacing he’s more focused on how smitten he’s become in love! He’s like a changed man in many regards from the father Serena had always known but in this instance, his demeanor and his actions are hindered slightly by embracing the unexpected joy of love. That’s what makes you smile because Serena and her father were always simpatico in keeping their secrets hidden! His attitude now seems to be more in step with ‘live and let live’ whilst letting the past take care of itself.

The hardest part of the story is realising that all the characters have their own issues to work through – Logan and Serena share the grief of having to re-step through their individual pasts, re-work through their emotional baggage and sort out a way towards a future where they can be unburdened by the anguish of their present. Logan is a thick-headed bloke for most of the story, as he only sees things from his perspective without finding fault with his own approach. Serena on the other hand was the character who had the most to carry on her shoulders and the most to lose overall. She truly believed in her father, understood his past transgressions and only wanted the best for him in the present where he was finally finding himself after such a long absence of confidence and purpose. Serena also was putting other people’s concerns ahead of her own; opting not for her own happiness but for the peace in finding redemption through forgiveness.

My three favourite characters ended up being Serena’s father, Jasmine (the new love of his life) and Mrs M; mostly as the three of them are the crafty parental figures who knew how to get forward motion churning in the lives of Serena and Logan. They needed a lot of pushes and nudges to work through their feelings, re-think what they felt they knew of each other and of course, like most relationships that have a rocky foundation they needed help finding common ground. All of this is put together through the vision Randel had in showcasing how ordinary life can be messy but its the hours betwixt and between which count the most.

The person I felt the most sorry for was Logan and Reid’s father – I think he never truly gave himself permission to feel the losses he experienced nor had the capacity to find a way to heal through self-forgiveness for his own past sins. Logan’s father was a proud man but what he needed most was his sons to accept his faults, understand his frailties and still find a reason to accept him as a father who loved his sons most of all. This is why the series feels rooted in a family drama set in a small close-knit mountain community. Everyone is in a different stage of progress towards resolving something of their lives or of their past; no one is unaffected by the secrets but it is those secrets which cause more harm than good.

What gives you the best joy of course is watching how Ms Randel knits her characters closer together at moments where they’d prefer to remain isolated, alone and single. She doesn’t let them root there in their own self-pity, but rather attempts to push them towards the people who have unconditional love to share and friendship which will last longer than a rumour. This is a series that is about working through your problems, trusting in yourself to have the chance to repair the past and finding a place as calm as Golden to renew your spirit as you redefine your path.

On the Contemporary writing style of tara randel:

I couldn’t remember if I had previously seen it disclosed that the writer of my beloved Rocky Mountain Cowboys is the critique partner of Ms Randel; however, it didn’t surprise me at all that I appreciate Randel’s Heartwarming stories as critique partners have a tendency of being cross-appealling to me in style and voice! It has happened in other genres of interest in the past and I am happily noticing cross-appreciations in the Heartwarming line now – either through critique partners like these two and/or author writing teams such as the lovelies behind another beloved favourite of mine: Return of the Blackwell Brothers! (remember: FYI in 2020 we get a SEQUEL series!)

What pulls me back into the plotting of Meet Me At the Altar series is the thickening plot points – there is an overlapping arc of narrative threading between the novels which is leading into a revelation period. There is one underscoring mystery involving Serena’s own past, her family and especially the goings on with her father which stem from the investigative instincts of detectives both private and publicly employed. It is within this scope that Randel encourages your curiosity because each new installment of the series hugs you closer to the truth but also pulls away from it quite a bit in order to lengthen the reveal.

I am hoping there are a few more stories yet to come in this series – I’d love to see what becomes of Reid, but also the supporting characters of Heidi and Carrie. There are more characters whose lives are entwined with the leads and I would love to see how their lives begin to work out as well!

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This blog tour is courtesy of: Prism Book Tours

Prism Book Tours

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Trusting Her Heart blog tour via Prism Book Tours

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End of the Blog Tour badged provided by Prism Book ToursBy clicking this badge you can find out about the giveaway associated with the tour;
my particular tour stop doesn’t host the giveaway as I’m a review stop, however,
you’ll find many other bloggers who are hosting the information!

This review is cross-posted to LibraryThing.

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it.
I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst
readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read.
Bookish conversations are always welcome!

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Reading this story counted towards my 2019 reading challenges, specifically:

2019 New Release Challenge created by mylimabeandesigns.com for unconventionalbookworms.com and is used with permission.

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Lawman’s Secret Vow” “His Honor, Her Family” and “Trusting Her Heart; book synopsis, author biography, author photograph of Tara Randel, blog tour banner and the Prism Book Tours badge were all provided by Prism Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2019.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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 Tuesday, 13 August, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern Day, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA

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3 responses to “#HarlequinHeartwarming Blog Book Tour | “Trusting Her Heart” (Meet Me At The Altar series, Book Three) by Tara Randel

    • Hallo, Hallo Ms Randel,

      My apologies for the late response this Summer; life took me away it seems from being able to respond in short order. I wanted to thank you for leaving me such a kind-hearted note on my review. It touched my heart you visited adn wanted to give me a note of gratitude. Always lovely when an author can visit with us as we’re talking about one of their stories; I am grateful you took the time to write some feedback on this post. I was quite excited to have you back on Jorie Loves A Story as I am enjoying watching the progress of this series!! Harlequin Heartwarming is truly an uplift of joy for me to be reading.

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