Wednesday, February 2, 2022

DEAR BETH by Alyssa Schwarz, Reviews by Trixi and Nicole PLUS #Interview

Amidst the backdrop of a small town's quirky Valentine's Day tradition, Beth must decide if she is finally ready to risk her heart again with the man she once loved.

First of all, I HAD to find out if the Valentines re-mailing program was a real thing because what an awesome idea. Sure enough, I looked it up on the web and it IS real!! You can even buy an inscribed valentine card to send to your sweetheart or to others in the US. I love the idea of sending a special card via snail mail, we just don't do it enough anymore!

“You never know what God has waiting for you around the corner, but you have to be willing to look in order to find out what that is. ~Letter from a friend”

Okay so on to my review of this lovely book! I read Alyssa's debut The Glass Cottage and enjoyed it so much that I jumped at the chance to read another one of her stories. Was there anything I didn’t love about this? Absolutely not! The delightful characters...yes even those well-meaning matchmaker octogenarians Mavis, Edith, Irma, Harvey and Ed add their own special charm to an already charming love story. Beth is like a daughter to each one of them, and their misguided attempt to set her up with every eligible bachelor in town is for her best interest...or so they think! After all they only want the best for her, even if she gets exasperated at their meddling. However, she thwarts their well-intentioned plans by claiming to be dating Tye Prescott, who's back in town after three years. A second chance romance and a fake relationship story? Count me in double! These two are hilarious together, seriously one of the cutest fictional couples I've gotten to know. But then when real sparks fly and the old attraction to each other rekindles the fire, that's where the real romance story begins. There's also a more serious side to this when they both have to face some hard truths about the big break-up years ago. Working through the muck of the past will either glue them closer together or tear them apart even more.

I also absolutely love the quotes before each chapter, they certainly add to the story even more. If you're any kind of romance fan, I think you'll fall in love with this story of second chances and charming characters! There's also a good faith thread throughout that Christian fiction readers will find uplifting and encouraging.

P.S. The author even includes a recipe for Beth's favorite kind of hot chocolate with homemade raspberry marshmallows at the end!
*I received a complimentary copy from the author and was not obligated to leave a favorable review. All opinions are mine alone. *

“He believed in second chances, believed God brought him back here for a reason. He only hoped it wasn’t too late to make things right with Beth.”

Author Alyssa Schwarz’s latest contemporary romance, Dear Beth, captivates her readers with a heartwarming tale of the power of true love and second chances through God’s never-ending love and grace. Her debut novel, The Glass Cottage, earned a place on my Top 10 Books of 2021, and with this prequel novella, Alyssa Schwarz has become one of my must-read authors.

Dear Beth incorporates the real-life Valentine’s Day tradition of the Loveland, Colorado valentine re-mailing program that people all over the world can participate in. This event has been going on for over 75 years, and the author shared that there is even up to a 10 year wait-list to become a stamper.

The letters penned in Dear Beth bring back a beautiful sense of nostalgia as letter writing has become almost a lost art in the 21st century with email, social media, and smartphones easily accessible for instant communication. With well-developed characters and a handsome hero to fall in love with, readers will be be rooting for Tye Prescott and Beth to get their happily-ever after. I can’t wait to read more of the Prescott Family romance series.

Dear Beth is highly recommended for fans of inspirational contemporary romance, especially for readers who enjoy novels by authors such as Denise Hunter, Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg, and Susan May Warren.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.

Back Cover Blurb:
After finishing his veterinarian training, Tye Prescott is back in Colorado and ready to give his relationship with Beth another chance, only she's made it very clear she wants nothing to do with him.
Beth Walsh is a hopeless romantic, except when it comes to her own love life. In her opinion, love is best left to the storybooks. But when a few nosy octogenarians decide to play matchmaker, she grasps for the only excuse she can think of to avoid another set up.
Set against the backdrop of Loveland's historic Valentine's Day letter re-mailing program, Tye and Beth must work together to convince the town of their rekindled romance. But Tye has his own plans of winning back the woman who got away.
Might it finally be time for Beth to risk her heart again?

January, 2022
Available in digital ebook and paperback at Amazon


Deb: Hi Alyssa! We're so happy to have you back! How did you learn about the Valentine's Day Letter tradition, and can you explain a bit more about it?

Alyssa: When I was little, my grandma used to mail all her Valentine's Day cards to Loveland so everyone in the family received a letter with the town's special Valentine's Day cancellation stamp on the envelope. She kept this tradition up every year, and it was always something I looked forward to. Now, my mom and I have continued the tradition as a way to keep the family connected and to honor my grandma's memory.

This year, Loveland, CO (Known as the "Sweetheart City") will be celebrating 76 years of their Valentine letter re-mailing program. The tradition was started back in the late 1940's when Loveland's postmaster, Elmer Ivers, received a few dozen letters requesting the Loveland ("Love"-land) postmark as a creative way to celebrate the holiday. He liked the idea so much, he partnered with the Loveland stamp club and the owner of the local Rialto Theatre to begin their own Valentine re-mailing program, complete with its own cancelation stamp. Every year, the design changes to include a new locally-submitted drawing and poem. Today, this program sees over 100,000 valentines from over 110 countries (spanning from Denmark, to China, to Japan) and employs 50 volunteers every year to sort and stamp all the letters.

To learn more or participate in this fun tradition, check out this link to a local news release about this year's events:

Deb: That is really sweet! No wonder you wanted to write about it! Tell me, how has writing a second book or novella in this series felt differently than working on a debut?

Alyssa: This novella was a lot of fun to write, and I loved getting to research and learn more about some of my home-state's quirky traditions. When I wrote my debut novel last year, that was the only thing I was working on. Having never published something before, I didn't realize how much time I would spend on editing, marketing, and design, but there is always something new to learn!

Deb: (sighs) Yes. I think readers are beginning to understand how much of being an author extends past 'writing'! If you wrote a single time-line, do you think you'd go with contemporary or historical settings?

Alyssa: Aside from The Glass Cottage, the rest of the Prescott Family Romance series will have a contemporary setting. I do have a few other ideas in the works once this series is completed, and they may include a historical setting or two.

Deb: Wonderful news for your readers! Thanks so much for visiting with us, and best wishes for this great series and all to come!

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