Author Rachel Fordham has written a lovely historical Christian romance with her soon to be released Where the Road Bends. This captivating novel had me turning pages until I devoured this masterpiece in one sitting. It is engaging, emotional, and has timeless life lessons. There were twists I thought would happen but did not. Other things surprised me. I really loved this. It is my favorite one by author Fordham, and I have read all of her books.
Set in 1880 Iowa, this is the story of Norah King. The book begins with her engaged to an older man in order to save her family farm. Her parents have died, and with just Norah to maintain it, the bank is threatening foreclosure.
It is also the tale of Quincy Barnes. He stumbles into Norah’s life battered and bleeding. She is determined to nurse him back to life, but what will her fiancé say or the townspeople? This is a gritty story of redemption, forgiveness, truth, and second chances. It is a love story about true love.
Author Fordham has carefully crafted a multi-layered story with characters that stole my heart. They were realistic with quirks and flaws. The hero, tall, handsome, and caring who wants to make his sweetheart’s dreams come true, is my new literary crush. The villain is despicable. A young scamp is adorable, and an elderly matron is perfect as a substitute mother.
Author Fordham is a master wordsmith. She takes words and exquisitely weaves them into a beautiful tapestry of an engaging, captivating story. Her story is filled with many things to ponder and is still lingering in my mind. It is well researched, organized, and easy to follow. At the end are Discussion Questions for those in a reading group or wanting to dig deeper.
I highly recommend this novel. It receives a 5 star rating from this reader. A copy was provided by NetGalley, but these are my honest words.
Rachel Fordham never disappoints when I read one of her masterfully crafted novels. She is an expert wordsmith and storyteller. I appreciate the time she puts into researching the history and material because I always glean some new information while reading her exquisite tales.
A Lady in Attendance was another brilliantly written story. I was intrigued by the prologue and invested before the first chapter ended. This 326 page book is the story of Hazel McDowell. After serving a short sentence in prison for a crime she did not commit, she is released and seeks work as a dental assistant or what is know as A Lady in Attendance in the late 1800s. Young dentist Gilbert Watts has heard about these assistants and wants to hire one for his practice. The problem is that all of the girls are more interested in him than the job. That is until Hazel.
This is such a unique story. The characters are realistic and believable. I loved how their romance started slowly with an intellectual, caring attraction first. Author Fordham is an expert at romance stories. Hers are absolutely swoon worthy. Each novel contains at least one inspirational and one timeless life lesson. In this tale I found a beautiful illustration of forgiveness and redemption.
There is something for every reader in this riveting read. Whether you enjoy romance, history, mystery, intrigue, humor or inspiration, you will be pleased with A Lady in Attendance. It would be a fabulous choice for a book club. There is much to discuss. I highly recommend it. It gets a 5 out of 5 stars from me. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest words.
About the Book
Book: A Lady in Attendance
Author: Rachel Fordham
Release date: June 1, 2021
Will the Past Destroy Her Future?
Ada, Mi.—Rachel Fordham’s historical novels have received high praise for their warm and engaging story lines filled with romance, adventure, and happy endings. In A Lady in Attendance, Fordham beautifully blends these same great features in a novel about overcoming obstacles in the past to make room for a better future.
After spending the last five years in a New York state reformatory, Hazel is desperate to begin life anew, but she knows that a tarnished name could ruin her chances. She accepts a job as Doctor Gilbert Watts’ lady in attendance but does so under an alias so she can hide her shameful past.
Dr. Watts has come to enjoy the pleasant chatter of his new dental assistant, but he senses her sadness and wonders if there is more to her story than she’s shared with him. As their friendship deepens, Hazel must grapple with her desire to trust him.
Can Dr. Watts and Hazel’s friends help expunge her record? And can Hazel possibly find hope and love along the way?
Rachel Fordham is the author of The Hope of Azure Springs, Yours Truly, Thomas, and A Life Once Dreamed. Fans expect stories with heart, and she delivers, diving deep into the human experience and tugging at reader emotions. She loves connecting with people, traveling to new places, and daydreaming about future projects that will have sigh-worthy endings and memorable characters. She is a busy mom, raising both biological and foster children (a cause she feels passionate about). She lives with her husband and children on an island in the state of Washington.
More from Rachel
Ten behind the scenes extras from A Lady in Attendance:
This book takes place in Amherst and Buffalo New York, places I lived for four years. Buffalo has had some rough years but if you ever visit the area you will see gorgeous old buildings, beautiful parks and cemeteries and understand why it was once a booming and prosperous city (and why I love it still). Gilbert and Hazel both grew up in the area (though, they did not know each other until the story begins). Two of my children were born in Buffalo and though they aren’t being raised there, I tell them stories.
Hazel spent five years in a New York State reformatory. Reformatories were basically the first juvenile delinquent facilities (the ages of who could be sentenced there was different from today). Reformatories were a new idea. There were still a lot of people who believed in “bad blood” and that a criminal could never be anything but a criminal. There were some heroes who fought hard to convince the public, that people could change. Because of this book’s storyline, I could not go too deeply into this subject, but it is fascinating!
Gilbert Watts is this book’s leading man. I gave up on being able to use the name Gilbert on one of my own kids and instead gave it to a character. I adore the name Gilbert and everything about this character, hope you do too!
There is a joke at the end of the book about a graveyard (don’t worry, it’s not scary) and it’s a nod to my mom who used to use this joke on us every time we passed a cemetery. I really love sneaking in things into my stories that will make my kids, family and friends smile when they read it. I often think of my books as love letters from me to others and the best kind of love letters are personal.
My husband is a dentist and as a result, we tend to notice dentist in media. They are often portrayed as villains or comic relief. I decided it would be my goal to write a romantic dentist that would change the image in readers minds.
Gilbert tells Hazel that being a dentist is really being an artist. When my husband was first trying to decide on a career path, he shadowed a dentist. He didn’t really think it would be for him, but he was open to exploring options. He came home and told me that the cool thing about dentistry was that you were essentially making art that was functional, every day. Little sculptures that helped people eat and smile better. Gilbert from the book is very different from my husband, but it was fun sneaking in little pieces of him in there.
One of my favorite scenes from this book take place at a corn husking. There is a tradition that says, if a red ear of corn is found, the finder gets a kiss. Sigh, I love that scene!
Without always meaning to, my books end up having messages woven into them. I believe one of the messages in A Lady in Attendance is forgiveness. In this case, it’s forgiving of one’s self. I believe this message is one that we all need at some point in our lives (or many points!).
My books are coming out in a different order than they were written in. I actually wrote this book before Yours Truly, Thomas and after A Life Once Dreamed. This story has been waiting a long time to be in print! During that time, it has been reshaped in little ways. It gained a prologue and lost an epilogue, it was tamed down in places and intensified in others, but the heart of it has always been the same!
One last piece of A Lady in Attendance trivia—several of my books have had their titles changed. It’s part of the writing process. The books get a working title and later a title that the rest of the world knows it by. The Hope of Azure Springs was originally just Azure Springs. Yours Truly, Thomas was originally Dear, Azure Springs. A Life Once Dreamed was originally The Belle of Penance. A Lady in Attendance began as A Lady in Attendance and stayed A Lady in Attendance. Not only is this title fitting because dental assistants were knowns by this or as an attending lady, but also because Hazel wrestles with her worth. In a society that believes a mistake made once can leave a mark forever, it takes the right eyes and open heart to realize that there truly is a lady in attendance.
To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy of A Lady in Attendance as well as A Life Once Dreamed by Rachel Fordham, a signed bookplate, book swag, and a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
This was an absolutely spectacular book. I devoured it from cover to cover in one evening. Yes, I stayed up all night just to finish this beautiful tale of love, intrigue, mystery, family, secrets, and honesty. Author Rachel Fordham has a talent which can only be given by our maker. Her skill is heavenly.
From the beginning I was invested in this book. “One hundred percent, let those dishes pile up, no I don’t want to watch television, sorry I forgot to fix dinner, tell her I will call her back” invested. The book had me mesmerized and I was trapped willingly in Azure Springs. Pages flipped and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. There is mystery, romance, adventure, a lovable rambunctious standard poodle, and a cast of quirky characters. Characters from other Azure Springs books spring up and I was thrilled. I would ask my husband “Oh, guess who just came to visit Penny?” He would good heartedly play along and send his best wishes.
The author has researched her subject well. This is a brilliant idea for a book. I was able to learn something about the Dead Letter Office. There is scripture, prayer, and references to God. I love this, too. If your classification is Christian fiction, put the Christians in the book, please. The big old lovable unruly dog was a very sweet part of the story.
The writing was exemplary. I felt like I was back in Azure Springs among old friends and making new ones. Conversations flowed gently and naturally. They never seemed rushed, but very authentic. The bad guys were very bad and easy to dislike. There are twists and turns to keep you on your toes and your interest piqued until the very last page.
All while reading this sure to be an award winning book, I kept thinking, this would be the best movie. It really would with the unique story, big muddy dog running amok, a quaint town with unique individuals, and mysteries. I kept changing the cast as I continued to read. Faces finally came together with characters and voila, I was ready to rally for a movie. I bet you will be, too. Let me know who your pick would be for some of the celebrities to play people from this book. I would love to hear.
Yes, I highly recommend this book to anyone. I rated this literary jewel 5 out of 5 stars. I was provided a copy from the publisher but was under no obligation to write a review. These are my own, honest words.
About the Book:
For three years, Penny Ercanbeck has been opening other people’s mail. Dead ends are a reality for clerks at the Dead Letter Office. Still she dreams of something more–a bit of intrigue, a taste of romance, or at least a touch less loneliness. When a letter from a brokenhearted man to his one true love falls into her hands, Penny seizes this chance to do something heroic. It becomes her mission to place this lost letter into the hands of its intended recipient.
Thomas left his former life with no intention of ending up in Azure Springs, Iowa. He certainly didn’t expect a happy ending after what he had done. All he wanted to do was run and never look back. In a moment of desperation, he began to write, never really expecting a reply.
When Penny’s undertaking leads her to the intriguing man who touched her soul with his words, everything grows more complicated. She wants to find the rightful owner of the letter and yet she finds herself caring–perhaps too much–for the one who wrote it.
About the Author:
Rachel Fordham has long been fascinated by all things historical or in the words of her children “old stuff”. Often the historical trivia she discovers is woven into her children’s bedtime tales. Despite her love for good stories she didn’t attempt writing a novel until her husband challenged her to do so (and now she’s so glad he did). Since that time she’s often been found typing or researching while her youngest child naps or frantically writing plot twists while she waits in the school pick-up line. In addition to her passion for storytelling she enjoys reading, being outdoors and seeing new places. Rachel lives with her husband and children on an island in Washington state.
The Hope of Azure Springs is the debut novel by author Rachel Fordham. This Christian historical romance fiction has a lovely cover that is captivating. The 336 pages are packed with mystery, life lessons, emotions, light romance and dotted with humor.
This is the tale of Em. As the book opens she has suffered a gunshot wound and presents a mystery. Caleb is the gallant Sheriff. They are thrown together to solve the mystery of who shot Em and why. These two characters are extremely well defined, carry quite a bit of emotional baggage, and are very easy to like. It is not hard to get drawn into their story. I was invested within the first chapter.
The secondary characters are not all as well defined. Some have great details and are then forgotten. I wanted to hear more about them. The dialogue for the most part flowed smoothly but there were times it sounded a little stiff or too modern.
The story itself was well thought, but at times the writing felt a bit choppy. At one point I thought the book was over and it still have a few chapters to go. The next chapters enhanced the story but easily could have been the beginning of a Book Two.
The author does a great job relating emotions in her writing. I could feel the emotional roller coaster that Em was on. Many times I teared up or cheered while reading this. The banter between Em and Caleb always put a smile on my face. Both characters grew a lot throughout the story.
The spiritual content was there but extremely light. Speaking about prayer and God’s goodness was the only thing I caught, and I do not remember any comments about redemption or salvation. However, following the story were discussion questions! For me that is a biggie. If a book club or group is reading a book, it is nice to have questions. This one has that nicely covered.
I liked the story and will pick up the next book penned by author Fordham. Anyone who enjoys historical romantic fiction will want to read it. The life lessons, gossiping, inner and outer beauty, and helping other are ones good for teenagers and up. I rated this a 4 out of 5 stars and definitely recommend it.