THE LOST MELODY by Joanna Davidson Politano – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

THE LOST MELODY
by
Joanna Davidson Politano
Historical Romance / Christian Fiction
Publisher: Revell
Pages: 384 pages
Publication Date: October 4, 2022
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When concert pianist Vivienne Mourdant’s father dies, he leaves to her the care of a patient at Hurstwell Asylum. Vivienne had no idea the woman existed, and yet her portrait is shockingly familiar. When the asylum claims she was never a patient there, Vivienne is compelled to discover what happened to the figure she remembers from childhood dreams.
The longer she lingers in the deep shadows and forgotten towers at Hurstwell, the fuzzier the line between sanity and madness becomes. She hears music no one else does, receives strange missives with rose petals between the pages, and untangles far more than is safe for her to know.
But can she uncover the truth about the mysterious woman she seeks? And is there anyone at Hurstwell she can trust with her suspicions?
Joanna Davidson Politano casts a delightful spell with this lyrical look into the nature of women’s independence and artistic expression during the Victorian era–and now.

PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:

“Haunting. Riveting. Filled with hope. The Lost Melody is all these things and more. Author Joanna Davidson Politano delves into the dark world of Victorian mental health, and it’s the reader who comes out the winner after being enchanted by this tale of identity lost. After you read the last page, the characters will live on in your mind. Truly a fantastic read!” — Michelle Griep, author of Lost in Darkness

“Joanna Davidson Politano’s stories go on my bookshelf as a favorite! The stories she pens entice my Gothic-loving senses, thrill my literary soul, and inspire the dark romantic inside my spirit. I cannot emphasize enough how strongly I adore each story from this vivid and insightful author, and how badly I wish for all readers to experience her tales!” — Jaime Jo Wright, author of The Souls of Lost Lake, and Christy Award-winning The House on Foster Hill

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An incredibly gripping symphony of music and faith, The Lost Melody held me in thrall from its darkly dramatic beginning to its gentle, hopeful finish.

Music opens up what we once believed lost.”

This book is unlike anything I usually read with its highly unromantic setting of a lunatic asylum and its emotionally broken characters. But having read and enjoyed a couple of Ms. Politano’s works in the past, I was enticed to give this one a try and I don’t regret immersing myself in this highly original story one bit.

Ms. Politano has an unparalleled talent for interweaving music and scriptures into a story in a way that is authentic and intrinsic. Music and scriptures are the means by which Vivienne proved her identity, survived her ordeal, and fulfilled her mission to save many lives. They also brought her true friendship and the unexpected promise of love.

There is no such thing as hopeless cases. Only those who have lost hope.”

The images Ms. Politano painted about the situations of several patients in the asylum were quite stark, woeful, and sometimes downright scary. The abuse Vivienne suffered enraged me at times and ensured that I’d root for her to gain her freedom. I don’t know how anyone who read this book wouldn’t be affected by her, Bridget, Dr. Turner, Violet, Otto, Anna, Philippe, Rose, and many others.

The spotlight on mental health in the distant past is enlightening and at the same time disheartening in the sense that we still don’t have a full understanding of it in the present.

Sometimes when you live among storms, you become a rock to endure the waves.”

If I have any cavil at all, it’s the insignificant presence of romance in the story. It’s there but not central to the plot and there’s a happy-for-now ending. Both combined barely meet the requirements to be considered part of the genre. I’ll say this is Christian Fiction with Romantic Elements rather than straight-up Christian Romance.

What people say about closed doors is true. If the way is barred to you, simply find an open window to go through instead.”

This book thoroughly engaged me. It made me feel and think. I recommend reading it in one sitting with lights ablaze.

Huge thanks to Lone Star Lit for the opportunity to join the blog tour and to Revell Books for the gift of a copy to review. The Lost Melody has probably one of the loveliest covers I’ve ever beheld. It would make a great gift for any occasion.

4 Four-half-stars


Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears, A Rumored Fortune, Finding Lady Enderly, The Love Note, and A Midnight Dance. She loves tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives and is eager to hear anyone’s story. She lives with her husband and their children in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan.

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(US only; ends midnight, CDT, October 14, 2022.)

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THE SPARK OF LOVE by Amanda Cabot–Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

THE SPARK OF LOVE
by
AMANDA CABOT
Categories: Fiction / Christian / Historical Romance
Series: Mesquite Springs Series, Book 3
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: March 1, 2022
Number of Pages: 352 pages 
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She’s determined to start a new life in the West . . . if only the old one would leave her alone
When a spurned suitor threatens her, heiress Alexandra Tarkington flees New York for Mesquite Springs in the Texas Hill Country, where her father is building a hotel. But the happy reunion she envisions is not to be, as her father insists she return to New York. Instead, Alexandra carves out a niche for herself in town, teaching schoolchildren to paint and enjoying the company of Gabe Seymour, a delightful man she met on the stagecoach.
But all is not as it seems. Two men, each with his own agenda, have followed her to Mesquite Springs. And Gabe, an investigator, is searching for proof that her father is a swindler.
With so much to lose–and hide from one another–Alexandra and Gabe will have to come together if they are ever to discover whether the sparks they’ve felt from the beginning can kindle the fire of true love.
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I’ve been looking forward to The Spark of Love ever since I read the wildly intriguing teaser for it in the previous book Dreams Rekindled. I’m happy to say the entirety of it lived up to my high expectations for the third installment of this brilliant series by Amanda Cabot.

Alexandra Tarkington is the quintessential Cabot heroine–possessing of beauty, brains, and backbone. Her boldness in journeying by herself from New York to Texas, her empathy towards the motherless twins, her generosity in giving of her time and talent, and her persistence in proving her worth to her father despite his antiquated beliefs gave me reasons to admire her.

Similarly, Gabe Seymour fits the mold of a Cabot hero–capable, protective, and supportive of the heroine in whatever she wanted to achieve. I was initially worried about his deception but was reassured by his honorable actions to make it right and his instant belief in Alexandra’s integrity. I really liked that he didn’t have all the answers and he sought assistance in his search of them.

The slow build of their romance made sense in light of Gabe’s hidden purpose for being in Mesquite Springs. I really liked the wholesomeness and sweetness of their courtship, especially the double dates with Sam and Laura. The friendship that developed among these characters was another highlight of the book for me. The support system, the warmth of community, the solace of church–they’re essential to the Mesquite Springs series and they’re in full display in this book.

My only cavil about this story is the presence of too many unsympathetic characters without much dimension to them. Two villains to provide intrigue and suspense would have been plenty. Four was excessive.

I truly enjoyed this series and I’m thankful to Revell and Lone Star Lit for giving me the opportunity to review these books. As always, I’m looking forward to Ms. Cabot’s future works.

4 out of 5 stars


Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of Out of the Embers and Dreams Rekindled, as well as the Cimarron Creek Trilogy and the Texas Crossroads, Texas Dreams, and Westward Winds series. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards, the HOLT Medallion, and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming.

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All Three Books in the Mesquite Springs Series +
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