Tag Archives: Sandra Byrd

Top 10 Tuesday — Thankful Freebie

22 Nov

Happy Thanksgiving week! That is how I am framing it, because my family began the festivities last Saturday with an extended family lunch. This week I will have all my kiddos and their families (including my beautiful one and only grandchild) at our home in the beautiful north Georgia mountains. We certainly do have a lot to be thankful for. In the past I have posted about books featuring families, books that helped make me the reader I am today, and all kinds of bookish goodies I am thankful for. Today’s TTT features one book from each month so far this year that I am thankful I had the opportunity to read. Spanning a variety of genres, the books featured well-developed characters, just the right setting for my mood 😉 , action, and well-told, engaging stories. I hope you find a book to love!

For more thankful bloggers, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Books I Am Thankful For

January — A Light on The Hill by Connilyn Cossette

I used this novel as a part of my Faith And Fiction Bible study of sanctuary cities. What a wonderful resource to draw from.

February — Bride of A Distant Isle by Sandra Byrd

An “oldie” but a goodie, I loved going back to Victorian England in this novel.

March — In Search of A Prince by Toni Shiloh

Toni’s unique setting and fairytale nod to Princess Diaries was a delight.

April — All That It Takes by Nicole Deese

Women’s fiction/romance that touched my heart.

May — The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar

English translation of Escobar’s moving novel set in WWII-era France.

June — Fatal Code by Natalie Walters

An unputdownable romantic suspense is just what I needed to kickstart my summer reading.

July — Sea Glass Cottage by Irene Hannon

What is a summer without a visit to Hope Harbor?!

August — Bookshop by The Sea by Denise Hunter

Another winner of a summer read. A small beach town and a bookshop, what’s not to love?

September — Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy

An exotic location, an independent and exasperating heroine, timely message.

October — The Lady’s Mine by Francine Rivers

A feel good read that sparked a lot of great conversation with my book club.

November — Where The Blue Sky Begins by Katie Powner

The best book I have read all year!

Top 10 Tuesday — Geographical Titles

13 Sep

Happy Tuesday! Surprise, surprise! I am actually sticking to the topic today. It was fun looking back at the books I’ve read to find titles (and covers!) that could be found on a map, albeit a fictional one. 😉 Many genres are represented. I hope you find a book to love!

For more geographical titles, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Geographical Titles

Blackberry Beach by Irene Hannon

Bookshop by The Sea by Denise Hunter

Bride of A Distant Isle by Sandra Byrd

The Deadly Shallows by Dani Pettrey

The House at The End of The Moor by Michelle Griep

A Light on A Hill by Connilyn Cossette

On The Cliffs of Foxglove Manor by Jaime Jo Wright

A Silver Willow by The Shore by Kelli Stuart

Under The Bayou Moon by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin

Blog Tour — Heirlooms

8 Jul

Heirlooms JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Heirlooms Title: Heirlooms
Author: Sandra Byrd
Publisher: Tyndale
Release Date: July 5, 2022
Genre: Dual Timeline Fiction, Christian

Answering a woman’s desperate call for help, young Navy widow Helen Devries opens her Whidbey Island home as a refuge to Choi Eunhee. As they bond over common losses and a delicate, potentially devastating secret, their friendship spans the remainder of their lives.

After losing her mother, Cassidy Quinn spent her childhood summers with her gran, Helen, at her farmhouse. Nourished by her grandmother’s love and encouragement, Cassidy discovers a passion that she hopes will bloom into a career. But after Helen passes, Cassidy learns that her home and garden have fallen into serious disrepair. Worse, a looming tax debt threatens her inheritance. Facing the loss of her legacy and in need of allies and ideas, Cassidy reaches out to Nick, her former love, despite the complicated emotions brought by having him back in her life.

Cassidy inherits not only the family home but a task, spoken with her grandmother’s final breaths: ask Grace Kim—Eunhee’s granddaughter—to help sort through the contents of the locked hope chest in the attic. As she and Grace dig into the past, they unearth their grandmothers’ long-held secret and more. Each startling revelation reshapes their understanding of their grandmothers and ultimately inspires the courage to take risks and make changes to own their lives.

Set in both modern-day and midcentury Whidbey Island, Washington, this dual-narrative story of four women—grandmothers and granddaughters—intertwines across generations to explore the secrets we keep, the love we pass down, and the heirlooms we inherit from a well-lived life.

“This is women’s fiction as it is meant to be written with intriguing characters making decisions that ripple through generations.” – Library Journal, starred review

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub

EXCERPT

Eunhee looked down at the dinners. “I have not eaten a meal in an aluminum tray. Is this like prepared meals for away duty in the military?”

 “Kind of.” A small ice rink of gravy teetered like a lopsided hat atop Eunhee’s portion of turkey. “Oh! It needs more time in the oven. I’ll be right back.” 

Once Helen returned with the meals, fully heated, Eunhee ate slowly, smiling between each bite of turkey, cornbread, and buttered peas. Helen reached over to take their trays and noticed Eunhee’s was largely uneaten. “Don’t you like TV dinners?”

“They could use a few spices,” Eunhee admitted. 

Helen’s heart sank. “I wanted to offer a comfortable, soft nest to you, my new friend.”

Eunhee smiled and looked her straight in the eye. “Perfect cooking does not make a good friend or a soft nest. A soft heart makes for a soft nest, and love and honest talk make good friends.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sandra Byrd

Bestselling author Sandra Byrd continues to earn both industry acclaim and high praise from readers everywhere. The author of more than fifty books, her work has received many awards, nominations, and accolades, including the Historical Novel Society’s Editor’s Choice award, two Christy Award nominations, Two Library Journal Best Book selections, and inclusion on Booklist’s Top Ten Inspirational Books of the Year list. Her traditionally published books include titles by Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, Tyndale House Publishers, WaterBrook Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House, and Bethany House. She’s also an independent author.

Sandra loves walking, the beach, cooking and baking, photography, watching Escape to the Country, Fake or Fortune, and Chef’s Table, as well as spending time with family and friends – real and fictional!

Connect with Sandra at http://www.sandrabyrd.com, http://www.sandrabyrdbookcoach.com, or through social media platforms.

CONNECT WITH SANDRA: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a King Arthur Cinnamon Roll Kit, including the heavy-gauge pan, plus a $25 Starbucks card!

Heirlooms JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight July 5, 2022 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on July 12, 2022. US only. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Top 10 Tuesday — Anticipated Books

5 Jul

Happy Tuesday! Even though I have shelves and a Kindle full of books, I am always looking forward to new ones. I think most avid readers are, so I am unapologetic. 😉 This week I am highlighting some books that have recently released or will shortly. Many are already on my NetGalley shelf. Now I just need to read them!

For more anticipated books, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Anticipated Books

Anything But Plain by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Body of Evidence by Irene Hannon

Concrete Evidence by DiAnn Mills

Crossfire by Lynette Eason

Dangerous Beauty by Melissa Koslin

Deception by Patricia Bradley

Edge of Dusk by Colleen Coble

The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip by Sara Brunsvold

Fallout by Carrie Stuart Parks

Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd

Top 10 Tuesday — One Word Reviews

3 May

The week’s TTT was a tough one. I was determined to go by the prompt and let 1 word stand as a review for each of the titles featured. I really wanted to use some adjectives, but I settled for some hyphenated words. 🙂 One word really doesn’t do any of the books listed here justice; they are really, really good in many ways. I hope you find one that intrigues you.

For more brief reviews, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

One Word Reviews

HEART-FILLED

WELL-RESEARCHED

GOTHIC

FAIRYTALE

CREEPY

CREEPIER 😉

FAST-PACED

MASTERFUL

MOVING

PAGE-TURNER

Audiobook Mini-Review — Bride Of A Distant Isle

13 Apr

I listened to Bride of A Distant Isle, a historical romance set in Victorian England, a while back and failed to post a review! As always Sandra Byrd does a wonderful job of capturing settings. This audiobook was unturnoffable 😉 ! I loved the main character’s grit as she seeks to keep her independence and uncover the many secrets surrounding her family. If you need an audiobook for a road trip, this one is perfect.

An unforgettable romance set in Victorian England, Bride of A Distant Isle is the engrossing story of Annabel Ashton, who fights to save her family home and her mother’s honor while trying to figure out if the man she loves wants her—or just wants to use her to achieve his own ambitions.

Miss Annabel Ashton is a teacher at the Rogers School for Young Ladies in Winchester when she takes a brief visit to her family home, Highcliffe Hall at Milford-on-Sea. She believes her stay will be short but soon learns that she will not be returning to the safety of the school. Instead, she remains at Highcliffe, at the mercy of her cousin, Edward Everedge.

Annabel protests, but as the illegitimate daughter of a woman who died in an insane asylum, she has little say. Edward is running out of money and puts the house up for sale to avoid financial ruin. He insists that Annabel marry, promising her to a sinister, frightening man. But as the house gets packed for sale, it begins to reveal disquieting secrets. Jewelry, artifacts, and portraits mysteriously appear, suggesting that Annabel may be the true heir of Highcliffe.

She has only a few months to prove her legitimacy, perhaps with assistance from the handsome but troubled Maltese Captain Dell’Acqua. But does he have Annabel’s best interests at heart?

And then, a final, most ominous barrier to both her inheritance and her existence appears: a situation neither she nor anyone else could have expected. Will Annabel regain her life and property—and trust her heart—before it’s too late?

Sandra Byrd‘s first series of historically sound Gothic romances launched with the best-selling Mist of Midnight, which earned a coveted Editor’s Choice Award from the Historical Novel Society. The second book, Bride of a Distant Isle, has been selected by Romantic Times as a Top Pick. The third in the series, A Lady in Disguise, was named by the American Library Association’s Booklist as one of the Top Ten Inspirational Fiction Books of the year.

Her contemporary adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named a Library Journal Best Books of the Year Pick, as was The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr.

Victorian Ladies, a new series, offered its first title, Lady of a Thousand Treasures, in 2018. Sandra has also authored many books for teens, tweens, and devotionals for both adults and children.

Connect with Sandra at http://www.sandrabyrd.com or http://www.sandrabyrdbookcoach.com.

My Impressions:

Gothically delicious! Yes it’s a thing — when it involves an historical novel by Sandra Byrd. I found the audiobook of Bride of A Distant Isle to be unturnoffable! This novel has it all — a determined heroine who rises above her circumstances and faces danger steadily, a mysterious and exotic love interest, appearing and disappearing personal items, and some very dastardly villains and creepy lechers. I was soon swept up in the plight of Annabel Ashton as she seeks to uncover the truth about her mother, while dodging marriage arrangements. The setting is all Victorian England with some nods to Malta. I promise you will be caught up in the narrative wondering how a happily-ever-after can ever be pulled off. Kudos to Byrd for a wonderful story!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I borrowed the audiobook from Libby through my local library. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — I Want More!

8 Jun

This week’s Top 10 Challenge is books that made us want more. For my list I went to my past If You Liked . . . posts. Every month I take my book club’s selection and list more novels that feature some of the same elements as the book we just read. For today’s list I have chosen a variety of genres — something for every reading taste. I hope you find some books to love. (And for more reading recommendations, you can find past posts by clicking on the If You Liked . . . link in the side bar.)

For more great reading recommendations, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

If You Liked . . .

The Escape by Lisa Harris


US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn are thrust into a high-profile case when they are called on to transport two prisoners across the country on a private plane. But when the plane experiences engine trouble en route from the Pacific Northwest to Colorado, the pilots crash-land the aircraft deep in the heart of the sprawling Salmon-Challis National Forest. 

When Madison and Jonas regain consciousness, they find both pilots and one prisoner dead–and one fugitive on the run. They’ll have to negotiate the rugged and remote backcountry through Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado while tracking a murderer who is desperate to disappear–and will do anything to stop them.

This high-octane game of cat-and-mouse from bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris will have your heart pumping as you try to catch a fugitive with nothing to lose.

US Marshall Service — Seconds to Live by Susan Sleeman

Strong Female Character — Network of Deceit by Tom Threadgill

Edge of Seat Suspense – Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills

The Woman in The Green Dress by Tea Cooper

A cursed opal, a gnarled family tree, and a sinister woman in a green dress emerge in the aftermath of World War I.

After a whirlwind romance, London teashop waitress Fleur Richards can’t wait for her new husband, Hugh, to return from the Great War. But when word of his death arrives on Armistice Day, Fleur learns he has left her a sizable family fortune. Refusing to accept the inheritance, she heads to his beloved home country of Australia in search of the relatives who deserve it more.

In spite of her reluctance, she soon finds herself the sole owner of a remote farm and a dilapidated curio shop full of long-forgotten artifacts, remarkable preserved creatures, and a mystery that began more than sixty-five years ago. With the help of Kip, a repatriated soldier dealing with the sobering aftereffects of war, Fleur finds herself unable to resist pulling on the threads of the past. What she finds is a shocking story surrounding an opal and a woman in a green dress. . . a story that, nevertheless, offers hope and healing for the future.

Exotic Locale — A Mosaic of Wings by Kimberly Duffy

Curiosities and Mystery — Lady of A Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

Interwoven Dual Timelines — The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

Living Lies by Natalie Walters

In the little town of Walton, Georgia, everybody knows your name — but no one knows your secret. At least that’s what Lane Kent is counting on when she returns to her hometown with her five-year-old son. Dangerously depressed after the death of her husband, Lane is looking for hope. What she finds instead is a dead body.

Lane must work with Walton’s newest deputy, Charlie Lynch, to uncover the truth behind the murder. But when that truth hits too close to home, she’ll have to decide if saving the life of another is worth the cost of revealing her darkest secret.

Debut novelist Natalie Walters pulls you to the edge of your seat on the first page and keeps you there until the last in this riveting story that will have you believing no one is defined by their past.

Suspense in A Small Town — Trial by Fire by Kathy Herman

Heroine with Struggles — Fragments of Fear by Carrie Stuart Parks

PTSD — Without Warning by Lynette Eason

Magnolia Storms by Janet W. Ferguson

Maggie Marovich couldn’t save her father or her home from Hurricane Katrina, but she’s dedicated her life to meteorology so she can warn others when the monster storms approach. Except . . . she works three hours inland and rarely risks returning to her childhood hometown of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Both her single-parent sister and the ship pilot Maggie once loved refused to leave the Coast, despite Maggie’s requests. Now a hurricane’s headed toward Mississippi, and Maggie’s sister is seriously injured, leaving Maggie little choice but to head south — into the storm.

The water and tides flow through Josh Bergeron’s veins, and he can’t imagine giving up piloting — even for the love of his life, the infuriating Magnolia Marovich. He tried to move on without her, marrying and having a child. But after his wife abandons him and his little boy, his career choice is threatened by the weight of his parental responsibilities. Moving next door to Maggie’s sister and sharing their child care seems like the perfect set-up. Until Maggie blows back into town.

Being forced to lean on Josh for help washes up the wreckage in Maggie’s faith. Where was God during the destruction of Katrina? Why do some prayers seem to go unanswered? Between the hurricane looming in the Gulf and another gale raging in her heart, can Maggie overcome her past and find the trust to truly live?

Importance of Family — Practically Married by Karin Beery

Overcoming Fears — When You Look At Me by Pepper Basham

Past Impacts Present — Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh

Egypt’s Sister by Angela Hunt

Five decades before the birth of Christ, Chava, daughter of the royal tutor, grows up with Urbi, a princess in Alexandria’s royal palace. When Urbi becomes Queen Cleopatra, Chava vows to be a faithful friend no matter what — but after she and Cleopatra have an argument, she finds herself imprisoned and sold into slavery. 

Torn from her family, her community, and her elevated place in Alexandrian society, Chava finds herself cast off and alone in Rome. Forced to learn difficult lessons, she struggles to trust a promise HaShem has given her. After experiencing the best and worst of Roman society, Chava must choose between love and honor, between her own desires and God’s will for her life. 

The Hebrew People in Egypt — Miriam by Mesu Andrews

More on Cleopatra — The Queen’s Handmaid by Tracy Higley

Remaining Faithful — A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith

Top 10 Tuesday — Non-Book Hobbies

3 Nov

This week, Top 10 Tuesday is talking about Non-Book Hobbies. Is there such a thing? 😉 I admit to books being just about everything in my spare time. I do crochet a bit and I enjoy the outdoors at our north Georgia cabin and I play at baking, but I don’t have a green thumb, I am not a gourmet, travel is at a standstill now, and my mom’s hobby — housecleaning — doesn’t appeal. So, there you have it! Makes for a boring blog post.

I decided to feature a few books that would appeal to a range of hobbyists. Hope you find one that fits into your extrabookular activities.

 

Top Non-Book Hobbies Books!

Art

A Fool And His Monet by Sandra Orchard

Serena Jones has a passion for recovering lost and stolen art — one that’s surpassed only by her zeal to uncover the truth about the art thief who murdered her grandfather. She’s joined the FBI Art Crime Team with the secret hope that one of her cases will lead to his killer. Now, despite her mother’s pleas to do something safer –like get married — Serena’s learning how to go undercover to catch thieves and black market traders.

When a local museum discovers an irreplaceable Monet missing, Jones leaps into action. The clues point in different directions, and her boss orders her to cease investigating her most promising suspect. But determined to solve the case and perhaps discover another clue in her grandfather’s murder, she pushes ahead, regardless of the danger.

Baking

All’s Fair in Love And Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant

Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie’s bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.
But when Lucas Brannen, Kat’s best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.

As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself — her — is suddenly in danger of slipping away.

The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat’s senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.

Collecting

Lady of A Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry — the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust — who in her life is false or true, brass or gold — and what is meant to be treasured.

Gardening

Like A Watered Garden by Patti Hill

“I received a box of flowers from my dead husband.”

Life has stalled for Colorado garden designer Mibby Garrett after losing her husband in a bicycle accident six months ago. Mibby devotes herself to avoiding “whammies o’ grief,” the painful and sudden reminders of her former life. But for her son, she’s willing to face anything. With the support of the indomitable Louise, friend and neighbor, and her faithful gardening clients, Mibby even considers romance with a too-good-to-be-true widower. Then comes the biggest whammy of all, a stranger with a claim to her husband’s heart. Will Mibby retreat or sound the charge on life?

Music

Song of Silence by Cynthia Ruchti

Lucy and Charlie Tuttle agree on one thing: they’re committed to each other for life. Trouble is, neither of them expected life to look like this. While Charlie retired early, Lucy is devoted to a long-term career . . . until the day she has no choice.

Forced to retire from her position as music educator in a small Midwestern K-8 school, Lucy can only watch helplessly as the program her father started years ago disintegrates before her eyes. As the music fades and a chasm separates her from the passion of her heart, Lucy wonders if her faith’s song has gone silent, too. The musical score of her life seems to be missing all the notes.

When a simple misstep threatens to silence Lucy forever, a young boy and his soundless mother change the way she sees — and hears — everything.

Quilting

Rival Hearts by Tara Randel

They both want the promotion. But will they find out that it is worth the cost?

Molly Henderson and Ben Weaver have been rival magazine writers for the same publishing group for years. When both come up for the same promotion, they find themselves in an unexpected competition to win the spot. Molly, editor of Quilter’s Heart, and Ben, editor of Outdoor Adventures, must switch roles, each working for the other for one month, then submit an article at the end of their quests. Can girly-girl Molly survive the outdoor adventures that Ben has planned? Can Ben navigate the perils of the social dynamics of quilting events without destroying a valuable quilt in one short month? More importantly, in this he-said, she-said situation, will Molly and Ben give in to their attraction and fall in love, no matter who wins?

Writing

Ghost Writer by Rene Gutteridge

Jonathan Harper is a fiction editor at a publishing house who devotes all of his time to work, and is slowly drifting away from his family. While proof reading a story about a serial killer written by his best friend and father figure Clyde, he begins to receive a story from an anonymous source that is eerily similar to his own life. It contains details no one else could possibly know, details about his childhood and his marriage. As the suspense builds, Jonathan is forced to confront the demons in his own life as he seeks to understand the mystery behind the story.

 

Audiobook Mini-Review: The Secret Keeper

2 Sep

The author of To Die For returns to the court of Henry VIII, as a young woman is caught between love and honor. 

Juliana St. John is the daughter of a prosperous knight in Marlborough. Though her family wants her to marry the son of her father’s business partner, circumstances set her on a course toward the court of Henry VIII and his last wife, Kateryn, or Katherine Parr.

Sir Thomas Seymour, uncle of the current heir, Prince Edward, returns to Wiltshire to tie up his business with Juliana’s father’s estate and sees instantly that she would fit into the household of the woman he loves, Kateryn Parr. Her mother agrees to have her placed in the Parr household for “finishing” and Juliana goes, though perhaps reluctantly. For she knows a secret. She has been given the gift of prophecy, and in one of her visions she has seen Sir Thomas shredding the dress of the king’s daughter, the lady Elizabeth, to perilous consequence.

As Juliana learns the secrets of King Henry VIII’s court, she faces threats and opposition, learning truths about her own life that will upset everything she thought she once held dear.

 

Sandra Byrd‘s first series of historically sound Gothic romances launched with the best-selling Mist of Midnight, which earned a coveted Editor’s Choice Award from the Historical Novel Society. The second book, Bride of a Distant Isle, has been selected by Romantic Times as a Top Pick. The third in the series, A Lady in Disguise, was named by the American Library Association’s Booklist as one of the Top Ten Inspirational Fiction Books of the year.

Her contemporary adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named a Library Journal Best Books of the Year Pick, as was The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr.

Victorian Ladies, a new series, offered its first title, Lady of a Thousand Treasures, in 2018.

Sandra has also authored many books for teens, tweens, and devotionals for both adults and children.

Connect with Sandra at http://www.sandrabyrd.com, http://www.sandrabyrdbookcoach.com or through any of these social media platforms:

https://www.facebook.com/sandrabyrdwrites
http://www.instagram.com/sandrabyrdbooks
https://www.pinterest.com/sandrabyrdbooks/pins/
https://twitter.com/sandrabyrd
http://bit.ly/YouTubeSandraByrd

 

My Impressions:

I am woefully behind on some series, including Sandra Byrd’s Ladies in Waiting series that focuses on the Tudors. So I downloaded the audiobook of The Secret Keeper, put on my tennis shoes, and walked my way through the halls of intrigue in the last days of Henry VIII. This novel tells the story of Kateryn Parr, Henry’s sixth and final wife. The book is rich in historical detail — the author really did her research to bring the world of Tudor England to life. Besides the attention to furnishings, language, and clothing, Byrd explores all of the political and religious intrigues of the day. Kateryn is portrayed as a well-read and intelligent woman, who unfortunately must stay within the boundaries of her class and gender. She wrote a number of insightful books, yet had to bow to men in all things. Her life with Henry, her third husband, was not easy, nor was it free of danger. She outlived him and was married to Thomas Seymour (her true love), brother of Queen Jane (Henry’s third wife) and uncle to now King Edward VI. But a happily-ever-after is denied her.

Kateryn’s story is told through the first person voice of a fictional lady-in-waiting, Juliana St. John. Juliana comes to Kateryn’s household as a naive young country girl. Juliana also faces trouble as she becomes indispensable to the Queen before, during, and after her marriage to Henry. I came to love Juliana — trustworthy, loyal, and undeserving of the harsh treatment she encounters throughout her life. You will love how her story ends.

Byrd weaves a tale that brings a fresh perspective on the Tudor era. I loved how she explored the what-ifs of Kateryn’s life — you will too. Specific to the audiobook: the narrator does a wonderful job of presenting Juliana’s voice. It was perfect for the subject and characters.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

If You Liked . . . The Woman in The Green Dress

31 Aug

My book club had very mixed reactions to the dual timeline historical novel The Woman in The Green Dress by Tea Cooper. We really liked the new-to-us setting of Australia and the interesting topic of taxidermy. But we had difficulty with the disjointed narrative and what we felt were undeveloped story threads. The creep-factor (which we enjoy) we felt was overridden by a weird-vibe. So overall, it was a miss for my members. But, if you were a fan of the book, I have some recommendations you may enjoy that employ some of the same elements. Hope you find another book to love.

Exotic Locale

A Mosaic of Wings by Kimberly Duffy

It’s 1885, and all Nora Shipley wants, now that she’s graduating from Cornell University as valedictorian of the entomology program, is to follow in her late father’s footsteps by getting her master’s degree and taking over the scientific journal he started. The only way to uphold her father’s legacy is to win a scholarship, so she joins a research expedition in Kodaikanal, India, to prove herself in the field.

India isn’t what she expects, though, and neither is the rival classmate who accompanies her, Owen Epps. As her preconceptions of India — and of Owen — fall away, she finds both far more captivating than she expected. Forced by the expedition leader to stay at camp and illustrate exotic butterflies the men of the team find without her, Nora befriends Sita, a young Indian girl who has been dedicated to a goddess against her will.

In this spellbinding new land, Nora is soon faced with impossible choices — between saving Sita and saving her career, and between what she’s always thought she wanted and the man she’s come to love.

 

Curiosities and Mysteries

Lady of A Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry — the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust — who in her life is false or true, brass or gold — and what is meant to be treasured.

 

Interwoven Dual-Time Lines

The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

Left at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday. Now grown, her search takes her to Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin, in 1908. When clues lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a post-mortem photographer to gain access and assist groundskeeper Simeon Coyle in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within. However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death.

A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother–who is battling dementia — compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity. When she catches sight of a ghostly woman who haunts the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns–and with it, Heidi’s fear for her own life.

As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, can they overcome the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined?