Okay, so I've known Stacy for years now. YEARS. In fact, she and I have been together in a critique group for going on 7 years. Wow. I'm sort of amazed just typing that. I've read all of her published books, and select pages from her WIPs. She is an absolutely brilliant writer. So brilliant, in fact, that her novel, HOPE AT DAWN, is a finalist in the RITA's this year. (In case you don't know what that means, the RITAs are the highest award a romance novel can win. And she's a finalist!!)
A HOPE REMEMBERED is the third book in the "Of Love and War" trilogy, a set of historical romance novels that center around World War I. They are simply fantastic, and I knew going into this book that I wouldn't be disappointed. And I wasn't! The romance was beautiful, the struggles that Nora and Colin faced real, and the writing spot-on.
A bit about A HOPE REMEMBERED: Nora Lewis just wants an escape after losing her fiancé in the Great War. When she inherits property in England, she boldly packs up and leaves America for a fresh start. But if not for her dashing new neighbor, Colin Ashby, she'd be lost. Even as their friendship deepens, Nora knows a British aristocrat would never be free to love an American orphan, no matter how much the war has changed the world . . .
After his brother's death in the war and his own experiences as a pilot at the front, Colin returns home broken, only to discover his family's estate is also in ruin. The pressure is now on him to save his home and the Ashbys' place in society with a well-bred match to a wealthy heiress. Too bad he finds more of a kindred spirit in Nora, the beautiful American next door. She, too, has faced the rigors of war and survived. Now the ex-soldier will have one more battle to fight-this time for love.
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My review: I absolutely loved this book. It's a historical, inspirational romance. I've recently come to love books like these (hello, FIVE DAYS IN SKYE!), and this one is no exception. Nora is my favorite character. She moves from her farm in Iowa to the Lake District in England to start a new life as a sheep farmer. She's suffered from loss, first with her fiancee, Tom, dying in the war, and her parents soon following due to illness.
So she's no stranger to hard work and grief. I loved that she wasn't perfect, and that she struggled with simply life. I really related to that. I think we all have things that are hard for us, and they're different from what's hard for other people. But Nora felt three-dimensional and human. I loved her.
Colin is the second son to a baronet, and his brother -- the good son, the one ready to accept his place in society -- has died in the war. He's trying to figure out how to be himself while still living up to his brother's memory and satisfying his father. And who hasn't had to deal with that? Maybe just us second children...
Anyway, I liked Colin's dilemma -- his father wants Nora's land because their estate isn't doing as well as it once had -- and Colin's caught between his heart and his duty. What tougher place can there be?
Each character had flaws and perfections, and they came to rely on each other in unique ways. As I said earlier, the writing is spectacular, and with characters that are real and alive, and a romance that could sweep centuries, A HOPE REMEMBERED is a real gem. If you like a heartfelt romance, you should give it a try. You don't need to have read either of the first two books -- though you totally should. I mean, HOPE AT DAWN is a RITA finalist! A finalist!!
About Stacy: Stacy Henrie has always had an avid appetite for history, fiction and chocolate. She earned her B.A. in public relations and worked in communications before turning her attentions to raising a family and writing inspirational historical romances. Wife of an entrepreneur husband and a stay-at-home mom to three, Stacy loves the chance to live out history through her fictional characters, while enjoying the modern conveniences of life in the 21st century. In addition to author, she is a reader, a road trip enthusiast and a novice interior decorator. Her first novel, Lady Outlaw, released from Harlequin Love Inspired Historical in 2012.
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There's a giveaway going on this week during the release of A HOPE REMEMBERED. Be sure to enter in the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win the entire "Of Love and War" series!!