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The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology, with a foreword by the inimitable Beverly Jenkins, brings you four novellas highlighting love, light, and hope set over a period of history that’s often left in the shadows. Amazing Grace, by Lena Hart: It’s the year 1866—the Civil War is over and slavery has ended. Life for 18-year-old Gracie Shaw takes an unexpe The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology, with a foreword by the inimitable Beverly Jenkins, brings you four novellas highlighting love, light, and hope set over a period of history that’s often left in the shadows. Amazing Grace, by Lena Hart: It’s the year 1866—the Civil War is over and slavery has ended. Life for 18-year-old Gracie Shaw takes an unexpected turn when she is “encouraged” to marry a man sight-unseen. Boarded on a train headed West—to lawless territory—she is faced with misfortune at every turn and must accept the help of former Confederate soldier, Logan Finley, while denying herself the one thing she wants most. Him. Drifting to You, by Kianna Alexander: During the sultry Carolina summer of 1875, baker Rosaline Rhodes boards a Juneteenth cruise down the Cape Fear River. She's there to serve her famous cinnamon spice cake; shipbuilder Will Pruett is there for pleasure. They've denied their mutual attraction for months, but now the river won't be the only thing ebbing and flowing. A Sweet Way to Freedom, by Piper Huguley: In 1910, schoolteacher Missouri Baxter refuses to return home with a big belly and no husband. She’s got nine months to teach juke joint owner Arlo Tucker—a most reluctant student—an important lesson about what marriage means to their people. With God on her side, she'll show him “A Sweet Way to Freedom.” Let It Shine, by Alyssa Cole: Sofronia Wallis knows that proper Black women don't court trouble by upending the status quo, and they most certainly don't associate with roughneck Jewish boxers like Ivan Friedman. But it’s 1961 and the Civil Rights movement is in full swing. Change—and love—are coming whether Sofie is ready or not.


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The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology, with a foreword by the inimitable Beverly Jenkins, brings you four novellas highlighting love, light, and hope set over a period of history that’s often left in the shadows. Amazing Grace, by Lena Hart: It’s the year 1866—the Civil War is over and slavery has ended. Life for 18-year-old Gracie Shaw takes an unexpe The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology, with a foreword by the inimitable Beverly Jenkins, brings you four novellas highlighting love, light, and hope set over a period of history that’s often left in the shadows. Amazing Grace, by Lena Hart: It’s the year 1866—the Civil War is over and slavery has ended. Life for 18-year-old Gracie Shaw takes an unexpected turn when she is “encouraged” to marry a man sight-unseen. Boarded on a train headed West—to lawless territory—she is faced with misfortune at every turn and must accept the help of former Confederate soldier, Logan Finley, while denying herself the one thing she wants most. Him. Drifting to You, by Kianna Alexander: During the sultry Carolina summer of 1875, baker Rosaline Rhodes boards a Juneteenth cruise down the Cape Fear River. She's there to serve her famous cinnamon spice cake; shipbuilder Will Pruett is there for pleasure. They've denied their mutual attraction for months, but now the river won't be the only thing ebbing and flowing. A Sweet Way to Freedom, by Piper Huguley: In 1910, schoolteacher Missouri Baxter refuses to return home with a big belly and no husband. She’s got nine months to teach juke joint owner Arlo Tucker—a most reluctant student—an important lesson about what marriage means to their people. With God on her side, she'll show him “A Sweet Way to Freedom.” Let It Shine, by Alyssa Cole: Sofronia Wallis knows that proper Black women don't court trouble by upending the status quo, and they most certainly don't associate with roughneck Jewish boxers like Ivan Friedman. But it’s 1961 and the Civil Rights movement is in full swing. Change—and love—are coming whether Sofie is ready or not.

30 review for The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology

  1. 4 out of 5

    The CurvyJones

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. So. So. SOOOOOOOOOO. Oh my goodness. If you love historical, multicultural romance, get your hands on this release when it comes out! Five beautifully written stories set in a pivotal moment of African American history. You really can't afford to skip this anthology! I never learned much about Juneteenth. It was not taught in schools and my peers seem to consider the day as more of a celebration of slavery than a celebration of freedom. Via the foreward from prolific black romance author Beverly So. So. SOOOOOOOOOO. Oh my goodness. If you love historical, multicultural romance, get your hands on this release when it comes out! Five beautifully written stories set in a pivotal moment of African American history. You really can't afford to skip this anthology! I never learned much about Juneteenth. It was not taught in schools and my peers seem to consider the day as more of a celebration of slavery than a celebration of freedom. Via the foreward from prolific black romance author Beverly Jenkins, I learned more about Juneteenth. On June 19th, 1865 in Galveston, TX, a proclamation was set forth that all slaves were free. Most celebrated that day January 1 because of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation... however Texas celebrates this day of freedom on June 19th, when the proclamation was read, and their descendants still do. Each of the stories in this anthology revolve around freedom and civil rights, including the right to love the one you choose to love. Lena Hart tells us the story of Gracie Shaw in Amazing Grace. Gracie is a young southern black woman, promised to a good man in Montana. She must make the trip to meet the man she is contracted to marry by train... where she happens to meet the love of her life, Logan Finley, half Mexican, half Irish. Not only is he not of African descent, but Gracie's family had already received payment for her agreement to marry Robert Whitaker. In addition, there's something in Logan's past that Gracie isn't sure she can forgive. Kianna Alexander shares a story about baker Rosaline Rhodes, who's so sweet on ship builder Will Pruitt, the attraction wafts from the page. When Rosaline is advised to choose a mate who was not a former slave-- in an effort to elevate herself, it was suggested-- it becomes the impetus she and Will need to begin their lives together aboard a Juneteenth cruise down the Cape Fear River. This story was really SO Sweet and one of my favorites! Piper Hugely is my new #BAE. She writes such glorious historical romances, I'm just in love with her novels! A Sweet Way to Freedom is set Winslow, a Georgia Hamlet. This story appears to be a one-off of the Milford College series that Hugely has been releasing since 2014. Teacher Missouri "Missy" Baxter finds her self in a curious predicament, having become pregnant whilst unmarried... But everyone knows who the father is. Arlo Tucker is a man who seems afraid of the future. Watching these two come together was humorous and delightful as well as seeing Arlo come into the man he was destined to be. GREAT read. Alyssa Cole's Let it Shine is my first read from her but it won't be my last! Her depiction of 'Good Southern Girl' Sofronia 'Sofie' Wallis's forbidden romance with a Jewish neighborhood gentleman Ivan Friedman during the Civil Rights movement was educational and entertaining. The first scene brought a giggle to my lips... I remember hearing the older ladies in the church gossiping about so and so who's pregnant but not married and feeling all kinds of weird about witnessing that. This story reminded me so much of my upbringing as a PK (Preacher's Kid) in a COGIC church... the expectation to be a good girl, because no man wanted a hussy. The idea that everything you do is a reflection on your parents and how you were raised. How unwavering obedience and unquestioned adherence to strict rules and guidelines are expected-- and are the norm. And how a person aches to be defined by themselves, their own achievements and not what the previous generation wants from them. Just as I had to, Sofie had to find a piece of herself and take a step into her future. Hand in hand with, not just a white man... but a Jew. Really great read and it brings to mind a friend of mine that recently married a Jewish man. What a cultural divide to cross... but they're making it, and I have every assumption that Sofie and Ivan lived to grow old together! This anthology is important because I believe that we need to know our history, and because people that look like me and share my ancestry fell in love and created the future that I live in. Romance is not just about white faces on book covers... and historical romance is more than Dukes and Queens and Regency. Our historical romances are our pasts brought to life. The Brighest Day will be available June 1,2015. Pick it up!

  2. 5 out of 5

    K.J. Charles

    This is a remarkable collection. A few thoughts: a) I don't know much in depth about the slavery period of US history (I'm a white Brit) and I don't like what I learned. The backstory of one freed slave in 'Drifting to You' was pretty nearly unbearable to read, to the point where it almost overwhelmed the story. Except, that is the point of this collection: the unbelievable, grotesque injustice done to people and the strength of those who not just survived it but actually made themselves good liv This is a remarkable collection. A few thoughts: a) I don't know much in depth about the slavery period of US history (I'm a white Brit) and I don't like what I learned. The backstory of one freed slave in 'Drifting to You' was pretty nearly unbearable to read, to the point where it almost overwhelmed the story. Except, that is the point of this collection: the unbelievable, grotesque injustice done to people and the strength of those who not just survived it but actually made themselves good lives. It's genuinely astonishing to read, obviously well researched by all authors, and important. b) I've had a lot of conversations about depicting unattractive historical attitudes in romance and how far that can go. Everyone always concludes, 'you could never have a US slave-owning hero'. Lena Hart knocks that one out of the park, brilliantly, because part of slavery's corrosive evil, as she shows, is the way people accepted it as normal. Lots of 'ordinary' people played their parts too. c) I *love* the way Piper Hugeley's story is written: the speech, the vocabulary, the flavour. Intensely immersive. d) The final story, with Freedom Riders and a Jewish boxer hero, is an absolute cracker, and I am off to scout out more from Alyssa Cole right now. It says there's a linked book coming, which if so, I am *on* that. This is a really good set of romance stories, and a terrific vivid historical, but it's also seriously important and informative without being teachy or depressing (which is pretty damn impressive considering the horrendousness of the material). Everyone should read this collection.

  3. 5 out of 5

    SmartBitches

    Full review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books Reviewing anthologies is always difficult for me. I’m never sure if I should give a grade for the collection as a whole, even if some of the stories didn’t grab me, or if I should grade the story that rocked my world and mention the others. Anthologies are awesome – I love novellas and short stories – but also tricky. So here’s the deal with this one: I loved the last story in this anthology so much. SO MUCH. I sent screen cap texts of funny lines to peop Full review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books Reviewing anthologies is always difficult for me. I’m never sure if I should give a grade for the collection as a whole, even if some of the stories didn’t grab me, or if I should grade the story that rocked my world and mention the others. Anthologies are awesome – I love novellas and short stories – but also tricky. So here’s the deal with this one: I loved the last story in this anthology so much. SO MUCH. I sent screen cap texts of funny lines to people. I rambled on to Hubby about it. I set timers so I could read another page or two without burning dinner. Let it Shine by Alyssa Cole is the reason you should buy this anthology. Unfortunately, each story had a copyediting problem and the anthology would have benefitted from closer proofreading. There were a number of misused words, for example, like when a character could “endear” without complaint instead of “endure.” That bugged me, and I want to mention it because I know that upsets some readers, too. As I said, anthologies are difficult to grade sometimes. Some of the stories I found myself skimming, while with Cole’s story, I was gripping my ereader so tightly my hands started to ache. I’m giving this anthology a B- overall, averaging together the grades above. - Sarah

  4. 5 out of 5

    Harper Miller

    Well done anthology! Read some new to me authors and found myself highly entertained. Deep subject matter but handled with care and brutal honesty. The writing style of each author is quite fierce. I'd highly recommend giving this anthology a whirl. Well done anthology! Read some new to me authors and found myself highly entertained. Deep subject matter but handled with care and brutal honesty. The writing style of each author is quite fierce. I'd highly recommend giving this anthology a whirl.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Reese Ryan

    A strong anthology consisting of four tales of love strong enough to overcome even the fiercest obstacles. Despite the length, each story feels complete and satisfying. Lena Hart's tale of an interracial romance that develops between two unlikely people with a common thread explores the lives of a strong heroine willing to sacrifice everything for her family and the man who is willing to sacrifice everything for the woman he loves. Kianna Alexander weaves a tale of two former slaves, now entrepre A strong anthology consisting of four tales of love strong enough to overcome even the fiercest obstacles. Despite the length, each story feels complete and satisfying. Lena Hart's tale of an interracial romance that develops between two unlikely people with a common thread explores the lives of a strong heroine willing to sacrifice everything for her family and the man who is willing to sacrifice everything for the woman he loves. Kianna Alexander weaves a tale of two former slaves, now entrepreneurs, who learn to let go of an ugly past and claim the love they both deserve. Piper Huguley's story of a school teacher who finds herself in the family way, thanks to the proprietor of the good time joint in a small town is sweet, funny and deeply emotional. The heroine is strong, smart as a whip and determined to live life on her terms. The hero proves to be far more than just a charmer only interested in making a quick buck. Alyssa Cole's story of interracial love between two people with a shared, tragic past that changed them both is gripping. The growing emotion between two characters on the front lines of the battle against racial injustice, who must also overcome prejudices in their own homes in order to be together is a thing of beauty. The glimpse the author provides inside the experience of the Freedom Riders gives one chills, a renewed appreciation for their sacrifices and a reminder that there is much yet to be done. This is a truly wonderful anthology. Hopefully the first of many.

  6. 4 out of 5

    DeAnna Knippling

    The first two stories were good but didn't make me melt at the end--the tale of a "church network" bride going to Montana ("Amazing Grace") and the tale of a baker and shipbuilder crush ("Drifting to You"). The third one melted me, but only at the last minute. I wasn't quite comfortable with the male lead as I was in maybe excessive sympathy with his justly angry opposite, and it took me a while to forgive him in "A Sweet Way to Freedom." The last story, "Let It Shine," knocked it out of the par The first two stories were good but didn't make me melt at the end--the tale of a "church network" bride going to Montana ("Amazing Grace") and the tale of a baker and shipbuilder crush ("Drifting to You"). The third one melted me, but only at the last minute. I wasn't quite comfortable with the male lead as I was in maybe excessive sympathy with his justly angry opposite, and it took me a while to forgive him in "A Sweet Way to Freedom." The last story, "Let It Shine," knocked it out of the park for me and there may have been a tear or two in my as I finished the tale. All excellent stories and good reads.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chanta Rand

    I enjoyed all four stories in this box set. This was the perfect amount of authors for a box set. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by too many stories. And I actually had time to read them all without feeling rushed. As a lover of historical fiction, this set hit all of my top elements: 1) historically accurate, 2) exciting plot, and 3) romance. Let it Shine by Alyssa Cole had the hottest heat level. I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style, her use of action-packed verbs, and the chemistry between her two I enjoyed all four stories in this box set. This was the perfect amount of authors for a box set. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by too many stories. And I actually had time to read them all without feeling rushed. As a lover of historical fiction, this set hit all of my top elements: 1) historically accurate, 2) exciting plot, and 3) romance. Let it Shine by Alyssa Cole had the hottest heat level. I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style, her use of action-packed verbs, and the chemistry between her two characters, Sophie and Ivan. This was the first historical romance I’ve read that was set in the 1960s. The author did a fantastic job of capturing the racially charged attitudes of the era. When a mob ganged up on the protestors at a sit-in, I felt Sophie’s fear, anger, and frustration. The added twist to this story was that Ms. Cole depicted a relationship between a black woman and a Jewish man. Both characters had much more in common than they thought. Amazing Grace by Lena Hart was also a great read. It’s no easy task to pull off an Interracial romance set during the Civil War. Lena did a wonderful job of creating a strong, and empathetic hero in Logan Finley, a former slave owner. The romance between him and Gracie felt real and organic. You could feel the growing attraction between them, and when they finally ‘got busy’ I felt like I needed a cigarette afterward! The love scenes were very well done. Kianna Alexander’s Drifting to You was an interesting read because it featured a black shipbuilder. So many times in historical romance, you see heroes who are victims of circumstance—downtrodden and just trying to find a way to work with what they’re given. Will Pruett was different. He had the perfect blend of cockiness, strength, compassion, and intelligence. He’s the perfect partner for Rosaline. I enjoyed reading their story and watching Rosaline put one overzealous suitor in his place. That was hilarious! Piper Huguley had the sweetest romance, so her story, A Sweet Way to Freedom was a fitting title. I’ve been a fan of Ms. Huguley's since I read the Preacher’s Promise (love me some Virgil). This story was unique because it opened with a pregnant, unmarried heroine. OMG! Not many sweet historical romance novels start out like that. And the hero, Arlo worked my nerves in the beginning. I thought he was a womanizing fool who needed to grow up. Apparently, so did the heroine, Missouri, because she didn’t give that man any slack from the moment he was introduced in the book. But by the end of the story, Arlo won me over. He proved to be a better man, husband, and father to Missouri than I ever thought he could be. Kudos to Piper for another heart-warming story. It was obvious each one of these authors did their research. I thought I knew a lot about Juneteenth, but I learned so much more. I highly recommend this for anyone who loves reading historical fiction and/or historical romance.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Abra

    What a great little anthology about slavery, civil rights, and multiracial romance! The first and last stories were so strong that they carry the whole rating. The middle two were rather weak. Amazing Grace: 4 Stars The story of a former slave turned freewoman traveling west as a mail order bride, only to fall in love with a former slave owner and Confederate soldier she meets on the train. I admire the author tremendously for daring to make her hero a former slave owner and tackling such a comple What a great little anthology about slavery, civil rights, and multiracial romance! The first and last stories were so strong that they carry the whole rating. The middle two were rather weak. Amazing Grace: 4 Stars The story of a former slave turned freewoman traveling west as a mail order bride, only to fall in love with a former slave owner and Confederate soldier she meets on the train. I admire the author tremendously for daring to make her hero a former slave owner and tackling such a complex subject. Strong heroine too. I wish this one was longer. Drifting To You: 2 Stars Very unimpressed with this one. Stock romance characters, standard cliches, and it felt... inauthentic. The story takes place ten years after slaves were freed and revolves around two former slaves... but honestly, apart from their sad histories, it might have been a regency about two white characters. No mention of how these characters learned to read, how they became successful independent entrepreneurs, only the vaguest detail about the time period, no apparent difficulties navigating the social and business worlds of pissed off post-war white people. No inner lives at all, really. A Sweet Way To Freedom: 1 Star Very interesting premise, a pregnant schoolteacher trying to get the man who knocked her up to heel. But it had some major flaws. Sentence fragments and poor grammar abound. Continuity errors like it being a hot Georgia May in one scene and in the very next scene the characters are cold and warming themselves by a fire. But mostly? I LOATHED and DESPISED the hero with every fiber of my being. He was an irresponsible, spoiled, selfish deadbeat dad who knocked up THREE women out of wedlock, abandoned TWO children, and suddenly decided to turn his life around when Accidental Child Number Three comes around. Unlike the aforementioned Confederate soldier from "Amazing Grace", there are some character types that you can't make heroes out of, and Deadbeat Dad is one of them. Let It Shine: 5 Stars LOVED this one so much!!! It's about two old childhood friends - one black and one white - reconnecting during the civil rights movement but its about so much more than that. I'm amazed at how much meaning and nuance the author was able to cram into a short story. Ivan and Sofie were enchanting. Lively, funny, sad, strong, brave characters. Sofie especially was so weak and so strong and so REAL. I adored them. Great chemistry. Actually, I can't say enough good things about this one without making it a ridiculously long review... suffice to say, I immediately bought another book by this author. All in all, great book that is both sweet and illuminating!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Timitra

    Amazing Grace- 4 Stars I love when a book engages my emotions, makes me think and look at things differently, Amazing Grace did that. It's my first by this author but it most certainly won't be my last. I love how beautifully the love story between Gracie and Logan was told also loved the use of the apple. Drifting To You- 3.5 Stars This story tugged at my heartstrings especially what the heroine went through. I love that she was so strong and was able to find happiness in spite of what happened to Amazing Grace- 4 Stars I love when a book engages my emotions, makes me think and look at things differently, Amazing Grace did that. It's my first by this author but it most certainly won't be my last. I love how beautifully the love story between Gracie and Logan was told also loved the use of the apple. Drifting To You- 3.5 Stars This story tugged at my heartstrings especially what the heroine went through. I love that she was so strong and was able to find happiness in spite of what happened to her. I also loved the hero, he was strong but also sweet and caring. This was a first for me by this author as well and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of her work. A Sweet Way To Freedom- 4 Stars This story had me intrigued from the start and didn't disappoint. I really Missy and Arlo's journey, loved the banter between them. As with the previous stories this is a first for me by this author but it most certainly will not be my last as I can't wait to read Ruby's story. Let It Shine- 4.5 Stars This story worked for me on so many levels, from the characters to the writing to everything in between just resonated with me. ARC provided by authors

  10. 4 out of 5

    Darlene

    I live in a small town in North Florida where Juneteenth is celebrated as the community remembers it took a war and the Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves who lived here, and throughout the South. This outstanding collection celebrates the 19th of June (and if you don't know why that's a holiday, each story explains it), and the brave women and men who were strong in the face of adversity, whether it was a Jim Crow rail car of the late 19th c. or the Freedom Riders of the 1960s. Some of I live in a small town in North Florida where Juneteenth is celebrated as the community remembers it took a war and the Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves who lived here, and throughout the South. This outstanding collection celebrates the 19th of June (and if you don't know why that's a holiday, each story explains it), and the brave women and men who were strong in the face of adversity, whether it was a Jim Crow rail car of the late 19th c. or the Freedom Riders of the 1960s. Some of the stories are Inspirationals, some are straight historical romance (with some sensuality), all are well-written and entertaining. I look forward to reading more from these authors, and applaud them on putting together a very special anthology.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Simone

    Excellent collection of historical romance novellas. My personal favorite was Let It Shine. It's set during Civil Rights and this young woman who has always followed the rules wants to be part of it. She runs into a boy from her past (he's Jewish) and sparks fly. It was steamy and emotional. Stuff happens in a boxing ring. Of course there are issues with race and growing up and moving on from tragedy. I plan on reading more from each of these authors. Excellent collection of historical romance novellas. My personal favorite was Let It Shine. It's set during Civil Rights and this young woman who has always followed the rules wants to be part of it. She runs into a boy from her past (he's Jewish) and sparks fly. It was steamy and emotional. Stuff happens in a boxing ring. Of course there are issues with race and growing up and moving on from tragedy. I plan on reading more from each of these authors.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Philippa Lodge

    Uneven stories. Alyssa Cole's Civil Rights Era one, "Let it Shine" was really good, definitely worth the Rita final! The others were shaky at best. Uneven stories. Alyssa Cole's Civil Rights Era one, "Let it Shine" was really good, definitely worth the Rita final! The others were shaky at best.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    Four great stories with four great couples.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Kumer

    4 Stars

  15. 5 out of 5

    Janine Ballard

    3.8 stars This anthology begins with an informative Foreword by author Beverly Jenkins which details some of the history of the Juneteenth holiday (Among other things, I learned that the celebration takes place on June 19th because that was the day in1865 on which Union Army General Gordon Granger and his troops arrived in Galveston, Texas and read General Order No. 3, which declared the Texas slaves free). Then come the novellas. Amazing Grace by Lena Hart This novella opens in 1852, when Gracie, 3.8 stars This anthology begins with an informative Foreword by author Beverly Jenkins which details some of the history of the Juneteenth holiday (Among other things, I learned that the celebration takes place on June 19th because that was the day in1865 on which Union Army General Gordon Granger and his troops arrived in Galveston, Texas and read General Order No. 3, which declared the Texas slaves free). Then come the novellas. Amazing Grace by Lena Hart This novella opens in 1852, when Gracie, the heroine, is four years old and she and her family escape slavery. Gracie picks up on her mother’s fear of being caught. She also blames herself for her father’s whipping in the hands of an overseer. It isn’t until much later in the novella that we learn why. In the following first chapter, which begins in New York in 1866, Logan Finley sells his horse in preparation for a journey to Colorado, and lodges in an inn owned by African Americans. We quickly learn that Logan, the illegitimate son of a Mexican mother and an Irish American father, fought for the Confederate army during the Civil War. When Logan was sixteen, his father took him away from his mother who remained in Mexico and brought him to his own home, a small tobacco plantation. There Logan learned a new way of life, one that involved “managing servants and slaves.” Outside near his inn, a young woman stands on a stage and sings in honor of the celebration of freedom. She is Gracie, now eighteen, and the moment in which Logan first hears her sing, his emotional response to her voice, is beautifully portrayed. The crowd suddenly grew quiet. Not even the wind dared to rustle a leaf. Logan started back toward his lodging, but he didn’t get far. Her voice. Like a rolling thunder, her voice moved through him with sweet vibrations. It was strong yet ethereal—the kind that myths were made of. The kind that could soothe and nurture any haunted soul. It enchanted and possessed him. And kept him frozen where he stood. Gracie is also about to journey west, in her case, to Montana, where she is contracted to marry a businessman whom she has never met. Robert Whittaker is, like Gracie, a Christian. On their journey, Gracie and another bride named Madeline are to be accompanied by Mrs. Virginia Dobson, a widowed former abolitionist. Parting from her parents, brother, and students is hard for Gracie, but fighting for the Union in the Civil War has left her father disabled, and Mr. Whittaker has settled much-needed money on them in exchange for Gracie’s hand in marriage. On the train west, Gracie, Madeline and Mrs. Dobson encounter Logan, who, unlike others on the train, is polite and friendly. Gracie senses the attraction he feels for her but does her best not to show it. But then circumstances leave the two traveling without other companions, and Gracie’s feelings begin to change. What will Gracie do about her commitment to Mr. Whittaker, and what will happen when she learns about Logan’s past? There’s some touching writing in this novella—I especially liked the prologue in which Gracie’s family escaped, as well as a moving scene between Gracie and her father. Gracie is a sympathetic heroine, caring and self-sacrificing on the one hand yet brave and passionate in her opinions on the other, and I liked her throughout the story. Logan was portrayed in a way that made it possible not to hate him, but I never grew to like him. Though Logan clearly accepted the emancipation of slaves and treated Gracie well, I wasn’t convinced that he fully understood just how wrong owning other human beings had been. He felt in need of redemption, so clearly he intuited it, but at the same time, he never articulated that sense of wrongness in his conversations with Gracie. That may be more believable in terms of his characterization, but it also made it harder to believe Gracie would choose him. This is a partial review. The complete review can be found at Dear Author, here: http://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/ov...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    I really, really liked Alyssa Cole's story in this anthology, partly despite and partly because of its somewhat unfortunate relatability to current events and family history. The first story was okay but not great; I started reading the second but then skipped ahead to the last one. I will probably go back and finish the anthology at some point. I really, really liked Alyssa Cole's story in this anthology, partly despite and partly because of its somewhat unfortunate relatability to current events and family history. The first story was okay but not great; I started reading the second but then skipped ahead to the last one. I will probably go back and finish the anthology at some point.

  17. 4 out of 5

    D

    The Brightest Day I love the stories and the little bits of history that was woven into each chapter. It is always a joy to read a historical romance with African-American characters.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Molly O'keefe

    great anthology! Loved the four different time periods and the inherent conflicts. Alyssa Cole's contribution Let It Shine was spectacular. great anthology! Loved the four different time periods and the inherent conflicts. Alyssa Cole's contribution Let It Shine was spectacular.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    See review at http://romancenovelsforfeminists.blog... See review at http://romancenovelsforfeminists.blog...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Celine

    Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole was by far the best novella in the collection. It was great. All the rest were just okay with Drifting to You by Kianna Alexander being the weakest.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carol Read

    Another AfricanAmerican historical romance anthology! YES! My favorite genre. And by the same four authors contributing to the Daughters of a Nation AfricanAmerican historical romance anthology. First, loved Alyssa Cole. Love her historicals and her modern romances whether novels or novellas. This story - Let It Shine - did not disappoint. A fully fleshed out heroine - who comes into her own during the Civil Rights movement - and reconnects with the hero - after a tragedy eradicated their childho Another AfricanAmerican historical romance anthology! YES! My favorite genre. And by the same four authors contributing to the Daughters of a Nation AfricanAmerican historical romance anthology. First, loved Alyssa Cole. Love her historicals and her modern romances whether novels or novellas. This story - Let It Shine - did not disappoint. A fully fleshed out heroine - who comes into her own during the Civil Rights movement - and reconnects with the hero - after a tragedy eradicated their childhood playmate-ship (yes I know that is not a word. not yet). 5 stars. 5+ stars. This story shone. Kianna Alexander's story, Drifting To You, about two lonely and lovely individuals - traumatized by slavery - whose paths repeatedly intersect as they coast towards and into each other embracing "the freedom of pure, unabashed love". 5 stars. 5+ stars. This is the 2nd Piper Huguley novella I really wanted to like -- two regular people who all of us know and love get together -- but despite revelations and HEA at the end the hero was not redeemed for me. 3.5 stars Lena Hart's Amazing Grace was not amazing or graceful for me. SPOILER ALERT!!!!!! SPOILER ALERT!!!!!! SPOILER ALERT The male character (I refuse to call a former con%ederate soldier and slaveholder a hero) knows who the heroine is and her family history - because she told him even if it was of little consequence or thought for him - and yet he refuses to tell her how they are connected before she gives him her virginity and later backs out of a contract for an arranged marriage to a wealthy older man). I cannot comprehend how the heroine forgives him for his failure to divulge his 'secret' or how the author wants us to accept oh yes they fell in love and all is well in the world. No. No. Nope. Not Ever. Never. Zero stars. Zero.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jenica

    Amazing Grace by Lena Hart has a Confederate soldier hero and I mean, I know it's post war and all that, but like.... I don't want to read a Confederate soldier as a hero? I guess I should be all about redemption, but... Um. Idk, y'all. 2019 is too much for me to be reading Confederate heroes.  Drifting to You by Kianna Alexander is one of those novellas that doesn't work for me because I'm like ??? How did you decide you love each other that fast? It was good and if you can just fill in the blan Amazing Grace by Lena Hart has a Confederate soldier hero and I mean, I know it's post war and all that, but like.... I don't want to read a Confederate soldier as a hero? I guess I should be all about redemption, but... Um. Idk, y'all. 2019 is too much for me to be reading Confederate heroes.  Drifting to You by Kianna Alexander is one of those novellas that doesn't work for me because I'm like ??? How did you decide you love each other that fast? It was good and if you can just fill in the blanks of their history so their story is satisfying, you'll probably really enjoy it. Maybe I was just cranky when I read it?  A Sweet Way to Freedom by Piper Huguley was difficult. I struggle with romances with accidental pregnancy on the best of days, but when you give me one with a hero who doesn't want to take responsibility for much of anything in his life? I'm pretty much checked out before we even really get started. There is not enough groveling IN THE WORLD for that.  Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole is absolutely wonderful and amazing. Essentially it's about a black woman and a Jewish man who grew up together because her mom worked for his. Well, her mom died, and her dad went way too overbearing and really stifled her. But she sees this flyer at church about an activist group for nonviolent sit ins and she goes and who is there but this hot as hell white man. Turns out the white man is her old friend! And the two of them falling in love is freaking everything. Not to mention all the fierce resistance and also, the Civil Rights Movement people were fierce af and we do not appreciate them enough. Like John Lewis is still ALIVE y'all. This was not that long ago. But when I tell you how little I know about this era because it wasn't taught in school, I'm not kidding. I know the big things, right? Like Brown v. Board and Plessy v. Ferguson and Loving v. Virginia, but that's because I'm a lawyer, not because my high school did a good job teaching.  Anyway, I'm going to get off my soap box now because this post is already so long. 

  23. 4 out of 5

    Smut Report

    Heat Factor: Hot, tender, touching, strong, hopeful Character Chemistry: All four couples have undeniable and complicated chemistry. Plot: Four stories of love and hope entwined with Juneteenth–each story set in a slightly different time period, each story SO historically and emotionally vivid. Overall: This is an absolutely phenomenal MUST read — it’s going to hit you right in the “feels” and stay there. Read Ingrid's full review at The Smut Report Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram Heat Factor: Hot, tender, touching, strong, hopeful Character Chemistry: All four couples have undeniable and complicated chemistry. Plot: Four stories of love and hope entwined with Juneteenth–each story set in a slightly different time period, each story SO historically and emotionally vivid. Overall: This is an absolutely phenomenal MUST read — it’s going to hit you right in the “feels” and stay there. Read Ingrid's full review at The Smut Report Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

  24. 5 out of 5

    Get Booked Fans

    Question: Hi, I am trying to read more diverse romances, and I am looking for recommendations. I primarily read historical romances, but I will also read contemporary (my favorite romance authors include Courtney Milan, Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Rose Lerner, Meredith Duran, and Laura Florand). I love Jeannie Lin’s Tang Dynasty romances and would love to find more like them, but have not any success finding any. I have read Beverly Jenkins’ books (excellent, of course). So I am looking for romanc Question: Hi, I am trying to read more diverse romances, and I am looking for recommendations. I primarily read historical romances, but I will also read contemporary (my favorite romance authors include Courtney Milan, Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Rose Lerner, Meredith Duran, and Laura Florand). I love Jeannie Lin’s Tang Dynasty romances and would love to find more like them, but have not any success finding any. I have read Beverly Jenkins’ books (excellent, of course). So I am looking for romances with characters of color, characters who are not Christian, characters with disabilities, etc. Thank you. Recommended by: Sarah MacLean

  25. 5 out of 5

    April Tate

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Great introduction to several authors. I would recommend this book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Em

    Overall good collection of short stories, though the first one was IMO by far the weakest. My favorites were Drifting to You (Kianna Alexander) and Let it Shine (Alyssa Cole).

  27. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    I gave this five stars just for Alyssa Cole's Let it Shine, which was phenomenal. It was definitely the best of the collection, though I found something to enjoy in all the stories. I gave this five stars just for Alyssa Cole's Let it Shine, which was phenomenal. It was definitely the best of the collection, though I found something to enjoy in all the stories.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    Amazing Grace - no, no and also, no. Drifting to You - yes, please, more. A Sweet Way to Freedom - not for me, but maybe for someone else. Let It Shine - yes, yes and yes!

  29. 5 out of 5

    She' M

    Definitely scratched bthat historical romance itch I had. Alyssa Cole's story was my favorite. Followed by Kimani Alexander's. Like I might purchase this collection just for those two. Definitely scratched bthat historical romance itch I had. Alyssa Cole's story was my favorite. Followed by Kimani Alexander's. Like I might purchase this collection just for those two.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Fashionista

    I really enjoyed this anthology. I must say that the last story was my very favorite by Alyssa Cole. The novella by Lena Hart comes in at a close 2nd.

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