If you love inspy romance (short for inspirational romance), you’ll love these two new releases. One set in Newport, RI during the Gilded Age, and the other in Ireland between the World Wars.
I receive free electronic advanced reader copies of these books through an arrangement between the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion on NetGalley’s website. I only review books on my blog that I really love.
Although it sounds like an oxymoron, this book really is an inspirational gothic novel! Find out why!
A Primer on Inspy Romance
Inspy romance is code for inspirational romance. The focus of an inspirational romance differs from a regular romance in that protagonists either have a strong belief in God or come to believe in God somewhere in the book. Christianity often becomes a character or subplot or plays a key role in the protagonists’ decisions. Christian book publishers usually produce books in this romance sub-genre (Revell, Barbour, Bethany House, Baker Books, Thomas Nelson).
Secular publishers sometimes publish books with Christian overtones, but Christianity doesn’t play an integral part in the book or the readers’ expectations. When a reader picks up an inspy romance or inspirational fiction title, they expect a good story that will strengthen their faith.
A Match in the Making
By Jen Turano, Bethany House, February 21, 2023, 368 pages.
Gwendolyn Brinley thinks she’s accepted a post as a paid companion to Mrs. Parker for the Newport Season. While not a member of New York’s Four Hundred, Gwendolyn has dined with the Prince of Wales, enjoyed the finest education, and traveled the world. When her employer unexpectedly changes Gwendolyn’s job description from companion to assistant matchmaker, Gwendolyn knows things will not turn out well. After all, at 25 and on the shelf, what does she know about love?
Plenty, it turns out. Her loving parents, five younger siblings, and cantankerous cousin have given her valuable insights into human nature. And in the pug-eat-pug world of high society, those insights provide clues as to which couples might suit each other.
Newport society doesn’t know what to do with Gwendolyn and her no-nonsense ways, plain (yet cultured and kind) speaking, and gowns as beautiful as anything the richest heiress can buy. At first, they snub her, but things get interesting when they discover Mrs. Parker has made her the keeper of their newest client’s social schedule.
Walter Townsend has put himself on the market for a second wife. He thinks a new mother will help tame his incorrigible children (a nine-year-old boy and five-year-old twins). But he has no clue how to proceed. In fact, he has no idea what he wants in a new wife, but he’ll brave the Newport season to help his children.
When he meets an unusual and stunningly gorgeous woman at the first ball he attends, he decides to hire her employer to find him a match. An unheard-of arrangement in the matchmaker annals of the wealthy. The more Walter gets to know the no-nonsense Gwendolyn, the more respect he has for her.
Within minutes of meeting his children, Miss Brinley stops a tantrum, organizes chaos, and builds his children up with her kindness. But unlike every other female of marriageable age, she seems to have no interest in becoming the second Mrs. Townsend.
While she has a knack for bringing calm to chaos, Miss Brinley also has a knack for pointing out his flaws and shortcomings. In short, he can’t decide how he feels about her.
What I Loved About This Book
Turano brings new life to the historical rom-com genre (is that even a thing?). Readers will relate to Gwendolyn’s take-charge attitude (especially all those Type-A people out there). They’ll also appreciate Walter’s willingness to change when he realizes he has failed his children.
This enemies-to-lovers romance will delight historical fiction fans and rom-com fans alike. If you enjoy books by Emma St. Clair and Grace Hitchcock, you’ll enjoy this book.You'll love this historical rom-com from @JenTurano! #amreading #goldenage #inspy #romcom Click To Tweet
The Maid of Ballymacool
By Jennifer Deibel, Fleming H Revell Co, February 21, 2023, 352 pages.
Brianna Kelly’s earliest memories involve working. First as the collector of eggs, and now as a scullery maid and whipping girl for Maureen Magee, headmistress of the Ballymacool House and Boarding School for Girls. At twenty, she’s learned to read and write and find the presence of God in her beloved woods. But with her endless round of menial tasks and lack of friendships, she feels on the edge of losing hope for any possible way out.
And then she loses the one thing that connects her to her murky past—the necklace and pendant she had around her neck when someone left her on Mrs. Magee’s doorstep as an infant.
Although it’s the 1930s, Michael Wray’s parents seem stuck in the last century. Michael prefers to spend his time with people—common or aristocratic. His parents prefer him to only associate with people of his own class. Michael has misgivings when his parents send him to Ballymacool House and Boarding School for Girls to supervise his incorrigible cousin.
After all, what can he do to help a young girl who irritates him and everyone else? But when he arrives at the school, he discovers maybe God sent him for more than one purpose. The beautiful and intriguing maid of Ballymacool could use a friend in a household where things don’t seem quite right.
What I Loved About This Book
Diebel builds a beautiful Cinderella story in Ireland during a time when modernity clashes with the old ways. Sins from the past haunt the present and the future. Readers will relate to Brianna’s struggle to remain positive when the world seems set against her, and she must learn to trust in God’s timing.
Fans of Roseanna M. White will enjoy this inspirational historical romance with a touch of mystery and intrigue.You'll love this new #inspyromance set in Ireland from @ThisGalsJourney and @RevellBooks! #amreading #newrelease Click To Tweet