Saturday, May 2, 2015

REVIEW: Loving Helen: A Hearthfire Romance (Book 2) By Michele Paige Holmes

Eighteen-year-old Helen Thatcher grew up under the protection of her older siblings, Grace and Christopher. Living in their shadows and keeping to herself suited Helen just fine—until she met widower Samuel Preston. Watching Mr. Preston care for his young daughter and seeing his concern extend to her own family, Helen felt her reserve slipping away, as she learned first to trust him and then realized she had fallen in love with him. But instead of returning—or even noticing her affection—Mr. Preston developed his own tender, and unrequited feelings, for Grace. 

In the midst of each silently nursing their broken hearts, Helen and Samuel are faced with a daunting task—reuniting Grace with her fiancĂ©, Nicholas Sutherland. Now it is Helen who must look out for her sister and sacrifice her own fragile heart, as she and Samuel pretend to be engaged. Helen finds the role surprisingly easy to play, allowing herself to imagine that Samuel’s loving remarks are sincere. As the time for their charade to end draws near Helen must summon her courage and tell Samuel the truth of her feelings, or risk losing him forever. 

Loving Helen is the second in this series, and follows Saving Grace, which I reviewed previously. In Saving Grace we saw some hints at what was to come of Samuel and Helen, but in Loving Helen we get to see it from the other side. I always love when we get to look behind the curtain and see what's on the other side.

I was completely caught up in this romance, always rooting for Helen. Ironically, I didn't really care for Samuel Preston during most of Saving Grace and was almost certain he'd end up being a villain of some sort. Thankfully, that wasn't the case at all. I enjoyed him a lot more in Loving Helen, I think we got to see a lot more of his personality and true compassion.

Helen is so different that Grace and so it is a completely different love story but I was enthralled by all the characters in the first book. Now i think their brother should have a third and final book to add to this series. its amazing and i love this series so far. Michelle paige holmes is an amazing historical romance writing.The time period is perfect.

This is a very sweet love story with several twists and turns, and ups and downs. Helen is such a sweet, lovable young woman, who I loved watching grow and become more confident. Michele did a wonderful job of melding Saving Grace and Loving Helen together. So many times the second in a series like this only slightly overlaps or takes place some time later. These stories are taking place at the same time with characters that are key in both stories. I can't imagine it was easy to combine them flawlessly. Especially in events that we've already seen from another perspective and we are now seeing again in a completely different light.

Overall, I absolutely loved this story...even more than Saving Grace and am most excited to read Christopher's story as well. This is a great read for all of you Historical Romance fans!

Michele Paige Holmes spent her childhood and youth in Arizona and northern California, often curled up with a good book instead of out enjoying the sunshine. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Elementary Education, and found it an excellent major in which to indulge her love of children’s literature. 
Her first novel, Counting Stars (Covenant Communications 2007), won the 2007 Whitney Award for best romance. Her companion novel, a romantic suspense titled, All the Stars in Heaven (Covenant 2009), was a Whitney finalist, as was her first historical romance, Captive Heart (Covenant 2011). My Lucky Stars (Covenant 2012) completed the Stars series. 
After having a novella published in A Timeless Romance Anthology European Collection (Mirror Press, 2013), Michele decided to focus on historical romance and began Hearthfire Historicals, with the debut novel Saving Grace. A companion novella, Loving Helen will be released February 2015.
Michele has been a member of the same critique group for over fourteen years and feels privileged to meet with fellow authors Annette Lyon, Heather B. Moore, LuAnn Staheli, Sarah M. Eden, J. Scott Savage, and Robison Wells. She has been a member of RWA and URWA, LDStorymakers, and The League of Utah Writers. Michele enjoys both attending and teaching at conferences. 
When not reading or writing romance, Michele is busy with her full time job as a wife and mother. She and her husband live in Utah with their five high maintenance children and a Shitzu that resembles a teddy bear, in a house with a wonderful view of the mountains. You can find Michele on the web at and on Facebook and twitter .

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