Spotlight on Ashtyn Newbold and ‘Lies and Letters’

Blal anOOK BLURB: Charlotte Lyons has ambitions, and she won’t let anything or anyone come in her way. When her first Season in London failed to make her a suitable match, and she failed to win the heir to Willowbourne the following summer, she is desperate to find a titled and wealthy husband, if only to appease her mother. But when her family is struck with financial ruin, the stakes are raised even higher.

Sent to the cold, wintery northern tip of the English coast with her sister, Clara, Charlotte faces an uncertain future. Although she is expected to pursue the wealthy Earl of the town, Charlotte finds her heart and attention captured elsewhere–by a kind, mysterious man below her station. Between hardship and sorrow, she finds more than she bargained for, forced to choose between the life she once wanted and a new love she never imagined.

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Clara stopped trying to reach the book, but melted into tears. “Stop! Stop!” She wrapped her arms around herself and leaned over, hiding her face from me.

I pulled out and crumpled another fistful of the pages. “You will thank me,” I said. When I finished, I dropped the binding to the dirt and laughed.

“How can you be so awful?” She spit the words at me and tears fell slowly down her cheeks. “I hope you fall in love someday, Charlotte. And I hope he breaks your heart.”

I shook my head with my hands on my hips. “Impossible.”

She stooped over the bench, gathering up the remaining pages and organizing them in a neat stack. Amid her movements, she glanced up at me, eyes like stone. “You’re right. I don’t believe you even have a heart.”

I kicked the crumpled pages away from her reach before turning to leave. Before I moved, I said, in a voice just as hard, “That is because a woman is much better off without one.”

REVIEW: There’s a lot to like in this well written tale.

What I liked the best was the plot, as well as the character development of all the protagonists. It is the character of Charlotte that I had a very hard time liking. Throughout the story she comes off as very selfish and narcissistic. It’s true that she grows with every hardship she encounters, but for some reason it was very hard for me to warm up to her, meaning that at the very end I did, but boy was it hard.

On the other hand, I loved James, a man who was a perfect match for Charlotte, except that she was too stubborn to see, and Clara, Charlotte’s sister that was everything I wanted Charlotte to be.

Let me close this review by saying that I also found prose to be uplifting and poetic at times. Seriously, if you’re in a mood for a quick read with a clean romance, I think you’ll find this story enjoyable.

Melanie for b2b

Gift copy provided by the publisher for an honest review.

Ashtyn-Newbold_author-182x320AUTHOR BIO: Ashtyn Newbold discovered a love of writing early in high school. Inspired by regency period romance, she wrote her first novel at the age of sixteen. Because she can’t vacation in her favorite historical time periods, she writes about them instead.

When not crafting handsome historical heroes, she enjoys baking, sewing, music, and spoiling her dog. She dreams of traveling to England and Ireland. Ashtyn is currently studying English and creative writing at Utah Valley University. She lives in Lehi, Utah with her family.

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‘The Earl’s Betrothal’ by Karen Tuft

teb ktSTORY: Out of the war and into another, Captain Lord Anthony Hargreaves finds the politics of romance to be as uninviting a battle as the one that nearly cost him his life in Badajoz, Spain.

Wounded both mentally and physically from the Peninsular War in 1812, Anthony returns home to find that his older brother has died, placing Anthony next in line to inherit the estate. But he’s not ready for such responsibilities. And when Anthony’s dying father pleads with him to marry and produce an heir to preserve the family title, it nearly sends Anthony over the edge; nevertheless he dutifully faces a long line of hopeful young ladies who await him. No one grabs his attention, though, like Amelia Clarke, his mother’s stunning companion, who is off-limits for the earl. But when Anthony unwittingly puts Amelia in a compromising situation, he dedicates himself to protecting her reputation.

But the horrors Anthony faced while away from home have left him feeling broken and tormented. And Anthony finds himself drawn to Miss Clarke, the only one who can chase away his demons, but he must overcome the hostility of a society driven by class, a jealous duke bent on revenge, and himself—for could Amelia ever really love a haunted man?

REVIEW: Amelia Clarke, companion to Lady Ashworth, is suggesting some menu choices that may appeal to her husband, the Marquess of Ashworth, who is quite ill and possibly dying. Amelia nursed her father, a parish vicar, until he passed away two years ago. Her mother passed away when Amelia was 12. At her father’s passing, she was left alone in the world and is thankful for her position as a companion.

Amelia is very sad for Lady Ashworth because she recently lost her oldest son and heir, Alexander, the Earl of Halford, in a horse riding accident. This happened shortly after they had been notified that their other son, Captain Lord Anthony Hargreaves, was killed in a war in Spain. These losses have left the Marquess with a very weakened heart.

But, Lord Anthony returns and the family is thankful and joyful. He had survived his wounds by being hidden and cared for by his friend, Lucas Jennings. Lucas has vowed to stay with Anthony until he is certain that he is healed both physically and mentally from his wounds.

Because he almost lost both sons, his father demands that Anthony provide an heir within a year. That means he must find a bride very soon.

A huge village celebration is planned for Anthony’s safe return. Amelia is busy helping with the plans and preparations. She and Anthony join in with the games, but the tug of war played in the mud brings back bad war memories to him resulting in his fleeing to the forest. Amelia finds him there and comforts him. Later that evening, they are found kissing on the balcony. When they are discovered, she is deemed compromised so Anthony announces their betrothal. Since she has no family, Anthony has his solicitor undertake an investigation resulting in some shocking revelations.

This story is terrific. The events following this revelation keep the reader turning pages quickly. I enjoyed the fact that the book is clean. Wish more books were like this.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘A Midwinter Ball’ by Heidi Ashworth, Annette Lyon, Michele Paige Holmes

amb ha al mphSTORY: MUCH ADO ABOUT DANCING by Heidi Ashworth. Two years have passed since Lord Northrup declared his intentions for Miss Analisa Lloyd-Jones and forbade any other man to court her. Angry at the neglect, Analisa stopped reading his letters, never even breaking the seals. Tired of waiting, Analisa joins the house party at Mrs. Smith’s famous country home, determined to find a beau. When Lord Northrup unexpectedly joins the party, Analisa discovers she is no longer repulsed by the man who first laid claim to her hand.

SWEETER THAN ANY DREAM by Annette Lyon. Olivia Wallington is firmly established as a spinster, but that doesn’t stop her from dreaming about the perfect man. Ever since her father’s death, Olivia has been forced into seclusion by her mother. When her brother and his wife come for a visit, they discover the extent to which she lives under their mother’s thumb. With their help, Olivia sneaks out to attend a local ball, where she meets Edward Blakemoore. For a few divine moments, all of her dreams seem possible. But even someone like Mr. Blakemoore would be hard pressed to get past Mrs. Wallington’s fortress of protection—or past Olivia’s pride.

AN INVITATION TO DANCE by Michele Paige Holmes. Lady Ella has been isolated on her father’s estate since her mother’s death as her father travels the world. When Alex Darling arrives with a letter from her long-dead fiancé, and a demand that she travel to London for a series of engagements, Ella thinks her father instigated the strange demands and agrees. In London, she discovers the truth behind her fiancé’s death, and that new love might be possible in the arms of the most unexpected man.

REVIEW: “A Midwinter Ball” – Three Novellas

“Much Ado About Dancing” – Heidi Ashworth

England – 1817

Miss Analisa Lloyd-Jones, age 19, lives with her parents. Currently, she is staying Mrs. Smith Dance Hall where along with her friends, she is taking dancing instruction. Mrs. Smith also hosts dances inviting eligible young men to attend.

Lord Northrup, an Earl, has just returned from his Grant Tour. Unknown to Analisa, Northrup and her father had agreed some time ago to a contract for him to marry her. He had written letters to her during his time away expressing how much he missed her and how he looked forward to returned and marrying her. However, she was never given the letters from him.

At a soiree, Mr. Callerton is quite forward and very demonstrative with his compliments to Analisa which charms her. When Northrup arrives, he mentions the letters he has sent Analisa. Puzzled as to why she never received them, she finally accesses them. When she reads them, she is quite smitten with Northrup. But what about Mr. Callerton? Whom will she chose?

A clean little romance.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b