The Secret Admirer Romance Collection: Can Concealed Love Be Revealed in 9 Historical Novellas? - eBookAmanda Barratt, Lorraine Beatty, Molly Bull, Penny ZellerBarbour Books / 2017 / ePub$7.99 Retail:4.5 Stars Out Of 5 10 Reviews
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Flor5 Stars Out Of 5Best Interest At Heart!October 24, 2019FlorQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Secret admirer, a very fun and interesting concept. A great collection of faith based tales. No matter what, Jesus always has our best interest at heart. I enjoyed each splendid story. You will as well. Enjoy!
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.