Saturday, September 29, 2012

Review: A Vision of Lucy by Margaret Brownley

Before I get to today's review (it's for the last book in the Rocky Creek trilogy), I just wanted to make a mention that this post is somewhat special.... it's my 50th blog post! Woo-hoo! :) And now, on to the review:

Book Cover and Synopsis:
Trouble follows Lucy wherever she goes. So does a vision of second chances . . . and love.

Lucy Fairbanks dreams of working as a photographer at the Rocky Creek newspaper. Her deepest hope is that her father will see her as an artist, the way he thought of her deceased mother, whose paintings still hang on their walls.

But disaster follows Lucy on every photo assignment: a mess of petticoats and ribbons, an accidental shooting, even a fire.

When Lucy meets David Wolf—a rugged, reclusive man who lives on the outskirts of town—she thinks she can catch the attention of the town with his photograph. She doesn't count on her feelings stirring whenever she's near him.

Two things happen next that forever change the course of Lucy's life. But will these events draw her closer to God or push her further away? And how will David accept this new vision of Lucy?

My Thoughts:
What's not to love about a historical novel involving a woman photographer? I really can't say, because right from the first page I was immediately hooked!! Lucy is a riot of a character, with her non-stop chattering and habit of getting into strange and embarrassing situations.

Being somewhat of a shutterbug myself, I was highly amused to read the plethora of negative opinions held towards early photography; many people thought it a passing fad, while newspapers were declaring photos too trivial to print, saying they would detract from high quality news reporting. What a laugh!! It's these type of comments, paired with excellent characters, that make this book SO much fun!

Each chapter begins with an amusing quote about photography by a "Miss Gertrude Hasslebrink", supposed author of a photography book in 1878. I found these short thoughts and quotes so amusing that I actually tried to find a copy of the book online, only to discover it's fictional and the quotes were purely made up for A Vision of Lucy! LOL. :)

I really enjoyed this book, it had just a great combination of things going on. Lucy's fun personality and penchant for getting into trouble, paired with the extremely intriguing subject of early photography, a case of missing persons, and a man labeled as "wild" who Lucy has taken a liking to... all these things mix together in just the right way to make this book a real gem in the historical genre. Highly recommended!

My Rating: 5 stars

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Review: A Suitor for Jenny by Margaret Brownley

Book Cover and Synopsis:
Jenny Higgins is certain falling in love and finding a husband are matters of the mind. Her heart has other plans.

After their parents died, Jenny felt responsible for seeing that her two younger sisters were well taken-care of. Tipped off by an article naming Rocky Creek the town with the highest number of eligible bachelors, Jenny rolled into this Texas town with a clear objective: find suitable husbands for her two sister and then start fresh somewhere far, far away.

Jenny believe that women who fall in love at first sight often wish they'd taken a second look, so she diligently begins to follow all the rules set forth in her handy manual on how to land a husband.

But while Jenny is interviewing the less-than-promising candidates, her sisters are falling in love the old-fashioned way--with men of their choosing. And the longer Jenny stays, the more her sense of control slips away. The town isn't living up to her expectations, her sisters are rebelling against her practical choices, and soon her own heart starts to betray her, as US Marshall Rhett Armstrong stirs emotions in her that weren't part of her plan.

To relinquish her control to God and calm her restless spirit, she'll need to give her foregone conclusions about marriage, love, and faith.

My Thoughts:
Have you ever thought about posting "Husband Wanted" signs all over town, and then interviewing candidates for the position? No? Well, not only has Jenny thought about it, but she's doing it! Not for herself, of course, but for her two sisters, who she is determined to marry off to eligible men....and she'll stop at nothing to see it happen!

Some of Jenny's tactics in trying to find husbands for her sisters occasionally seemed a bit over-the-top and unrealistic to me, but I did find it quite comical that the male reactions to Jenny's methods were often the extreme opposite of what I expected!

Jenny is the lead character, but the point of view also rotates back and forth between her two sisters, and also Rhett, the town marshal. The rotating perspective allows you to experience the love-story of each sister from their own point of view... so head's up romance fans, this book has 3 simultaneous romance stories going on at once! :)

A Suitor for Jenny is certainly a unique story, and while I did like the first book in the series a bit better, this one was still entertaining. A few familiar faces from the first book pop up here and there, just enough to appease readers of the first, but if you don't have access to the first book there's no reason you can't read this one as a stand-alone. (Although, I do highly recommend reading the first book (A Lady Like Sarah), simply because it's an absolute blast to read!)

My Rating: 4 stars

Friday, September 7, 2012

Review: A Lady Like Sarah by Margaret Brownley

Book Cover and Synopsis:
She's an outlaw.
He's a preacher.
Both are in need of a miracle.

Sarah Prescott has never known a respectable life. Just a hardscrabble childhood and brothers who taught her to shoot first and ask questions later.

Justin Wells left Boston in disgrace, heading out alone on the dusty trail to Texas. But when the once-respected clergyman encounters a feisty redhead in handcuffs with a dying U.S. Marshall at her side, their journey takes a dramatic turn.

His high-society expectations and Sarah's outlaw habits clash from the start. With a price on her head and towing an orphaned baby rescued from the brink of starvation, Justin and Sarah make the difficult journey toward Rocky Creek. There, justice will be meted out. Perhaps--they hope--with a healthy portion of grace.

My Thoughts:
Let me start out by saying that the romance level in this book is higher than many others in the genre, not as far as inappropriate content (there's none), but just quantity of scenes. You can simply feel the tension and longing the two lead characters have; their feelings are alive in such a way that the characters themselves simply jump off the pages.

Often times when historical novels have a female lead intended to be feisty or wild, generally I find their "eccentric" behavior to be somewhat forced and over-the-top, BUT, that is definitely not the case here. Sarah is certainly colorful (especially for the time period), but in a good way; her unusual ways are charming and seem very natural considering her history and childhood. I found many of her sayings and quotes quite amusing, and I loved how she wasn't stiff and all about propriety, as the time period generally demanded women to be.

Justin is also very likable and easy to sympathize with. You might think a story with a preacher as one of the lead characters might be boring, but it's certainly not. He's simply a regular person, just like you and I, trying to do what God would have him do, even when it's unbearably hard.

This is the first book by Margaret Brownley that I've have the pleasure of reading, and I have to say that I really, really enjoyed it. Bravo!! I'm looking forward to seeing what's in store as the Rocky Creek series continues!

My Rating: 5 stars

Reviews for the rest of the Rocky Creek series will be coming later this month, stay tuned! :)