A #PubDay #RomanceTuesdays feat. #HarlequinHeartwarming | “The Soldier’s Unexpected Family” (Book Three of the Hollydale series) by Tanya Agler

Posted Tuesday, 9 March, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

#RomanceTuesdays badge created by Jorie in Canva.

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. This is how I came to love discovering the Harlequin Heartwarming authors & series as much as it has been an honour to regularly request INSPY stories and authors. Whenever I host for Prism, I know I am in for an uplifting read and a journey into the stories which give me a lot of joy to find in my readerly queue of #nextreads. It is an honour to be a part of their team of book bloggers.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Soldier’s Unexpected Family” direct from the author Tanya Agler in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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*waves!* Hallo, Hallo dear hearts,

I wanted to preface my review this #RomanceTuesdays with a quick s/o and note to my readers & regular visitors alike – THANK YOU for visiting with me during February – as it became quite the epic month of CHANGE & TRANSITIONS for my family and I. I had meant to compose a Sunday Post about it all – however, to be honest, I’ve been having trouble with bouts of fatigue and exhaustion; this is the first week we’re I’m rested and able to get back to my blog – really *back!* on the blog, reading, composing my thoughts and rejoining the book blogging community I’ve loved being a part of for the past eight years come the 31st of March!! (in just a few short weeks – its my blogoversary!)

You’ll start to see more regularity again – on Jorie Loves A Story and on my social feeds – what better way to ‘come back’ than to come back and celebrate a favourite imprint by a publisher whose been giving me wicked good Romance reads! (big smiles) I’m working on the draft for that Sunday Post I kept mentioning in February – which should go live *this!* Sunday whilst I have announcements for #WyrdAndWonder (follow us via @WyrdAndWonder on Twitter), the RAL for ‘Unconquerable Sun’ I’m hosting throughout April via the community of @SciFiMonth (#SciFiMonth) and lots of bits and bobbles of life ‘behind the blog’ as well.

Bless you for your patience in me, for your comments & lovely notes you’ve been leaving me on my posts and for giving me a chance to sort out some of the changes in my life but still visiting with me as I was able to surface and share some new posts, blog tours & a wicked #TopTenTuesday all Janeites would be proud to watch (ie. it was a vlog interview!)

Now without further adieu,… let’s get back to the blog tour today!

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If you caught sight of my #BestBooksOf2020 you know “A Ranger for the Twins” was a winner of my Cuppa Book Love Awards – which you can read about HERE!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comWhy I loved my introduction into Hollydale:

Happily read through my Harlequin Heartwarming archives!

It was hard not to burst into a proper fit of giggles when you first meet Lucie – if it weren’t for the seriousness of her situation and the hard-won luck she was providing for herself and her kids, it would have been a cracker of an opening! Plus, honestly – it just proved that whenever you think you are juggling all the chaos in your life, sometimes life has a way of giving you a bit more than you bargained after and proving that sometimes you just can’t lock it all down ahead of time! I loved how Agler gave us this comfortable opening to the novel – as it was a very relaxed start to the story whilst at the same time, it was full of cheeky humour lit round the edges!

I loved the tender moments Agler created between the twins, Mattie and Ethan with their Mum, Lucie as she gave you this wonderful warm home and hearth setting wherein a young family was patchworking their way into a better tomorrow. The young twins respected each other and their Mum, whilst they also had quite a large collection of animals to care after which gave you a burst of smiles because of how eclectic they were in species! It was the kind of home where you’d feel comfortable on your first visit and might not want to leave too quickly because of how engaging the family was to everyone who graced their home. It was a wonderful burst of life and love and I loved discovering this side of Agler’s writing style.

Ooh my dear stars! Caleb’s Mum stole the show for me! And, I loved her for it!! She had the most to lose and the most to gain but in the artful way Agler chose to give us a winning scene wherein Tina herself became the champion of her own story was the best moment of A Ranger for the Twins! It bespoke to the underlying theme of the story – about family, redemption and second chances – about rebuilding a life after the ashes have erased the past and of having the faithfulness of believing in the beauty of tomorrow! Ooh my goodness, what a wonderful toasting of mercy and the beautiful ways in which you can find yourself redeemed!

I definitely have found a new series to keep my eyes on for Heartwarming! I know this series isn’t officially named or even declared but for me, Hollydale is my new favourite small towne I can’t wait to revisit!! Here’s to more installments and more lives being healed and restored through Agler’s vision for her growing community where hearts and lives intersect with a lot of love and hope! Agler has a style for Contemporary Romance which is smooth as key lime pie and as charmingly lovely to read as a cool Autumn afternoon.

-quoted from my review for A Ranger for the Twins

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If you love reading Harlequin Heartwarming & the reviews I am sharing
kindly let me know if we’re reading the same authors and/or if you think I need to add someone to my TBR to be read as soon as I can get my hands on their books!!

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A #PubDay #RomanceTuesdays feat. #HarlequinHeartwarming | “The Soldier’s Unexpected Family” (Book Three of the Hollydale series) by Tanya AglerThe Soldier's Unexpected Family
by Tanya Agler
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

He had a plan…
She changed it all!

Major Aidan Murphy arrives in the charming small town of Hollydale to take full guardianship of his six-year-old nephew. Only there’s a slight problem—his vivacious, fiery co-guardian. School teacher Natalie Harrison has no intention of letting Aidan take her best friend’s heartbroken little boy away. Now Aidan must convince Natalie that blood is stronger than love…even if his heart tells him otherwise.

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


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335179807

Also by this author: A Ranger for the Twins

Also in this series: A Ranger for the Twins


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 9th March, 2021

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

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The Sheriff's Second Chance by Tanya AglerA Ranger for the Twins by Tanya AglerThe Soldier's Unexpected Family by Tanya Agler

The Hollydale series:

The Sheriff’s Second Chance (book one) – Mike and Georgie’s story

A Ranger for the Twins (book two) – Caleb and Lucie’s story (see also Review)

The Soldier’s Unexpected Family (book three) Aidan and Natalie’s story

*Please note: I noticed there is a connection with all of these stories being set inside the small towne of Hollydale and have chosen to collect them into a ‘series’ as they are a series by setting – however, I am not sure if they have been officially named as either a collection and/or a series or continuity with Harlequin Heartwarming as there isn’t a series name on the books nor on their informational pages online. I collected them together for my own frame of reference and for other readers and visitors to my blog Jorie Loves A Story who likes to read series in order and/or meet stories in order of how they were first disclosed.

Finally sorted: This was a trilogy and the series is officially called: Heroines of Hollydale!!

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Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin Books

Formats Available: Paperback* and Ebook

*Harlequin has the luxury of offering Regular, Large & Larger Print editions which I personally can attest are lovely to be reading! Especially after a migraine or when my eyes are fatigued.

Converse via: #TanyaAgler and #HarlequinHeartwarming

About Tanya Agler

Tanya Agler

An award-winning author,Tanya Agler moved often during her childhood and settled in Georgia where she writes sweet contemporary romance novels, which feature small towns, family and pets, and themes of second chances and hope.

Her debut, The Sheriff’s Second Chance, is a January of 2020 Harlequin Heartwarming release. The sequel, A Ranger for the Twins, will be released in Oct. 2020. A graduate of the University of Georgia with degrees in journalism and law, she lives with her wonderful husband, their four children, and a lovable Basset, who really rules the roost. Represented by Dawn Dowdle and the Blue Ridge Literary Agency, she’s currently at work on the sequels to her debut. When she’s not writing, Tanya loves classic movies, walking, and a good cup of tea.

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my review of the soldier’s unexpected family:

The part of the opening chapters which held my eye the most was when Agler had her heroine of this story overhear what defines family from her Mum to the child she shares guardianship with an Uncle stationed overseas. There is deep rooted tragedy in the origins of this story but at the bedrock of the characters’ lives is a wealth of hope and a light of promise filtering through their lives, too. I loved how Agler focused on where they were in their lives a few months after the tragedy as it showed how much Natalie wants things to change for Danny and how much she aches to learn if she is able to stay in his life once his Uncle Aidan returns home from overseas. It is one of those uniquely non-conventional families which I was loving to see develop as it isn’t oft non-conventional families are showcased in Contemporary Romance. Blessedly I’ve noticed an uptick of inclusion within the Harlequin Heartwarming line of romances and I was thankful to read this one by Agler after having felt charmed by A Ranger for the Twins.

If I hadn’t watched the entire series of Army Wives over the last year, I might not have picked up on the subtle reasons why Aidan was being such a difficult person to deal with as he realised his chances of taking Danny out of state were dwindling now that he knew how hard Natalie would fight for custody. The irony of course is his misunderstanding about her remarks when they first met and that reminded me a lot of Frank from Army Wives – as he tended to see things more literally rather than figuratively – which caused a lot of grief in his marriage. However, back to the story at hand – what was interesting to me were the layers Agler was building to the drama behind the premise of the novel.

I loved how she didn’t waste time getting Aidan and Natalie in front of a lawyer and how quickly she wanted to make the case for both Aidan and Natalie to show why they equally had a motive in wanting to keep custody of Danny. It was an interesting premise from the jump start as this is a case involving co-guardianship of a young boy whom both guardians are not the biological custodial parent but rather, Aidan is the boy’s biological Uncle (though the mother was his half sibling) and Natalie was the mother’s best friend. This is one of those more complicated adoption cases where a person’s will and final intentions before death are being brought to life and court.

Aidan was too used to depending on himself and being the sole provider against the world – he has baggage leftover from his own childhood and youth which I felt was overshadowing his reactions to the custody battle for Danny. It was one thing to consider Danny’s needs separate from his memories but it was another thing entirely to base his reactions on his past and never giving Natalie a chance to explain herself or her actions to help Danny transition through grief and sorrow in his absence whilst he was deployed. He’d rather take comfort in the fact his opinions are correct, hers are wrong and that there isn’t anything to negotiate because he is always in the right.

Of course life doesn’t go like that – you can’t just plough your way into people’s lives and expect them to do whatever you think is right for them. On the other hand, I loved how Natalie was sensing what both Danny and Aidan needed most even without their giving her any outright clues about what their individual needs might involve as they both were non-starters when it came to communication. For Aidan, it felt like he wasn’t used to having his routine switched up and that might have a lot to do with his service – as his whole world is structured and kept to a certain timetable wherein with Natalie, she’s as spontaneous as I love to be myself whilst keeping herself clued into the random acts of joy which alight in our lives without our notice and give us the most happiness to take stock of once they’ve arrived.

What I loved most is the ways in which Agler took us on this journey with her characters – to show how life doesn’t have to be deadlocked into one singular plan nor be scheduled within an inch of insanity for missing out on the smaller moments which give life fuller meaning. Agler has a gift for curating a natural rhythm of pacing within a slow burning romance wherein you feel for the characters and for the adversities their facing because of how authentically true their lives have been told by Agler. I definitely will be seeking out more stories from her in future but I also want to get a copy of the first novel The Sheriff’s Second Chance and re-read this trilogy start to finish!

on the contemporary romantic styling of tanya agler:

As Agler had written one of my favourite Romance novels from 2020 – I was truly delighted to be caught inside this novel for 2021! She was touching on all the elements I love in a Contemporary Romance – a small towne setting, two bull-headed adults who want the best for someone but might not know how to communicate with each other towards that end and of course, at the heart of it all – a slow brewing romance which is about to upset the plans for the lead characters! I loved the quirkiness of how the story began – from the perspective of how Aidan’s first impression of Natalie was the wrong one because he was reading more into her words than what were there to be heard. Whereas with Natalie she’s on the defensive due to how much it aches her to even consider a life and world without Danny; the young boy she was given guardianship over since his Mum died.

Agler has a way of knitting you into the heart of their lives – digging deep and expounding on the emotional side of trying to resolve a custody battle between two guardians who aren’t the best at communicating with each other nor understanding where the others is coming from in regards to why their each fighting so hard towards the same end goal. I was definitely hooked quite immediately after Aidan showed up in the park and throughout the passages in the book where he’s trying to assert himself as the predominant reason why the court should lean in his favour but he has a few misguided reasons behind that train of logic which I was looking forward to seeing Agler explore in more detail. Especially about his concept about how love is co-dependent on biology and how custody should only concern those with biological connections.

Though a lot of people believe the same way Aidan does in the beginning of the novel – love and parenthood are not co-dependent on being biologically connected to children. If that were the case we wouldn’t have positive stories of adoption and foster care placements outside their biological homes. It is a dicey premise because of how you have to foster balance between the issues of custody and the reasons why both of these persons want what is best for Danny but even as their lawyer pointed out – are they willing and able to take a hard look at what that might entail or are they just going to bicker and disagree because they each believe they are the best guardian for the child without considering a middle path?

Being a Prospective Adoptive Mum in the future – I took a keen interest in how Agler approached the telling of the story and how she handled the perspectives of the characters. Especially as this is a very interesting modern issue where you have custodial guardianship and a mother’s final wishes revealled through court papers of guardianship and her will. It speaks to another side of adoption as well and how kinship adoptions are just as complicated as foster adoptions.

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I’d like take a moment and thank the author for her kindness in enclosing some lovely surprises for me – including the bookmarks & the pen; it is such an unexpected joy just to be reading the stories themselves whenever they come along to us as book bloggers – but to find small little extras enclosed with the books is a special surprise which I have always been thankful to receive. I loved reading this with the bookmark and when I can gather a copy of the first novel in the series – I’ll happily be re-reading the trilogy with the bookmark, too! Many blessings back to you, Ms Agler!

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This blog tour was courtesy of: Prism Book Tours

Prism Book Tours

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The Soldier's Unexpected Family blog tour banner provided by Prism Book Tours and is used with permission.

Kindly click the banner to route yourself to the full schedule for this lovely blog tour and to see more readerly reactions to the story. As well as find out about the giveaway associated with the tour!

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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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{SOURCES: Covers art of “The Sheriff’s Second Chance”, “A Ranger for the Twins” and “The Soldier’s Unexpected Family”, synopsis and biography of the author Tanya Agler as well as the 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: #RomanceTuesdays banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2021.

I’m a social reader | I tweet my reading life

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, 9 March, 2021 by jorielov in #RomanceTuesdays, 21st Century, Adoption, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Contemporary Romance, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Life Shift, Mental Health, Military Fiction, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, North Carolina, Orphans & Guardians, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Single Fathers, Single Mothers, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Social Services




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2 responses to “A #PubDay #RomanceTuesdays feat. #HarlequinHeartwarming | “The Soldier’s Unexpected Family” (Book Three of the Hollydale series) by Tanya Agler

    • Hallo, Hallo Greg,

      I am doing alright for the most part – I have a lot of fatigue due to working long hours and shifts as I’m readjusting to working FT however, the harder bit has been the wrath of my seasonal allergies which started in Feb this year rather than in late Spring (Apr/May most years – hence why I struggle loads during W&W!) — thankfully though I found stronger allergy medicine and its keeping it at bay for now. *knock on wood*

      I also found a work schedule that is better for me – in regards to the hours, etc and I am hoping as I shift forward through the weekend and into next week, I’ll feel more rested and less fatigued. Bless you for visiting with me and sending me an encouraging note! Hope your Spring is off to a good start, yourself. :)

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