Maid to Match was the second Deeanne Gist novel I had read. As I had stated in my review for Gist’s novel, Bride in the Bargain, Gist’s books made a historical romance fan out of me. She is an excellent and engaging writer. Gist really does her research and it certainly shows in her books. I enjoy reading her Author’s note and Acknowledgements sections in her novels. They are engaging and enlightening. They give us insight on how much work and research goes into writing a historical novel. Maid to Match takes us to Biltmore Estate near Ashville, North Carolina. It’s the August of 1898. Tillie Reese is Head Pallor Maid at the Biltmore Castle and her chance to become Lady's Maid has just come in to view. Her mother trained her to be a Lady’s Maid, so she could travel the world and live a more exciting life. Tillie wasn’t going to let anything stop her from finally accomplishing her goal and her mother’s dream. Enter Mack Danvers, the handsome mountain man.
Mack Danvers is as handsome as he is big. He’s a strong mountain man who came out of the hills to work for the Vanderbilts. Mack loves living in the mountains and his space. He doesn’t like feeling closed in. The only reason Mack leaves his precious mountains to work at an estate is to earn enough money to bring his siblings back home and under one roof. Once he has earned enough, he has no intention of sticking around. That of course changes when Mack first sees Tillie. Mack falls for Tillie immediately! But it takes him a while to get Tillie to admit she has feelings for him. Tillie, not wanting to jeopardize her chances at winning the Lady’s Maid position, tries to keep her distance. Unfortunately those efforts are spoiled when Tillie is put in charge of training Mack. There’s no denying the chemistry and feelings between the two of them, but it does take some time for Tillie to come to terms with her feelings for Mack and what they mean…. giving up her goal of becoming a Lady’s Maid. There are a lot of twists and turns in this story (that I won’t give away), but the end result is wonderful!
I really loved Mack’s character straight off. He’s big, strong, and independent. But he also has a soft, loving side. He proves that he’s willing to make sacrifices for those he cares about. Tillie’s character was fiercely independent and a bit stubborn at times. But she was so driven and her heart was in the right place. I loved the chemistry between the two of them. There was definitely sexual tension and physical awareness, but it never crossed the line into obscene or dirty. It was written very innocently. This is a clean romance novel that is classified as Christian. There is definitely an overall Christian feel to the storyline, but not in an in-your-face kind of way (for those who aren’t Christian and are worried about it). I found it absolutely fascinating to learn about the workings of a mansion and the class struggles. This novel was like an extremely enjoyable history lesson. This was such a great love story! It’s one I’ll be reading over and over again.
***I’d like to note that Gist has a talent for writing really appealing male characters! ;) ***
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Gambling everything, including the family farm, Cullen McNamara travels to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with his most recent invention. Cullen is progressively losing his hearing, and the noise in the fair’s Machinery Hall makes it impossible to communicate with potential buyers. In an act of desperation, he hires the beautiful Della Wentworth, a teacher of the deaf, to tutor him in the art of lip-reading. It takes some persuading to get Della to agree to participate in the first place, but then Cullen finds himself having trouble keeping his mind on his lessons when his lessons require him to watch Della’s lips. Cullen soon finds himself caught in a whirl between his girl back home, his dreams as an inventor, and his unexpected attraction to his new tutor.
Della Wentworth is a young teacher at the Pennsylvania Home for Deaf Children. The whole school has been transported to the Fair for exhibiting the children learning to lip read. Della having had the fear of God put into her by her father with tales of the deceptions men can employ in order to ruin a young, innocent woman, is hesitant when Cullen approaches her for private lessons. But she does relent and agree to meet with him during the evenings, partly for the lessons, but also for the chance to tour the fair. The aspect of the novel that dealt with the prevailing ideas about how to help the deaf to function in society was especially interesting. The school at which Della taught adhered to the principle that sign language should never be employed as it would mark out people as deaf and therefore different. To begin with, Della is an adherent of the principle, until something occurs which enables her to empathize more with her deaf students, and to realize that the decision to deny them a method of communication - any method - purely on principle, is wrong and almost cruel.
I highly enjoyed the whole World’s Fair setting. Gist soared to new heights when describing the Fair and all the details that went with it. I felt like I was there with Cullen and Della, walking through all the exhibits. I found it very fascinating. I’m so glad she has decided to continue with this theme for at least two more books (Fair Play- released 2014 and Tiffany Girl- to be released May 2015). I look forward to adventuring through the World’s Fair some more!
Gist’s characters are well developed and very likable. Her dialogue is witty and engaging. She’s a captivating writer who knows how to keep the reader invested in the story. Deeanne has also proven time after time, that she works really hard on the research part of the writing process. This is extremely evident in the details and historical facts concerning the Chicago World’s Fair. You not only get to read a really enjoyable story, you also get to learn something about history! Which is a plus. The love story between Cullen and Della is very sweet, but complicated at times. There are a few road blocks on their romantic journey. But that only makes the end result more sweeter! =)
This novel has everything: romance, drama, comedy. The romance is clean, but real at the same time. There’s definitely sexual attraction between the two, but the author keeps it clean and decent (which is proper considering the times). It has a Christian theme to it, which Gist is known for. There were also a few moments that had me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next, and moments that made me feel the heart numbing pain that the characters felt. One particular scene that stands out to me is the one involving the terrible fire at the Cold Storage Building and its aftermath. Those scenes were so devastating and moving. Gosh I felt like I was there standing with Cullen and Della watching it play out, and at the same time standing up there on the Building with the stranded firemen! Definitely an extremely moving scene! ***I’m terribly sorry for the plot spoiler, but I had to mention this! I didn’t give anything away though! ;) ***
This novel just reinforces my conclusion that there’s no such thing as a bad Deeanne Gist novel. She has become one of my all time favorite authors and I look forward to reading more of her books!
*****Keep up with Deeanne Gist on her website: www.IWantHerBook.com ******
A Bride in the Bargain was the first of Deeanne Gist’s novels that I had read. I just happened upon it at a library sale and decided to give it a try. It was also the first historical romance novel I had read. My tastes normally lean towards non-fiction. I tend to be extremely picky when it comes to fiction. That being said, I LOVED this book! This was the book that made me give historical fiction a try. Deeanne Gist is an excellent author. When reading her novels, you can tell that she has done extensive research on her subject and has an eye for details. The historical fact and content is remarkable. Her description of the setting made me feel like I was really there. She also has a talent for witty and engaging dialogue. Bride in the Bargain is a clean romance with a Christian theme, but it’s not overtly Christian. Gist does an excellent job of incorporating sexual tension and awareness without crossing the line into obscene or uncomfortable. As I said before, it’s a clean romance, but the author is honest and real when describing the feelings between a man and a woman. I am a Christian and I did not find any part of this book uncomfortable or obscene/dirty.
The novel takes place in 1860s Seattle, in the heart of redwood timber and lumber operations. Redwood timber may be plentiful, but women are scarce. Yet a man with a wife could secure 640 acres of timberland for free. Joe Denton runs a successful lumber operation. His problem? He doesn’t have a wife. His died before she could follow him to Seattle. Here’s the catch: Joe Denton must have a wife or he will lose half of his land and lumber operation. Because of this, he "buys" a wife from back east.
Unfortunately the bride he has "bought" has no intention of marrying and is under the impression that she has come west to be a cook. They quickly realize they’ve been scammed. I don’t want to give too much away, so I won’t say anymore on that particular matter. Anna Ivey came out west to get away from a bad situation and for a fresh start…. As a cook. Anna is a spunky, independent individual. She also carries a lot of misplaced guilt (I won’t give the source of the guilt away). Both Joe and Anna decide to make the best of the situation that was handed to them, with Anna working as a cook for Joe and Joe looking into buying another bride. But of course, things just don’t work out as planned. Joe ends up with the ultimatum, either convince Anna to marry him or lose half his land/company. Will Joe Denton be able to convince Anna Ivey to marry him? Or will he lose his land? Little does either of them know they are both in danger of losing their hearts.
I liked the character of Joe Denton. He’s big, strong, and very masculine. He’s a good man and a hard worker. But we soon find out that the tough lumberjack has a soft, gentle side. Anna Ivey’s character is a bit more complicated. I liked her character as well, but there were a few things I felt were a bit ridiculous about her. Although I will say that those nuances are explained in the book. We learn why she thinks and feels the way she does. I thought the love story between the two was sweet. They are very physically aware of each other, but never crossed the line. The author grazes over the wedding night. It’s implied but never actually detailed or talked about.
When reading this story, we all know how it will end. That being said, we don’t know what will happen during the journey to the end. There’s a twist towards the middle of the book that you won’t see coming. Overall, this was an excellent book, one that I plan on reading over and over again. This novel sparked my love for Deeanne Gist books! I would recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a great historical romance or even someone who’s just looking for a good, clean read.
****Can we talk about the Cover Photo for the Book for just a second? Fun Fact: That is Gist’s daughter modeling on the Cover of this novel. I’m sure that was very cool for both Mother and Daughter! I really like the gown the model is wearing. I’ve always been interested in all things history and old, and I particularly like the beautiful gowns worn back then. Ok I’m finished! ;) *******
***Stay up to date with Deeanne Gist: www.IWantHerBook.com ******
Love on the Line is a masterfully written tale. Deeanne Gist takes us to small town Texas with this story of switchboard operator Georgie Gail and Texas Ranger Lucious Landrum aka Luke Palmer. Georgie Gail is an independent woman working in a man’s world. She’s headstrong and doesn’t let anyone push her around. She’s also a bit quirky and has an undying love for Birds. Lucious Landrum is a Texas Ranger working undercover to infiltrate a notorious gang of train robbers. He goes to the town of Brenham undercover as Luke Palmer, a telephone repairman. Luke expects to tangle with telephone wires and robbers. What he doesn’t expect is to tangle with the strong willed lady telephone operator. Luke and Georgie are about as different as you can get. The only thing they have in common is stubbornness! But you know what they always say, opposites attract. ;)
This story is part comedy, part romance, and part drama. It’s got everything you could want in a good book. There are parts where you laugh out loud, parts where you swoon with Georgie and Luke, and there are parts that have you at the edge of your seat. I’m not naming specific details because I don’t want to give away any spoilers! Two scenes in particular had me totally in suspense and caught me by surprise. I certainly did not see that ending coming! You HAVE to read it!!
Deeanne Gist is meticulous in her characterization and that's what builds this into a memorable read. Her characters are real and lovable. The dialogue is witty and enjoyable. Gist does her homework and research, this shows in her writing. I loved the Texas Ranger theme Gist used for both this novel and her Fair Play novel. I find the Texas Rangers’ history fascinating, so my interest is always sparked when I hear that a book features the Texas Rangers.
I find it very easy to relate to and love Gist’s lead male characters. They aren’t perfect, but they’re all genuinely great guys. I also see a trend in her books, where the male tends to bend to the females will. Gist creates strong, independent (sometimes too independent) females, who tend to be a bit stubborn and often refuse to give up their goals and dreams for a man. This means that the man ends up having to give up his goals/dreams in order to be with the lead female. It does work out as far as Gist’s novels go, the stories always ends happily. My only issue would be the fact that I just don’t think it’s fair that the male usually has to give up his job or something else he loves in order to be with the female. I would like to see a few stories where the female makes the sacrifice. But, like I said before, I LOVE Deeanne Gist’s novels and I enjoyed reading every one of them. This novel is no exception. =)
This is a clean romance with a Christian theme to it. There is definitely sexual tension between Luke and Georgie, but they practice self-control. This is another thing I love about Gist’s novels, they are REAL. The characters are like us, they’re not too sugary or fake. The author has a talent for making you feel what the characters are feeling. You’re drawn into the book through the captivating and engaging writing. I’m one of those people who love reading the Author’s note and Acknowledgements as well. Deeanne really gives us insight as to what it takes research wise to write a historical novel. I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for an enjoyable read. =)
***Stay up to date with Deeanne Gist: www.IWantHerBook.com ******
Hello! Welcome to The Book Corner! :) I started this blog mainly to share my love of books and to highlight and lift up authors, particularly indie authors. I have several friends who are indie authors, so I know just how hard it is for authors to get the attention, reviews, advertising, and customers that they need in order to survive in the publishing world. Therefore, on top of reviews (featuring a wide range of genres and subgenres), I also hope to do features on authors as well, whether it’s a write-up on an author or an interview or maybe even a fun guest post/contest.. It should be interesting!
A little about me: My name is Liz (in case you don’t already know), I was born and raised in NY I’m a huge bibliophile. Reading is probably my favorite hobby. I read both physical/hard copy books and ebooks/digital books on my Kindle Fire, though I admit, I will always prefer a physical book in my hands over a device. I was actually totally against digital books, up until I bought my Kindle Fire, which I needed for a few college classes. Now I adore my Kindle and can’t imagine not having it. I ended up discovering so many authors who only release their books digitally (due to cost/publishing issues/etc). The Kindle ended up opening up a whole new world! I read both nonfiction and fiction. I love to learn. I admit to being pickier about my fiction books, I lean towards realistic fiction rather than fantasy. I tend to dwell within the Historical fiction and Western sub-genres, they are definitely my favorites, though I’m always willing to give any book a chance! I grew up on the Little House series, Anne of Green Gables series, and the Little Women series. Some of my favorite authors are Laura Ingalls Wilder, LM Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, Elmer Kelton, Deeanne Gist, Karen Whitemeyer, Linda Ellen, Barbara Goss, and Regina Jennings. I love when a book takes me back in time and on an adventure. I personally prefer happy endings, though I do make exceptions. ;)
I love discovering and getting to know new books and authors, so if you have recommendations feel free to contact me (About and Home pages have icons that will take you to my email and twitter)! Also, if you’d like to do an interview, guest post, contest, or have me review one of your books, feel free to contact me. I hope you join me and stay tuned for upcoming posts. I plan on having several reviews up shortly after this post.
Liz Austin. Bibliophile. Writer. Book hoarder. I would rather be reading....