Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The Key to Love is a Feel-Good Romance with Depth

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The Key to Love is author Betsy St. Amant’s newest novel. After reading All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes and Love Arrives in Pieces, I knew I had to read her latest release. Ms. St. Amant combines romance and food (is there anything better?) and as an amateur baker this combo tickles me pink!

Baking is in Abrielle “Bri” Duval’s genes.  Having lost both of her parents in a tragic accident, working at the bakery is Bri’s way of remaining close to her mother. She is vehemently determined to save the bakery. 

When online video about the ‘love lock’ wall next to the shop goes viral Bri sees this as an opportunity to help save the town bakeshop.

Jaded journalist Gerard Fortier has been tasked by his editor to do a feature article on the bakery, love lock wall, and “love angel” matchmaking, sisters, Mabel and Agnes who own the Puff Pastry. This feature on the bakery will open doors for him to move up in the reporting world and allow him to write about "things that matter."  

What he doesn’t expect is pretty, petite, baker Bri who loves baking petit fours as much as she loves romance. Gerard's nickname for Bri is 'Cupcake.' "Because it fit. Because she was na├»ve and sugary and sickeningly sweet- well, until she started verbally berating him, anyway. Then she turned spicy and savory and became much more appealing." (St. Amant, 122). 

I loved the whole quirky small-town vibe of The Key toLove. One of the aspects I appreciated about this tale was how Bri's perception of romance changes. She tended to idolize and put her parents love story on a pedestal so much so that in her mind if the romance was not identical her parents, then she did not want to give it the time of day. Over the course of the story, she discovers her parents’ marriage wasn’t perfect and she comes to realize everyone’s romance story is different. This is what makes every love affair unique and special. Both Bri and Gerard discover that love can change and surprise you all at the same time. The Key to Love was a feel-good romance with depth not to be missed. I cannot recommend reading this book highly enough to restore your faith in good storytelling and believable love stories. 

If you love romance combined with cuisine, Ms. Amant is an author to read. I was thrilled to find out October of this year she has another food adventure coming out called Tacos for Two that I will absolutely be adding this read to my TBR pile. 

(Coming October 2021)

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

The Nature of a Lady : A Journey to Living Your True Nature

In The Nature of a Lady, Roseanna M. White transports readers back to the Romantic Era; to a story that blends mistaken identity, intrigue, romance, and danger.

I have to confess, I was immediately mesmerized by this spectacular cover. It made me have high expectations about the story. Yes, I know I shouldn't judge a book by it's cover. However, with an author of Ms. White's caliber, I knew my expectations would be met... and exceeded. And they were!

Ecstatic for a taste of freedom, Lady Elizabeth "Libby" Sinclair is looking forward to her summer vacation on the Isles accompanied by her maid, Mabena Moon. She is hopeful that the time away will cool her brother's insistence that she marry his best friend, Lord Sheridan. 

I liked Libby. She is not your typical earl's daughter. She has a vivaciousness and exuberance for life. When she is in nature, it's where she feels she belongs. Her joy, curiosity, and excitement over nature gave me a deeper appreciation for God's creation. She feels more comfortable in nature than the upper echelons of society. 

I think that Libby is someone we can all relate to at times. She has moments where she feels she doesn't belong in the world and she doesn't always want to conform to the societal standards of the day. "I was planted in a garden in which I don't belong. And I don't know how to flourish there anymore, (White, 63) she explains. Acknowledging you can't flourish where you are is the first step to finding something new, and we see this unfold for Libby.

While on her summer holiday, Libby is mistaken for Elizabeth "Beth" Tremayne and so begins the tale of mistaken identity.

Mr. Oliver Tremayne, clergyman of Tresco and brother of Beth is on a mission to find his sister. Libby finds herself drawn to Oliver and wanting to help in his quest. Banding together, Oliver, Libby, and Mabena try to unravel the events and clues surrounding Beth's disappearance. Will they find her in time? 

As Libby and Oliver find themselves simultaneously united in their mission they also find themselves surprised by the most compelling reason: love.  From the moment that Libby and Oliver met on the page, I was drawn to their interactions because together than that a natural and easy chemistry that leaves you wanting more scenes between them. Case in point, "...he was a novice at such things. and while the words came naturally with her, he was also keenly aware of his own awkwardness. He didn't know how to court a lady. Frankly, he didn't want to court a lady. He just wanted to get to know her better, from the inside out....He wanted her here at his side, indefinitely." (White, 213-214). 

It's like he could see past what she was labeled, "a lady" and the societal standards that made her feel trapped - and instead saw her true nature. It was a beautiful reminder that the right people will bring out the best of you in a way that let's you grow and flourish. 

This is is one the many poignant reminders Ms. White weaves into the book. Which is why The Nature of a Lady is not to be missed. 

~~ The Nature of a Lady was provided to me by the author and Bethany House in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book. All opinions expressed are my own, I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own.~~