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Published by Barbour Books, The Soldier’s Lady is a collection of four stories that all take place on American frontier forts. Therefore, though the title of the book is The Soldier’s Lady, it contains four separate stories by four different authors:
- The Colonel’s Daughter by Gabrielle Meyer
- Frontier of her Heart by Susanne Dietze
- Save the Last Word for Me by Lorna Seilstad
- Winning the Lady’s Heart by Janette Foreman
Perhaps my favorite thing about this book is that I was never chastised by my husband for being caught still reading at 3am. Perhaps my least favorite thing about this book is that the stories were too short and I was never compelled to stay up until 3am to finish the tale. I’m not a very fast reader, but I was able to finish these stories in two or three settings.
How to read a historical romance without staying up all night
Do not read in bed. That’s my best piece of advice. But for these shorter stories, be sure to stop reading right before the climax and go to sleep and the next night you can happily read through the compelling middle of the story straight through until the perfect ending (and brag to your family that you went to bed a reasonable hour even though you had a story to finish.)
The Soldier’s Lady Synopsis and Review.
The Colonel’s Daughter
Nathaniel is every reader’s crush. He’s responsible, dreamy, strong, sweet, thoughtful, and he just happens to be the Colonel’s right-hand man. When Colonel Bensen’s wife and daughters come to visit at the fort, Major Nathaniel Ward is practically put on babysitting duty in order to keep the ladies safe from whatever may happen on a western fort—be it the Natives, animals, rough soldiers, or boredom. But when he develops feelings for Miss Allison Bensen, the Colonel has issues.
Mrs. Bensen has sworn she will never allow any of her daughters to strap themselves to the military life. They will soon be traveling back to St. Louis with all of the daughters in tow . . . or will they?
This story uses the classic forbidden-love trope, but hey, if you promise someone chocolate cake, you give them chocolate cake. And most of us like chocolate cake. Nathanial and Ally are a sweet couple that develop a friendship based on mutual hobbies and interests. Their love of the frontier and literature are just a few of the things that bring them together.
Here’s a snippet I loved:
“My mother warned me about waltzing.” Her voice was low and warm.
“And what did she say?”
“That I must keep the gentleman at arm’s length, and that I must keep my eyes down and never meet his gaze.”
Nathaniel swallowed, drawing her a fraction closer in his arms. “Why not?”The Colonel’s Daughter by Gabriella Meyer
Frontier of Her Heart
The previous story in The Soldier’s Lady highlighted some of the glamour of a frontier fort when there were high-ranking Colonels and large houses and balls. This next story shows the other end of the spectrum at a fort with less finery and more work.
Doctor Boyd is care-free and always playing games or wasting time—or so thinks Emily, the young cook. She never has a spare minute with all the men to cook for and her younger brother to look after. Though she’s grateful for the job and to be sheltered from the weather and starvation, she has taken a cynical view of the world with all the hardship she’s experienced.
When she and Boyd are roped into a fort competition as a means of entertainment for the soldiers, they both begin to understand the perspective of the other. Boyd has undergone more than his fair share of sorrows, too, but has chosen to keep a joyful spirit—and chosen to stay unattached in order to protect himself from more pain.
What will these two do when they begin to fall in love?
Save the Last Word for Me
Adelina is hired by the officer’s wives to teach at the fort, but runs into trouble with Colonel Isaac Scott before classes begin. He is barely keeping things together as it is; he surely doesn’t relish the interruptions of a distracting new female mucking up the strict rules of his outfit. The new recruits are not fit for anything, the Natives have shown signs of aggression, and while his supervising officer and most of the quality soldiers are out on duty he feels the pressure of his responsibility weighing him down.
Adelina isn’t use to military life. She’s not used to taking orders from anyone and especially a man who seems to be making arbitrary rules just to make her life difficult. But she has a heart for the students that even extends to the illiterate soldiers.
Isaac’s protective nature is being noticed by others and he soon comes to realize he’s been more controlling toward Adeline because he’s more invested in her safety than he needs to be. Through a lesson in random acts of kindness, Isaac softens towards the idea of becoming a family man.
Winning the Lady’s Heart
This is a sweet mail-order-bride story gone terribly wrong. What would you do if you’d been exchanging letters with a man you were going to marry, but when you arrived, you find out all of your letters have been read by your betrothed’s best friend? Oh, and the best friend was also the one penning the letters because your man is illiterate. And minor detail, the guy you were going to marry died a few week ago while you were in route to the fort. Oh, and you can’t leave to go back home again because it’s no longer safe to travel . . .
That’s the set-up for this great story. My complaint for this one is that it was just too short. I would have loved to see this story fleshed out in a full-length novel. The main characters, Annie and Jefferson, have a lot to overcome in order to learn to trust each other again. Jefferson already knows her—he’s been reading her letters after all. But all Annie knows is that she’s been tricked and lied to. But she must get married soon or she’ll be asked to leave the fort as soon as conditions for travel change, and she doesn’t have a home of which to return.
I have to gush for a minute about this one because Janette Foreman is a college-mate and friend of mine. The next best thing to getting a book published is when your friend gets a book published. Seeing her name on the cover of another great book reminds me that there’s room for me, too! I enjoy the style of her writing and the realistic flaws and emotions of her characters. I can see snippets of her personality come through in the resolve of her protagonist.
It is my pleasure to share these stories with you and hope you will enjoy them as much as I did!
|The Soldier’s Lady
If you enjoy clean historical romance, be sure to keep an eye out for my book coming later this spring, Bluebird on the Prairie.
I’m Tasha Hackett, born-again child of God, woman, wife, mother, author, fitness coach, and teacher. I spend most of my time with four chatty children and an incredibly supportive husband. You can see more of what I’m up to through @hackettacademy on Instagram and by subscribing to the newsletter! Home is currently in windy Nebraska and the landscape and climate is prominently featured in my first novel.
P.S. Happily-ever-afters are my favorite.
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For those who love a good regency romance, author Mary-Celeste Ricks and her book A Stage for Harriet is for you. To be candid, I just looked up the definition of “Regency Romance.” I had a basic idea that it was historical romance in England. But in case you were also unclear, it is a very specific time and place: 1811-1820 (or so) during the British Regency. We’re talking balls and carriages and communicating with dainty fans and not speaking to someone until you’ve been properly introduced and the hoopla of the social season. And: YES. I do like to read regency romance.
Mary-Celeste Ricks has written a compelling debut novel, A Stage for Harriet. The meet-cute happens right away during the first chapter—my favorite—and I won’t tell you anymore right now because I don’t want to spoil ANYTHING. Truth be told, I refuse to read book blurbs or reviews for books I want to read because I want to start the adventure with no expectations and be pleasantly surprised. If this you, rest assured. I highly endorse A Stage for Harriet and you can grab your copy right here from Kindle for a few bucks or order a hard copy for just a little more. After you’ve read it, let’s chat! Tell me what you thought. You can find me on Instagram @HackettAcademy, reply to any of my newsletter emails, or comment below.
A Stage for Harriet would sit nicely on the shelf next to: Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, Carla Capshaw’s Second Chance Cinderella, and Siri Mitchell’s She Walks in Beauty (though this is New York’s Gilded Age of 1890, it’s similar).
And Now SPOILER ALERT: A Stage for Harriet Synopsis and Review.
Harriet Shore is only a farmer’s daughter. Like me, you might have have thought this meant her father was actually a farmer—no, no, no. He is a “farmer” because he manages farms and other people who do the work on his land. But he is also a gentleman’s son. Hmm . . . this is fancy regency lingo for, “Miss Harriet is stuck in an odd spot because her father is not lower class. Because he just missed upper class she can’t marry the man of her dreams because their stations aren’t equal.”
But when Stephan, her tree-climbing childhood best friend and dreamy heart throb, is absolutely and totally into her, Harriet takes herself off the table so to speak by becoming a governess in London. Does she want Stephan to chase after her? Does she want him to find someone else? Maybe he’ll decide he doesn’t actually love her and be happier without her? (The horror!)
For the girl who wants to know, “Is he going to kiss her or what?!”
Oh! The kiss! They shared a delicious kiss just days before she left for London and now her head is swimming with the drama of it all. One doesn’t go kissing people they’re not engaged to unless that person is a rake or loose woman. Thank goodness for British society drama to keep the excitement going. She is nearly an exact look alike of a very well-to-do lady who is, er . . . indisposed at the moment. (She’s pregnant, okay. Oh, the scandal!) The Duchess wishes to sweep the whole thing under the rug and insists on hiring Harriet. Her role is to PLAY THE PART of her daughter Virginia until the situation is resolved and Lady Virginia can take her proper place in society again.
This is all well and good until Harriet discovers she actually enjoys playing this part and enjoys the company of so many young men and she enjoys dancing at balls and fine dining . . . But what of Stephan you ask? Well . . . the poor chap has been paying calls on a certain governess in London who is never home. He’s beginning to wonder if she’s avoiding him on purpose when he meets Lady Virginia at a fancy ball. But wait! Lady Virginia, who is much to far above the social ladder to pay him any mind is the exact look-a-like of his Harriet. How can this be?
Miss Harriet Shore playing Lady Virginia does her best to ignore the love of her life, but . . . oh dear. You really ought to read the rest and find out for yourself. I haven’t even touched on the escapades of poor Mr. Brougham whose mother wishes him to court Lady Virginia. You’ll meet dashing Mr. Desford whose charm and company are more exciting than she wishes to admit. And let’s not ignore the dreadful rake who wishes to take Harriet as a mistress.
Yes, I recommend this book.
Mary-Celeste Ricks wrote a fun story that was a great change from the western historical romance streak I’ve been in. There were no rugged cowboys, prairies or shotgun-circuit-preacher-weddings. For sure I didn’t find any homesteads with chickens, but there were plenty of balls, dancing, dark-hallways-leading-to-unoccupied-libraries, and of course, a happily ever after.
If you enjoy clean historical romance, be sure to keep an eye out for my book coming later this spring, A Bluebird on the Prairie.