This month I am excited to share three books with you that all feature romance with riveting mysteries to solve!
The first one is A Heart Worth Stealing by Joanna Barker. This novel had everything I love about a good enemies-to-something more storyline, as well as a twist of a mystery that kept me guessing until near the end of the book. Miss Genevieve Wilde has lost her father and she is doing her best to keep Wimbourne, the family estate, going on her own. When her father’s pocket watch is stolen, the local authorities don’t take her seriously, so she hires a former Bow Street runner, Jack Travers. As the investigation begins, Ginny questions whether she should have hired Jack at all. His unorthodox methods bring results however, and soon they realize that the stolen pocket watch is part of a bigger scheme to hurt Ginny. Can they solve the puzzle before anything happens to her?
This story has so many things to love about it. Our hero is handsome and witty, but more than that, he is smart and does his job well. It was gratifying to see Jack and Ginny’s relationship evolve as they worked together. Their chemistry was so well-written that instead of rushing through to see how it ends, I literally savored every page. The author also writes a compelling growth arc for Ginny as she works through her grief over her father and her relationship with her half-sister in healing old family wounds. The villain was believable and the ending was just the comeuppance you want to see. A Heart Worth Stealing had an expertly intertwined romance and mystery set against a well-described setting with secondary characters that you want to know more about. This book is definitely one of my favorite reads of the year so far.
A Heart Worth Stealing by Joanna Barker, published by Shadow Mountain, 328 pages, available in ebook and paperback.
The second book I’d like to recommend is Return to Satterthwaite Court by Mimi Matthews. This is the third book in a series and brings together the children from the couples featured in the first two books. While you won’t get lost reading it standalone, you will get a richer experience if you’ve read the first two books.
Lieutenant Charles Heywood has returned from war a changed man. He knows he needs to settle down, but he isn’t sure what his next steps in life are going to be. On his way home, he saves a stray dog, but in doing so, he meets Lady Kate Beresford. She’s finished her London Season and also isn’t sure of the next steps in her life, until she meets Charles. Deciding not to wait for him to pursue her, she makes plans to visit Charles and show her interest. He doesn’t seem to share her regard, however—or so it seems. Her confidence and vulnerability slowly begin to tear down the walls he’s built around his heart, but their journey to romance definitely isn’t smooth. While attempting to buy a property, Charles comes across a decades-old family mystery and both Charles and Kate can’t resist trying to solve it.
There were so many things to love about this book, the humor, the flirting, the siblings and family relationships, and of course the love of all animals. Charles is a hero that has a lot on his mind and the last thing he is expecting is to ever have feelings for Lady Kate Beresford. Kate is definitely a forward-thinking woman for the time period, and I loved seeing how her fear of being “boxed in” was tempered by her love and kindness for those around her and the circumstances they find themselves in. The pursuit of Charles has several laugh out loud moments and readers will enjoy seeing two souls find a love they weren’t sure they would ever be able to find. Ms. Matthews has created a vivid world with characters that will feel like old friends. And the mystery surrounding the family estate links previous books and characters to this one, providing a captivating story thread that ties the series together A can’t-miss read for fans of romantic mysteries.
Return to Satterthwaite Court by Mimi Matthews, published by Perfectly Proper Press, 286 pages, available in ebook, audiobook, and paperback.
The third selection this month is Traci Hunter Abramson’s new suspense, Covert Ops. This is a continuation of her Saint Squad series and features Craig Simmons and Sienna Blake. They are trying to covertly plan their wedding, but obstacle after obstacle keeps them from the altar—and might tear them apart forever.
There is a lot going on in this book. Craig is on a secret mission with his team to stop a drug lord from expanding into arms dealing, Senator Whitmore is running for president while dealing with threats to his possible future cabinet picks, and Sienna is swamped with all the problems planning her upcoming secret wedding while she figures out if she can really be a navy wife. Whew! There is never a dull moment in any of the chapters. Readers who have read all the previous books in the series will enjoy seeing couples and characters reuniting on the page and a peek into their current lives. Readers who haven’t read the previous books can still read this one standalone, but may get a little lost with some of the backstories and inside jokes. (But that is a wonderful excuse to pick them all up!)
Sienna is a strong woman who has overcome so much to be where she is in her life both personally and professionally. She’s found love with Craig, but doubts start to creep in when their wedding plans are thwarted time and again. I particularly enjoyed how Sienna and Craig are evenly-matched in wanting the other to be happy and the suspense of whether their wedding will actually happen blends perfectly with the edge-of-your-seat action of the Saint Squad’s mission to stop a potential arms dealer. The team works well together both at home and on the mission and they show some of the dangerous situations and complicated circumstances our men and women in the military face every day—as well as the loved ones left behind. Ms. Abramson skillfully combines three interconnected plots between the presidential campaign, the secret wedding, and the covert op into one thrill ride. Romantic suspense fans will really enjoy this action-packed read!
Covert Ops by Traci Hunter Abramson, published by Covenant Communications, 277 pages, available in ebook, audiobook, and paperback.
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.