Unearth layers upon layers of secrets in Sharon Sobel’s historical romance, ‘Family Portrait’

Lady Amelie Wainwoode’s secret identity is secure until the arrival of the scandalous Lord Stratfield. Determined to protect her good name and clandestine art career, she counters his blackmail. Now she must leave the sanctuary of her aunt’s home in London for his estate at White Ash to fulfill the bargain. Her presence unveils more than the hushed history which binds their families.

David Ambrose, Lord Stratfield, has endured deceit, censure and scandals. Even so, he does not hesitate to manipulate rumors of his disreputable behavior to his best advantage. He gives the daughter of the man he loathed for years no choice—comply with his plans and accept his terms or he will expose and ruin her.

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A writer for most of her life, Sharon Sobel is the author of several novels, short stories, and works of fiction. She earned her PhD in English Language and Literature from Brandeis University and is currently a professor of English at Norwalk Community College in Connecticut. Business and pleasure have taken her and her husband, and their three children, on travels throughout the world, where she does research for her writing. Other interests include serving on the Board of Trustees of the local Historical Society, and the board of the Connecticut and Lower New York (COLONY) Chapter of Romance Writers of America.

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4/5 BOOK REVIEW: New Contemporary Romance – “Charades” by Ann Logan

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Mercy Fuentes is doing a favor for a friend. She is going on a week long ‘date’ with a German oil worker as he prepares to try and gain an exclusive contract. This contract is with someone who likes his colleagues to be in a stable relationship. Wulfgar Rheinhart is a man who constantly works and has no spare time to spend on finding love. Mercy agrees to pretend to be his fiancé for a week. Little does she know what lies ahead.

The author quickly lets us, the reader, into one of the secrets within the pages of this book. Wulfgar is not actually German, nor is he trying to gain a contract. He is, in fact, trying to gain access to something which Mercy’s grandfather stole when he left Germany before the end of the war. Wulf has been led to believe that Mercy somehow knows the whereabouts of the missing item.

This story is one of lies, hidden truths, betrayal, and families fighting each other. As we read more of the story it becomes clear that no one is telling the truth. The secrets woven into the pages begin to unravel, but even more is discovered along the way.

Mercy finds herself falling for Wulf, as he also falls for her, but will this ‘love’ withstand the test of all the lies when the truth finally comes out? Will the truth actually come out or is it hidden so deep it can never be found?

Mercy is subjected to so much during the story. She discovers family she didn’t know she had. She discovers the truth about the deaths of family members. She also finds out that almost all of her family, and extended family, are out to find the stolen item, and most will stop at nothing to find it. Can she find anyone who is telling the truth? Will she manage to uncover the whereabouts of the stolen item? And will everyone she cares about survive till the end?

I loved the twists and turns in this book. Just when I thought I had it figured out another secret was brought out into the open, throwing everyone into chaos again. The author has written a story which takes the characters, and the reader, on a journey through several countries in a short period of time. It is a fast paced story which constantly gives you more to think about, it has you trying to work out and decipher what is real and what is not.

This isn’t your normal love story, but more a test of a love against all the odds. Is it possible to come out the other side of so much deceit with love intact, or is there a limit to the amount one person can take? The only way to find out is by reading this story yourself. I can guarantee you one thing though, you will not expect half of what you will find within its pages.

Review by Fiona W.

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Blue Star Books is Proud to Announce the Release of ‘Empty Mansion, Empty Heart’

Blue Star Books is Proud to Announce the Release of ‘Empty Mansion, Empty Heart’ by Everett Beich

Empty Mansion, Empty Heart_Front Cover

By the age of nineteen, Tyler loses both his mother and father, inherits his family home, and becomes the owner and operator of the family grocery store that he turns into a thriving business. When the business is threatened by the construction of a shopping center along his small town’s only highway, Tyler must take matters into his own hands to preserve what he and his family have built. In an attempt to buy up the surrounding land with the help of the townspeople, Tyler befriends the town “witch,” Mary, who lives in just two rooms of a large, empty mansion on the outskirts of town. When he acquires the mansion under unusual circumstances, he becomes the youngest, richest, and most eligible bachelor in town. But just when it seems he has everything, Tyler, alone and coping with the loss of both his parents and Mary, decides to leave town in search of something greater: true love.

“Empty Mansion, Empty Heart” is a heartwarming coming-of-age story about the influence of others and the power of true love and friendship.

Meet the Author
Everett Beich was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and raised in Kulm, North Dakota. After working in real estate and owning a grocery store, he moved with his family to California. During his lifetime, he has worn many hats. He helped start a successful chain of banks in northern California. He has owned and operated a mobile home dealership, which was the top seller of mobile homes in the state of California. He owns 5-star mobile home parks in Chico, California. He owns homes in California and Idaho and an RV lot in Montana. Now retired, he likes to golf and travel in his motor home, keeping him and his wife busy. But what he likes to do most is tell stories. This is his first of four novels that will be released in the next few years.

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