By Jane Kirkpatrick, Amanda Cabot,
Laurie Alice Eakes, and Ann Shorey
Spanning a century and a continent, these romantic novellas will lead you on a journey through the landscape of love. Four young women find their lives altered after each receives a letter that sets her on a new path toward a changed life - and perhaps lifelong love. From a Hudson River steamboat to a lush drawing room, from a carousel carver's workshop to a remote and controversial hospital, readers will love being swept into the lives of four young women who are making their way in the world and finding love where they least expect it.
Sincerely Yours is a delightful novella collection by four popular historical authors - Laurie Alice Eakes, Ann Shorey, Amanda Cabot, and Jane Kirkpatrick. In these stories that range from 1825 to 1911, the common link is that each heroine has received a letter that leads her in a new direction, but each story completely stands alone.
I believe this is Revell's first novella collection - and if that is indeed the case, I hope we see many more. While I enjoy romance collections like this, they are usually just light reads, a way to relax during busy or stressful times. But I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of these stories and discovered some new-to-me authors in the process. I won't try to pick a favorite story, for I enjoyed them all.
I believe the strength of this collection is in its differences. Of course romance plays a key part in all, but the stories differ in style - from adventure, to simple romance, to drama based on a real-life situation. Each is well written, and with greater character depth and a more fulfilling plot than would normally be found in novellas. My thoughts on each story are below. I highly recommend Sincerely Yours.
"A Moonlight Promise" by Laurie Alice Eakes
Camilla Renfrew is a highborn English lady fleeing false accusations when she runs smack into love on a steamboat bound for the new Erie Canal. But can this unexpected attraction survive the treacherous journey?
Nathaniel and Camilla make a great couple, I loved the river steamboat setting, and there's plenty of adventure in this story. Faith plays a strong part, as Nathaniel realizes he had been valuing the wrong things and Camilla struggles with trust. These words by Camilla stood out: "Was not the unknowing yet still believing what faith was? Trusting in the Lord. Not something she was good at . . ."
"Lessons in Love" by Ann Shorey
Marigold Montgomery Bentley writes marriage advice for Kipler's Home Weekly even though she is single. Everyone assumes from the initials that "M. M." is a man. When the editor asks to meet Mr. Bentley, can Merrie come up with a ruse to keep her writing job?
This is simply a sweet romance built around the theme of honesty, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I loved Colin, Merrie, Aunt Isabella, and the music theme. Ann shows how difficult it was for a woman in 1858 who wanted to use her God-given gifts, as Merrie took advantage of a misunderstanding to publish articles that ministered to families. Ann's writing flows so easily across the page!
"One Little Word" by Amanda Cabot
Lorraine Caldwell will lose her family fortune to a reckless cousin if she doesn't marry quickly. When she learns her long-lost brother is alive, she hopes she's found the answer to her problems. What she finds instead is a mysterious carousel carver who turns her life upside down.
This story enchants on all levels - characterization, plot, and spiritual theme! Jonah and Lorraine are so very appealing and the romance element is sure to please. At the end, Amanda mentions developing something called "carousel fever," and I believe many readers will also find themselves with similar symptoms. Jonah and Lorraine both learn to allow God to lead instead of doing what others expect or demand, and that true happiness comes from using your giftedness - lessons that we can all apply in our lives.
"A Saving Grace" by Jane Kirkpatrick
Grace Hathaway must rescue a dear friend from a remote and notorious clinic that promises healing but delivers only heartache. In a place laced with deceit, where lives hang in the balance, whom can she trust to help her?
This excellently-written story was such a surprise and I'm so glad it was included! Its drama contrasts nicely with the other stories and adds much interest to this collection. Jane combined an unimaginable true-life situation with the "what if?" of fiction and created a moving story showing the strength of friendship - with a sweet romance as well. This was definitely a page turner for me.
Laurie Alice Eakes