Monday, August 22, 2011

Love By the Book



A sweeping love story set in a lavish seaside mansion in 1901 Rhode Island.

Melinda Hollister is a society lady, intent on finding a rich husband before her peers discover he quickly diminishing wealth. Nick Bryson is all business, focused on making a name for himself in his father's steamship line. Despite the marriage of their siblings, they rarely gave each other a second glance -- until a tragic accident results in Melinda and Nick being appointed as co-guardians of their three-year-old daughter.

In order to get better acquainted with Nell and one another, Melinda and Nick agree to spend the summer in their own private quarters of the Bryson family vacation home, Summerhill. As their love for Nell grows, so does their attraction to each other. And for the first time in their lives, they sense that God has a bigger plan in motion.

Yet old habits die hard -- and Melinda and Nick each find it difficult to resist the pull of their former worlds.

When the unthinkable happens, they find themselves faced with seemingly impossible choices and a new understanding of God's true love.

My Review:

This is my favourite of the Ladies of Sumerhill series. I am by turns fascinated and appalled by the Gilded Age -- the opulent wealth, the snobbery, the sheer shallowness of the society --  and James writes that era so well. But she gives it a heart through her cleverly casted characters.

Melinda intrigued me the most. She grows from a product of that society into a young woman of promise. And it's that growth that gives this novel substance. Melinda has enough endearing qualities -- love for the Lord, the ability to acknowledge her weaknesses, a willing heart for change all combined with an exuberance for life -- that helped me identify with her despite her shallow pursuits at the beginning of the book. After all, she has been a product of her upbringing and has known little else. I loved watching her question society's standards, take on a mothering role to her niece and delve into bible discussions with her missionary friend , all of which prompted her to slowly make the changes in her life that lead to maturity. She really does grow from girl to womanhood in these pages. And it's a rewarding read.

By contrast, Nick is staid and steady, dedicated to business and family, though he has trouble juggling the two. He's constantly in a battle of wills with his father and that makes him all the more serious. He definitely needs someone like Melinda to brighten up his life. Of course he doesn't realize it at first! Just as she doesn't realize that some of Nick's 'stuffiness' would be a good counterbalance to her frivolity.

James weaves a heart-warming tale that has some surprisingly suspenseful twists but all ends well in a happily-ever-after.

Giveaway Opportunity:

If you would like to win a copy of Love By the Book  by Cara Lynn James, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. Draw will be held on Sunday August 28. Open internationally.


  1. One's own private quarters in the same house usually spell trouble in a male/female relationship. I would love to win a copy as I've not read a book by Cara.

    Linda at:
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  2. You're in for a treat, Linda. Good luck!

  3. This looks like a great book. I would love to win this. This book looks amazing. Thanks for the chance to win this.


  4. Cara captured me with her very first novel, and I've been anxious to read another one ever since. Please sign me up! :o)

    southernsassythings at gmail dot com

  5. Hey Rebecca and Christy -- good luck!

  6. I loved Cara's first novel. I have to agree with what you said about the Gilded Age, it both fascinates and appalls me too.

    mchapman (at) windstream (dot) net

  7. I'm already rooting for Melinda and Nick. I think it's even more endearing when a baby or young child is involved. I have a hunch the tot is going to teach the adults how to love with abandon and also to appreciate the carelessness of youth. Thank you for the chance :)


  8. I would love to be entered in this giveaway! I read Cara's first novel as well and it was quite interesting. Love the age that she writes about.


  9. Hello!! I would love the chance to win this book!! Sounds like a great read!!


  10. Michelle -- I know!!! And what gets me is that being rich is relatively new to them. Usually just a generation or so away. You'd think they'd remember what it was like to struggle but nope -- they just exalted themselves instead. Grrrrr!

    NS -- You're right. Little Nell does provide opportunities to bring them together. :-)

    Charity - If you liked Love on a Dime, you'll like this one as well!

    Esther, it is a great read -- good luck!

  11. I've not heard of James before. This does sound like a fun, yet telling story. What an interesting title too!

  12. Hi Eileen -- yes it's a catchy title and matches the others in the series, Love on a Dime and Love by Assignment. Great cover picture too. Good luck in the draw!

  13. Hi, Kav! Sorry for leaving a second comment on this post, but I have an award for you!

  14. Sign me up! I would love to win a copy of Love By The Book! The book sounds like fun! I love it when a couple are thrown into an awkward situtation and grow in love. :)

    srstormo at yahoo dot com

  15. This book sounds great. I have not read books in the Gilded Age yet nor have I read any by Cara Lynn James. Sign me up. Thanks.

    sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

  16. Hey Christy -- thanks so much for the blog award! And good luck on the draw!

    Salena -- Consider yourself signed up!

    Amy -- good luck!

  17. I so enjoy reading your reviews, Kav. You should hire out as a synopsis writer? :)

  18. Hey Sandra -- that would be great...if there is such a niche in the writing world. LOL.

  19. I read the first one and want to read the next two. I would love to enter for this contest
    ausjenny at gmail dot com

  20. thanks for the chance to read this wonderful novel :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  21. Good luck Ausjenny!

    Your welcome, Karen -- good luck

    You too Anna -- argh I wish I could give everyone a copy!!!!

  22. Love by the Book sounds like a lovely story with great heroine. I'd love to win it! :)

    worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

  23. Here's hoping you win, Merry!

  24. Sounds like a great read. I would love the opportunity to win a copy of this book as I have yet to read a book by Cara Lynn James.

    Thanks for the opportunity to enter your giveaway.

    zabook at tpg dot com dot au