“I was told that one never owns a cameo. One wears and enjoys it, but one is its custodian, preserving and protecting it for those who come after.”
Cameo Courtships takes readers on an incredible journey back to the 1800s, where an extraordinary cameo gifted by Queen Victoria is passed on through the generations of the Newton family, beginning with Letitia Newton. This family heirloom is thought to bring love and adventure to each person who wears it. Cameo Courtships is a captivating story of family, faith, and finding true love that readers of historical fiction will thoroughly enjoy.
This collection of four novellas by Susanne Dietze, Jennifer Uhlarik, Kathleen Y’Barbo, and Debra E. Marvin is well researched, and the similar writing style of the four authors makes Cameo Courtships even more satisfying to read. The storylines flow together seamlessly, and readers will enjoy seeing beloved family members play a part in each of novellas. Cameo Courtships takes place over a 50-year period as different generations of women in the Newton family experience fascinating adventures throughout Pittsburgh, the Colorado Territory, and New Orleans.
Cameo Courtships is recommended for readers of historical fiction and readers who enjoyed The Christmas Heirloom by Kristi Ann Hunter, Karen Witemeyer, Sarah Loudin Thomas, and Becky Wade, which is another novella collection about an heirloom piece of jewelry being passed down through the generations.
“Your life is a gift and an adventure. Trust God to know what He has in store for you next, even when you cannot see.”
“That was the true gift of the cameo, wasn’t it? To wear it as a reminder that she was loved and supported while she trod the path of God’s choosing.”
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.
Cameo Courtships is a wonderful collection of novellas centered around a cameo that is a treasured family heirloom passed to four different women. Each of the authors in this collection has done a fantastic job of creating unique stories to showcase the cameo. I loved how the cameo tied the stories together.
Pinned Above Her Heart by Susanne Dietze told the story of Clara Newton and her friend Byron Breaux who work together to try to solve a smuggling crime involving Clara’s family. They each want to write a story about the case to help their careers along but find that collaboration helps with the case and their attraction to each other. I enjoyed the interaction between these two characters.
Taming Petra by Jennifer Uhlarik finds Petra wearing trousers and in possession of the cameo. She has no intention of wearing it, but when it disappears, she need Reverend Owens to help her get it back. This is an imaginative and interesting twist to the history of the cameo.
Meet Me at the Fair by Kathleen Y’Barbo pits two Pinkertons against each other. Ethan Butler is trying to locate Elizabeth Newton to deliver the cameo, but trying to get it to her runs into some difficulties. By this story, I’m beginning to wonder whether the tradition of falling in love while in possession of the cameo is worth all the trouble it causes!
Lending My Heart by Debra E. Marvin takes place in Pittsburgh in 1895. Roberta Hart has her eye on the job of director of the new Carnegie Library’s children’s department. When Scottish Russell Smart arrives to be the administrator of the library, sparks start to fly. The interaction between Bertie and Russell was great fun, and the obvious research by the author into the background of the Carnegie Libraries and the setting in Pittsburgh added such interest to the story. And who can resist a Scottish hero? Not me, and certainly not Bertie!
I thoroughly enjoyed the collaboration by the authors of these novellas in creating a fun backstory for the collection. Each story was well-researched and the stories work well together. It was fun to see some of the characters from one story pop up in another one. I would recommend this to those who enjoy historical fiction novellas.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Barbour Publishing/NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
Back Cover Blurb:
A Family Heirloom Inspires Romance
In 1851, a special cameo is gifted by Queen Victoria to Letitia Newton, who though considered an old maid, meets the perfect gentleman minutes after donning. Told by the Queen the cameo is to be shared, Letitia gifts the "Victoria Cameo" to a woman in her family, hoping adventure and romance will follow each of its subsequent wearers.
PINNED ABOVE HER HEART by Susanne Dietze
1851 – Pittsburgh, PA
After receiving the Victoria Cameo, aspiring journalist Clara Newton works to expose a smuggler, but reporter Byron Breaux must break the story first or lose his job. Working together is out of the question until they learn secrets that threaten Clara’s father. . .and her heart.
TAMING PETRA by Jennifer Uhlarik
1875 – Colorado Territory
Trouser-wearing frontierswoman Petra Jayne Hollingsworth has no intention of donning the heirloom cameo, but when a crooked brothel owner steals the treasure, securing its return becomes Petra’s highest priority. Assisting her, Reverend Dustin Owens is appalled to learn the price of its ransom is that Petra must work in the brothel. He may save the woman’s virtue, but can he help Petra regain her cameo and rediscover her faith?
MEET ME AT THE FAIR by Kathleen Y’Barbo
Spring 1885 – New Orleans during the 1884 World’s Fair and Cotton Exposition
It takes a Pinkerton to find a Pinkerton, and Ethan Butler has been charged with finding Elizabeth Newton. Just when he locates her, the cameo he is to deliver is stolen. It appears his previous case has discovered his presence in New Orleans, but he can’t return to that case until the cameo is found. With Miss Newton as a reluctant partner in crime fighting, can Ethan Butler locate the cameo and its thieves without losing his heart?
LENDING MY HEART by Debra E. Marvin
1895 – Pittsburgh, PA
The arrival of a handsome Scottish administrator ruins Miss Bertie Hart’s dream to oversee the new Carnegie Library children’s department. Yet bristly Mr. Russell Smart’s working-class determination and his love of books make him the perfect partner to better the lives of Pittsburgh’s poor. As for a partner in life? Not even her Victoria Cameo can narrow the social chasm he and her father keep between them.
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