Book Review

Review: Sincerely Yours

After I finish a novel, I often like to read short stories. For me, they serve a couple of purposes. First of all, they are a great way to get a taste of a writer’s style of writing without the commitment of a full-length novel-and, if you don’t care for a particular story, there might be other stories you enjoy if you found it in a collection.

Second, I like using them as a way to clear my imagination before starting in on a new novel. Because the pacing and style does tend to be different for a novel, it prevents me from comparing one novel to another. I get a fresh story that lets me approach reading a new novel with a fresh set of eyes and a blank canvas for the author to paint their story.

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From the back cover:

Four unexpected letters. Four intrepid women. Four lives changed forever.

Spanning a century and a continent, these romantic novellas will lead you on a journey through the landscape of love. Four young women find their lives altered after each receives a letter that sets her on a new path. From a Hudson River steamboat to a lush drawing room, from a carousel carver’s workshop to a remote hospital, you’ll be swept into the lives of women who are making their way in the world and finding love where they least expect it.

Moonlight Promise by Laurie Alice Eakes
Camilla Renfrew is a highborn English lady fleeing false accusations when she runs smack into love on a steamboat bound for the new Erie Canal. But can this unexpected attraction survive the treacherous journey?

Lessons in Love by Ann Shorey
Marigold Montgomery Bentley writes marriage advice for Kipler’s Home Weekly even though she is single. Everyone assumes from the initials that “M. M.” is a man. When the editor asks to meet Mr. Bentley, can Merrie come up with a ruse to keep her writing job?

One Little Word by Amanda Cabot
Lorraine Caldwell will lose her family fortune to a reckless cousin if she doesn’t marry quickly. When she learns her long-lost brother is alive, she hopes she’s found the answer to her problems. What she finds instead is a mysterious carousel carver who turns her life upside down.

A Saving Grace by Jane Kirkpatrick
Grace Hathaway must rescue a dear friend from a remote and notorious clinic that promises healing but delivers only heartache. In a place laced with deceit, where lives hang in the balance, whom can she trust to help her?

The concept of letters connecting these stories was wonderful. In all four stories, the characters receive letters that push them forward into the plot. I also identified another connection that each of these stories shared: history.

I was impressed with the amount of history that was captured in each story. “Moonlight Promise” takes the setting of the start of the popularity of steamboat travel on the rivers. It captures the dangers of the boats and the setting of the time. “Lessons in Love” captures a time when women were starting to take their place in more public professions–especially writing for magazines. Carousels and a bit of their history are important to one of the characters in “One Little Word.” Finally, for me personally, “A Saving Grace” introduced a terrible clinic that existed near Seattle.

For most of these stories, I truly enjoyed them. A couple of them probably could have even been stretched out into a full-length novels. The characters were all quite endearing. The heroines and heroes were believable in their roles to have the happy conclusions that we as readers usually want and expect. It’s the journey to those endings that are so enjoyable.

For more on the authors or this book, please check out the following links:

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**I received a free copy of this book from Revell and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review**

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