Books Read in 2022

It’s been another great reading year, with a variety of new and old, fiction and nonfiction, mostly good, a handful not so much. By my count, I’ve read 79 books this year—a smidgen fewer than the last couple of years.

I’ll post my favorites tomorrow. The titles link back to my reviews. (MTBR) at the end of some titles refers to the Mount TBR Reading Challenge, where we read books we already owned before the year began. I noted them here instead of making a separate list.

Nonfiction:

  1. 100 Best Bible Verses to Overcome Worry and Anxiety, a devotional book by various authors (MTBR)
  2. Aging With Grace: Flourishing in an Anti-Aging Culture by Sharon Betters and Susan Hunt
  3. Always, Only Good: A Journey of Faith Through Mental Illness by Shelly Garlock Hamilton
  4. Another Gospel: A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth in Response to Progressive Christianity by Alisa Childers
  5. Be Alive (John 1-12): Get to Know the Living Savior by Warren Wiersbe (MTBR)
  6. Be Compassionate (Luke 1-13): Let the World Know Jesus Cares by Warren Wiersbe (MTBR)
  7. Be Courageous (Luke 14-24): Let the World Know Jesus Cares by Warren Wiersbe (MTBR
  8. Be Determined (Nehemiah): Standing Firm in the Face of Opposition by Warren W. Wiersbe (MTBR)
  9. Be Distinct (2 Kings and 2 Chronicles): Standing Firmly Against the World’s Tides by Warren Wiesrbe (MTBR)
  10. Be Encouraged (2 Corinthians): God Can Turn Your Trials Into Triumphs by Warren W. Wiersbe (MTBR)
  11. Be Free (Galatians): Exchange Legalism for True Spirituality by Warren Wiersbe (MTBR)
  12. Be Responsible (1 Kings): Being Good Stewards of God’s Gifts by Warren Wiersbe (MTBR)
  13. Be Restored (2 Samuel & 1 Chronicles): Trusting God to See Us Through by Warren W. Wiersbe (MTBR)
  14. Be Successful (1 Samuel): Attaining Wealth That Money Can’t Buy by Warren W. Wiersbe (MTBR)
  15. Be Wise (1 Corinthians): Discern the Difference Between Man’s Knowledge and God’s Wisdom by Warren W. Wiersbe (MTBR)
  16. Daily Light on the Daily Path compiled by Samuel Bagster
  17. “Don’t Call Me Spry”: Creative Possibilities for Later Life by Win Couchman
  18. The Enchanted Places: A Childhood Memoir by Christopher Milne
  19. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (MTBR)
  20. The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis (MTBR)
  21. Heaven and Nature Sing: 25 Advent Reflections to Bring Joy to the World by Hannah Anderson
  22. IBS for Dummies by Carolyn Dean and L. Christine Wheeler (MTBR)
  23. I Must Decrease: Biblical Inspiration and Encouragement for Dieters by Janice Thompson (MTBR)
  24. Jesus Led Me All the Way by Margaret Stringer (MTBR)
  25. Joy: A Godly Woman’s Adornment by Lydia Brownback (MTBR)
  26. Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by Lady Carnarvon.(MTBR, audiobook)
  27. The Middle Matters: Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Really Good on You by Lisa-Jo Baker (MTBR)
  28. O Love That Will not Let Me Go: Facing Death with Courageous Confidence, complied by Nancy Guthrie
  29. The Path Through the Trees by Christopher Milne )Audiobook)
  30. Ten Time Management Choices that Can Change Your Life by Sandra Felton and Marsha Sims (MTBR)
  31. Treasures of Encouragement: Women Helping Women by Sharon W. Betters
  32. Where I End: A Story of Tragedy, Truth, and Rebellious Hope by Katherine Elizabeth Clark (MTBR)
  33. Women and Stress: A Practical Approach to Managing Tension by Jean Lush and Pam Vredevelt (MTBR)
  34. The Writer’s Desk by Jill Krementz (MTBR)

Classics:

  1. Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin (Audiobook)
  2. The Confessions of St. Augustine (Audiobook)
  3. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  4. Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope (MTBR, Audiobook)
  5. Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott (Audiobook)
  6. The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne (Audiobook)
  7. The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope (Audiobook)
  8. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell (Audiobook)
  9. Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne
  10. The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope (Audiobook)
  11. The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting (Audiobook)
  12. To Sir, With Love by E. R. Braithwaite (Audiobook)
  13. Victorian Short Stories of Successful Marriages by Elizabeth Gaskell, Thomas Hardy, and others.
  14. When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne
  15. Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

Christian Fiction:

  1. Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer (Audiobook)
  2. A Daily Rate by Grace Livingston Hill (Audiobook)
  3. Enchanted Isle by Melanie Dobson
  4. The Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck (Audiobook)
  5. Half Finished by Lauraine Snelling (MTBR)
  6. The Hatmaker’s Heart by Carla Stewart (MTBR)
  7. The Italian Ballerina by Kristy Cambron (Audiobook)
  8. Just 18 Summers by Michelle Cox and Rene Gutteridge (MTBR)
  9. A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M. White (Audiobook)
  10. Midnight, Christmas Eve by Andy Clapp (MTBR)
  11. The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White (MTBR)
  12. The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy Cambron (MTBR, Audiobook)
  13. The Reluctant Duchess by Roseanna M. White (Audiobook)
  14. The Road Home by Malissa Chapin
  15. The Search by Grace Livingston Hill (Audiobook)
  16. Shadowed by Grace: A Story of Monuments Men by Cara Putman (MTBR)
  17. Shadows in the Mind’s Eye by Janyre Tromp
  18. Snowed In for Christmas by Cami Checketts (Audiobook)
  19. Something Good by Vanessa Miller
  20. The Stranger by Melanie Dobson (MTBR)
  21. Three Fifty-Seven: Timing Is Everything by Hank Stewart and Kendra Norman-Bellamy (Audiobook)
  22. To Treasure an Heiress by Roseanna White (Audiobook)
  23. Worthy of Legend by Roseanna M. White

Other Fiction:

  1. Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth (MTBR, Audiobook)
  2. The Christmas Hirelings by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (MTBR, Audiobook)
  3. The Girl in the Painting by Tea Cooper (MTBR)
  4. The London House by Katherine Reay (audiobook)
  5. Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton (MTBR)
  6. Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan (Audiobook)
  7. The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow (MTBR, Audiobook)

And that just about wraps it up for 2022! I’m close to finishing a couple more, but I’ll save them to review at the beginning of next year so they don’t get lost in the shuffle.

Reading is one of my highlights, so I was very thankful to be able to make time for it.

How was your reading year? The number of books is not as important as whether the books are enjoyable and edifying. In that sense, I’ve had a great year indeed.

Reading Challenge Wrap-Ups

I enjoy participating in reading challenges and sharing books I have enjoyed. Most of these challenges involve the type of books I would be reading anyway. The only difficulty comes in the time it takes for record-keeping. I haven’t decided yet which challenges I will participate in next year. But I can recommend any of these.

Most of the challenge hosts require a wrap-up post at the end of the year. I shared my Back to the Classics Challenge Wrap-Up, hosted by Karen at Books and Chocolate here. But I decided to include all the rest in one post so as not to be tedious for readers.

Bev at My Reader’s Block hosts the Mount TBR Reading Challenge. The idea is to read books you already owned before the start of this year. Bev has made levels in increments of twelve, each named after a mountain, and we’re to choose a level to shoot for. Even though I’ve reached Mt. Ararat (48 books) the last couple of years, I decided to play it safe and stick with Mt. Vancouver (36 books).

That turned out to be a wise decision as I just made it with 38 books. Instead of making a separate list, I marked the books in this category with (MTBR) on my list of all the books I read this year.

Shelly Rae at Book’d Out hosts the Nonfiction Reader Challenge. She provided 12 categories of nonfiction, and participants chose which level they want to aim for. Thankfully, this year she has included a Nonfiction Grazer category where we set our own goals for how many and what kind of nonfiction to read. That worked best for me this year.

I read a total of 33 non-fiction books this year, which can be seen on my Books Read in 2022 post.

As to my personal goals for this challenge:

Even though I didn’t hit every category I wanted to, I did more in others, and I feel I had a rich and varied nonfiction reading experience this year.

The Audiobook Challenge is hosted by Caffeinated Reader. I aimed for the Binge Listener level at 20-30. I finished 30, so I was right on target. I also marked these on my list of books read this year. I posted what I had listened to through June at the check-in here. Here are the ones I listened to through the end of the year:

The Historical Fiction Reading Challenge is hosted by The Intrepid Reader. I aimed for the Medieval level of 15 books. I completed 22.

As you can tell, Roseanna M. White and Kristy Cambron are favorites in the category.

I’ve included split-time novels here, which have both a modern and a historic timeline. I’ve never been sure whether classics count—books written before our time but were modern in the time in which they were written. If so, I’d have eleven more.

And finally:

The Literary Christmas challenge hosted by Tarissa at In the Bookcase. For this I read:

I also started Hope for Christmas by Malissa Chapin, but haven’t finished it yet. Maybe I will by the end of the year.

I didn’t get quite as many in this category as I had hoped to, but we had a very busy December.

Whew. It’s been a good year of reading.

Worthy of Legend

Worthy of Legend is the third installment in Roseanna M. White’s Secrets of the Isles trilogy. The first was The Nature of a Lady; the second was To Treasure an Heiress.

The Secrets of the Isles involves two different groups in search of legendary pirate treasure. One loves “the hunt” and the thrill of archeological finds. The other wants the fame and fortune of such discoveries and employs underhanded means in the race to discover treasure.

Lady Emily Scofield is good friends with the people in the first group. But her father and brother are the primary instigators in the bad group.

Emily has lived her entire life in the background of her brother, Nigel. Nigel was her father’s favorite, and his misdeeds were excused away. Emily is expected to desert her friends and show loyalty to her family. But she can’t.

Instead of writing off her family completely, though, she tries to show love to them. Her friends fear she’ll be taken advantage of again.

Bram Sinclair, Earl of Telford, is the brother of the heroine in the first book. He has had an interest in the King Arthur legends since childhood. As he and his friends piece together clues to the artifact that both groups are pursuing, he realizes what they are looking for might be related to King Arthur. They try to keep this information secret from the other group.

As Bram and Emily’s group works together, Bram is concerned for Emily. He recognizes her conflict with her family and her lack of confidence and self-esteem from having been dismissed and overlooked for so many years. As he tries to encourage her, he discovers a true treasure in her character and heart.

A secondary plot line involves Emily’s maid, Thomasina, who has, unknown to Emily, been violated by Nigel. When a young man from the islands becomes interested in Tommie, she feels he would not be if he knew what had happened to her.

A couple of my favorite quotes from the book:

And if she lost everything all over again . . . well then, she’d just have to trust that the Lord could do more with her shattered than He could with her as she was now, barely holding together. That He meant her to be a mosaic instead of a whole.

Your worth, Thomasina, rests on no one else’s opinion of you. It doesn’t rest even on you. It rests in the Lord. He sees your heart, your soul. And that is all the approval any of us needs.

Bram and Emily were background characters in the previous books, and I enjoyed getting to know them better. I also loved the humorous bantering between Bram and his friend, Sheridan.

I especially liked the fact that these books were in a place I had never heard of, the Isles of Scilly. Now I feel I know the isles and the people on them. And the time frame of the early 1900s isn’t one we see often in historical fiction.

I enjoyed these stories very much and am going to miss these characters.

The Italian Ballerina

The Italian Ballerina by Kristy Cambron is one of those books that makes you want to put everything aside and just read.

Delaney Coleman has just returned home to help her parents after the death of her grandfather. She learns that they’ve received notices from a family in Italy saying they have a claim to something of her grandfather’s. Delaney’s mom has ignored the messages, but Delaney looks into the claim.

She speaks to Matteo, who says that Delaney’s grandfather owned a small ivory suitcase printed with cherries on the outside. He claims that the suitcase belongs to his grandmother, and she’d like to have it back. His family offers to fly Delaney and the suitcase to Rome.

Intrigued and confused, and as a writer “between pens,” as she puts it, Delaney decides to accept the offer. In Rome, Delaney meets Calla, Matteo’s grandmother. Calla can’t speak English, but she gazes at Delaney and says, “Salvatore.” Delaney and Matteo work together to learn the connection between their grandparents.

Scenes switch back to Delaney’s grandfather’s time before and during WWII. Court Coleman had gotten himself into trouble and pushed away Penelope, the girl he loved. Roped into helping Penn’s father at their orchard in order to pay off his debts, Court begins to settle down and wonder if he might have a chance with Penn again. But then America enters WWII, and Court is sent to Italy as a medic.

One day as his unit is on a reconnaissance mission, Court and his commanding officer, AJ, are stranded while a Nazi troupe is rounding up Jews. They are horrified to watch the Nazis shoot a couple in cold blood and leave their daughter in the streets. Against orders, Court rescues the girl and is injured in the process.

He wakes up in an Italian hospital. He finds that he is in a quarantine ward, where a mysterious, deadly illness called Syndrome K is running rampant.

Except—Syndrome K is a made-up illness, created to keep the Nazis away from the ward while the doctors and Catholic priests who own the hospital hide and send out Jews.

A British ballerina named Julia and her partner are stranded at the hospital as well while he heals from a gunshot wound in his leg. She helps Court and A. J. and the little girl with them, as well as the doctors in the ward.

Unfortunately, the audiobook I listened to did not include the author’s information about what parts of the story were true, and our library system didn’t have a copy.. But the part about Syndrome K was real, as detailed here.

There are many strands nicely woven together in this novel, many developing relationships, and the unfolding mystery of the connection between Matteo’s and Delaney’s grandparents. The Amazon description says, “Based on true accounts of the invented Syndrome K sickness, The Italian Ballerina journeys from the Allied storming of the beaches at Salerno to the London ballet stage and the war-torn streets of World War II Rome, exploring the sometimes heart-wrenching choices we must make to find faith and forgiveness, and how saving a single life can impact countless others.”

I’ve gotten used to time-slip novels that go back and forth between history and present day. Kristy has written a few with three timelines. The only problem was that the scenes flashing back to Court’s earlier life weren’t in chronological order. The first scenes were in Italy during WWII–then there’s a scene at Penn’s family’s orchard before the war. The same thing happens with Julia’s timeline. The format made it a little confusing and jarring, although it only took a sentence or two to get reoriented. I had to train myself to listen for the date and location listed at the beginning of each chapter, which is a little harder to do with an audiobook.

But other than that, I loved everything about this book. I wanted to race to see what happened, yet didn’t want it to end.

I listened to the audiobook, wonderfully read by Barrie Kreinik.

The Hatmaker’s Heart

In The Hatmaker’s Heart by Carla Stewart, Nell Marchwold is an apprentice designer at Oscar Fields Millinery in 1920 New York City. Nell loves to make hats that frame a woman’s face and bring out her best features.

But Nell speaks with a lisp when she’s flustered, so Mr. Fields has kept her in the background—until one of his best clients falls in love with Nell’s designs. The prestigious Mrs. Benchley wants to commission Nell to make hats for herself and her two daughters for an upcoming event.

Then another well-known designer wants to use Nell’s talents for a show he is putting together.

Mr. Fields allows Nell to work on these other projects, but under the auspices of his shop. He’s two-faced, promoting her in public but treating her like dirt in private.

When Nell and Mr. Fields have an opportunity to go to London, Nell seeks a chance to visit her grandmother and a childhood friend, Quentin. Nell realizes she loves Quentin, but he seems to have moved on. And Mr. Fields is not giving her much time to spend with other people.

It’s hard to imagine that Nell just keeps taking what Mr. Fields is dishing out. But then, she’s young and naive. A big part of her character development is becoming her own person, deciding what she truly wants, and developing the backbone to stand up for it. Nell’s grandmother’s counsel reminds her to seek the Lord and walk with Him.

The book’s setting was interesting with the details about hatmaking. I had done just a tiny bit of that when working for a florist friend part time years ago, but we mostly just decorated hat forms. We didn’t make them from scratch like they did in the 1920s. And I never would have suspected that hat designs could be such a cutthroat business. But I guess they were a big enough fashion item in the day for designers to compete for their sales and designs.

A friend recommended a counselor to Nell to deal with her stammer. I wondered if his methods were true to the times–concluding that the stammer was related to a childhood trauma, having Nell remember specific incidents and draw pictures of them.

Quentin didn’t seem terribly well developed as a character. Since he and Nell were apart for most of the book, we really didn’t get a feel for any chemistry between them. Plus he seemed to have abrupt changes of heart in a couple of places.

So, I have mixed responses to the book. But overall it’s a good story.

Enchanted Isle

In Enchanted Isle by Melanie Dobson, it’s 1958 and Jenny Winter doesn’t know what to do with herself. She dropped out of college because she wasn’t doing well in any subject. Her grandfather has someone from his company lined up for her to marry, but Jenny’s not sure that’s what she wants.

Her mother encourages Jenny to go to the Lake District in England for a couple of months. Jenny’s mom, Liz, had visited the area some twenty years earlier and had a friend who would be willing to let Jenny stay with her.

So Jenny flew to Lakeland. Though she wasn’t academic, she saw life through pictures and had a vivid imagination, Her mom had purchased a camera for Jenny’s upcoming 21st birthday, and Jenny is eager to try it out on the beautiful lakes and fells.

One place Jenny especially wants to visit is a theme park called the Enchanted Isle. Liz thinks it’s probably closed now, but Jenny wants to try to get in, just to see it and take pictures.

She finds that the park was indeed closed down, but not due to its age. An unsolved murder occurred there twenty years earlier. And the nice young man she just met, Adrian, has had a shadow hanging over his family because of it. His father had built the park with his business partner. But the business partner disappeared, and everyone thinks Adrian’s father killed him.

Jenny’s mother’s friend warns Jenny to stay away from Adrian, not only for his family’s history but for his own mistakes. But as Jenny gets to know him, she thinks he has been misjudged.

As Jenny uncovers the theme park’s history, she and Adrian discover that not everyone wants the park’s secrets revealed. And Jenny finds that even her mother didn’t tell her everything about her visit to Lakeland.

Another book I read recently mention the Lake District, so it was fun to find out more about the area.

The faith element of the story was natural and not preachy.

This was a sweet story, despite the murder mystery part of it. That part was handled well and with suspense. But I liked even better the themes of finding your own place in the world despite others’ expectations and not judging others, but getting to know their story.

A Lady Unrivaled

In A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M. White, Lady Ella Myerston is quick to laugh and always sees the bright side of life. But danger has come to her brother and sister-in-law and their friends. Ella is determined to help, even as the others want to shelter her and keep her from danger.

Lord Cayton, the cousin of one of the Myerston’s friends, had been a cad in his youth. He had led one woman on but then married another for her fortune. Then his wife died in childbirth, leaving him with a beloved baby daughter, Addie. Regret over his past and a desire to do the best for his daughter lead him to Bible study with his cousin, Lord Stafford. Cayton becomes a changed man, but he has trouble convincing everyone except Stafford. And he doesn’t trust himself, doesn’t feel he deserves another chance at love after breaking the hearts of two women.

Now some past associates have come back to lure him into their scheme–the very scheme that threatens Ella’s family, and now her.

The merry Lady Ella and the moody Lord Cayton become unlikely allies in the effort to remove this threat once and for all. They are surprised both by unsuspected betrayals and unforeseen friendships.

In a secondary plot line, Kira Belova is a “kept woman,” a Russian ballerina who became the mistress of a wealthy mogul, Andrei Varennikov. She feels secure, until Andrei announces his plans to marry a princess. He sends Kira to England in disguise as a maid to get information about some missing diamonds. She and her mistress end up guests in Cayton’s home. Kira begins to question her life and choices and must decide whom to trust and whom to help.

This book is the third and last of the Ladies of the Manor series. The author deftly combines suspense, intrigue, humor, faith, and sweetness. This book was a satisfying end to the series and a reminder that we all need to receive and extend grace.

The Reluctant Duchess

The Reluctant Duchess is the second in Roseanna M. White’s Ladies of the Manor series.

Brice Myerston, the duke of Nottingham, was a side character in the series’ first book, The Lost Heiress. He was one of England’s most sought-after eligible bachelors, which he handled by being a notorious flirt to fend off serious advances from young ladies and their mothers. But he also had a close walk with God and uncanny sense of the right thing to do.

He finds himself in a knotty dilemma, though. His family has made their annual visit to Scotland to visit his mother’s family home not long after the death of his father. There, the Scottish laird, who has no use for Englishmen and has avoided the Myerstons all this time, asks the family to dinner. While there, the earl of Lochaber tries to set a trap for Brice to wed the earl’s daughter, Rowena. Brice steadfastly refuses at first. But then he realizes this is no title-seeking or money-grubbing ploy. Rowena is in serious trouble. Brice feels the Lord’s direction to protect her, and the only way to do that seems to be to marry her and take her back to England.

Rowena’s father has become harsh and distant since the death of her mother. Her fiance, Malcolm Kinnaird, seemed loving and kind at first. But his true colors came out when he forced himself on Rowena and became as controlling and as harsh as her father. Rowena hates that her father has set a trap for Brice, but she accepts his offer as the only way to escape.

But Rowena trembles at the thought of being a duchess in English society. And her fears come true when no one accepts her except Brice’s family and two of his closest friends. Rowena has been beaten down mentally and physically and has no confidence. She recoils from Brice physically and emotionally.

In addition to trying to discern how to help his new wife, Brice has another problem on his hands. He had offered to take and hide the rare treasure that had caused his friends, the Staffords, so much trouble (in the first book). But, though the main troublemaker had been killed, other dangerous pursuers are not giving up. And one of them is trying to entice Rowena into a false friendship.

This book had a bit of a rough start for me, with Rowena facing off against Malcolm, the knowledge that He had abused her, and a lot of yelling. In The Lost Heiress, even the villains had an air of gentility. In this book, even the Scottish nobility were quite rough around the edges.

But once I got into the story, I enjoyed it. Brice and Rowena had much to learn to trust each other, and each made many mistakes along the way.

The whole hidden treasures story line was as intriguing as any suspense novel. Besides the enemies Brice knows of, he discovers new unseen ones.

I think this could be read as a stand-alone story, but it’s a much richer experience to read both of them.

I listened to the audiobook, wonderfully read by Liz Pearce. I thought she did a great job with the different accents, which added a lot to the story.

As always, Roseanna did not write a fluff piece with this novel. She leads her characters to an understanding of their need and God’s abundant grace in an organic and not a preachy way.

The Lost Heiress

In The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White, set in the Edwardian era, Brook Eden grew up as the ward of Prince Grimaldi in Monaco. But the circumstances of her real family are a mystery. When Brook was a young child, she and her mother were in a carriage accident. An opera singer came to their aid, and Brook’s mother asked the woman to take Brook, a packet of letters, and her necklace before she died.

Brook friend, Justin, thinks he has discovered her real family and makes the arrangement for Brook to meet them in Yorkshire, England. Brook’s father, Lord Whitby, and his sister know right away Brook is his lost daughter. It takes the rest of the family and the servants longer to accept her.

This happened fairly early in the story, leaving me to wonder where the conflict was going to come into the plot.

Well, there’s plenty of conflict. A distant cousin, Lord Pratt, is a predator who sets his sights on Brook as the heiress of the Whitby estate. He bribes a servant to spy on Brook and bring him information. Justin’s father dies, leaving him as the new Duke of Stafford. His responsibilities necessitate his traveling to his family’s holdings in other countries, leaving Brook vulnerable to Pratt’s machinations. Justin begins to feel more for Brook than friendship but doesn’t want to seem like he is only interested now that she is an heiress. He decides to wait. But when he returns, he and Brook clash instead of resuming their easy friendship. Unbeknownst to either of them, someone has been preventing their letters from reaching each other. Other suitors appear to have made inroads into Brook’s affections. And no one realizes the danger Brook is in from a possession she doesn’t even know she has until a near-fatal attack and a stunning betrayal opens their eyes.

Several of the main characters are Christians and learn to deal with broken dreams, new and uncomfortable circumstances, trust in God when He doesn’t seem to be near, and finding forgiveness.

In the author’s notes, Roseanna said she wrote the first version of this story when she was twelve, finishing it at thirteen! After nineteen years, nine books, and many rewrites, it was finally published as the first in the Ladies of the Manor series.

A story about a lost heiress finding her true home might seem like a fluff read. But I have found no fluff in Roseanna’s books. She brings so much depth into her characters’ personalities and struggle. I enjoyed this book very much and have already started the sequel.

To Treasure an Heiress

In Roseanna M. White’s novel, To Treasure an Heiress, Beth Tremayne loved exploration and adventure. She lived in the Isles of Scilly in the early 1900s and traveled to all of them in her sloop. She found some old letters and a map in her grandfather’s house that indicated a legendary pirate king had lived on her island, Tresco, and had left a fortune somewhere in the vicinity. That was fuel to Beth’s adventure-loving heart.

Beth had a trinket box, given to her by her mother, which had King Rupert’s seal on the top. Beth sent the box to the father of her friend at finishing school who was an expert in antiquities. Her friend’s father, Lord Scofield, authenticated the box—but then sold it! Worse yet, both Lord Scofield and his buyer, Lord Sheridan, were intrigued by the thought that more items connected to King Rupert might be on the islands. Scofield was interested mainly in the purported treasure, but Sheridan was a descendant of Rupert and interested in artifacts.

Worst of all, Sheridan had actually come to Tresco. Beth’s efforts to shield her family from the repercussions of her search had failed miserably. Her grandmother urged her to forgive and to work together with the family, and even Sheridan, to find Rupert’s treasure. But Scofield is looking as well and isn’t above using less than honorable means.

A secondary story line involves Beth’s former governess, Senara, who had been dismissed from her most recent job due to indiscretions. Senara had fallen in love with a man who had misled her, and now she feels tarnished and ashamed. A new friend helps her see that with God’s forgiveness, she can be forgiven and made new.

He makes us with great worth. Creates us that way intrinsically. Our sins, our bad choices, perhaps they coat us like mud. But the mud cannot take away the value He instilled in us. Mud does not make a pearl any less valuable. If it did, they why would Jesus have deemed us worthy of the sacrifice of His life? Because He loves us, as does the Father. Because we are valuable. And the blood of Christ, when it washes us clean, fully restores us to what He created us to be. A pearl cannot be stained. No matter how many centuries it sits in mud, wash it in a bit of water and it’s gleaming again.

This book is a sequel to The Nature of a Lady, which I enjoyed last year. I think this book could be read alone, but it’s richer together with the first. I normally wouldn’t be attracted to a book about chasing pirate treasure, but I have loved everything I have read of Roseanna’s. She manages to bring out deeper levels of meaning for her characters. Parts of the story are touching and sweet; some are even funny.

I didn’t like Lord Sheridan at all in the first book, and when this one hinted at a romance between him and Beth, I didn’t think it would work. But he grew on me in this story.

I found the resolution just a bit anti-climactic. But all in all, I found this a lovely story.

I listened to the audiobook, nicely read by Liz Pearce.