Spring is finally here and I’m excited for all the new books that are “springing” up! I have three recommendations for you this month.

The first one is The Reign of Rosemund, by Michele Ashman Bell. This is the sequel to The Crown of Rosemund, where we first meet the princess-in-hiding. But now Rosemund has ascended the throne and her kingdom’s security is under attack. With enemies at every turn, Rosemund must rely on her instincts to know who she can trust to keep her kingdom safe. But will her duty to her people come before her own happiness?

Ms. Bell has done a wonderful job of creating a realistic world for Rose and her kingdom of Anduron, along with all the political intrigues that surrounds being a new queen. Rosemund is settling into her role and trying to find a good balance of fulfilling her duties and still being true to herself. But soon she realizes that she must defend her country from attack—and those she loves most will be in danger. Rose is a strong character who is doing her best in a tense situation with life-or-death consequences. The supporting characters ratchet up the emotional stakes when Rose’s friends and the man she loves are put in an impossible situation. This story held my attention from the first page and readers will enjoy the complexity of the situation Queen Rosemund must untangle. The Reign of Rosemund is a sequel, and while the first book provides a solid foundation in understanding what Rose has been through, readers can read this book standalone.

The Reign of Rosemund, by Michele Ashman Bell, published by Daydreams Unlimited, 269 pages, available in ebook and paperback.

My second recommendation is The Sleuth of Blackfriar’s Lane, by Michelle Griep. This is a Victorian-era mystery featuring Kit, who has recently opened an Enquiry Agency with her father, and her husband, Jackson Forge, who is the new Chief Inspector over a London station. In addition to juggling their new roles, they are also adjusting to being parents. When a case comes to the Enquiry Agency involving a missing child, Kit can’t resist helping the mother find her child. But as she is drawn deeper and deeper into a conspiracy with dangerous consequences, Kit must enlist the help of both her father and her husband, which endangers her own daughter’s life. Can she unravel who is behind it all before those she loves get hurt?

This book is riveting, with a dangerous and action-packed case to solve, intertwined with humor and romance. Our heroine is very relatable in her doubts about juggling motherhood with a job that she loves. Jackson, our hero, is just as relatable as he’s balancing being a manager and boss, with his family life. The author uses historic details of Victorian London that will make a reader feel like they are really there. There is also a budding romance between Jackson’s best officer, Charles Baggett and Kit’s close friend Martha that is endearing and sweet, as they all get caught up in the case with Kit. This is the third book in a series, and though I hadn’t read the first two, I wasn’t lost with this one. The Sleuth of Blackfriar’s Lane is a memorable mystery, perfect for an afternoon of reading!

The Sleuth of Blackfriar’s Lane by Michelle Griep, published by Barbour Fiction, 384 pages, available in paperback, audiobook, and ebook.

My third recommendation is a gem I found called Finding Jane Fairfax. If you love Jane Austen’s Emma, this story is an imagined prequel featuring Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax and how their romance could have come to be. The author stays true to Jane Austen’s characters in providing a plausible backstory and this well-crafted story made me want to go back and read Emma again.

Jane and Frank meet as children and Jane carries her impressions of that meeting with her into adulthood. But when they meet again, he doesn’t remember her, though he feels a connection to her. Unfortunately, Frank has been raised to make a good match and is very much under the thumb of his aunt in who his marriage prospects will be, and Jane is well below his station and considered unsuitable. Readers will love this slow-burn romance as Jane and Frank must decide whether their feelings and happiness are worth risking everything for. The author provides sincere emotional depth and sensitive layers as our hero and heroine change and grow to find the courage to reach for what’s important in life. This beautifully written story definitely has the feel of a Jane Austen classic and I’ll be looking for more from Ms. Peterson in the future.

Finding Jane Fairfax by Robbin J. Peterson, published by Covenant Communications, 323 pages, available in ebook, paperback, and audiobook.

After winning $10 in a second-grade writing contest, Julie Coulter Bellon knew she wanted to be a published author someday. That dream came true and she is now an award-winning author of thirty books. She is also a podcast host for Authors Off the Page and Book Chat with Julie.