Monday's Musical Moments

Monday's Musical Moments
Monday's Musical Moments

Josephine Baker's Last Dance

Josephine Baker's Last Dance
Josephine Baker's Last Dance

Friday, February 15, 2019

FLASHBACK FRIDAY- Moloka'i by Alan Brennert - Feature and Review


This richly imagined novel, set in Hawai'i more than a century ago, is an extraordinary epic of a little-known time and place---and a deeply moving testament to the resiliency of the human spirit.

Rachel Kalama, a spirited seven-year-old Hawaiian girl, dreams of visiting far-off lands like her father, a merchant seaman. Then one day a rose-colored mark appears on her skin, and those dreams are stolen from her. Taken from her home and family, Rachel is sent to Kalaupapa, the quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka'i. Here her life is supposed to end---but instead she discovers it is only just beginning.



Moloka'i (Moloka'i #1)Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert is a 2004 St. Martin’s Griffin publication. (I read the 2011 Kindle version.)

I know what you're thinking. ‘You haven’t read this book yet?’

Over the years, this book has been recommended to me on more than one occasion, but I just never felt an urgent pull towards it. So, here we are in 2019 and I am just now getting around to reading it.

Although, to be honest, it was the invitation to read the follow up to this book, that gave me the added incentive to work this one into my reading schedule. Now that I have read it, I understand the incredulity of my friends who couldn’t believe hadn't read it before now.

What an incredible story!

I must confess, I knew next to nothing about this period in history. Naturally, since it has a basis in fact, I had to do a little research on it. It is worth noting, that as far I know, there are still a handful of people living in Moloka'i, and will be free to remain there the rest of their lives if they wish, as they may not feel comfortable leaving for various reasons, including the disfiguring aspects of leprosy. Still the whole scenario boggles my mind.

Since so many people have read this book, I don’t suppose anyone needs me to give them a recap of the plot. However, my personal experience with this book was one of shock, sadness, and sympathy for those incarcerated after contracting leprosy.

At the same time, this is also a story of resilience, faith, and hope. Rachel is a character I will not forget anytime soon. Her strength and approach to her unrelenting series of disappointments and losses, is truly inspirational. She took the life she was handed and made the best of it.

Of course, the book also reminds us of how terrified the general public was of leprosy, something we tend to forget in modern times. Those afflicted were obviously stigmatized, feared, and cast out. The method of quarantine was humane, but still felt as though the victim was being punished, forcing an incarceration on them as though they had broken the law. Many years later, a combination of antibiotics effectively controlled the disease, allowing those diagnosed with it to live normal lives again. In more recent times, AIDS prompted the same sort of hysteria and reactions based on fear and bias. It was hard not to make those comparisons, while reading this book, which does help to put Rachel’s plight in context.

Although I did find the writing languid at times, requiring me to refocus a time or two, this story is beautiful, powerful, and has lingered with me for days now. I do regret waiting this long to read this lovely story, so I won’t make the same mistake with the follow up. I’m looking forward to reading Ruth’s story now more than ever.



Alan Brennert is the author of the historical novels Palisades ParkHonolulu (chosen one of the best books of 2009 by The Washington Post), and Moloka'i, which won the 2006 Bookies Award, sponsored by the Contra Costa Library, for the Book Club Book of the Year (and has sold over 600,000 copies since publication). It was also a 2012 One Book, One San Diego selection. He has won an Emmy Award and a People's Choice Award for his work as a writer-producer on the television series L.A. Law, and his short story "Ma Qui" was honored with a Nebula Award. His new novel, Daughter of Moloka'i, will be published by St. Martin's Press on February 19, 2019. Follow him on Facebook at

Thursday, February 14, 2019

A Rebel At Pennington By Rachel Brimble - Feature and Review


One woman's journey to find herself and help secure the vote. Perfect for the fans of the TV series Mr Selfridgeand The Paradise.

1911 Bath. Banished from her ancestral home, passionate suffrage campaigner, Esther Stanbury works as a window dresser in Pennington's Department Store. She has hopes and dreams for women's progression and will do anything to help secure the vote.
Owner of the prestigious Phoenix Hotel, Lawrence Culford has what most would view as a successful life. But Lawrence is harbouring shame, resentment and an anger that threatens his future happiness.
When Esther and Lawrence meet their mutual understanding of life's challenges unites them and they are drawn to the possibility of a life of love that neither thought existed.
With the Coronation of King-Emperor George V looming, the atmosphere in Bath is building to fever pitch, as is the suffragists' determination to secure the vote.
Will Esther's rebellious nature lead her to ruin or can they overcome their pasts and look to build a future together?


A Rebel at Pennington'sA Rebel at Pennington's by Rachel Brimble
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Rebel at Pennington’s by Rachel Gamble is a 2019 Aria publication.

A compelling romance highlighting the adversity, and the hard choices women were often forced to endure while fighting for the right to vote. These sacrifices also meant making a choice between love and family and the cause they worked so passionately for.

Esther is forced out of her home and sent to live with her aunt after her father remarries and Esther’s women’s rights activism causes a rift. She dresses store windows for Pennington’s, an upscale shop, where she meets the wealthy and influential widower, Lawrence Culford. Lawrence is smitten by Esther and her spunky opinionated ways.

After a loveless marriage ends tragically, Lawrence is determined to marry for love, but a heavy family burden could prevent him from realizing his goal. At the same time, Esther is worried that marriage would prevent her full dedication to a cause that she feels she must fight for at all costs.
I really enjoyed this story, which lightly touches on many angles that activism can take, as well as creating realistic characters who face very real pressures and family dilemmas which are draining and painful.

There are characters we love to hate and characters we cheer for, which shows how great a job the author did with the characterizations. This makes the romance feel more authentic as well. It’s not just the sensuality and passion, but also true love which conquers all the obstacles in the way.

Overall, this is a terrific, well balanced story with a lovely happily ever after!



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In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a new Edwardian series set in Bath’s finest department store. The first book, The Mistress of Pennington’s released July 2018.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!

Amazon Author Page:


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Outlaw's Mail Order Bride by Linda Broday- Feature and Review + Giveaway

Mail Order Bride, #1
Genre: Historical Western Romance Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Number of Pages: 384 pages


When the West was wild, and man's law favored the few, extraordinary women could be the heart of an outlaw.
Outlaw Clay Colby is tired of living one step in front of the law and wants to see his dream of having a wife, a family, to give his life meaning. So far, he’s been rejected twice, and he won’t try again if this one doesn’t work out. But hope fills him that Tally Shannon will see his heart and help him finish this town where once stood an outlaw hideout. On the day when she’s supposed to arrive, a bitter enemy sets fire to the buildings he’d fought to erect and he’s back with nothing to show for his efforts. There's no woman in the world who'd stand by him now.
But Talley Shannon is no ordinary woman.
After escaping the living hell of the Creedmore Insane Asylum into which she was thrust to die, Tally only wants someone to protect her and the little girl under her care. She doesn't mind that Clay's home is dang near burned to the ground—not when he makes her feel so safe. So cherished. But it's only a matter of time before the ghosts of her past come calling, intent on stealing her happiness, her very life...and her loving cowboy must defend his new bride—and the family they forged—to his very last breath.

The Outlaw's Mail Order Bride (Outlaw Mail Order Brides, #1)The Outlaw's Mail Order Bride by Linda Broday
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Outlaw’s Mail Order Bride, by Linda Broday is a 2019 Sourcebooks Casablanca publication.

Fast-paced adventure with strong, well-drawn characters!

Clay Colby is a former outlaw trying to live his life on the up and up. He’s worked tirelessly to bring law and order to Devil’s Crossing. But just when his new bride is set to arrive, his homestead is set ablaze by a bitter enemy. Now, he’s sure his future wife will decide he’s not worth sticking around for.

Talley Shannon’s life has been very hard. She’s just made a daring escape from a psychiatric hospital, from which she was wrongfully detained, and is trying to build a new life for herself and the little girl she has taken charge of.

Despite the scene she observes upon her arrival, she feels safe with Clay and is determined to go through with the marriage. However, she and Clay both have demons from the past nipping at their heels, and despite the increasingly passionate feelings developing between them, those demons are bound to catch up to them sooner or later-

To be honest, this is the first western historical romance I’ve read in ages and ages. I read my fair share of them back in the eighties and nineties when the genre was super popular- albeit politically incorrect, a lot of the time. (They aren't now, of course!) The genre didn’t entirely disappear, but Regency period romances rose in popularity to the point of pulling off what basically amounted to a coup d'├ętat on the entire genre. All other historical time periods fell from favor after that. Oh, sure, there are still authors out there who stayed with the genre, and newer authors who carved out a niche for themselves writing about the western frontier, but they aren’t nearly as plentiful as they used to be.

While I am a big fan of Sourcebooks Casablanca publishing, and their contemporary writers, by the time I realized they published a few western historical romance series, I was pretty burned out and frustrated with the entire historical romance genre in general- with a few notable exceptions for favorite authors.

But, when I was offered a chance to promote this book on my blog by the publisher and by Lone Star Book Blog Tours, I decided to take a leap of faith- and I am so glad I did!

I loved this story!! The characters are bold and brave, the pacing is brisk, with smoldering sensuality and lots of action and adventure. There is a plot I can sink my teeth into, but it is also a heartwarming and inspirational story.

This book was a very welcome change of pace for me and reminded me of how good these western romances can be, and how much I miss it reading them. I also loved the colorful and vibrant cover of this book which is in keeping with the sweet romantic dances the main characters enjoyed in the story.

Overall, the authenticity and the excellent storytelling, makes this one a five -star read!! I’m really looking forward to the next book in this series.

View all my reviews

PURCHASE THE BOOK iBooks │ Amazon │Barnes and Noble

"Broday’s earthy, no-nonsense characters fit the rugged setting perfectly, and it’s a pleasure to watch these two lonely, cynical souls forge a powerful, passionate partnership." – Book Page “Clay and Tally’s story will captivate the historical western lover in us all. Linda Broday has earned her way into the coveted title of “Queen of Texas Historical Romance.” -- Tonya, Goodreads reviewer “If love is your interest, do not miss this book. I could not put it down it was so compelling.” Cricket, Goodreads reviewer “Trying to put this book down at times was like trying to get off of a high-speed roller coaster -- the kind with twists, turns, and even loops; it's just impossible.” Glenda, Goodreads reviewer

I'm a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty historical western romance novels and short stories. I reside in the Texas Panhandle on land the American Indian and Comancheros once roamed, and at times if the breeze is just right, I can hear their voices whispering in the wind. Texas’ rich history is one reason I set all my stories here where cowboys are still caretakers of the land. I’m inspired every day by their immense dedication and love for the wide open spaces. When I’m not writing, I collect old coins and I’ve also been accused (quite unfairly I might add) of making a nuisance of myself at museums, libraries, and historical places. I’m also a movie buff and love sitting in a dark theater, watching the magic unfold on the screen. As long as I’m confessingchocolate is my best friend. It just soothes my soul.

FIRST PRIZE: Signed Copy of The Outlaw’s Mail Order Bride +  $25 Amazon gift card
TWO WINNERS: Signed Copies of the book.
FEBRUARY 5-15, 2019

Bonus Post
Author Interview
Top Ten
Guest Post
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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford- Feature and Review


From the bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet comes a powerful novel, inspired by a true story, about a boy whose life is transformed at Seattle's epic 1909 World's Fair.

For twelve-year-old Ernest Young, a charity student at a boarding school, the chance to go to the World's Fair feels like a gift. But only once he's there, amid the exotic exhibits, fireworks, and Ferris wheels, does he discover that he is the one who is actually the prize. The half-Chinese orphan is astounded to learn he will be raffled off--a healthy boy "to a good home."

The winning ticket belongs to the flamboyant madam of a high-class brothel, famous for educating her girls. There, Ernest becomes the new houseboy and befriends Maisie, the madam's precocious daughter, and a bold scullery maid named Fahn. Their friendship and affection form the first real family Ernest has ever known--and against all odds, this new sporting life gives him the sense of home he's always desired.

But as the grande dame succumbs to an occupational hazard and their world of finery begins to crumble, all three must grapple with hope, ambition, and first love.

Fifty years later, in the shadow of Seattle's second World's Fair, Ernest struggles to help his ailing wife reconcile who she once was with who she wanted to be, while trying to keep family secrets hidden from their grown-up daughters.

Against a rich backdrop of post-Victorian vice, suffrage, and celebration, Love and Other Consolations is an enchanting tale about innocence and devotion--in a world where everything, and everyone, is for sale.



Love and Other Consolation PrizesLove and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love and Other Consolations Prizes by Jamie Ford is a 2017 Ballantine publication.

A stirring, poignant story of love in its various stages and forms, crossing oceans and spanning decades-

This is my first novel by Jamie Ford. I haven’t read his bestselling first novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, but of course, I still plan to someday. This book, though, has been loitering around on my Kindle for a little while, and I’m trying to grab more books from the bottom of the TBR pile this year. This turned out be a great choice.

As the blurb states, the story has a basis in fact, drawing from the raffle drawing at the 1909 World’s Fair, for a young boy!

Earnest Young, a mixed -race young boy, is raffled off to Madam Flora, who runs a brothel. He is stunned to find himself reunited with Fahn, a Japanese girl who was on the boat with him, during his trip to America. In short order, he is also introduced to Madam Flora’s daughter, Maisie, with whom he forges a close bond. Earnest falls in love with both girls. But a series of heartbreaking circumstances threaten to tear the three of them apart for all time…

As difficult as it is to learn about the Chinese and Japanese orphans and the cruelty they were subjected to, and exploitation of these young girls, this book was absolutely riveting and flush with historical details. I fell in love with the characters, and became emotionally invested in their plight.

The story is told with a dual timeline- ‘current day’ 1962, which alternates with the events that transpired in the early 1900’s. The reader knows that Earnest has a wife named 'Gracie' with whom he has two daughters and that Gracie is suffering from an unnamed malady that affects her memories and mood. Running in the backdrop is the Seattle World Fair, which of course brings back all those memories for Earnest, and piques the curiosity of his daughter, an investigative reporter, who wishes to write an article about him.

What we don’t know, is who 'Gracie' really is or what the mysterious ailment is that plagues her, or what secrets Earnest and Gracie have kept from their daughters.

I will admit I did find myself as conflicted as Earnest, understanding how he could love two women, and hoping desperately they found true peace and happiness, and that they all ended up with the person the really wanted to be with. The conclusion was simply lovely and so very bittersweet. I may have dabbed at my eyes just a little, but overall, I was very satisfied with the way things wrapped up. In fact, once I really thought it over, I can’t see how could have turned out better.

After reading this book, I can’t wait to see what wonderful discoveries are waiting for me at the bottom of my seemingly endless TBR pile.



Jamie Ford is the great grandson of Nevada mining pioneer Min Chung, who emigrated from Kaiping, China, to San Francisco in 1865, where he adopted the western name "Ford," thus confusing countless generations. 

His debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, spent two years on the New York Times bestseller list and went on to win the 2010 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. His work has been translated into 34 languages. Jamie is still holding out for Klingon (that's when you know you've made it).

Visit him at or on Twitter @jamieford.

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Military Wife by Laura Trentham- Feature and Review



A young widow embraces a second chance at life when she reconnects with those who understand the sacrifices made by American soldiers and their families in award-winning author Laura Trentham’s The Military Wife.
Harper Lee Wilcox has been marking time in her hometown of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina since her husbandNoah Wilcox’s death, nearly five years earlier. With her son Ben turning five and living at home with her mother, Harper fights a growing restlessness, worried that moving on means leaving the memory of her husband behind.
Her best friend, Allison Teague, is dealing with struggles of her own. Her husband, a former SEAL that served with Noah, was injured while deployed and has come home physically healed but fighting PTSD. With three children underfoot and unable to help her husband, Allison is at her wit’s end.
In an effort to reenergize her own life, Harper sees an opportunity to help not only Allison but a network of other military wives eager to support her idea of starting a string of coffee houses close to military bases around the country.

In her pursuit of her dream, Harper crosses paths with Bennett Caldwell, Noah’s best friend and SEAL brother. A man who has a promise to keep, entangling their lives in ways neither of them can foresee. As her business grows so does an unexpected relationship with Bennett. Can Harper let go of her grief and build a future with Bennett even as the man they both loved haunts their pasts?

Chapter 1

Present Day

Winters in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, were temperamental. The sunshine and a temperate southerly breeze that started a day could turn into biting, salt-tinged snow flurries by afternoon. But one thing Harper Lee Wilcox could count on was that winter along the Outer Banks was quiet.
The bustle and hum and weekly rotation of tourists that marked the summer months settled into a winter melancholy that Harper enjoyed. Well, perhaps not enjoyed in the traditional sense . . . more like she enjoyed surrendering to the melancholy. In fact, her mother may have accused her of wallowing in it once or twice or a hundred times.
In the winter, she didn’t have to smile and pretend her life was great. Not that it was bad. Lots of people had it worse. Much worse. In fact, parts of her life were fabulous. Almost five, her son was happy and healthy and smart. Her mother’s strength and support were unwavering and had bolstered her through the worst time of her life. Her friends were amazing.
That was the real issue. In the craziness of the summer season, she forgot to be sad. Her husband, Noah, had been gone five years; the same amount of time they’d been married. Soon the years separating them would outnumber the years they’d been together. The thought was sobering and only intensified the need to keep a sacred place in her heart waiting and empty. Her secret memorial.
She parked the sensible sedan Noah had bought her soon after they married under her childhood home. Even though they were inland, the stilts were a common architectural feature up and down the Outer Banks.
Juggling her laptop and purse, Harper pushed open the front door and stacked her things to the side. “I’m home!”
A little body careened down the steps and crashed into her legs. She returned the ferocious hug. Her pregnancy was the only thing that had kept her going those first weeks after she’d opened her front door to the Navy chaplain.
“How was preschool? Did you like the pasta salad I packed for your lunch?”
“It made me toot and everyone laughed, even the girls. Can you pack it for me again tomorrow?”
“Ben! You shouldn’t want to toot.” Laughter ruined the admonishing tone she was going for.
As Harper’s mom said time and again, the kid was a hoot and a half. He might have Harper’s brown wavy hair, but he had Noah’s spirit and mannerisms and humor. Ben approached everything with an optimism Harper had lost or perhaps had never been gifted with from the start. He was a blessing Harper sometimes wondered if she deserved.
“Where’s Yaya?” She ruffled his unruly hair.
Of course, her mom had picked an unconventional name. “Grandmother” was too old-fashioned and pedestrian. Since she’d retired from the library, she had cast off any semblance of normalcy and embraced an inner spirit that was a throwback to 1960s bra burners and Woodstock.
“Upstairs painting.” Ben slipped his hand into Harper’s and tugged her toward the kitchen. Bright red and orange and blue paint smeared the back of his hand and arm like a rainbow. At least, her mom had put him in old clothes. “Yaya gave me my own canvas and let me paint whatever I wanted.”
“And what did you paint?” Harper prayed it wasn’t a nude study, which was the homework assignment from her mom’s community college class.
“I drew Daddy in heaven. I used all the colors.” The matter-of-factness of his tone clawed at her heart.
No child should have to grow up only knowing their father through pictures and stories. Her own father had been absent because of divorce and disinterest. He’d sent his court-ordered child support payments regularly until she turned eighteen but rarely visited or shown any curiosity about her. It had hurt until teenaged resentment scarred over the wound.
Noah would have made a great dad. The best. That he never got the chance piled more regrets and what-ifs onto her winter inspired melancholy.
“I’m sure he would have loved your painting.” Luckily, Ben didn’t notice her choked-up reply.
He went to the cabinet, pulled out white bread and crunchy peanut butter, and proceeded to make two sandwiches. It was their afternoon routine. Someday he would outgrow it. Outgrow her and become a man like his daddy.
She poured him a glass of milk, and they ate their sandwiches, talking about how the rest of his day went—outside of his epic toots. His world was small and safe and she wanted to keep it that way for as long as possible.
Her mom breezed into the kitchen, her still-thick but graying brown hair twisted into a messy bun, a thin paintbrush holding it in place. Slim and attractive, she wore paint-splattered jeans and a long-sleeve T-shirt that read: I make AARP look good. Harper pinched her lips together to stifle a grin.
“How’s your assignment coming along?” Harper asked.
“I’m having a hard time with proportions. It’s been a while, but I’m pretty sure my man’s you-know-what shouldn’t hang down to his kneecaps.”
Harper shot a glance toward Ben, who had moved to the floor of the den to play with LEGOs. As crazy as her mom drove her, she was and would always be Harper’s rock. The irony wasn’t lost on her. As hard as she’d worked to get out of Kitty Hawk and out of her mother’s reach when she was young, she’d never regretted coming home.
“It’s been a while for me, too, but that’s not how I remember them, either.”
“A pity for us both.” Her mother pulled a jar of olives out of the fridge and proceeded to make martinis—shaken, not stirred. She raised her eyebrows, and Harper answered the unspoken question with a nod. Her mom poured and plopped an extra olive in Harper’s. “How was work?”
Harper handled bookkeeping and taxes for a number of local businesses, but a good number closed up shop in the winter. “Routine. Quiet.”
“Exactly like your life.”
Harper sputtered on her first sip. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I hate seeing you mope around all winter.” Her mom poked at the olive in her drink with a toothpick and looked toward Ben, dropping her voice. “He’s been gone five years, sweetheart, and you haven’t gone on so much as a date.”
“That’s not true. I went to lunch with Whit a few weeks ago.”
“He was trying to sell you life insurance. Doesn’t count.
Harper huffed and covered her discomfort by taking another sip. “What about you? You never date.”
 “True, but your father ruined me on relationships. I have trust issues. You and Noah, on the other hand, seemed to get along fine. Or am I wrong?”
“You’re not.” Another sip of the martini grew the tingly warmth in her stomach. Their marriage hadn’t been completely without conflict, but what relationship was? As she looked back on their fights, they seemed juvenile and unimportant. It was easier to remember the good times. And there were so many to choose from.
She touched the empty finger on her left hand. The ring occupied her jewelry box and had for three years. But, occasionally, her finger would ache with phantom pains as if it were missing a vital organ.
“You’re young. Find another good man. Or forget the man, just find something you’re passionate about.”
“I’m happy right where I am.” Harper hammered up her defenses as if preparing for a hurricane.
“Don’t mistake comfort for happiness. You’re comfortable here. Too comfortable. But you’re not happy.”
 “God, Mom, why are you Dr. Phil–ing me all of sudden? Are you wanting me and Ben to move out or something?” Her voice sailed high and Ben looked over at them, his eyes wide, clutching his LEGO robot so tightly its head fell off.
“You and Ben are welcome to stay and take care of me in my old age.” Her mom shifted toward the den. “You hear that, honey? I want you to stay forever.”
Ben gave them an eye-crinkling smile that reminded her so much of Noah her insides squirmed, and she killed the rest of her drink. She was so careful not to show how lonely she sometimes felt in front of Ben.
“Harper.” Her mom’s chiding tone reminded her so much of her own childhood, she glanced up instinctively. Her mom took her hand, and her hazel eyes matched the ones that stared back at Harper in the mirror. “You’re marking time in Kitty Hawk. Find something that excites you again. Don’t let Ben—or Noah— be your excuse.”
Harper looked to her son. His chubby fingers fit the small LEGO pieces together turning the robot into a house. She had built her life brick by brick adding pieces and colors, expanding, taking pride, until one horrible day she’d stopped. Maybe her mom was right. Was it time to build something new?


The Military Wife (A Heart of a Hero, #1)The Military Wife by Laura Trentham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Military Wife by Laura Trentham is a 2019 St. Martin’s Griffin publication.

A moving story with a beautiful and emotional love story!

Harper is a war widow, raising her son, Ben, alone. Noah has been gone five years now, and Harper is hoping to start her own business by opening coffee shops located near military bases, which also helps to provide jobs for military wives.

Allison is Harper’s best friend, helping her with the new business, while also coping with her husband’s dangerous and terrifying PTSD.

Bennett Caldwell was Noah’s best friend, and SEAL brother. Noah used to read portions of Harper’s letters out loud to Bennett, giving him a certain image of Harper, and an idea of the type of woman she might be. Bennett must now make good on a promise he made to Noah before his death, but he is also weighed down with a heavy heart. Bennett wants to help Harper, but, preferably from a distance. Harper, however, wants to know what really happened to Noah and only Bennett knows the whole truth.

While this story is categorized as a military romance, this is not your typical contemporary romance featuring an inked, alpha male with cartoonish muscles. This novel is much more mature than that, with well- drawn characters and very realistic dialogue.

This is a very well constructed story, examining the various challenges military wives and families face and the way they support one another through thick and thin. I loved Harper’s and Bennett’s bittersweet romance and the way their feelings grew over time and the very understandable mixture of emotions they brought to their new relationship.

All the issues addressed in the story are emotional and realistic, spotlighting the very real struggles military families face. The sacrifice and honor of these soldiers and the lingering effects that haunts them long after their service is complete is handled with sensitivity and respect.

These characters are memorable, sympathetic and even inspirational. Although there is a very special romance thread, the secondary threads are just as compelling, making this a story that could easily cross over into other genres and would appeal to a broader audience.

Overall, this is a very touching story, with a wonderful blend of romance, family, and friendship with a hard won and long overdue happily ever after.



LAURA TRENTHAM is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance. She is a member of RWA, and has been a finalist multiple times in the Golden Heart competition. A chemical engineer by training and a lover of books by nature, she lives in South Carolina.