Miracle on Ladies’ Mile (A Gilded Age Holiday Novella) by Joanna Shupe

Miracle on Ladies' Mile (A Gilded Age Holiday Novella) by Joanna Shupe

After losing his beloved wife, department store owner Alexander Armstrong seems incapable of anything other than work, despite his ache to be a better father to his daughter.

When he encounters Grace, a charming shop girl designing the store’s holiday window displays, he struggles to accept that perhaps miracles do happen in the most unlikely of places…

Miracle on Ladies’ Mile (A Gilded Age Holiday Novella) by Joanna Shupe

It’s no secret I love Joanna Shupe’s books set in Gilded Age New York. I rave about them nonstop.

Criminally, I was unaware the author had a Christmas novella out for the end of 2017 – set in New York in the Gilded Age, of course!

I finally got to this short historical romance while on holiday over the New Year period, and I thought it was such a nice little read. There are ways to do Christmas books, and then there are ways to do Christmas books.

A story about a man who has to learn to show he loves his ten-year-old daughter, while also falling in love, has the potential to be cheesy as hell. This one isn’t. The daughter is perfect for a “book child”. Definitely not annoying, and with her flaws even when she is cute. There’s a scene near the end with father and daughter, and it was one of the best parent-child scenes I’ve read in fiction, because it felt real. I felt it could have been ten-year-old me with my father. It didn’t feel fake – or overly cute.

As for the heroine? She is great. I loved quite a lot of things about her, but the bit that stands out the most is when the hero is trying to say something nice and she assumes he’s insulting her.

She is a progressive sort without being too modern for her time. She is willing to do some outlandish things, but I can’t see her (unlike many a historical romance heroine) taking foolish risks that would literally ruin her.

Shupe’s love of late-nineteenth century New York equals my love of late-Victorian London, so she not only knows her history and her cool little facts, but also brings the era to life.

Oh – and, this book is not too “Christmassy” for those who don’t like that stuff.

One thing: what is it with authors always making Frenchmen villains? It’s even a joke in many American sitcoms (Everybody Loves Raymond – you are the worst offender!), and it’s always awful.

Genuine question: in the 1800s did Americans really already call Christmas “the holidays”? As a non-American it sounds wrong to me…

Otherwise, I loved this little novella – of course!

Best of 2017

In no particular order: my favourite reads of 2017:

(I guarantee I’ve forgotten at least one book!)

Edge of Truth (The Legionnaires #2) by Brynn Kelly

Edge of Truth by Brynn Kelly

Devil in Spring (Ravenels #3) by Lisa Kleypas

devil-in-spring-ravenels-book-3-by-lisa-kleypas-uk-cover

The Lost Letter: A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

The Lost Letter A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

My Lady Governess by Elise Clarke

My Lady Governess by Elise Clarke

Someone to Hold (Westcott #2) by Mary Balogh

someone-to-hold-westcott-book-2-by-mary-balogh-uk-australian-cover

The Most Dangerous Duke in London (Decadent Dukes Society #1) by Madeline Hunter

the-most-dangerous-duke-in-london-decadent-dukes-society-1-by-madeline-hunter

Someone to Wed (Westcott #3) by Mary Balogh

Someone to Wed (Westcott #3) by Mary Balogh

Surrender to the Marquess (Herriard #3) by Louise Allen

surrender-to-the-marquess-herriard-3-by-louise-allen

Mogul (The Knickerbocker Club #3) by Joanna Shupe

mogul-the-knickerbocker-club-3-by-joanna-shupe

Marrying His Cinderella Countess by Louise Allen

(To be reviewed in a couple of weeks.)

Marrying His Cinderella Countess by Louise Allen UK Australian Mills and Boon Cover

Forbidden River (The Legionnaires #2.5) by Brynn Kelly

Forbidden River (The Legionnaires #2.5) by Brynn Kelly

Marry in Haste (Convenient Marriage series #1) by Anne Gracie

marry-in-haste-marriage-of-convenience-by-anne-gracie

A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

The Pleasures of Passion (Sinful Suitors #4) by Sabrina Jeffries

The Pleasures of Passion (Sinful Suitors #4) by Sabrina Jeffries

And – to be released in early 2018:

The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter: a Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

My Goodreads review.

The Viscount and the Vicar's Daughter A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

The Week: 20th – 26th November

Canberra Australia Spring Sunset #2 Sonya Heaney Tuggeranong 19th November 2017 Sky Clouds Nature

Canberra Australia Spring Sunset #1 Sonya Heaney Tuggeranong 19th November 2017 Sky Clouds Nature

Spring skies in Canberra

End of Spring Canberra Australian Capital Territory Australia Sonya Heaney Sunny Warm Afternoon Blue Sky Garden Flowers Nature 22nd November 2017

Blue sky and sunshine at the end of spring…

Canberra Braddon Rainbow Roundabout Gayest City in Australia Most Gay-Friendly Andrew Barr Marriage Equality November 2017

What we did in Canberra this week. With far and away the highest “yes” vote for gay marriage of anywhere in Australia, we (it was actually already planned) painted a roundabout in one of the main restaurant streets in the city rainbow colours.

Garema Place Marriage Equality Gay Marriage Canberra Australia Andrew Barr November 2017

This follows on from the commissioned street art in one of our main squares, that was painted the afternoon of the result of the vote.

^^^^

Our latest idiot cat. Hannibal, an overly friendly Burmese cat (all Burmese cats are super-affectionate) being looked after by our neighbour for several months. If there’s anything higher than him, he MUST go to the top of it (it’s a good thing he has a bell)! He basically lives over here, and gets lonely and terrorises the house at all hours of the night. (They are actually two different photos, not me zooming in. He was standing there for ages!)

#Russian terrorists in #Ukraine. 5th April 2015.

This week, while the world was watching Zimbabwe (I must have watched a day’s worth of live coverage from Harare on Al Jazeera, BBC etc. – though it’s good to see Africa get some attention for once), Russia did one of the weirdest things yet.

The Russians running one proxy republic in the east of Ukraine invaded another proxy Russian-backed “republic” in Ukraine. All the while Russia says they’re not invading anyone. It has been called the most stupid invasion in history – and it may well be.

However, it’s looking more and more like Putin is going for a full-on invasion while his “useful idiot” in the White House distracts the media. Once he joins all his fake republics up, there’s a massive part of Ukraine both gone and filled with Russian troops. The rest of Europe should be very, very worried.

I have family in Donetsk – the most important city the Russians invaded three years ago. That nobody cares – even though it’s in Europe, and allegedly the world cares more about Europe than elsewhere – makes me frustrated, angry, and upset on a daily basis.

This week a tiger was shot after escaping a circus in the centre of Paris. I am shocked and horrified most people in the world (including most of Australia) still allows wild animals in

This week a tiger was shot after escaping a circus in the centre of Paris. I am shocked and horrified most people in the world (including most of Australia) still allows wild animals in circuses. We banned them in Canberra in 1992!

One Month Until Christmas

christmas-decorations-sonya-heaney-canberra-australia-1st-december-2016

My review of Twelfth Night with the Earl (The Sutherland Sisters #3) by Anna Bradley

Twelfth Night with the Earl (The Sutherland Sisters #3) by Anna Bradley

My review of When in Rome (Heart of the City #4) by C.J. Duggan

When in Rome (Heart of the City #4) by C.J. Duggan

Coming Up for Joanna Shupe

A Scandalous Deal (The Four Hundred Series #2) by Joanna Shupe

Cover Love

Valerie Bowman The Right Kind of Rogue 2

Literary Coin Purses

Wuthering Heights Purse Clutch. Kisslock Bag Quote Whatever Our Souls Are Made Of His And Mine Are The Same Bronte Bridal Wedding Bridesmaid

Coming Up for Joanna Shupe

Yes, the cover is about as awful as most historical romance covers these days, but Joanna Shupe is hands-down one of the best in the genre at the moment, and I loved the first book in this series.

A Scandalous Deal, book two in the Four Hundred series (blurb below) is due out in April next year. You can read an excerpt HERE.

A Scandalous Deal (The Four Hundred Series #2) by Joanna Shupe

Joanna Shupe returns with another unforgettable novel set in the glittering world of New York City’s Gilded Age…

They call her Lady Unlucky…

With three dead fiancés, Lady Eva Hyde has positively no luck when it comes to love. She sets sail for New York City, determined that nothing will deter her dream of becoming an architect, certainly not an unexpected passionate shipboard encounter with a mysterious stranger. But Eva’s misfortune strikes once more when she discovers the stranger who swept her off her feet is none other than her new employer.

Or is it Lady Irresistible?

Phillip Mansfield reluctantly agrees to let the fiery Lady Eva oversee his luxury hotel project while vowing to keep their relationship strictly professional. Yet Eva is more capable – and more alluring – than Phillip first thought, and he cannot keep from drawing up a plan of his own to seduce her.

When a series of onsite “accidents” make it clear someone wants Lady Unlucky to earn her nickname, Phillip discovers he’s willing to do anything to protect her – even if it requires a scandalous deal…

The Week: 13th – 19th November

Spring Sunset Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 12th November 2017 Sky Clouds Nature

Spring sunset in Canberra.

Spring Bottlebrush Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney Garden Blue Sky Sunny Afternoon 14th November 2017 Flowers Nature

The bottlebrush is out!

The day after the gay marriage vote Canberra 74% Sonya Heaney Parliament House Australia 16th November 2017

The road to Australian Parliament the day after the gay marriage results were announced.

Hailstorm Canberra Australia 17th November 2017 Sonya Heaney Spring Weather Nature

Our brief, freak storm on Friday afternoon.

Australian Same Sex Marriage Australian Capital Territory Canberra Highest YES Vote

After millions upon millions of dollars wasted on a useless survey by our stalling conservative government, the results of the “gay marriage survey” were released on Wednesday.

As expected, my home – the ACT – voted YES with BY FAR the highest percentage (but they stick us on the bottom of the chart). We have actually legalised gay marriage in Canberra before, but had it taken away from us by the High Court.

Movie Adaptation for Jill Shalvis

The Trouble With Mistletoe (Heartbreaker Bay #2) by Jill Shalvis

My review of Someone to Wed (Westcott #3) by Mary Balogh

Someone to Wed (Westcott #3) by Mary Balogh

My review of A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

A bit of history…

1903 horse party Gilded Age New York -billingspartythey found the grand Rocco ballroom decorated as a woodland garden, with trees and shrubbery.The guests mounted well-trained rented hor

The End of Heroes and Heartbreakers

mast_logo Heroes and Heartbreakers

Important News

Hello Stranger Lisa Kleypas

A bit of history…

1903 horse party Gilded Age New York -billingspartythey found the grand Rocco ballroom decorated as a woodland garden, with trees and shrubbery.The guests mounted well-trained rented hor

I reviewed Joanna Shupe’s A Daring Arrangement yesterday, and in the author’s note at the end she discusses some of the real history that went into the book.

The story opens with the supremely rich hero hosting a birthday party, a party where the men are all riding horses in the middle of a famous restaurant. This is based on a real event (that happened in 1903, not 1890 as it does in the book).

You can read a detailed account of the party HERE.

A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

Lady Honora Parker must get engaged as soon as possible, and only a particular type of man will do. Nora seeks a mate so abhorrent, so completely unacceptable, that her father will reject the match—leaving her free to marry the artist she loves. Who then is the most appalling man in Manhattan? The wealthy, devilishly handsome financier, Julius Hatcher, of course…

Julius is intrigued by Nora’s ruse and decides to play along. But to Nora’s horror, Julius transforms himself into the perfect fiancé, charming the very people she hoped he would offend. It seems Julius has a secret plan all his own—one that will solve a dark mystery from his past, and perhaps turn him into the kind of man Nora could truly love.

A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

I love books set in the Gilded Age. Specifically, I love books set in the Gilded Age when they are written by Joanna Shupe.

This is a big, dramatic story set in a big, opulent period in history, in New York – the centre of all the wealth and craziness of the end of the nineteenth century.

The hero is one of my favourite types: the self-made man. I love them when they occasionally pop up in historical romances set in England (e.g. Secrets of a Summer Night and Marrying Winterborne), and America-set books are the perfect place for this type of character.

Julius has risen up from nothing to live a crazy life of wealth, while Nora is from English aristocracy – new and old worlds. I liked that Shupe managed to make Nora a bit wild and too independent for her time *without* making her anachronistic – a feat historical romance authors struggle with.

The late nineteenth century is such an exciting time in history. It has all the olde worlde feel we want in the genre, but technology has seriously advanced since the Regency, and there’s an energy about everything as the world moves towards the twentieth century. Shupe captures this so well.

I appreciated two things in particular in this book:

#1 The way the romance developed.

This was a fake engagement, with neither character actually wanting to marry the other. However, they evolved and were willing to own up to the changes in their opinions.

#2 The women.

The hero has a mistress, whom he dumps for the heroine. However, the two women are never nasty or vicious to each other. This has been a SLOW evolution in fiction – authors (and readers) love their misogynistic stereotyping. I was so happy to see that Shupe chose a different route.

If I have a little niggle, it’s that some might find the climax of the story just a teeny bit over the top – but then, you may not…

Oh, and I really wish we didn’t have Victorian English characters saying “snuck”. Shupe is wonderful with her characters speaking different versions of English, but sometimes she slips with the Americanisms…

As soon as I knew this book was coming out I knew I would love it – and I did.

Now I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

The Week: 23rd – 29th October

Misty the Cat Sonya Heaney Spring Flowers 26th October 2017

This week has been stressful and upsetting as I spent it trying – and succeeding – to keep the neighbour’s cat alive after she had a stroke while visiting us on Sunday night.

What we didn’t initially know was that the neighbour was in Queensland for the better part of a fortnight (the son of another neighbour was being paid to feed her). We went to his door with her just after 2am, and then tried again at 6:30am.

When we found out where he was I spent Sunday night to Friday morning with her, sleeping on the couch while she slept on the rug (because she kept falling off everything), giving her water through a dropper thingy, trying to get her to move again…

She improved a lot, but now – and she is back visiting for hours a day instead of living here full-time – she has lost her purr. She used to purr more loudly than any cat I’ve ever met before, and now she is eerily silent. She also sleeps a lot more.

The picture above was from Thursday, when we got her outside for a few minutes.

She is already so old she has gone blind and deaf, and I was given permission to have her put down, but there’s no way I could have done that unless she was really suffering. There I was, on the floor with her, crying buckets on Sunday and Monday…!!

She spends so much time here I sort of feel she is as much my cat these days (as I type this she is back here, napping next to me).

Also: another possum has moved into the tree just over a metre from my bedroom window. Hearing Exorcist screams all night (possums are cute, but terrifying!) is not much fun…

Enlighten Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 11th March 2017 National Library of Australia Canberra Women's History Reflection Night

This week Lonely Planet named Canberra the third best place in the world to visit in 2018. I agree – I love this city. However, the nasty newspapers in other cities here will be churning out editorials insulting us (it’s a favourite Australian pastime to insult the national capital). Australians are weird like that. It’s like each state and territory is a different country instead of being part of the same one.

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They also named Seville #1 – and I also agree. It is my favourite city in the entire world, and I’ve spent anything from a week to a month there at a time on many visits over the years, including a ten-day visit only a couple of months ago. I hope it doesn’t now get totally ruined by touts and illegal traders and tour groups like Barcelona etc.

R.I.P. Miranda Neville

Frances Mallary

Coming Up for Mary Balogh

Someone to Wed (Westcott #3) by Mary Balogh

Out Next Week

A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

Amazon’s Forums Now Closed

amazon_logo_RGB

Buffy for Halloween

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Adult Colouring Book Cover

Tiny Bookcase

Paper Art - Miniature Library with tiny books - Diorama

Out Next Week

I’ve already posted about how exciting this new Gilded Age New York series sounds. Joanna Shupe has a talent for writing late-nineteenth century America.

The wait is more or less over now, with A Daring Arrangement – the first in this new series – due out on the 31st.

Lady Honora Parker must get engaged as soon as possible, and only a particular type of man will do. Nora seeks a mate so abhorrent, so completely unacceptable, that her father will reject the match—leaving her free to marry the artist she loves. Who then is the most appalling man in Manhattan? The wealthy, devilishly handsome financier, Julius Hatcher, of course…

Julius is intrigued by Nora’s ruse and decides to play along. But to Nora’s horror, Julius transforms himself into the perfect fiancé, charming the very people she hoped he would offend. It seems Julius has a secret plan all his own—one that will solve a dark mystery from his past, and perhaps turn him into the kind of man Nora could truly love.

 

The Week: 16th – 22nd October

Canberra Australia Lilac Spring Flowers Garden Sonya Heaney 17th October 2017 Blue Sky Nature Sunny Afternoon

The lilac is out in Canberra, and smells gorgeous.

Sunshine and spring flowers on Tuesday afternoon.

 

My review of The Lost Letter: A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

Joanna Shupe Excerpt: A Daring Arrangement

A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

Fashion Plates: 150 Years of Style

The anniversary of Stalin’s deportation of Ukrainians

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee taken off Mississippi school reading list

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee taken off Mississippi school reading list.

Cover Love

Clementine Ford: It’s 2017 and people still assume the person in charge is a man