Sean Donovan by Lori Wick

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Sean Donovan by Lori Wick

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Sean was sentenced to hang for his part in a bank robbery, but a rare law in town now has him wedded instead—to a complete stranger. His new wife, Charlotte, only married him to make him a blacksmith in her livery. She doesn’t intend to fall in love with Sean in Sean Donovan by author Lori Wick.

This was at least my third time reading the third book in The Californians series, once my favorite series by this author. It was fun to reread some of this wholesome ChristFic I ate up nearly two decades ago.

I’ll admit, though, that issues I “winked at” back then are more glaring to me now. The novel’s first chapters are vague in places and seem to be in a rush to get Sean’s life of crime out of the way so that he can hurry on into the changed-man stage. The story is full of head-hopping, frequently switching between characters’ perspectives with little or no warning. Words like “softly” and “gently” are overused, and while tears are understandable, given the dramatic turns his life takes, Sean cries a lot during a certain stretch of the book.

While it’s something I’ve become used to in these novels, the dialogue and descriptions often overplay the sentiment, including where the abundant Bible talk, sermons, salvation lessons, etc. are concerned. Even in Christian Fiction, it takes finesse to present spiritual content in a way that isn’t schmaltzy or overdone.

Still, I like that Charlotte is a capable and plucky businesswoman, kind of rough around the edges. And as with the other books in the series, this is a feel-good read for ChristFic historical romance fans who can appreciate something that’s easy to digest.

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Here’s my review of Book Two in this series, As Time Goes By.

  

 

As Time Goes By by Lori Wick

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

As Time Goes By by Lori Wick

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Boys will be boys, perhaps, but the way Jeffrey Taylor once hurt Roberta “Bobbie” Bradford’s feelings was still inexcusable. Now that Bobbie is returning to Santa Rosa after a five-year absence, Jeff will finally have the chance to make it up to her in person. But her arrival back home throws Jeff strangely off-kilter in As Time Goes By by author Lori Wick.

Here’s another novel I’ve now read thrice, which I think I first read in my teens.

I once loved this second book in The Californians series for various reasons, including that the heroine is considered to be rather plain. Bobbie also wears spectacles, and no, when she comes back to town, she’s not an ugly-duckling-turned-beautiful-swan who’s done away with her glasses to conveniently make her gorgeous. Not that romances have to make a big to-do about a heroine’s physical looks either way (they most certainly do not), but it’s still refreshing to see something different from this author’s norm.

“Plain girls have dreams too, you know.” Bobbie is competent and personable with a cheeky sense of humor, and she’s regularly ready to cut folks some slack.

Even with the super cool heroine, though, I’ll admit I don’t feel the same about the story as I used to. It’s often pretty schmaltzy and not the most natural. Having jumped straight to the second book in the series this time, I can see how certain minor characters and scenes don’t really matter unless you already care about those characters from the previous book. Also, this novel has a lot of talk about salvation, prayer, and Bible reading, which I think can work if a novel’s plot calls for it, but it feels overdone in this story.

Nevertheless, this is a feel-good kind of read for fans of ChristFic historical romance who can appreciate something that’s easy to digest.

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Here’s my review of the next book in the series, Sean Donovan.

  

 

Who Brings Forth the Wind by Lori Wick

Historical Books 15.2

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Line Dark Red

Who Brings Forth the Wind by Lori Wick

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Anastasia, an innocent young woman from the English countryside, now finds herself having to navigate the tricky waters of London society, catching the notice of a handsome but cynical duke in Who Brings Forth the Wind, a novel by author Lori Wick.

As I’m pretty sure I’ve said before, I’ve enjoyed this ChristFic author a lot in the past, and most of the books I’ve read by her, I’ve read more than once. I won’t be finishing this novel, though.

Anastasia is timid, naive, and syrupy sweet, rather instantly falling for a man because he’s a looker, I reckon. He’s been huffy, arrogant, disingenuous, and blatantly forward towards her during the little time they’ve spent in each other’s company, and she’s in love with him, all of a sudden. I mean, yes, it’s one thing not to pick up on someone’s disingenuousness, but there’s nothing dashing about huffiness in a man.

And, yeah, there’s much ado and repetition about the characters’ high levels of physical attractiveness. It’s something I expect and try to let slide with this author, when I like the characters or am interested in the plot, but I’m finding neither the characters nor the plot compelling enough to stick with this story.

I really liked Wings of the Morning, though, and I’m intrigued by the thought of the fourth and last novel in the series traveling back to the 16th century. So I’ll continue on with the Kensington Chronicles.

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An update already: yes, I did go on to try the last book in this series, and it wasn’t for me. I think I enjoyed Book Two because there’s adventure and danger woven into that story. It has more “oomph” than just a historical fairytale-like tale. Not enough “oomph” for me in the rest of the books, though I’m not sorry I at least gave them a try.

Here are my thoughts on Book One of the Kensington Chronicles, The Hawk and the Jewel.

  

 

Wings of the Morning by Lori Wick

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Four Purple Stars

Wings of the Morning by Lori Wick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Victoria “Smokey” Simmons, the lone daughter of a legendary skipper, becomes the captain of her late father’s ship. As much as her role at sea suits her, Smokey dreams of pursuing a future on land. Perhaps Dallas Knight, captain of another ship, might be a part of that future—but Smokey’s run-in with a cunning pirate might destroy any hopes of her dream in Wings of the Morning, a novel by author Lori Wick.

Even though I decided not to finish the first book in the Kensington Chronicles series, I’m glad I still went on to read this second one. I was intrigued by the thought of a woman captaining a ship in the nineteenth century, but I wondered if the author would abandon that uncommon feature of the plot early and let the rest of the book settle into a storyline more identical to her other novels. I’ve seen it happen before.

So I was pleased to find that this entire book is indeed about Smokey as a captain and the related adventure and adversity that comes with being who she is. I liked the mixture of confidence and vulnerability, awkwardness and sharp skill in this heroine. While the story’s romantic and spiritual aspects become schmaltzy in various places, the reading loses some of its historical feel at times, and the author does essentially “gush” over the characters now and then, this tale also has some grit and wit to it.

I quite enjoyed this novel by one of my personally most-read authors, and I’m looking forward to continuing the series.

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Here are my thoughts on the next book in the Kensington Chronicles series, Who Brings Forth the Wind.