Review: Wallflower Most Wanted


Title: Wallflower Most Wanted
Author: Manda Collins
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Release Date: January 2018
Length: 307 pages
Series?: Studies in Scandal #3
Genre: Historical, Romance

A dedicated painter, Miss Sophia Hastings is far more concerned with finding the right slant of light than in finding Mr. Right. But when an overhead conversation hints at danger for another local artist, Sophia is determined to get involved. Even it means accepting help from an impossibly good-looking vicar who insists on joining her investigation—and threatens to capture her heart…

Reverend Lord Benedick Lisle knows that Sophia is no damsel in distress. But he won’t allow her to venture into peril alone, either. . .especially since he finds Sophia’s curious, free-spirited nature so alluring. But protecting her from harm is becoming more difficult than the vicar could have expected as he and Sophia confront their fiery mutual passion. Who could have known that the art of love would prove so irresistible?

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my review

My Thoughts 

Sophia Hastings is one of four bluestocking women who inherit Lady Celeste Beauchamp’s home. She leaves behind a letter and clues for each woman in the vein of their strengths. For Sophia, it is artwork. Sophia is a talented painter, as was Lady Celeste. Unfortunately, Sophia’s letter is delayed in reaching her until well into the story.

One unusually early morning Sophia is on the cliffside painting. She gets so engrossed in her work, she tumbles off the cliff to the beach below. Reverend Lord Benedick Lisle, the local vicar, is walking on the beach when he sees Miss Hastings plummet. The two overhear an indiscreet conversation about killing off an artist in some nefarious undertakings. Determined to collectively get to the bottom of the matter, the two spend more time together to puzzle things out.

Being the second son of a duke, Ben knew he was destined for the army or the church. Having no penchant for war, and visiting the properties with his mother as a child, Ben enjoys helping others, so the church was the best choice. While he leads his flock and offers comfort, he takes no interest in the politics of the church. While I don’t typically think of men of the cloth as men to be desired, I suppose a good-looking man can be.

When newcomer Peter Morgan, an industrialist, begins making big waves in Little Seaford, quickly followed by personal and professional attacks against Sophia Hastings. Her artwork is reputed to be obscene and unfit for sensible ladies, even those not of the nobility, too look upon…much less Sophia paint. She is a woman who cares about the social issues that run rampant in society, and she depicts such contrasts in social class in her art.

The sexism is very much alive in this installment in the series, and Peter Morgan calls in everyone up the line he can think of. When Ben will not aid him in his cause to have Sophia’s work removed from the upcoming art exhibit, he then pulls political strings and has the Bishop of Chichester to threaten Ben’s future.

One of Ben’s brothers pays a visit to Little Seaford and enlists Ben to assist the Home Office in investigating a forgery ring that’s operating in the are. With Sophia’s lifework revolving around art, and her contact with the local artist colony, she becomes an integral part of the investigation. As the investigation wears on, Ben and Sophia grow increasingly close and uncover a few key clues.

The mystery and suspense of the forgery and all involved kept me turning pages. I thought I had the forger pegged and I was adamant that I was right (just like Sophia). Then the possibility of two forgers surfaced and my theories all went downhill from there. The pacing of the book was just right and the cast of characters were interesting and gave some more insight into both Sophia and Ben’s relationships with their families.


Manda Collins spent her teen years wishing she’d been born a couple of centuries earlier, preferably in the English countryside. Time travel being what it is, she resigned herself to life with electricity and indoor plumbing, and read lots of books. An affinity for books led to a graduate degree in English, followed by another in Librarianship. By day, she works as an academic librarian at a small liberal arts college, where she teaches college students how to navigate the tangled world of academic research. A native of coastal Alabama, Manda lives in the house her mother grew up in with two cats, sometimes a dog, sometimes her sister, and always lots of books.

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Review: The Rogue is Back in Town


Title: The Rogue is Back in Town
Author: Anna Bennett
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: January 2018
Length: 352 pages
Series?: The Wayward Wallflowers #3
Genre: Historical, Romance

Equal parts scoundrel and seducer, he’s returned to London determined to mend the rift with his older brother. All Sam must do is take possession of a tumbledown town house. A seemingly simple task, except the house is occupied—by an infuriating, whip-smart beauty who refuses to do his bidding.

Miss Juliette Lacey’s wallflower days are over. She has a plan to turn her eccentric family into the toast of the ton—but the devilishly handsome rake trying to oust them from their home thwarts her at every turn. How can one man be so vexing andmake her simmer with desire?

As her attraction to Sam deepens, Julie’s problems grow—she may have, once upon a time, secretly shared a kiss with his honorable older brother. Suddenly, Julie’s caught between a rogue and a marquess, between passion and respectability. Torn between two brothers, what’s a girl to do?

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my review

My Thoughts 

Juliette Lacey is the final Wilting Wallflower, thus dubbed by her now brother-in-law. Surprisingly, that title didn’t come up too much in this final book in the series. Julie is not in a rush, trot, or even a meandering walk to find a husband for herself, in strike contrast to her uncle’s wishes. For now, she lives with her uncle (purported by the ton to be mad)  in his late wife’s townhouse and she cares for him and encourages him with his scientific work. To provide her uncle with a long-standing social interest for the rest of his life, she strikes a deal with him and helps him to that end. She will look for a husband after he has submitted his research to the Royal Society.

Little does she know love comes knocking so soon after that conversation when Lord Samuel Travis arrives on the doorstep to evict her and her uncle from the residence. Sam has recently returned from the continent in hopes of repairing his relationship with his older brother, Nigel. In the time since their father’s passing, who was the buffer between them, their relationship has been exceedingly rocky. Now to the point that Sam is turned out of every family property and no funds as a means to survive. Nigel orders him to remove the occupants of a property in town he discovered their father owned. Given no alternatives or resources, Sam tends to his task and is set on doing it.

Faced with this flustering news, Juliette refused to inform her uncle and refuses to leave. Sam decides to play a game and merely wait her out. Intent on proving the ownership belongs to her family, Juliette also behests Sam to request the deed from his brother to settle the matter. In the meantime, Juliette explains “Cousin Samuel’s” presence to every one in the household as coming to assist her uncle with his research. It is a new position that stupefies Sam, but ultimately he warms to the task and becomes an admirable assistant to “crazy” Alistair Wiltmore. At the same time, it warms Juliette’s heart to see her uncle interact in such positive ways.

Given the time, this would have been a highly improper and scandalous situation. For Nigel to even ask Sam to reside in the household with a young woman – married or not – seen over only by an elderly uncle is not something that would have likely have occurred. There are solicitors for that sort of business. The pretense of neither parties breathing a word of Sam’s stay is also unlikely, given Sam’s rakish nature.

The story is not without a villain, who is not one you would readily suspect. As the plot regarding the house moves further along, Sam begins to suspect he was sent merely to stir up trouble and create conflict in Juliette’s life. I was disappointed that this manipulative man wasn’t exposed and his reputation marred, especially considering the stark contrast between him and Sam.

I loved Julie’s uncle and all the places he shows up in the book. Alistair is an interesting character in many aspects. His love, devotion, and dedication to his wife even after all these years is something to be cherished and revered. While she may not grace their home anymore, she is still very much a part of his life. He keeps her memory alive. His research is also interesting, and he is a strong advocate against pollution of the Thames, which I feel was a novel concept of the time. Not something that was addressed, nor paid much heed. His elderly behavior and propensity for producing the wrong word at times makes him endearing and comical.

Juliette is a strong, independent woman. She is determined to solve problems on her own and vehemently refuses to call on her sisters or their husbands for assistance in the matter of the house. She is also pitted against and torn between the two brothers, Nigel and Sam. It seems her previous fancy of love isn’t love at all, and now she sees qualities in Sam that stir her emotions.

The plot is motivated by Nigel regarding the house, and through the course of the book the brothers are brought in stark contrast. They are incredible foils of one another. The perceptions of their personality and reputation by society and their true natures are in opposition, which Juliette discovers herself first-hand.

I enjoyed the conflict in the story, but I didn’t feel a burning love between Juliette and Sam. I think the circumstances and close quarters created a togetherness that otherwise wouldn’t have existed if Sam was lodging elsewhere and only visiting in the daytime to keep up the ruse of being Alistair’s assistant. In the end, the matter of home ownership is resolved, but there were a couple of dicey moments where I did think all was going to be lost and Juliette and Alistair would be living with one of her sisters.

Overall, a story with high conflict that is plot-driven. The two main characters are volatile in their reactions to one another, and Alistair provides humor and that hint of love that he so desperately wants for Juliette.


Anna Bennett started swiping romances from her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager and decided historicals (with their balls, dukes, and gowns) were the best. So, when she had the chance to spend a semester in London she packed her bags—and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.

Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anna found her way back to writing the stories she loves and won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® for Regency Historical Romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen. Her weaknesses include reality TV, cute shoes, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

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Review: The Scandalous Flirt


Title: The Scandalous Flirt
Author: Olivia Drake
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: October 2017
Length: 352 pages
Series?: Cinderella Sisterhood #6
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

Aurora Paxton was once the belle of the ball, the most sought-after debutante of the season―until a scandalous mistake ruined her. Shunned by her family, Rory was banished to the country to live in disgrace. Now she’s been summoned back to London by her stepmother, who is being blackmailed by the least likely person Rory can imagine: Lucas Vale, Marquess of Dashell.

Lucas is someone Rory’s known for years―a man as devastatingly handsome as he is coldly disapproving of her. What in the world could he want from her or her family? Rory intends to find out as soon as she comes face to face with her old foe. What she never expects, however, is that the icy aristocrat has a soft spot for her―and a secret plan to redeem her status. Could it be that Lucas has been in love with Rory all along. . .and has finally found a way to win her heart?

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my review

My Thoughts 

This novel tries to imitate Sleeping Beauty, although soon the references disseminate within a few chapters. The main character is Aurora Paxton, Rory for short. She pricks her finger on the spinning wheel and lives in the country away from society. After being exiled eight years ago following a scandal that near ruined her family, Rory is now tricked into returning to London after learning her stepmother is being blackmailed and her younger sister is engaged to an old codger of a duke. Rory receives ruby red slippers from Lady Milford, the bearer of the bad news.

Upon her arrival in London, Rory discovers her stepmother hasn’t changed a lick, despite the years that have passed and the death of Rory’s father. Her stepmother is steadfast that Lucas Vale, the Marquess of Dashell, is the blackmailer, holding a packet of secret love letters between his father and Rory’s stepmother. Rory strikes a deal – if she can return the stolen items that are the source of frantic scandal – Rory will receive a third of her dowry, money she desperately needs to sustain her and her aunt in their cottage in the country.

Rory immediately sets out to become the companion to the Marchioness, reputed to be incorrigible and going through companions like fresh knickers due to her horrendous nature and behavior.  It will be easy to recover the scandalous letters if she’s under the same roof where they are hidden. During her search for the mysterious letters and to stop the impending blackmail, Rory finds herself embroiled in a bitter battle with Lucas Vale.

I found Rory fascinating. She was innocent and naive eight years ago, blindly believing the rushed and heated words. Now she is a renowned cynic despite her innocence. Her wild and sassy nature, though, hasn’t disappeared. Her relationship with her aunt is very heartwarming and redeeming. Her sister and her aunt are the two most important people in her life and she wants nothing but their happiness, even at her own expense.

Lucas was an enigma. From the beginning, he acts like the stone cold heartless jerk whenever Rory is around. He treats her like she is beneath him and throws her embarrassing past in her face. He does not present gentlemanly manners. Under his tough exterior, Lucas is drowning in family debts. His father’s debts, to be precise. He needs to marry a rich heiress to keep his family properties. He will take up his marriage with faithful fidelity for his family’s needs despite his own feelings for another. Another who is just trouble.

Rory and Lucas wind up pairing up to discover the blackmailer. They share some great moments of camaraderie and Lucas treats her like an equal in those moments. They have witty banter and interaction beyond frivolities, for Rory isn’t a frivolous woman. While there may have been inconsistencies with the time period, I enjoyed the book despite the misunderstandings that crop up.

Lucas’s mother and Rory’s aunt, as well as Lucas’s brother and Rory’s sister, are all wonderful characters that add quite a bit of comedic relief.

There are two things I need to clarify:

  1. The cover is VERY misleading. The shoes are about the only accurate representation of the book. Rory has indeed learned her lesson from all those years ago.
  2. The cover is so misleading because there is only ONE sex scene in the entire book – within the last 10% of it. Honestly, I was expecting that there never would be one based on the relationship development.


Shortly after graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in journalism, Olivia Drake sold her first novel two weeks after sending it to a publisher. She now lives in Texas in a cozy cottage with a feisty cat, a loving husband, and two wonderful daughters who still come back whenever they want a home-cooked meal.

Many of you already know Olivia as Barbara Dawson Smith, author of 24 historical romance novels. She is a New York Times bestseller and winner of numerous honors, including the Golden Heart Award and the coveted Rita Award for excellence in the historical romance genre.

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Review: The Scot Beds His Wife


Title: The Scot Beds His Wife
Author: Kerrigan Byrne
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: October 2017
Length: 394 pages
Series?: Victorian Rebels #5
Genre: Historical, Romance 

Gavin St. James, Earl of Thorne, is a notorious Highlander and an unrelenting Lothario who uses his slightly menacing charm to get what he wants—including too many women married to other men. But now, Gavin wants to put his shady past behind him…more or less. When a fiery lass who is the heiress to the land he wishes to possess drops into his lap, he sees a perfectly delicious opportunity…

A marriage most convenient

Samantha Masters has come back to Scotland, in a pair of trousers, and with a whole world of dangerous secrets from her time spent in the Wild West trailing behind her. Her only hope of protection is to marry—and to do so quickly. Gavin is only too willing to provide that service for someone he finds so disturbingly irresistible. But even as danger approaches, what begins as a scandalous proposition slowly turns into an all-consuming passion. And Gavin discovers that he will do whatever is necessary to keep the woman he has claimed as his own…

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my review

My Thoughts

When I first started reading this book, I wasn’t sure what was what. The first chapter, the prologue, was extremely strange. I was wondering if the publishing house attached the wrong cover to the book. The contents of the prologue didn’t match a historical romance book. It was quite gruesome.

Samantha Masters grew up in America’s Wild West. After her parents’ death, she was taken in by a family that worked her hard. She married to escape that life and dreamed of the coast of Oregon. That’s what her husband has promised her…after the Masters Gang pulls their last train heist. When her husband steps into her car and shoots a man dead, Sam makes a decision to save a life and is thrust an opportunity to start over and lay low in Scotland at the behest of Alison Ross. She is to live and work the family land for one year so that Alison can legally retain. Only thing is, Sam enters Scotland as Alison Ross. She is to under no circumstances sell the land or let it fall into the hands of a Mackenzie. Alison agreed she would offer Sam the chance to buy her out so Sam could stay in Scotland.

Gavin St. James is determined to separate himself from his laird brother and his father’s name, Mackenzie. He is divorcing himself from the family name, intending to purchase the Ross lands for cattle business and sell his portion of the distillery back to his brother to cut all ties. He wants to be entirely separate, change his name to his mother’s maiden name, and not be indebted to his laird clansmen. Since his impromptu meeting at the train station didn’t win Alison Ross over to straight out purchase her lands for a godly sum, he sets his sights on wooing her. He is, after all, a more prolific lover across all of England than Casanova and Lord Byron together.

This isn’t your typical Highland read. There’s cussing and LOTS of it. Particularly the f word, used mostly by Sam but also others. When used in conversation as an adjective, it was quite funny dialogue. Otherwise, it was quite a turn-off. As one reviewer put it: “I don’t fuck my husband, and I don’t talk about people fucking each other. It is not a turn-on for me.”  I could say the same.

Sam is so confounded and put off by Gavin St. James, or Lord Thorne as he insists. She puts her skills to good use to make something of Alison’s land and scattered herd. She makes it quite clear that Gavin should stay clear off her land, being very handy with her pistols and a better shot than any man. She rallies three local men, all quite different. Two argue and bicker like a married couple, and the third lives in a cave and is Gavin’s friend.

Despite Sam’s equal determination to keep Alison’s land and make something of it, her deceit starts catching up with her. She should be a heroine you dislike or maybe even hate, but it was impossible to dislike Sam. Soon she must make a choice, a choice she readily said she wouldn’t have made if circumstances had been different. Meanwhile, Gavin’s beef with his brother Liam continues to pop up throughout the book and comes to some very heated scenes. Speaking of heated, the Masters Gang sure is heated themselves over the death of one of their own during the train heist. Soon Sam realizes she may have escaped to the ends of the earth where no one will go looking for her…except the Masters. Life becomes dangerous in the Highlands.

This was a very sensuous read – more so than others. Byrne can write with true emotion and realism in steam scenes – and they are steam scenes! The fire and determination that Sam and Gavin both face off with over the Ross property sparks chemistry between them. Just as Sam’s past is catching up with her, so is the present and her deceit.


If you’re anything like me, the best night is one spent with a brawny highlander, a mysterious werewolf, a conflicted vampire, or a hot-headed Irishman. My stories span the spectrum of romantic fiction from historical, to paranormal, to romantic suspense. But I can always promise my readers one thing: memorable and sexy Celtic heroes who are guaranteed to heat your blood before they steal your heart. Lose yourself in the enchanted Celtic Isles, you never know who, or what, will find you…

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Review: The Master of Strathburn


Title: The Master of Strathburn
Author: Amy Rose Bennett
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Release Date: May 2017
Length: 260 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

Robert Grant has returned home to Lochrose Castle in the Highlands to reconcile with his long-estranged father, the Earl of Strathburn. But there is a price on Robert’s head, and his avaricious younger half-brother, Simon, doesn’t want him reclaiming his birthright. And it’s not only Simon and the redcoats that threaten to destroy Robert’s plans after a flame-haired complication of the feminine kind enters the scene…

Jessie Munroe is forced to flee Lochrose Castle after the dissolute Simon Grant tries to coerce her into becoming his mistress. After a fateful encounter with a mysterious and handsome hunter, Robert, in a remote Highland glen, she throws her lot in with the stranger—even though she suspects he is a fugitive. She soon realizes that this man is dangerous in an entirely different way to Simon…

Despite their searing attraction, Robert and Jessie struggle to trust each other as they both seek a place to call home. The stakes are high and only one thing is certain: Simon Grant is in pursuit of them both…

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my review

Jessie Munroe has had a fall from nobility. For years her uncle ruthlessly whiled away the family fortune while her father tried to save it. Despite the delays, the day came when they were homeless. Her father has accepted a position at Lochrose Castle. Jessie takes a liking to the elderly Earl of Strathburn, although his wife and half-son, Simon, are not cut from the same cloth. They are snobbish and devious. The Earl pines for his long-lost son, Robert, who took part in the Jacobite uprising. With a price on his head, a near fatal injury, and his brother hounding the Dragoons to steal him away to the gaol, Robert was secreted away to a ship and never seen again. 

After a decade during which he is presumed dead, word makes it halfway ’round the world of the troubles of his father and the estate. Robert plots to return to have a clandestine meeting with his father. He is a different man now and is pained by the lives lost following him into battle. He regrets his hot-headed ways, but fears there is no redemption for a man like him. After all, he is a wanted man. The castle is filled with caring, helpful servants who understand the bounds of their duties and follow the Earl at all cost. It is how Robert escaped with his life, and it is why hiding out in the Highlands, awaiting the right moment, Jessie flees the castle to protect herself against the wretched and lecherous Simon Grant. He is an ugly, vengeful, borderline demented young man. He will not let Jessie, his Jezebel, get away. He hunts her to the ends of the earth, which is how she winds up with a foot injury traipsing to the Earl’s abandoned hunting lodge. Her plan is to get to the nearby coach station and travel to a relative’s home for safety.

The castle is filled with caring, helpful servants who understand the bounds of their duties and follow the Earl at all cost. It is how Robert escaped with his life, and it is why hiding out in the Highlands, awaiting the right moment, Jessie flees the castle to protect herself against the wretched and lecherous Simon Grant. He is an ugly, vengeful, borderline demented, young man. He will not let Jessie, his Jezebel, get away. He hunts her to the ends of the earth, which is how she winds up with a foot injury traipsing to the Earl’s abandoned hunting lodge. She plans to get to the nearby coach station and travel to a relative’s home for safety.

Her plan is quickly foiled when she awakens to a searing pain in her arm, and soon a strange man presiding over her. While transported here and there, she quickly gathers he is not quite who he says he is. To protect her virtue, she fictionalizes an engagement to Simon. Beautiful as a siren Jessie may be, but anything attached to Simon is tainted in Robert’s eyes. As Jessie helps Robert accomplish his task of reuniting, Robert promises to help her escape.

Once inside the castle, all bets are off. A series of unfortunate events occur, leading Robert and Jessie down an entirely different path while they both struggle with the unquestionable attraction to one another and their desire to protect each other.

Despite her moments of indecision and innocence, Jessie is a strong, determined young woman. She uses her quick wit and intelligence to get out of a scrape or two, and Robert’s warrior instinct vows to shield her. He has grown since that young man he was, and is a stark contrast to his villainous brother, Simon. He and his mother play large parts in moving the plot onward,  and it is utterly despicable. The gooseflesh will rise on your arms. I wanted to wrap Jessie up in bubble wrap and hide her away somewhere.

I loved the Earl. He is wise beyond his semi-senile appearance. The servants served as a supporting cast of characters and were an asset to the family name. Heart and loyalty abound within the walls of Lochrose Castle, and it was wonderful to see all of these individuals cheering Robert on from the sidelines.

I thought the ending would lead into another book, and I was disappointed that there was an epilogue, considering the events that had just transpired. In the writing world, it was the easy way out to slither out of truly unfolding that final event. I could have done without the epilogue entirely in exchange for a well-crafted chapter that brings all the pieces to a proper ending.


Amy Rose Bennett has always wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. An avid reader with a particular love for historical romance, it seemed only natural to write stories in her favorite genre. She has a passion for creating emotion-packed—and sometimes a little racy—stories set in the Georgian and Regency periods. Of course, her strong-willed heroines and rakish heroes always find their happily ever after.

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Audiobook Review: The Hiding Place


Title: The Hiding Place
Author: Corrie ten Boom, John Sherill, Elizabeth Sherill Dunne
Publisher: Bantam Books
Release Date: October 1974
Length: 242 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Nonfiction, Autobiography, Christian

At one time Corrie ten Boom would have laughed at the idea that there would ever be a story to tell. For the first fifty years of her life nothing at all out of the ordinary had ever happened to her. She was an old-maid watchmaker living contentedly with her spinster sister and their elderly father in the tiny Dutch house over their shop. Their uneventful days, as regulated as their own watches, revolved around their abiding love for one another. However, with the Nazi invasion and occupation of Holland, a story did ensue.

Corrie ten Boom and her family became leaders in the Dutch Underground, hiding Jewish people in their home in a specially built room and aiding their escape from the Nazis. For their help, all but Corrie found death in a concentration camp. The Hiding Place is their story.

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my review

The Narration

**Unabridged Audiobook

Narrated By: Bernadette Dunn
Release Date: July 2009
Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins

The narration was beautiful. It was easy to follow and Dunn has a pleasing voice with a slightly husky tone.

Corrie ten Boom lives in Holland with her elderly father and spinster sister. Corrie herself is approaching 50, and all three of the ten Booms are watchmakers, working in the family store. They are kind and compassionate people with their lives steeped in their strong faith, which are the foundations of their life.

When the war breaks out, they soon find their Jewish friends in desperate need. The ten Booms do all in their power to assist them. They have a secret room in their house constructed to conceal a hiding space. They get connected with others out in the countryside to funnel Jews through and away from their oppression and imminent arrest. Soon the ten Boom’s storefront becomes Grand Central Station of the Underground in Holland. Not only do the ten Booms board and care for their friends, and soon complete strangers, they also find them safe passage, send messages on their behalf, obtain new identity papers for them, and set them up with ration books for when they are on their own in the future. Through their hard work and efforts smuggling Jews out of the country and Nazi occupation, the ten Booms save over 800 Jewish men, women, and children.

They stick their necks out, make their home a safe haven, and risk everything. Eventually, they are betrayed, and the ten Booms wind up in prison for a few months. She is separated from her father and her sister Betsy. Later she is transferred to the Vught Concentration Camp, and finally, lands in Ravensbruck Concentration Camp. She also falls quite ill during her imprisonment.

This is a recounting of Corrie’s of her days during the war. It is written decades afterward with the assistance of John and Elizabeth Sherrill. Corrie’s entrenchment in faith in the Lord is what she testifies her strength, deliverance, and life upon. It is a moving and heartfelt story. Despite the highly religious tones, it wasn’t preachy. However, I did listen to Corrie’s accounts with a grain of salt. While this is her first-hand accounting, it is 20 some-odd years later and written with the aid of two individuals not present at the time. Further, the logic of the book is that all of Corrie’s courage and bravery and strength are only gifts from God, which are later taken back and she is left without any strength of character. In times of great fear is when we falter and find it an insurmountable mountain to scrounge up strength, courage, or bravery. I don’t believe Corrie ever had hers “gifted” by God, but simply gave in to the natural depths of humanity.

A read everyone should share in, Corrie’s story of faith, forgiveness, humility, and loyalty are hallmarks the world is needing today.


Born: April 15, 1892 in Amsterdam
Died: April 15, 1983

Corrie ten Boom and her family were Christians who were active in social work in their home town of Haarlem, the Netherlands. During the Nazi occupation, they chose to act out their faith through peaceful resistance to the Nazis by active participation in the Dutch underground. They were hiding, feeding and transporting Jews and underground members hunted by the Gestapo out of the country. It is estimated they were able to save the lives of 800 Jews, in addition to protecting underground workers.

On Feb. 28, 1944, they were betrayed and Corrie and several relatives were arrested. The four Jews and two underground workers in the house at the time of the arrest were not located by the Nazis and were extricated by the underground 47 hours after they fled to the tiny hiding place (located in Corrie’s room).

The ten Boom family members were separated and transferred to concentration camps. Corrie was allowed to stay with her precious sister, Betsy. Corrie’s father (Casper), her sister (Betsy) and one grandchild (Kik) perished. Corrie was released in December of 1944.

These acts of heroism and sacrifice became the foundation for Corrie ten Boom’s global writing and speaking career which began after she was released.

Ten Boom has received numerous awards for her writing and speaking. Notably, she was honored by the State of Israel for her work in aid of the Jewish people by being invited to plant a tree in the famous Avenue of the Righteous Gentiles, at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, near Jerusalem. She was also knighted by the Queen of the Netherlands in recognition of her work during the war, and a museum in the Dutch city of Haarlem is dedicated to her and her family.

Find the author: GoodreadsWebsite 

Review: Blue Like Elvis


Title: Blue Like Elvis
Author: Diane Moody
Publisher: Green Darner Press
Release Date: March 2012
Length: 370 pages
Series?: Moody Blue #2
Genre: Historical, Christian, Romance

Do you remember where you were the day Elvis died?
I do. I know exactly where I was.
I was there.

In the spring of 1977, Shelby Colter moved back to Memphis, Tennessee hoping to make a fresh start after breaking off her engagement. Working as a patient representative hostess at Baptist Memorial Hospital–the world’s largest private hospital–she’s thrilled with her new job, assisting patients with their non-medical needs. She has to laugh at her colorful co-workers who constantly chat about Elvis-sightings. After all, Baptist Memorial was “Elvis’s hospital.”

Shelby hits the ground running, taking care of her patients, getting to know her new friends, and bumping into . . . Dr. Tucker Thompson? Who knew that annoying kid who used to hang out with her big brother was now a resident at Baptist Memorial Hospital? Little Chubby Tucker–a compassionate, handsome doctor?

As the summer rolls along, three people she loves face life-threatening situations, drawing Shelby back to her faith. And then one night, in a hospital prayer room, she pours out her heart to a most unexpected visitor . . .

Blue Like Elvis is loosely based on the author’s real-life experiences while working at Baptist Memorial Hospital in the summer of 1977. While most of the novel is fiction, the setting of Shelby’s adventures are based on the author’s memories of those days in Memphis leading up to that unforgettable day . . . the day Elvis died

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my review

The Skinny

After graduating college, Shelby moves back to Memphis to start over after breaking off her engagement. It’s the summer of 1977 and her college roommate helps her land a job at Baptist Memorial Hospital as a “hostess.” The hostess team operates similarly to stewardesses. They attend to non-medical needs of the patients by visiting them, running errands, and anything else the patients may need. Shelby is particularly good at what she does and has a few constant patients whose stories impact her greatly.

The thing about BMH is that is the world’s largest private hospital. It is also Elvis’s hospital, Shelby soon learns. Whenever needed, Elvis takes over the 16th floor for one of his two-week “stays.” Shelby has had a few sightings of Elvis, but it isn’t until she grasps that he is in her hospital that she takes a particular interest in him, even sneaking her patient friend Donnie to see him, ending in a hilarous and heart-beating episode.

Her coworkers on the hostess team are young, Christian girls who like to chatter and flounder when the boss isn’t around. They are an interesting mix and fun-loving and playful. The contrast to their setting didn’t go unnoticed, and when Dr. Tucker Thompson takes an interest in striking a frienship with Shelby, there is nothing but talk. And confusion. This is Chubby Tucker – her brother’s best friend and boy from her childhood that picked on her. He was annoying and obnoxious. Now he’s handsome and kind. As all the girls try to push Shelby into a match, she must work things out on her own, take things slow, and focus on her faith.


The Players

Shelby Colter – a young girl fresh out of college; hired by Baptist Memorial Hospital as a “hostess”

Tucker Thompson – the chubby kid who was friend to Shelby’s brother; he is now a doctor at BMH


Sandra Garcia – the feisty Puerto Rican in the hostess program with Shelby; they become friends and roommates

The Quote

 “That shy little girl I had to coax to sit on my knee? That was you?” His smile grew bigger.

The Highs and Lows

  • The Plot. The story is told as a flashback of memories. It opens with a young man seeking out the elderly Shelby to research the hostess program that was at Baptist Memorial Hospital, the largest private hospital in the world at its time. The hostess program worked very similar to attending stewardesses at the time. The young man wants to implement a similar program at his own hospital and gets swept up in Shelby’s stories that he wants to hear them all. Her past and Elvis’s final day unfold.
  • Elvis. You don’t have to be an Elvis fan to enjoy this story. I happen to be one thanks to the love my grandmother had for him. Growing up, when a certain aunt and uncle would come to visit, they would bring her an Elvis record. Elvis brought a change to the music industry and was an insane success. While the book never directly speaks to drug use, it only hints to that being rumors and what people said, and disregarded it as factual, but several times pointed out that Baptist Memorial was “Elvis’s hospital” for his “stays” to get back right with the world, like it is a retreat and not a hospital.  Elvis appeared a few times throughout the book, and I loved the way he would talk to the other characters. He wasn’t a big star, he was another person. It only increased my wish that I could have met Elvis, but that was another lifetime. Shelby really didn’t get the big Elvis draw, despite meeting him as a child and her father being “Cadillac Jack,” Elvis’s Caddy dealer. After working at the hospital for a time, she becomes interested in Elvis. His costumes to hide in plain sight were slightly comical, especially the final one toward the end.
  • Christian Overtones. I have made it a point before that I don’t read pushy religious material. While this is a very conscientious Christian book, it didn’t feel pushy. It just felt right for Shelby and her friends. Seeing the shaken foundation and the strength of their faith was rewarding and reassuring. The Singles Club is a group of young professionals at the church that host get-togethers and fellowship. There are some comedic moments with Pedro the Yellow Headed Amazon, the Killer Bs who are socially awkward, hit on all the girls, and have a spectacular fireworks display.
  • Quick and Fun. This is such a quick read. The writing immersed me in the stories Shelby told and I felt like I was there. The retelling of her memories was sweet, sentimental, funny, but they didn’t leave out the bad, either. It wasn’t a rose-colored glasses retelling, and I appreciated that.
  • Heavy. I won’t say it’s light. When Shelby comes up against some trials, they test her trust. This is how she first meets the Reverand. Later this is how she first meets a man wearing a turquoise bracelet in a hospital prayer room. It is none other than Elvis, and they are both there to pray for the same man. They share an incredible few moments wrapped in love and faith, and Elvis leaves a memento for Shelby. Shelby’s brother also finally comes home from Vietnam. He is not the same despite what he shows to his family. His behavior breaks her trust in Tucker, who only tries to help.
  • The Ending. This was such a twist! Even when retelling, the young man doesn’t believe Shelby’s story of her 10-year anniversary trip to Hawaii. It isn’t until she shows him a stack of Christmas cards that he believes the unimaginable. The ending gave me hope that perhaps something like that did happen and no one is the wiser.


Born in Texas and raised in Oklahoma, Diane Hale Moody is a graduate of Oklahoma State University. She lives with her husband Ken in the rolling hills just outside of Nashville. They are the proud parents of two grown and extraordinary children, Hannah and Ben.

Just after moving to Tennessee in 1999, Diane felt the tug of a long-neglected passion to write again. Since then, she’s written a column for her local newspaper, feature articles for various magazines and curriculum, and several novels with a dozen more stories eagerly vying for her attention.

When she’s not reading or writing, Diane enjoys an eclectic taste in music and movies, great coffee, the company of good friends, and the adoration of a peculiar little pooch named Darby.

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