The Secret Admirer Romance Collection: Can Concealed Love Be Revealed in 9 Historical Novellas? - eBookAmanda Barratt, Lorraine Beatty, Molly Bull, Penny ZellerBarbour Publishing / 2017 / ePub$9.69 Retail:4.5 Stars Out Of 5 9 Reviews
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SAge: 25-34Gender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5Secret LoveSeptember 24, 2019SAge: 25-34Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5What a unique take on secret admirers! I have read 10 of Barbour's "collection" books this year, always with just one or two stories being enjoyable. But THIS collection--I can say I liked every single story.
Having my fiction background founded in Janette Oke books, I've noted I don't need a lot of action to keep my attention. These stories weren't dull; in fact, I think the 'secret' part was clever, being employed creatively by each author. Yes, I enjoyed certain stories over others, but they all had cute moments, sweet acts, and significant leading characters. As with novellas, they also had some unrealistic elements and quick wrap-ups, but you just shrug and go on.
As a side note, being Christian stories, I did find a couple slang words/expressions that I excused as typical for that setting/era. And a couple instances where I felt uncomfortable concerning something romantic (a kiss described, things inferred)--not that it was bad, but borderline too-descriptive for me (for instance, in stories #1 and #8). But I'll read each author's work elsewhere before making a judgment.
For me, "The Advocate" and "The Outcast's Redemption" had a great Old West feel, and I liked the mystery angle of "Beside Still Waters."
GazpachoHarrison, MIAge: 55-65Gender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5Great selection of short storiesAugust 15, 2017GazpachoHarrison, MIAge: 55-65Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I absolutely loved all the selections in this series of short stories. Others have reviewed the entire list of selections in this book, so I will focus on one author, the one who provided me with a free copy for this review.
Too Many Secrets, by Molly Noble Bull is a short story; and short stories, just by their nature, aren't as well developed as full-length books. In spite of this limitation, this author establishes the premise well, that two total strangers from different areas of the country and with obvious baggage from their pasts fall in love. She creates a good amount of conflict and satisfying resolution.
Luke, a rancher in Frio Corners, TX and Abby from Georgia face several obstacles, including totally unfounded gossip, faulty assumptions, and Abby's marriage to another man. Both of them doubt true love is ever going to be possible in their futures. The pastor and his wife in this story are a breath of fresh air, strong and caring, and are a great aid in relieving tension when it is most needed.
What I like most about this 40-page historical fiction is that the main characters are Christians who are so obviously flawed. In my opinion it is much easier to become a believer/follower in Jesus Christ than it is to put that faith to the test and walk in it from day to day. It is a process that takes a life time. So it was not surprising to me that both Luke and Abby jumped to conclusions way too quickly and too often in their early acquaintance. The supporting characters in the story also fell into the same trap, which in turn became a difficult trial for both of them. The author uses this conflict to develop her characters. Because of the brevity of the tale, some of the development may seem abrupt and too brief, especially near the conclusion. But it wasn't enough of a problem to deter my enjoyment of the piece.
The second thing I like about this story is that there is a good salvation message tucked within. Again, because of the brevity of the tome, this message may seem blunt to some readers. I also realize some readers may prefer a more vague reference to salvation, but that is a matter of preference, not something to be criticized. I like sermons, and I like simple, clear explanations, so this style of writing fits my own preferences. I get tired of reading so many fluff pieces where God is barely there in the lives of the people we want to get to know.
Finally, I have read other books by this author, which I would recommend as better representations of her writing abilities than this short piece. These books have well-developed characters who grow through circumstances of conflict and resolution. My two favorites are "When the Cowboy Rides Away" and "The Secret Place." It is my opinion that "Too Many Secrets" be enjoyed for what it is--a pleasant short read (just right for the beach!). I think it also has many seed ideas that could eventually take it into an intense suspenseful full-length novel. But then again, that's my opinion.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from one of the authors, Molly Noble Bull. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
MaryAnnORAge: 55-65Gender: Female4 Stars Out Of 5Sweet love revealed at lastJuly 31, 2017MaryAnnORAge: 55-65Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5These nine novellas offer a variety of takes on the secret admirer theme--all in historical settings that seem authentic and inviting. I found some stories more compelling than others, but enjoyed them all. Some are humorous; some quite touching. I like the different locales and unique situations, which sent my imagination racing. The characters appeared realistic, and you can't help but root for "true love" to win. I received a copy from one of the authors. All opinions are my own.
MJSHNJAge: 35-44Gender: Female3 Stars Out Of 5enjoyable read about secret admirersJuly 3, 2017MJSHNJAge: 35-44Gender: FemaleQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0It's always hard to read a collection of novellas written by multiple authors and review it. Barbour Publishing and the authors usually do a good job of holding the theme of the novellas together and generating a collection worth reading.
All the featured authors in this collection are new to me. I particularly enjoyed Beside Still Waters by Whitham and Love From Afar by Zeller. Both short stories were well-written and the characters were well-defined and well-portrayed. Both storylines carried themselves well and didn't feel rushed or incomplete.
All the novellas had a strong component of faith and prayer in them. Some storylines had interesting twists to what a "secret admirer" may be. The book was a quick and enjoyable read.
I received ARC of the book from Barbour Publishing via NetGalley. I was not required to write a favorable review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
hplady5 Stars Out Of 5Happy Historical FictionJune 15, 2017hpladyQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5The Secret Admirer Romance Collection
This is a fun set of historical stories that take place in the late eighteen hundreds. Each has their own whimsical air that allows for smiles and a few happy tears. I enjoyed reading them and discovering love with nine different couples.
The first story is The Cost of a Heart by Amanda Barratt. In this story, Nathaniel Evans, chauffeur to Lily Montgomery, knows that they can never be together because they are of two different social classes. However, he has watched her struggle for years with loneliness at the hands of her late husband and after his passing. He vows to be her friend and hides his feelings. However, when she begins courting someone else, he discovers that she may be falling into a new painful trap. Can he help her overcome this or will their social differences remain between them?
In the next story, The Advocate by Lorraine Beatty, Hannah Davis journeys west to live with her aunt and help at her local newspaper. She had once read an article about the town sheriff, Mitch Kincaid, and couldnt wait to meet him. The man she discovers is not the same one described in that long ago article though. This man is stubborn and doesnt seem to like her, no matter how nice she tries to be. She decides to anonymously help him in his run for reelection as sheriff. She sends letters into the newspaper talking about what a great man he is and how the town should choose him. Will these letters finally bring her closer to her heart or will she head back home with her heart in her hands?
In Too Many Secrets by Molly Noble Bull, Abigail travels with her younger siblings to become a mail order bride. When she arrives in town, her soon to be husbands neighbor, Luke, drives her out to her new home, where she discovers that her intended is in his nineties. While they wait for the preacher to come to town, she spends time in town and gets to know Luke more. However, she made a promise and she will stick to it. But oh how her heart longs for more. What will she do? How will her heart survive?
Love in Store by Anita Mae Draper is about a shopkeeper named Adam and a young lady who secretly admires him from afar. Janet decides to write him secret notes and leave them about his store in different places. At first, he believes they are for someone else, but soon realizes that they are meant for him. What will he do? He is not the marrying type, believing God cant forgive him for his past. Will Janet help him find healing and love?
In The Last Letter by CJ Dunham, Emilia Davis has lost everyone she loves in the Civil War: her father, brother, and fianc. The day the war ends, she receives a letter from her long dead fianc, telling her that he wants them to live together in the west and create a new life for themselves. She sets out for the frontier, intent on fulfilling her last wishes. Along the way, she adopts a young boy named Josiah and meets Cyrus, a man with his own past and secrets to hide. Will the frontier bring new love or only more heartbreak for Emilia?
The Outcasts Redemption by Jennifer Uhlarik combines cattle stealing, heartache, and romance in a tale to warm the heart. Maisie is the daughter of the former sheriff in town and, with the passing of her father, she works at a restaurant to help her family. Lucky is the quiet farmhand who comes to see her, but cant ever get any words out when in her company. When cattle go missing in the area, Luckys past finds him. He was once a young boy who helped some cattle rustlers, but got through jail by writing back and forth with Maisies father. Now, he must prove his innocence and protect the girl he loves.
The next story, Beside Still Waters by Becca Whitham, is my favorite of them all. In the story, Sarah Maffey, an heiress, decides that she wants to head west. She sets out, against her fathers wishes, after learning of her fiancs infidelity. She discovers that homesteading is much harder than she anticipated. Only with the help of her neighbor, John, is she able to make a dent in the wilderness. When she starts to receive threatening notes, John, who is a former Texas Ranger, promises to keep her safe. Together, they try to determine who is responsible and what they want. Along the way, feelings begin to develop between them. When she is kidnapped, he must save her and pray that she can return his love.
In The Princess of Polecat Creek by Kathleen YBarbo, Pearl has loved Deke for as long as she can remember. When he left for college he promised to return for her and she has held tight to that promise. However, the two families have had a falling out over the years and her father forbids it. Dekes family is also against it, hiding letters that she writes to him and keeping him away from her. When they finally meet again, unforeseen circumstances force them into marriage. She is ecstatic, he is worried. How can the two of them find the past they once shared and turn it into a future they both desire?
The final story, Love From Afar by Penny Zeller, is about Gabe and Meredith, who both secretly like each other, but dont think the other could feel the same way. When their younger sisters decide to take matters into their own hands by writing love notes between them, will they finally find each other? Or will they be further apart? This story was also one of my favorites!
Lovers of historical fiction with a happy ending will enjoy these nine stories of romance. They are sweet stories and will make you smile.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.