Prelude for a Lord by Camille Elliot – Book Review

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PreludeForALord.cover

Prelude for a Lord is a Christian historical romance set in Bath, England. At twenty-eight, Lady Alethea Sutherton has no plans to marry. The unconventional, awkward young woman instead spends her time playing the violin – a scandalous instrument for a woman to play – and dreaming of turning thirty, receiving her inheritance, and escaping to Italy where her love of music will be understood. Lord Dommick is a music-loving Baron who cannot escape the terrors of his years spent fighting the French or the gossip that hounds his family. When an unknown thief goes to extreme lengths to obtain her violin, Alethea turns to Lord Dommick to find out what secrets it holds.

As an enormous fan of Jane Austen, I am always looking for good reads from the Regency period. Even though I have read a number of books from this time in British history, I had never encountered a plot that revolves around the distinctions between suitable and unsuitable musical pursuits for women of this time. This novel also takes place in Bath, rather than London, and I enjoyed the fresh setting and subject matter.

Overall, I highly enjoyed this book. The romance unfurls slowly enough that it feels natural, and Alethea and Dommick are two characters that I felt would naturally be drawn to each other. The problems that separate them are also realistic without being boring, the characters are flawed enough to feel honest, and the plot contains just enough action to keep it interesting without taking away from the romance of the two characters. Ms. Elliot is obviously a talented author, and I look forward to reading more of her books in the future.

This was a delightful read that I will be enjoying again. If you love clean Regency reads or historical romance with a hint of danger, give this one a try!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers http://booklookbloggers.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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I’m No Angel – Book Review

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I'mNoAngel

In December 2011, 21-year-old Victoria’s Secret Runway Angel Kylie Bisutti stunned the fashion industry when she chose faith over fame and fortune and made the switch from supermodel to role model.

In I’m No Angel, Kylie shares her story—from her early years as she struggled to make it big in the cutthroat world of modeling, to her “big break” winning the Victoria’s Secret Runway Angel competition, to the disillusionment and spiritual warfare that followed. After finally realizing that she could no longer reconcile her career with her Christian beliefs, she surrendered her life to God and dedicated her life to preaching a message of modesty and inner beauty.

Along the way, Kylie talks about her personal struggles with inadequacy, low self-esteem, and her near-constant quest for approval in a world where you can never be thin enough, pretty enough, or sexy enough. She helps readers understand that true beauty lies within and that real fulfillment comes from knowing, loving, and serving Christ.

I have always found the fashion industry interesting and wondered what it would be like to be a model, so when I saw this autobiography by Kylie Bisutti it instantly went to the top of my reading list. When I started reading it, I was grateful to see that I’m No Angel delivered on the promise of the synopsis.

What I liked most about this book is the level of honesty and sensitivity that Kylie demonstrates. She is not shy about describing some of the darker areas of her past and the fashion industry in general, but the content is tastefully presented. If I had a teenage daughter I would have no problem letting her read this book.

The story itself is both challenging and inspiring. While reading this book I had to ask myself if I would have had strength to walk away from a successful, seemingly glamorous career. At the same time, I was inspired by walking with Kylie on the journey that led her to realize that she had to change the direction of her life. She is open in talking about temptation and the ways that we as humans are deceived by the enemy and his promises of grandeur.  For that reason, I think that this would be a great book for new Christians or those who are struggling to live a Christian life in a world that judges by outward appearances.

If you are interested in the fashion industry, find biographies inspiring, or have ever felt that you could never be beautiful enough, this is the book for you! You can also check out my review of her devotional for girls 30 Days to a More Beautiful You here.

This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission from all purchases made through these links, which allows me to buy more books and keep blogging!

What I’m Reading – September 2014

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September. Wow. Even watching the kids go back to school, I’m having a hard time acknowledging that summer is over. This month there are several books on my list that I didn’t have time for over the business of the summer. Hopefully cooler weather will also mean more time to read. So, without further ado, here are five of the books that I am looking forward to reading this month!

AllRightHere

All Right Here: A Darling Family Novel

Ivy Darling can’t have children of her own, and her husband Nick’s resentment is forcing them apart. And while Ivy has the support and love of her large, close-knit family, Nick’s family has never welcomed her into the fold.

When the three children next door are abandoned by their mother, Ivy and Nick take them in for the night. One night becomes several, and suddenly Ivy and Nick find themselves foster parents to the only African-American kids in the town of Copper Cove, Maine. As Ivy grows more attached to the children, Nick refuses to accept their eclectic household as a permanent family. Just as Ivy begins to question whether or not she wants to save her emotionally barren marriage, Nick begins to discover how much Ivy and the children mean to him. But is his change of heart too little, too late?

Infertility and foster care are two topics that are close to my heart. That, combined with an absolutely gorgeous cover, instantly drew me to this story. Stay tuned for a review!

MarkOfDistinction

Mark of Distinction (Price of Privilege Book 2)

London is said to be the glittering jewel of society, a world unto itself—but to Julia Elliston it is a city of shadows. Her life is swiftly dissolving into scandal. And in Victorian society, even a whisper of scandal—substantiated or not—can be the death of a young woman’s reputation.

Now under the watchful eye of Lord Roy Pierson, one of most influential men in England, Julia begrudgingly accepts his protection. But Chance Macy’s power is far-reaching as well, and he is eager to assert his claim over her.

Thrust into society as the Emerald Heiress, Julia is the toast of London, a celebrated curiosity. But in reality she’s trapped between the clutches of two powerful men. Aided only by a gentleman whose intentions she prays she can trust, Julia must finally take control of her own fate—but outwitting one’s foe rarely goes according to plan.

After reading and enjoying the first book in this series, I am looking forward to seeing what new troubles Julia can find herself in. What I’m not looking forward to is waiting until January to find out how the story ends in Price of Privilege!

WhenIFallinLove

When I Fall in Love

Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she’d vacation, much less fall in love. But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in paradise, she is pulled—or maybe yanked—away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime.

Max Sharpe may make his living on the ice as a pro hockey player, but he feels most at home in the kitchen. Which is why he lives for the three-week culinary vacation he takes each year in Hawaii. Upon being paired with Grace for a cooking competition, Max finds himself drawn to her passion, confidence, and perseverance. But just when Grace dares to dream of a future beyond her hometown, Max pulls away.

Wrestling with personal demons, Max fights against opening his heart to a love he knows he should never hope for. And as his secrets unfold, Grace is torn between the safe path in front of her and what her heart truly desires. If love means sacrificing her ideal happily ever after, Grace’s faith will face its toughest test yet

I greatly enjoyed the first two books in this series. When I saw that this third installment was set in Hawaii – one of my favorite places on earth – I knew that I had to read it.

I'mNoAngel

I’m No Angel: From Victoria’s Secret Model to Role Model

In December 2011, 21-year-old Victoria’s Secret Runway Angel Kylie Bisutti stunned the fashion industry when she chose faith over fame and fortune and made the switch from supermodel to role model.

In I’m No Angel, Kylie shares her story—from her early years as she struggled to make it big in the cutthroat world of modeling, to her “big break” winning the Victoria’s Secret Runway Angel competition, to the disillusionment and spiritual warfare that followed. After finally realizing that she could no longer reconcile her career with her Christian beliefs, she surrendered her life to God and dedicated her life to preaching a message of modesty and inner beauty.

Along the way, Kylie talks about her personal struggles with inadequacy, low self-esteem, and her near-constant quest for approval in a world where you can never be thin enough, pretty enough, or sexy enough. She helps readers understand that true beauty lies within and that real fulfillment comes from knowing, loving, and serving Christ.

I have been trying to add more non-fiction to my literary diet, and this book really stood out to me. What would it be like to rise to fame in the modeling world? And then to walk away from everything that you had worked for?

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A Bride in Store

Impatient to meet her intended groom and help him grow his general store, mail-order bride Eliza Cantrell sets out on her travels a week early. But her plan goes sadly awry when her train is held up by robbers who steal her dowry and Axel, her groom-to-be, isn’t even in town when she finally arrives.

Axel’s business partner, William Stanton, has no head for business and would much rather be a doctor. When his friend’s mail-order bride arrives in town with no money and no groom in sight, he feels responsible and lets her help around the store–where she quickly proves she’s much more adept at business than he ever will be.

The sparks that fly between Will and Eliza as they work together in close quarters are hard to ignore, but Eliza is meant for Axel and a future with the store, while Will is biding his time until he can afford medical school. However, their troubles are far from over when Axel finally returns, and soon both Will and Eliza must decide what they’re willing to sacrifice to chase their dreams–or if God has a new dream in store for them both.

The first book in this series, A Bride for Keeps was one of the best western romances that I have ever read. With the bar set very high, I am looking forward to reading this next installment.

What about you? What books are on your list to read this month?

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