Monday, June 10, 2013

A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund

cover of A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund shows a well dressed man looking very sure of himself
A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund. Bethany House, 2013. 363p. (9780764210471)

When I first saw the cover of A Noble Groom and read the description I wanted to read this book. But the cover is a bit misleading. Carl von Reichert is the one pictured and he never looks remotely close to being that spiffy in America. He arrives with travel worn clothes and lice. I still liked it though.

Goodreads Summary:
Recently widowed Annalisa Werner has the feeling her husband was murdered but can't prove it. Alone with her young daughter in 1881 Michigan, she has six months left to finish raising the money needed to pay back the land contract her husband purchased, and the land is difficult to toil by herself. She needs a husband. With unmarried men scarce, her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom.

For nobleman Carl von Reichert, the blade of the guillotine is his fate. He's been accused and convicted of a serious crime he didn't commit, and his only escape is to flee to a small German community in Michigan where he'll be safe. He secures a job on Annalisa's farm but bumbles through learning about farming and manual labor.

Annalisa senses that Karl is harboring a secret about his past, yet she finds herself drawn to him anyway. He's gentle, kind, and romantic--unlike any of the men she's ever known. He begins to restore her faith in the ability to love--but her true groom is still on his way. And time is running out on them all.

My Review:
Is it just me or are recent Goodreads (i.e. publisher) summaries getting longer?

I enjoyed this story but was expecting a slightly different slant considering the cover. Karl is a good book hero: he works hard, is kind and considerate, perseveres, willing to learn – even “menial” tasks (at least tasks one would expect a nobleman to view as menial). But it was easy to believe his work ethic and non-snobbishness since he was rescued from certain death and given a new chance at life.

There were a few plot twists I wasn’t expecting and I still haven’t decided if I like one of them. But I did really like getting a glimpse of the life of German immigrants in Michigan and the difficulties they faced. The author’s historical note at the end was very informative.

I wouldn't quite give this 4 stars, probably 3.75 but that rounds up to 4 so... :-)

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher through NetGalley. 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 Commission.

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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Cover Reveal: Shadow Hand by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

As you know The Tales of Goldstone Wood is one of my favorite series. Book 5, Dragonwitch releases next month and I can hardly wait. But today. Ah, today. Today the cover of book 6, Shadowhand, is revealed to one and all.

~ ~ ~
"She Will Take Your Own Two Hands
To Save Your Ancient, Sorrowing Lands."

By her father's wish, Lady Daylily is betrothed to the Prince of Southlands. Not the prince she loves, handsome and dispossessed Lionheart, but his cousin, the awkward and foolish Prince Foxbrush. Unable to bear the future she sees as her wedding day dawns, Daylily flees into the dangerous Wilderlands, her only desire to vanish from living memory.

But Foxbrush, determined to rescue his betrothed, pursues Daylily into a new world of magic and peril, a world where vicious Faerie beasts hold sway, a world invaded by a lethal fey parasite . . . 

A world that is hauntingly familiar.

Coming Spring 2014
~ ~ ~

And what a beautiful cover. I really like how it harkens back to the first three books with the roundness of the cave roof focusing ones eye on the middle. I can only assume the maiden is Lady Daylily. To be honest, I didn't care for her a whole lot in Veiled Rose and Moonblood, but she did play an important part and I'm certainly looking forward to hearing the rest of her story. And I've got to ask, is that the Woodthrush? I never pictured him with blue wings.

I just reread a few pages of Moonblood and I think page 18-20 gives a small hint towards this book. If you've read several books in the series, you should go back and reread the first ones, it's amazing how much of future tales Anne Elisabeth wove into earlier works.

Now this isn't just a cover reveal, Anne Elisabeth is giving away a mug with the banner of all six books on it. And the website for the books goes live today! The 'Characters You Will Meet' page is especially interesting:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So exciting. I can hardly wait for July when Dragonwitch will finally be available and now there's another great book to look forward to! If you're curious about the series, here are my reviews of some of the earlier books: Veiled Rose, Moonblood and Starflower (which I reviewed in two parts actually).

Even if you don't get a chance to read books 1-3 before July, read Starflower before reading Dragonwitch (at least that's my guess of a good reading order) and before Shadow Hand releases read books 1-3.

And lastly, be sure to keep an eye on Anne Elisabeth's blog: Thanks for letting me participate in the cover reveal!
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