Category: Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence

#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | “We Shall See The Sky Sparkling” by Susana Aikin

Posted Saturday, 16 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

After launching this lovely new feature of mine during [Autumn, 2018] it is a pleasure of joy to continue to bring #SaturdaysAreBookish as a compliment focus of my Twitter chat @SatBookChat. If you see the chat icon at the top of my blog (header bar) you can click over to visit with us. The complimentary showcases on my blog will reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of the chat are the stories I am reading which compliment the conversations.

#SaturdaysAreBookish throughout [2019] will be featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read across genre and point of interest. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – the stories I am reading might simply inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

I am excited about where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction. Here’s a lovely New Year full of new authors and their stories to celebrate!

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Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary ARC copy of “We Shall See The Sky Sparkling” direct from the publisher Kensington Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why this novel appealled to me:

A good portion of the story is hinged on ancestral sleuthing and of keeping the living histories of our families alive for each new generation who has the chance to hear them told. Being one half of the Ancestry Sleuth team in my own family, I can attest to how the preservation and the exploration of one’s family line can become quite a wicked adventure! Especially if you only have subtle clues towards researching past your maternal and paternal great-grandparents or know the names of at least a few of your great-greats going back from there – genealogy is a pursuit of joy for both my Mum and I.

I keep missing the #HistFicChat’s on Thursdays as my hours during the chat are unfortunately taken elsewhere now to where I can’t chat with fellow enthused readers and the writers of Historical Fiction as I had been free to do the previous year. It was only this Friday where I realised this past Thursday the featured guest was Ms Aikin and as I read a part of the feeds for the chat, I soon unearthed that part of this story was inspired by her own ancestral lineage! In fact, she had an actress in her family (see this tweet) whilst she also was heavily read in pre-revolutionary Russian Lit which also inspired the story itself (see also this tweet).

I’m hopeful I can start to return to the chat – as Rachel Brimble is returning to speak about a sequel to her Pennington novel – of which I enjoyed discussing when it first published and Soraya Lane is going to be featured the following week for her latest release The Spitfire Girls which I enjoyed talking to her a bit about on Twitter previously during the last year. I purchased one of Soraya Lane’s past novels on audiobook via Audible and I placed a request for The Mistress of Pennington’s which was accepted by my local library. The paperback is on hand to be read and the audiobook is one I have slated to be listened to this Spring whilst I endeavour to read, listen and focus on Historical Fiction selections during my #HistoricalMondays showcases.

I decided to feature this during my #SaturdaysAreBookish feature as to me it spoke to me as being a Historical Women’s Fiction narrative – whereby, the main threads of the author’s muse were interconnected to her grandaunt and the legacy of the life she had lived. It is a particular lens into how one woman dared to live a different life – go to different places in the world and to curate her own path from her era’s conventions. To me that is at the heart of why Women’s Fiction is relevant today as it doesn’t matter if the stories are Contemporary or Historical in nature if they are focused on telling a woman’s journey – towards her own destiny on terms she determined herself or how she overcame adversity or tragedy and still found a way to move forward in the aftermath. These kinds of stories always interest me and are part of the inspiration behind both the feature and the the redirection of my chat @SatBookChat.

Thereby, you can see – I predominately focus on reading the historic past and attempt to find new voices in Historical Fiction every year, such as Ms Aikin!

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Notation on Cover Art: I could honestly envision Lily is on the cover – letter-writing was dearly important to her as it was a method of keeping in touch with her brother and sister. Her letters are a featured pause in the narrative arc and I, personally, loved how they were included in the chapters. Therefore, whomever designed this cover truly tapped into the heart of Lily and gave her a cover where you could almost see her coming in from a hectic day where she simply wanted to ink out her thoughts and draft a new letter to post! Even the outfit here reminds me of Lily from Ms Aikin’s pen!

#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | “We Shall See The Sky Sparkling” by Susana AikinWe Shall See The Sky Sparkling
by Susana Aikin
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor

Set in London and Russia at the turn of the century, Susana Aikin’s debut introduces a vibrant young woman determined to defy convention and shape an extraordinary future.

Like other well-bred young women in Edwardian England, Lily Throop is expected to think of little beyond marriage and motherhood. Passionate about the stage, Lily has very different ambitions. To her father’s dismay, she secures an apprenticeship at London’s famous Imperial Theatre. Soon, her talent and beauty bring coveted roles and devoted admirers. Yet to most of society, the line between actress and harlot is whisper-thin. With her reputation threatened by her mentor’s vicious betrayal, Lily flees to St. Petersburg with an acting troupe–leaving her first love behind.

Life in Russia is as exhilarating as it is difficult. The streets rumble with talk of revolution, and Lily is drawn into an affair with Sergei, a Count with fervent revolutionary ideals. Following Sergei when he is banished to Vladivostok, Lily struggles to find her role in an increasingly dangerous world. And as Russian tensions with Japan erupt into war, only fortitude and single-mindedness can steer her to freedom and safety at last.

With its sweeping backdrop and evocative details, We Shall See the Sky Sparkling explores a fascinating period in history through the eyes of a strong-willed, singular heroine, in a moving story of love and resilience.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781496717658

ASIN: B07MQ3FCHR

Genres: Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Kensington Books

on 29th January, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 416

Length: 14 hours and 53 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Kensington Books (@KensingtonBooks)

Converse via: #Epistolary #HistFic or #HistNov

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Susana Aikin

Susana Aikin

Born in Spain of an English father and a Spanish mother, Susana Aikin is a writer and a filmmaker who has lived and worked in New York City since 1982. She was educated in both England and Spain; studied law at the University of Madrid, and later Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.

In 1986 she started her own independent film production company, Starfish Productions, producing and directing documentary films that won her multiple awards, including an American Film Institute grant, a Rockefeller Fellowship, and an Emmy Award in 1997. She started writing fiction full time in 2010. She has two sons and now lives between Brooklyn and the mountains north of Madrid.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 16 February, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Domestic Violence, England, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, London, Mental Health, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Scribd, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery

#SaturdaysAreBookish | “The War Between Us” by Sarah Creviston Lee

Posted Saturday, 8 December, 2018 by jorielov , , 4 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

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In keeping with the change of name for my Romance & Women’s Fiction Twitter chat [@SatBookChat previously known as @ChocLitSaturday] – I am announcing a change of features here on Jorie Loves A Story. Since January, 2014 I carved out a niche of focus which I named #ChocLitSaturdays as I have felt the best time to read romantic and dramatic stories are the weekends. This spun into a Twitter chat featuring the authors of ChocLit whilst I supplied weekly topics which would appeal to readers, writers and book bloggers alike. We grew into our own Saturday tribe of chatters – then, somewhere round the time of my father’s stroke in late [2016] and the forthcoming year of [2017] I started to feel less inspired to host the chat.

I had new plans to re-invent the chat in its new incantation as @SatBookChat but I also wanted to re-invent the complimentary showcases on my blog which would reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of #ChocLitSaturday the chat were the stories I was reading which complimented the conversations.

After a difficult year for [personal health & wellness] this 2018, I began anew this Autumn – selecting the stories to resume where I left off featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read whilst highlighting a story by the author I am chatting with during #SatBookChat. Every (forthcoming) Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – wherein I concluded the year of hosting @SatBook during October & November featuring special guest authors whose stories I have either read, were reading or had hoped to read in the future if their newer releases. Going forward, the reviews on Saturdays might inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

Our holiday break for the month of December will find us resuming #SatBookChat the week after New Year’s, 2019 where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction.

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Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “The War Between Us” direct from the author Sarah Creviston Lee in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On reading about the author:

What is interesting is the story within The War Between Us was directly inspired by the author’s Great Aunt and Uncle, though, her Aunt married a Chinese man during the war era not  Korean, which is where history and the novel take their separate directions. What is curious is how her Great Aunt went against convention and traditionalism at a time in our history where being independently different was challenging. I also, noticed it was quite lovely to think her Great Aunt was inspired to take a risk in love due to a book she had read – as it speaks to the embodiment of life bubbling inside the pages of the stories we’re reading – of how, stories themselves can ignite inspiration for life and how sometimes, it is the stories which guide us forward.

The artfulness of her attention to details and the clever passageways she took towards researching this novel was wonderful to read about – as I especially love when authors go into a bit of detail about how their stories took shape. There is a process behind the words – of where the research encourages the writer deepen into the heart of the narrative – which you can clearly see is true of Ms Lee as you read the Appendixes of this novel. She happily shares all the little bits of real life vs fictional life with you – from how she sourced her information to how she fell in love with war era rationing cooking!

I also hadn’t heard V-Mail described as easily as she had herself – as it gave a better impression of why it was was a preferred way of writing correspondences during the war and how it helped everyone stay in touch far faster than traditionally posted letters! It was these kinds of tidbits which made reading the end pages of the novel ahead of the story itself a charming way of feeling introduced to the writer’s style, her inspiring story of what fuelled her passion for writing this novel and all the curious bits we, as writers, discover along the path of carving out a story from the ethos of our imaginations!

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#SaturdaysAreBookish | “The War Between Us” by Sarah Creviston LeeThe War Between Us
by Sarah Creviston Lee
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Alex Moon is not the enemy.

Six months after Pearl Harbor’s tragedy, Korean American Alex Moon is sent away from his home in California for refusing his father’s request to join the fight against the Japanese. On his journey, Alex is attacked and stranded in the small town of River Bluff, Indiana just for looking like America’s most hated enemy.

Unexpectedly, Alex is befriended by a local girl, Lonnie Hamilton, who comes to his defense, saving him from doubt and despair while placing herself in the cross hairs of prejudice. Alex falls in love with his ally—a love that is clearly forbidden. Torn between his dual identities, Korean and American, and grappling with how everyone sees him, Alex must wage the war within himself—of defending who he is, resolving his tortured feelings about the war, and fighting for the woman he loves.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781516988679

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, War Drama


Published by Self Published Author

on 14th December, 2015

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 330

Self-Published Author

Converse via: #HistFic or #HistNov

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Sarah Creviston Lee

Sarah Creviston Lee

Sarah Creviston Lee was born and raised as a proud Hoosier. She can usually be found tinkering in the kitchen with WWII ration recipes, haunting local antique shops, homeschooling her kids, clacking away on her laptop writing one story or another, or watching old school movies with her family.

She currently lives in Maryland with her husband, three children, and flock of feisty chickens.

In 2016, her book, The War Between Us, received the Editor’s Choice Award from the Historical Novel Society.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 8 December, 2018 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 20th Century, Aftermath of World War II, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, the Forties, The World Wars

Blog Book Tour | “From Across the Room” by Gina L. Mulligan

Posted Monday, 3 December, 2018 by jorielov , , , 4 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “Across the Room” direct from the author Gina L. Mulligan in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On reading about the author:

As I was preparing my interview for this blog tour, I had the chance to get to know the author quite a bit through her charity Girls Love Mail – as I read about how the charity was founded through the author’s own experiences of surviving Cancer with the unexpected grace of receiving letters from well-wishers who wanted to lift her spirits in the moment the letter would touch her life. Being a letter writer for most of my life, I can attest to the power of a tangible method of communication!

There is something rather fascinating about how we can connect our lives through what we write into letters – there is a kind of communication found in letters that is unlike other methods used today, especially of note, the way the texture of the paper, the ways the words are inked onto the page (either handwritten or typed depending on the person sending the letter) and the way in which you feel after reading a person’s news – it almost feels as if time itself was encapsulated during the moment the letter writer composed the thoughts and the receiver read the results of what was left behind to be mailed to them! I know this is what intrigued me about sending letters by postal mail and why I want to return one day to sending more letters as I’ve gone awhile without being in the habit of mailing them.

I know Girls Love Mail only accepts hand-written letters, but I can attest to receiving and sending both handwritten and typed letters – its not the method of how the letter is composed, its the content which counts the most. I’ve received (and have sent) many heartfelt letters which were typed and I cherish them as much as the ones which were written by hand. Letters evoke a lot of emotions but they also allow us to reconnect with a part of ourselves which can unwind at a slower pace where the high tech world of ‘now’ takes a backseat to remembering the ‘moments’ you want to imprint to the person reading the letter through the words you choose to compose for them to read.

In other words – I was overjoyed having found this novel and was most excited to begin reading it! As stories of this nature have always suited my bookish heart and readerly interests – something you can observe if you read my reviews for Letters from Skye and Last Christmas in Paris.

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Blog Book Tour | “From Across the Room” by Gina L. MulliganFrom Across the Room
by Gina L. Mulligan
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Self-indulgent young writer Thomas Gadwell has traveled from Boston to the new Hotel Del Coronado in California to at last finish his novel when he meets the clever and headstrong Miss Mary Harting. At once Thomas tosses aside his literary pursuits for a charmed summer of romance that ends with the happy couple making future plans. However, Mary Harting is the only unmarried daughter of notorious railroad tycoon Charles Harting, and he has no intention of letting a useless wordsmith derail his own critical plans for Mary. The couple must continue a clandestine courtship, but Thomas’ ingenuity has unexpected repercussions and he unwittingly uncovers a sinister plot of deception, greed, and blackmail. Guided by mentor Henry James, to win Mary, Thomas must step from the pages of the world he creates to explore his own insecurities, battle against worldly corruption, and expose family demons.

Told through a series of clever, heartfelt, and engaging letters, From Across the Room is a voyeuristic escapade that delights at every twist. Reflecting back to a time when letters were saved in the imagination of the reader, the lost art of letter writing brings to life the opulent Gilded Age and unfolds the universal passions of love, ambition, and the resilient bonds of family.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1432832520

Genres: Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Historical Fiction


Published by Fivestar Publishing

on 15th September, 2016

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 271

Published by: Fivestar Publications

an imprint of Gale Cengage Learning (@galecengage)

Converse via: #Epistolary #HistFic or #HistNov

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Gina L. Mulligan

Gina Mulligan

Gina L. Mulligan is a veteran freelance journalist for numerous national magazines and the author of the award-winning novel, REMEMBER THE LADIES and FROM ACROSS THE ROOM. After her own diagnosis, Gina founded Girls Love Mail, a charity that collects handwritten letters of encouragement for women with breast cancer. She was honored for her charitable work on the nationally syndicated television talk show The Steve Harvey Show, People.com, and TODAY.com.

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Posted Monday, 3 December, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Diary Accountment of Life, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence

Blog Book Tour | “Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor” by Sarah L. McConkie, a lovely new #Regency Rom of the lovely imprint #PureRomance (by Cedar Fort)

Posted Saturday, 22 September, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting blog tours with Cedar Fort Publishing and Media for several years now, wherein their new blog tour publicist (Ms Sydney Anderson) also runs her own publicity touring company: Singing Librarian Book Tours (or SLB Tours for short!). I happily joined her team of book bloggers as a hostess in late Spring, 2018 wherein my first tours with her as a hostess begin Summer, 2018. I appreciate reading INSPY literature and was happy to find these are most of the stories she is showcasing through SLB Tours! Most of her authors are published through Cedar Fort, though she does work with authors who are either Self-Published or Indie published through different publishers as well.

I received a complimentary copy of “Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Publishing & Media) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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To find out why I love Sweet Romances and the #PureRomance imprint you might like to check out my previous postings for Cedar Fort blog tours, wherein I related my love of Historical & INSPY stories on a previous blog tour featuring To Suit a Suitor, however, I have happily been reading the offerings of this particular imprint for quite a long while now. The stories which still stand out are as follows: ‘Willow Springs’, ‘The Darkest Summer’, ‘Unexpected Love (anthology)’ and ‘The Second Season’.

To follow through my readings, be sure to scroll through this tag Pure Romance!

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A small insight into why I previously loved reading Julie Matern’s debut #Regency Rom earlier this year:

A strength of Ms Matern is allocating Regency realism to parlay into her #HistRom The Secret of Haversham House – whereby, you feel as if you can settle into her narrative rather easily without feeling as if something is misplaced or left out. She delights the reader who appreciates the Regency, as she has definitely spent time researching and reading the era to give us the visual clues we’re accustomed to finding whilst delighting our romantic side as well!

It is how she endears you to the journey back towards finding Francesca from the perspective of her grandfather which is what intrigues you the most! You get lost in his fervent attempts to uncover the lost information, the small bits of truth lingering in the minds of those still hanging onto life where their memories are nearly as lost as time itself. His hopefulness and his dedication to find Francesca are achingly real. You can feel his vexation with himself, for the errors of the past, the mistakes he hadn’t realised he had made and the anguish of grief which threatened to be his end.

Similarly, when Ms Matern turns the tables a bit on Francesca’s father (her adopted father: Mr Haverhsham) we view his life from his father’s point-of-view – seeing the lengths the upper class will go to ensure a winsome match for marriage, where even when a party is of independence thought and mind; there can be manipulations afoot. What struck me of interest in this segue, is how well in-tuned Matern is with the inner workings of the ton – how they justified their actions and how everything boiled down to status, wealth and stablity of one’s legacy.

I am definitely in favour of reading more of her Regency Romances and/or Historical Romances if she chooses to write outside the Regency era. She has an old world style and a foresight for how to tell a story which feels as if it were published in the 19th Century rather than the 21st! The only thing which threw me a bit were when she wrote ‘Mr.’ instead of ‘Mr’ and I had longed to see some of the words spelt in Old English vs Contemporary American as they would have befitted her vision for this novel even moreso than how it was initially told. However, despite those omissions what I loved the most is the credibility in telling an adoptive story and search for oneself at a time when entering adulthood lies on uncertain ground.

Matern was the last #PureRomance release I read, as this has become an imprint with the publisher I am keenly excited about seeing more stories published!

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Blog Book Tour | “Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor” by Sarah L. McConkie, a lovely new #Regency Rom of the lovely imprint #PureRomance (by Cedar Fort)Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor
by Sarah L. McConkie
Source: Direct from publisher via SLB Tours

Wealthy socialite Christine Harrison’s life seems perfect until the man she planned tomarry, Mr. Davenport, proposes to someone else. Heartbroken, Miss Harrison vowsnever to love again, and to distract herself, she sets out to rescue a fallen youngwoman. Little does she know that her journey will reveal more than she expected about her friends, her seemingly perfect life, and her own heart.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781462129188

Also in this series: Willow Springs, Sophia, The Second Season, To Suit a Suitor, Mischief & Manors, Unexpected Love, Lies & Letters, The Darkest Summer, The Secret of Haversham House


Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Sweet Romance


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 14th August, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 272

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

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Converse via: #Regency or #RegencyRomance, #HistFic or #HistoricalRomance

#SweetRomance OR #HistRom

→ #LoveAndSecretsAtCassfieldManor OR #CassfieldManor

About Sarah L. McConkie

Sarah L. McConkie

From writing an award-wining tale of a dragon falling from the stars in the 3rd grade to regency romance written at thirty, Sarah McConkie has always had a passion for creating intriguing stories. After years of singledom looking for romance (and teaching Junior High Choir to fill up real life), Sarah began a Master’s degree in Literacy.

When love finally found her, she married and became a wife and eventually a mother. After tucking in her own little princess one January evening she determined to attempt her life-long dream to write and publish a novel.

Using her many years of experience in the single realm, a robust knowledge of regency classics, and a love of all things old fashioned and proper, Sarah wrote Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor. She now lives with her own Mr. Right and her two daughters, and believes providing stimulating and moral stories promotes literacy in a world which needs more readers. This is her first novel.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 22 September, 2018 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, Fathers and Daughters, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Life Shift, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Romance Fiction, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Sisterhood friendships, Sweet Romance, The London Season, the Regency era, Women's Fiction