Monday, May 19, 2014

Sincerely Yours, A Novella Collection by Jane Kirkpatrick, Amanda Cabot, Laurie Alice Eakes and Ann Shorey

Cover Art

I don't often read novellas but when I saw that Jane Kirkpatrick was one of the authors in the SINCERELY YOURS collection, I wanted to see what she'd written.  Jane Kirkpatrick's historical novels are always woven around a real person or event; many are centered in America's West or Northwest.  While I find many novellas too simplistic, featuring one dimensional characters and limited plots, I do understand that readers seeking a quick finish to a story will find them appealing. With the less than 100 page restrictions, all four authors did well, but I give top honors to Jane Kirkpatrick who again managed to create a story based on an actual tidbit of Washington history.

Collections of novellas often have a simple link which binds the different stories together -- For example, they could all take place at Christmas or at the beach. In SINCERELY YOURS, all four novellas are set in the late 1800s or early 1900s and all begin with a letter which sends a heroine on a journey which that takes her away from all that is familiar and safe.  In Moonlight Promise by Laurie Alice Eakes, Camilla is trying to catch up with an old friend who has offered her employment.Jumping aboard a steamboat on the Erie Canal seems like a sure way to make it to her destination on time, but she learns differently.
Lessons in Love by Ann Shorey is one of those light hearted stories of mistaken identity.  M. M. Bentley has been writing articles for a women's magazine but when a letter arrives from the editor suggesting a face to face meeting, M. M. has problems.  While not purposely trying to hide her identity, Marigold M. Bentley just never corrected the editor when he assumed her "M. M." submissions about marriage and family life were written by a male. In  One Little Word by Amanda Cabot  Lorraine flees an overbearing uncle demanding that she marry and fulfill her parents' will.  Traveling to the inn where her brother has quietly began a new life away from the family's money and obligations, Lorraine begins to understand the remote country inn's appeal.  There, despite her society upbringing and fine manners, Lorraine finds herself quickly attracted to the handsome wood carver who is creating a fancy carousel to be the inn's featured attraction. A Saving Grace by Jane Kirkpatrick tells the story of Grace Hathaway who, when she receives a letter from the young daughter of a dear friend, drops everything and travels to a clinic nicknamed by the locals "Starvation Heights" to rescue her friend from what appear to be criminal quacks. All four stories offer risk taking heroines, dashing love interests, and glimpses into times past.  Kirkpatrick's story has the added bonus of using a real medical scandal at the backdrop.  That added reality makes it my favorite of the four.

I received a copy of SINCERELY YOURS from Netgalley for review purposes.

6 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for your detailed review. I appreciate your mention of the limitations with novellas and grateful you found something to like in them all. Happy reviewing!

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    1. Please keep your unique historical stories coming.

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  2. Sue -- I really appreciate your taking the time to read and review our stories. I agree with you that the historical background of Jane's story makes it special (and scary).

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    1. Thanks for the comment. I wish I could see the carousel and the part that Lorraine painted.

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  3. Bless you for your great review of Sincerely Yours! I agree, Jane's story was terrific. I think each of us enjoyed writing these novellas. I know I did.

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    1. Wow, comments from three authors in one day. How lucky I am. I thought Marigold's piano teacher was a real sweetie!

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