Welcome to Book Chat with Julie! This month, I have two recommendations for you that will keep you on the edge of your seat and reading late into the night.
My first recommendation is The bachelor and the bride by Sarah Eden. This is the fourth book in her Dread Penny Society series and although it can be read on its own, you really don’t want to miss a page in this series! This one really takes the suspense to the next level.
Dr. Barnabus Milligan has been part of the Dread Penny Society for many years, doing his best to save women and children from a life on the streets. Unbeknownst to his friends and colleagues, he married Gemma Kincaid three years ago to save her from his crime family. Living together under the same roof didn’t last long, however, when Gemma realized she was in love with her new groom, but he didn’t return her feelings. She left, telling Barnabus if her feelings had ever changed, to ask him to come back. Although his feelings have not changed, Barnabus needs his connections to figure out how to stop the crime wave that is sweeping the town. He asks her to come back and she reluctantly agrees to help him. As they work through the case and get to know each other again, everything Barnabus once believed about his past, future, and feelings for Gemma becomes entangled the longer he is with her. But before he can tell her, danger finds them and the future he is only beginning to glimpse can be snatched away from them.
This is a new twist on a marriage of convenience story that will intrigue readers and keep them glued to the page. Gemma is a hero you can cheer for as she tries to escape the past she was born into and navigate her future with a husband who doesn’t seem to feel anything for her beyond friendship. However, Gemma doesn’t let circumstances get her down, and her knack for finding friends and silver linings was endearing. Their journey to love is cleverly intertwined with the search for The Mastiff couple, a criminal mastermind who is terrorizing London. Mrs. Eden strikes the perfect balance of suspense and romance as the reader is immersed in the world of the Dread Penny Society trying to make a difference for the poor and downtrodden, while staying one step ahead of the wicked and protecting their loved ones. The many layers in this series showcase Ms. Eden’s talents in writing powerful stories that pull readers in and don’t let them down until the last page. And the breathtaking end of The bachelor and the bride will leave you wishing the next book was out already! Sarah Eden fans won’t want to miss this one.
The second recommendation is Sinister Secretsa collection of novels by three thriller writers, Traci Hunter Abramson, Clair Poulson and Paige Edwards.
The first little story is Secrets of Saint Augustine by Traci Hunter Abramson. FBI agent Doug Valdez makes a quick stop to investigate possible money laundering at a boarding school in France before heading on vacation with his family. Something is seriously wrong at school, but he gets no leads, until he finds a thirteen-year-old girl hiding in the back of his car, scared for her life. Layla has a plot to kill her because of a recent inheritance and Doug must not only protect her, but also his wife and daughter. An action-packed thriller from the first to the last page.
The second story is Hunted by Clair M. Poulson. Renn Huitt is a former Army Ranger who is starting from scratch with a new job. His boss, Bob Lyman, received threatening notes and things escalated. Renn must do everything he can to keep his boss alive and help attorney Kimberly Cantor prove her young client innocent of the murder. There’s a lot going on in this short story, but true crime fans will appreciate the fast pace and detailed cases.
The third story is In full view by Paige Edward. Cody meets Jaclyn at a coffee shop before reporting to her new job at the FBI. He makes an impression on her, so when they meet later in the hostage rescue training session, it’s inevitable that they’ll get to know each other better. But Cody is soon sent undercover with a drug cartel and Jaclyn accidentally finds herself caught up in the investigation and becomes a target. Cody rushes to protect her while bringing down a cartel and readers will flip through the pages to see how it all ends!
Suspense fans will love this tension-filled collection that will keep you guessing until all is finally revealed!
Behind the Scenes – A Conversation with Sarah Eden
Sarah Eden is one of my favorite authors and I’ve loved discussing books with her, especially her latest novel and what’s coming soon! If you want to know more about our conversation, you can connect to my Book Chat with Julie podcast.
Here’s what she had to say about The bachelor and the bride.
Julia: Both Barnabus and Gemma have difficult backgrounds that influence how they see the world and how they view themselves. Their romance is definitely a twist on a marriage of convenience and it was fascinating to watch how they dealt with the emotions of the past while trying to build a future for themselves. What do you remember of these two characters from an author’s point of view? Would you ever consider writing their prequel story?
Sarah: One thing that I love about these characters, but that was also a struggle, is that their failed marriage didn’t result in resentment or harsh feelings towards each other. I had to figure out what concerned them as people and the circumstances of their marriage would allow for that “heartbroken but lovable” connection after the separation. I wanted it to ring true, to make sense for them to see themselves like this despite everything that had happened. And I needed to figure out what it would take for them to finally have their happy connection without having to completely change who they were.
As for writing a prequel, I’m not sure I would. After all, it doesn’t end well. I think readers would find it a bit disappointing to see these characters fail to build a life together and the story to end with both a feeling of abandonment, disappointment and loneliness.
Julia: Is your central villain, The Mastiff, based on anyone?
Sarah: No one in particular. I read a lot about Victorian era criminal masterminds, how they operated and what crimes they were involved in. And I spent a lot of time researching the behavior and motivations of these types of criminals. The Mastiff was born out of all this.
Julia: There are some truly jaw-dropping moments in The Bachelor and the Bride. Without revealing spoilers, which scene did you prefer to write?
Sarah: I don’t know if I can answer this without spoilers. There were three scenes in particular that I liked to write, but all three are huge spoilers. I will say this, one of those scenes required me to try my hand at some very weird kind of carpentry.
Julia: The Bachelor and the Bride is the fourth book in the series. How many additional books are planned?
Sarah: There will be five in total, so one more!
Julia: When is your next book coming out?
Sarah: My next release is “The Best Intentions”, which is set in the late 1810s among a group of best friends known to society as “The Huntress”. It’s the start of a whole new series, and the story revolves around an ever-expanding house party, a legacy that’s not what it seems, and a hopelessly hidden secret. . It will hit shelves on November 22.
Thank you so much for joining me for our book talk today. These books are just what you’ll need for thrilling reading this month!
The bachelor and the bride by Sarah Eden published by Covenant Communications, 304 pages, available in softcover, audio and ebook.
Sinister Secrets by Traci Hunter Abramson, Clair Poulson and Paige Edwards, published by Covenant Communications, 304 pages, available in softcover, audio and ebook.
After winning $10 in a sophomore writing contest, Julie Coulter Bellon knew she wanted to be a published author someday. This dream has come true and she is now the author of around thirty books. She is also a podcast host for Authors Off the Page and Book Chat with Julie.