Hearts of Briarwall

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Pub Date 02 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 16 Aug 2022

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London and the countryside of Albury, England, 1906

Lydia Wooding can hardly keep up with all the inventions the new century has brought. She’s particularly fond of the petrol motor car, a luxury that fuels her longing for independence. Her older brother and guardian, Andrew, however, refuses her frequent requests to learn to drive. He’s been extra protective of Lydia after their parents were killed in a motor car accident, and he’d prefer his sister focus her attention on finding a suitable husband.

Lydia and her three best friends anticipate they’ll all get married someday, and they certainly enjoy the attention they receive from their coterie of suitors. But settling down is hardly a priority for any of them when there is so much life to experience. Inspired by the play Peter Pan, which they all saw on the London stage, and its promise of everlasting fun and adventure, the young women vow to seize the day and pursue all that life has to offer, including engaging in meaningful causes like the upcoming, and controversial, women’s suffrage march.

Spencer Hayes is a man of practicality, purpose, and innovation, but he lacks the financial backing to make his dreams a reality. When he contacts his childhood friend, Andrew Wooding, about a promising business venture, he is happy to be invited to Briarwall Estate to discuss the terms. Once there, he is surprised to find that Andrew’s shy, younger sister, Lydia, has grown into a young woman of beauty, wit, and a bit of fire. Even better, the two share a passion for motor cars.

Torn between his dream for the future and pursuing a relationship with a passionate, free-spirited woman intent on creating her own future, Spencer must figure out how to protect his head and his heart from Lydia who is determined to live life to the fullest—and change the world in the process.
London and the countryside of Albury, England, 1906

Lydia Wooding can hardly keep up with all the inventions the new century has brought. She’s particularly fond of the petrol motor car, a luxury...

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Featured Reviews


This was an interesting book, with a fun storyline. It was a great story and the characters were interesting. with depths to them. I'll be reading more from Krista Jensen.

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Hearts of Briarwall by Krista Jensen a great historical fiction that has it all: romance, history, and a wonderful, enjoyable plot.

I really enjoyed this novel that takes place in England at the turn of the 20th century. 1906 was a time that society was on the cusp of change. So many inventions, war on the horizon around a decade later, and societal shifts beginning to take root.

I enjoyed The Wendy League, a group of young women that were fun, respectful, loyal, but yet were smart and wanted more for themselves “in a man’s world”. I liked the nods to Peter Pan throughout the book as well. All four girls (Lydia, Ruby, Florie, and Violet) are excellent characters in their own rights and would make a lovely main character in subsequent books. I also enjoyed their interest and involvement with Women’s Rights and Suffrage. That theme could easily be continued on as well.

I really liked Lydia Wooding and Spencer Hayes. Both come to the table with heartbreaks and losses in their pasts. Both are likable, realistic, and when paired together, their opposite personalities seem to pair well and they bring out the best in one another. I enjoyed the slow burn relationship and romance that developed.

I also enjoyed the progression of the characters, including Andrew, as the book continues on. Seeing positive changes and improvements is always a pleasure.

5/5 stars

Thank you NG and Shadow Mountain Publishing for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 8/2/22.

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A fun, insightful story of living with change and loss
What an entertaining story exploring how society’s changes could impact individual lives. Lydia had been orphaned at the age of six. Her brother Andrew was fourteen at the time of their parents’ death in an automobile accident. Having no close relatives, a neighbor was appointed as guardian with him hiring staff, nannies, governesses to raise the children in their childhood home. Now Lydia is almost twenty-one years old and has accepted her parents’ deaths but Andrew still struggles based on a secret he has kept from Lydia. When Andrew’s longtime friend, Spencer, arrives things start to shift. Spencer needs funding for a business venture but it will require not only Spencer but Andrew to face ghosts and secrets from their past. Add in an attraction that soon grows between Spencer and Lydia but is complicated by Andrew’s and all interactions take on new meanings. A very fulfilling read as you watch wonderful characters struggle and grow. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the copy. This is my review and all thoughts are my own.

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I got an arc from Netgalley. I absolutely loved this book. The characters are raw and real, i felt like i was feeling their emotions right along with them. Great sibling and friend dynamics. Funny and sweet, a perfect read on a chilly afternoon.

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"Hearts of Briarwall" was an unexpectedly good discovery!

I'm not overly fond of cars, and I prefer the Regency to the Edwardian epoch, yet I have been utterly transported into early 20th-century England at the time of the Second Industrial Revolution and I loved it!

Lydia Wooding is a young girl firmly rooted in her epoch: a motorcar-lover and a suffragette, she is a decidedly modern person who wants to make the most of the independence that is, more than ever before, within her reach. Surrounded by her three smart, perceptive and loyal friends, Florie, Violet and Ruby, our young heroine is really to seize the day. Then comes Spencer Hayes, a dear childhood friend of Lydia's brother Andrew, young, smart and practical, and ready to discuss a business opportunity and look for investors. Lydia and Spencer might be different but they see the world in the same way and have a matching sense of humour. They seem made for each other, and the romance between them grows... but all too soon, everything shatters as they both seem they have lost what is dearest to them.

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HEARTS OF BRIARWALL by KRISTA JENSON is a delightful romantic comedy which takes place in England in the Edwardian era. It is altogether a most enjoyable read with many “laugh out loud” moments and also some serious matters that are addressed. The characters are wonderful and the importance of friendship comes out strongly.
In it we come acroaa the four ladies of the Wendy League whose motto is “Like Wendy Darling at the nursery window, we seize the opportuity to fly”, inspired by Peter Pan, and who meet weekly to discuss such things as “Courage, aspirations, community, womanhood, and…..men.” Their repartee is most amusing and their loyalty to one another is unbreakable, especially in their protection of one of their members, Lydia Wooding, who has to bear with her brother Andrew’s overbearing bossiness. Lydia’s outgoing and genuine personality is very different to her brother’s serious and austere nature.
Andrew becomes a different person when his school friend, Spencer Hayes, comes to visit, looking for investors in his proposed Hayes Motor Supply Shop, Secrets come out and things deteriorate quite rapidly………
That is all I am going to tell you.
I highly recommend this lovely rom-com.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Shadow Mountain Publishing. The opinions in this review are completely my own.

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I really enjoyed this book, it had a great story line and an interesting take on woman in the early 1900's.
The focused on the Lydia and her brother Andrew, centering around the loss of their parents. Lydie comes to terms with her parents death much better than Andrew and supports him, along with his friend Spencer, through the book.
This was a great bit of writing with romance threaded with history and an engaging plot. I loved seeing Lydia and Spencer's relationship grow and I loved them separate and together.
I also enjoyed the threading of Woman's Rights and Suffrage throughout the book, it was threading well with the story and didn't stick out too much.
Each of the characters had progression throughout the book and we saw positive changed in them.
If you love historical fiction and romance, this ones for you!

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Edwardian England and the dawn of the motorcar.

Spencer Hayes has always loved engines. When he returns to England after a visit to America he is full of ideas concerning the new motorcar industry. He has decided to visit his old school friend, Andrew Wooding, to share his vision and while there meets Andrew's younger sister, Lydia. Spencer knew her as a child, but now she is a young woman full of many bold ideas of her own.

This book does well to celebrate friendship. Lydia has a group of friends who laugh and encourage her. The friendship between Andrew and Spencer withstands confusion and misunderstandings. There is much banter between characters which gives the book a charm in the beginning, but tends to wear thin by the end. True and honest discussion are withheld causing needless confusion. Emotions and immature angst erupt over the smallest slights. The setting and the passion for motorcars gave this book a clever twist, but ultimately it lost its steam by the end.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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This was absolutely delightful! The plot was well-paced and captivating. The characters were charming and well-developed. This is a new favorite; one I highly recommend! I can't wait for more from Krista Jensen! Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.

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If I were in a library and pulled this book off the shelf, I would undoubtedly put it right back on because of the cover. The cover gives the wrong impression; however, because while it looks outdated and stuffy, the heroine is exactly the opposite. Lydia is vivacious, progressive, and desperate to learn to drive. When her brother's friend, Spencer, comes to visit with an idea for motorcar shops, she is immediately drawn to him.

While I wished there were more moments for emotional growth between the two characters and more scenes of them developing a relationship, this was a really enjoyable read. The characters make sense together and challenge each other to address weaknesses they see in themselves. There are many times honest conversation and maturity would have eased their relationship issues, but those shortcomings make sense for the characters and overall story.

I almost enjoyed the secondary characters more than Lydia and Spencer. This is not to say I did not enjoy the pair, but rather to highlight the strength of the secondary characters, where are often overlooked! I sincerely hope that the author writes about each of the young women in their friend circle, as they were all unique and fun. I especially look for ward to reading more about Florrie, who made me laugh out loud on several occasions. And while Lydia's brother was, at times, an antagonist in this story (as a protective older brother often is to his younger sister), I would love to read a book that highlights him in the future too.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves clean romances or light historical fiction. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and opinion.

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What a charming account of a love story at the beginning of the 20th century ! The quality of the story telling is a pure delight ! I strongly recommend this book to anyone in search of escapism to other times in England, with landscapes, smells, people, settled with a picture-like countryside, when young people were expecting a New World with enthusiasm. There is no nostalgy or "the good old days" feelings, The characters are vividely depicted with precise wording, and the references to literature are " à -propos". Can't wait for the saga !

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What a delightful Edwardian Romance Krista Jensen has given us! I absolutely loved Miracle Creek Christmas and can honestly say that this jump to historical fiction was perfectly executed.

I loved the idea behind the Wendy League and would love to see the other girls have their own HEA! The women's suffrage movement combined with the motorcar movement gave me all the turn-of-the-century feels! I was wishing I had more time to research all the early motorcars mentioned in the book. What an amazing time the early 20th century would have been to live in.

Even though I wanted to knock him over the head a few times, I thought Andrew was a really well written brother. His concerns and attitudes toward his sister, though frustrating, were believable and real. Lydia and Spencer were a match made in heaven and I adored Lydia for her forward thinking and for her bravery in making the first move. (Some of us have more experience with this than others. Just sayin.)

I'm all for a good HEA and I love a good epilogue but in this case I actually thought the ending of the last chapter was prefect. I loved it.

Lovely and engaging with a little bit of humor; this story is a perfect, feel good read.

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THIS BOOK!!! I never really could get into books that took place at the beginning of the 20th century but this one just had me enthralled from page 1. I love romance books that have really strong females that have weaknesses and meet their matches in a man who lets them be who they are and falls in love with them because of who they are. Lydia's independence, fearlessness, and passion are all so relatable to me as a modern woman. I highly suggest this book to everyone, especially anyone who wants to get into historical fiction/romance.

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"Hearts of Briarwall" is a thoroughly entertaining glimpse into Edwardian England, as the automobile was becoming more common and women were demanding more rights. At the forefront of this evolving society is a group of four intrepid women known collectively as "The Wendy League" because they are determined to figuratively fly.

This lighthearted romp does have a few serious moments, however. The motorcar(!) plays a part in those. Characters are well-developed. Unconventional heroine Lydia Wooding and forward-thinking Spencer Hayes have a wonderful rapport, much to the chagrin of Lydia's brother Andrew, who I believe at one time was referred to as an "antique" or something equally funny. His character grows the most in the book. The secondary players are all great.

With its clever dialogue, endearing characters, and enlightening view of the changing times of the early 1900s, I loved this book. Jensen's prose is a delight. I've read a few of her stories in various romance anthologies. I do hope this is the start of a series, as there are several characters whose tales must be told.

Thanks to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for an ARC of this engaging novel.

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Words cannot adequately express how much I loved this book! This is the first novel written by Krista Jenson that I have read and all I can say is, I cannot wait for more! Her writing style is vivid and keeps the reader engaged. I could see myself there with her characters, experiencing every happiness, love, nervousness, and every scared feeling. I cried with them, laughed with them, rejoiced with them. This is a wonderful story!
Lydia wants nothing more than to be seen as the woman she is, by society and especially by her brother, Andrew. Since their parents' death in an automobile accident when she was very young, Andrew has done everything to protect her, even attempt to protect her from herself. But Lydia has grown up, is her won woman, and desperately wants to be seen as such. Spenser is trying to create a future for himself. With a great investment idea, he decides to approach his longtime friend, Andrew, knowing that this attempt may be a long shot. He plans to ask his friend to invest in an automobile parts company, hoping that the sting of Andrew's parents death in an automobile accident has long since passed. He expected to have a little difficulty convincing Andrew, what he didn't expect was Lydia.

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This is an historical novel set in the Gilded Age in England, before royal assassinations swept through continental Europe, before the Titanic sank, and before WWI. It's an exciting time period and this novel reflects that.

Lydia and her friends are suffragettes and eager to embrace all that's new and progressive. The friendships among the four girls is strong and they are there for each other as needed.

Unfortunately for Lydia, her older brother Andrew is overprotecting and won't let her learn how to drive, which is something she very much wants on account of her interest in automobiles.

Spencer is Andrew's friend and looking to get his support in his new venture with automobiles. Despite some obstacles and differences, Spencer and Lydia develop a friendship that includes their mutual love of cars.

There's the potential for a series with books for each of Lydia's friends.

I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

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This was a sweet turn-of-the century romance. Whenever I read something set between 1890 and 1910 I always find that I wish more romances were set during this time. This one definitely gave you that turn-of-the century feel - where everything is on the edge of changing - from Women's suffrage - to just cars on the road.

Lydia is one of those things that is changing - she's grown up and ready to spread her wings. Both her very conservative older brother and status are holding her back. When her brother's old school friend Spencer comes to visit - with a business proposal in hand - everything shifts quickly.

Lydia and Spencer are a super sweet couple. I really felt for Spencer and everything he was trying to achieve in the wake of his father's scandal and loss. I appreciated Lydia as a new adult character - with emphasis on the new side of things. The one issue I really had with the book focused on the fact that Lydia never really considered Spencer's position in the world and what she was asking of him - but I did love that she was so passionate and really wasn't afraid to go after what she wanted.

Overall - I liked this one a lot. I received it as an ARC from NetGalley, but these opinions are all my own.

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I really enjoy the sweetness of the romance in this book. It gains in depth with enough anticipation to hook the reader. The other thing worth mentioning is the friendships that Jensen creates within the pages. It is dynamic and nuanced and I appreciated it greatly.
The story is well-written with a plot that resonates well with the genre.
The world building is intricate and I appreciate the small, though significant hints of history sprinkled throughout the story: Not too much that I’m saddled with a history lesson and not too little to leave me confused – I found it to be a good balance.
The story and characters sweep you up into their world, and that is exactly what a story is supposed to do. Good job, Krista Jensen. I will recommend this book.

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I really loved this book! It’s going on my favorites shelf, which is a designation given only to books I intend to read multiple times.
The character development the author attained was spectacular. I now want to read books about each of the Wendy’s girls and also all of Ruby’s brothers and, most especially, Andrew. I loved the friendship and sisterhood amongst the women. They were all charming and witty and wonderful.
It looks like this author only has one other book out, so she’s not just new-to-me, but newly published as well. I’ll definitely be reading her other book and likely any more she writes. (Ms. Jensen, if you read your reviews: I know you just finished this one, but I hope you have more in the works. Please write fast. 😉)

Edited to add: I just looked for the one other book Goodreads has listed for this author and Kindle has a bunch more books with the name Krista Lynn Jensen… is it the same author and Goodreads just hasn’t merged her works?? If anyone knows, please give me a shout; thanks!

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Hearts of Briarwall was fun to read with a unique take of the Edwardian Era. I also enjoyed the conversations of the Wendy League. Also, appreciated that the author made an effort to raise some serious issues of that era. I also loved the secondary characters and how some of them evolved towards the end of the story. For example, her brother had good intentions; however, some did not end up good for Lydia.

My first read from this author. I hope she makes stories about Lydia’s friends. However, I did enjoy their different personalities. I give this book 3.5 stars and recommend it to anyone who loves a clean historical romance.

Wise words from Lydia: “…I just believe people shouldn’t be pigeonholed for being born into circumstances they had no control over.”

Thank you to the publisher for allowing me to read an arc in exchange for an honest review.

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I adored this author’s contemporary Christmas novel so I of course jumped at the chance to read this one! I’m always a little bit wary when a author moves from contemporary to historical but in this case it payed off!
I liked Lydia’s character, she had spunk and fire but knew how to temper it when the situation required. She also wasn’t obnoxious in her pursuit of the suffragette movement, wanting more for women without feeling the need to bash men in the process.
Spencer was wonderful, I felt for the things he’d had to overcome but was proud of the way he worked and planned to make a better life for himself. I loved the way he accepted and embraced Lydia’s personality as she was, loving her for her passion not in spite of it. The two of them made a wonderful pair and I loved seeing them fall for each other.
In short this story was a delight that I thoroughly enjoyed reading!

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Thank you to NetGalley for letting me read this ARC. I loved this book. Set in the 1900's with the invention of cars, and women suffragettes fighting for the right to vote. It contained all of my favorite parts of the proper romance series, but in a new timeframe. I loved the main character Lydia and her friends. This book was exiting, fast paces, and full of romance

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I love Lydia and her friends of the Wendy's League. Lydia is independent, brave, feisty and fun. Her love for her brother, Andrew, is admirable as well. When Spencer, a friend of Andrew's from school, comes to visit with a business proposal, more than a business proposal might happen. This is a delightful book. I am so looking forward to the other members of the Wendy's League stories.

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I really enjoyed the Hearts of Briarwall! It was set in such an interesting time period, with women trying to break out of the expectations society held for them at the turn of the century.

I loved The Wendy League, and their motto that "Like Wendy Darling, we seize the opportunity to fly." This group of friends was delightful. They looked out for each other but tried to live life at its fullest. I also enjoyed the main character, Lydia. She was a good mixture of independence, naivety, and love. I enjoyed watching her growth as she balanced societal expectations with her adventurous personality. I enjoyed the chemistry between her and Spencer as well. Their interactions were full of delightful banter and sparks of attraction.

The characters in the book suffered mishaps from withheld secrets and miscommunications. These were not my favorite parts, but that's a personal preference. Secrets and not communicating well are things that frustrate me in a story.

Overall, I thought this book was very entertaining and it was so fun to read about this time period. I definitely recommend this to readers who enjoy historical romance!

Thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishing, NetGalley, and Krista Jensen for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest opinions!

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Picture it, England, 1906, and the automobile is just becoming more of a thing for many people. Lydia Wooding is fascinated with the machines and would love nothing more than to learn to drive one. Lydia's brother, Andrew, has a blind spot where autos are concerned because their parents died needlessly in an auto accident. He just doesn't feel they are safe enough. Enter Spencer Hayes, a classmate of Andrew's and the son of a man who died because of his get rich quick schemes, and he wants to standardize getting auto parts for repairs. There is a bit of a draw between Lydia and Spencer from the very beginning, partially because she wants to invest in his idea. The fly in the ointment is her brother's objections to the idea and to Spencer, himself.
This is my first book to read by Krista Jensen and I must say it was a pleasant surprise. At first I thought it was going to be a vapidly funny book, but the more I got into it, the more substance I found. There is a bit of romance formula to the book, but it is not overwhelming and seems natural in the context of the plot. There are quite a few supporting characters in the book, but they are fleshed out and add to the story line to make it a more cohesive whole.

Four Stars

Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley.com provided the copy I read for this review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

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Don't judge a book by its cover, particularly with respect to this novel. This is a cute romantic comedy with a lovely collection of characters. The heroine presents with a modernist flair that appealed to me. The trope of a love match between someone of the gentry and working class was slightly subverted with the heroine as the heiress and her leading man as a Birmingham blue-collar bloke, albeit a well-educated one.

I found the supporting characters well developed and interesting (perhaps even more so than the leads). Our heroine's friendship quartet, known as the Wendy League and named after Wendy of Peter Pan fame, gave a great foundation for exploring women's rights and the Suffrage movement. Each of the women is a rich and complex character deserving of their own love story. I'd be very keen to read the tale dedicated to the sassiest of the group.

As to the negative, the plot is a bit predictable. I was never truly surprised by the narrative progress, but that didn't keep me from enjoying it. The motorcar subplot felt a bit forced at times. However, it did serve to tie the characters together nicely.

Overall, I would recommend this book to those who enjoy feminist-leaning clean romance novels.

Thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this book. I haven't read many books set during the "Gilded Age" time period but I loved it. Especially the references to the Women's Suffrage movement. I loved how empowered Lydia felt to be a woman and didn't want anyone, especially her brother, to deny her things because she was a woman.

It was refreshing to read something different from my normal reads. I enjoyed how developed each of the characters were. Even Lydia's friends, and Andrew's, were well-developed. I would love it if this turned into a series for all of Lydia's friends.

Lydia and Spencer's relationship was very realistic, which I appreciated. I often feel like a lot of proper romance novels have unrealistic and/or unrelatable romance but that wasn't the case for this book.

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This book was given to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I loved this story, its a sweet filled Edwardian romance and hits all the right places. This book is like if Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Jane Austen had a child. What I mean by that is it takes places in the Edwardian era with motorcars and with a woman involved in women's rights!

The story is funny and the chemistry swoon worthy. The story follows Lydia Briarwell, a young women who lost her parents in a motorcar accident. She lives with her older brother, Andrew who is overprotective of her.

The story has several plot-points that are very interesting. Lydia is a suffragette, and the story revolving her friends makes the story thicker. It was slow for me to read in the beginning, because I felt like there was a lack of plot. Boy was I wrong! Lydia's relationship with her brother and her struggle for independence while trying to find love is extremely well done. The plot is well constructed, and the characters are enjoyable and likable. The love interest, Spencer Hayes is gold standard, his respect for Lydia is top tier Fiztwilliam Darcy behavior. His understanding of how she wants to ride her own motorcar and giving her lessons were so fun to read. The banter is amazing, the chemistry is through the rough.

The style is intelligent, and witty, inspired by Jane Austen and Gorgette Heyer. And she follows the standard of a clean regency romance, of course with the exception of a few steamy kisses. The story manages to be sweet without being cliche.

I hope the author puts this story as a series, and continues with Lydia's brothers and friends!

Look forward to read more from this author.

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Lydia Wooding, a dreamer, a closet adventurer, and a modern lady in the Edwardian Era did not care about her brother's wishes for her to be a proper lady and to get married. But then she met their house guest, her brother's childhood friend, Spencer Hayes and something of a dream before became a reality for her.

I can't really say I'm fond of the Edwardian Era, but this author made me love it. The main characters were great, especially their character development of self-discovery and self-confidence. I especially loved the interactions of the Wendy League, on how they talk about serious issues of that era. And I enjoyed the conversations between Lydia's friends with her brother, it's so refreshing to read spunky and witty female characters in a historical fiction.

This is my first read from this author. I'm hoping to read more on the Wendy League's adventures and their own stories. I love to get to know them better.

Overall I'm giving this book a 3.75. Although I love the story plot and the characters, I feel like the ending was a bit rushed. But nevertheless, I would definitely recommend this book for those who love witty conversations, adventure, and romance.

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In this cute and sometimes humorous In this cute and sometimes humorous Historical Romance Novel readers are taken to a charming English country side estate known as Briarwall. It’s the beginning of a new and exciting era where horses are being replaced by automobiles and women are exchanging their corsets for the right to vote and learn to drive one of those shiny new horseless buggies. The heroine of this story, Lydia Wooding and her three best friends are just coming to age of independence, wanting the right of being recognized as intelligent women capable of making their own decisions and goals they have set for their futures. Though these young women are single they are beginning to notice the young men in their friendship circles.

Lydia’s parents died when she and her brother Andrew where children. They were raised by servants of their parents estate. They had guardians although they didn’t live with them. Now Andrew who has grown into an adult considers himself to be Lydia’s guardian and takes his responsibility very seriously. When his friend Spencer Hayes, who has just spent a year abroad in America, comes visiting Briarwall he is attracted to the young beautiful heiress Lydia and she in turn feels drawn to him. Mr Hayes is into autos and Lydia and her friends are curious to learn more about him and his exciting new business opportunities . Andrew has other ideas and a plan for Lydia’s future and automobiles and Spencer Hayes aren’t part of those plans as Lydia will soon find out.

I fell in love with this delightful historical romance as it drew me into another time in a far off country. I find it very refreshing to go back in time and meet the characters of another era in history. How they lived and what was expected of them in high society. I thought this book was charming and very entertaining. Definitely a page turner and hard to put down. I found it to be original and I loved the books ending.

I recommend this book to readers of historical romance and to readers who like a fun story. It’s the first book of the Proper Romance Edwardian Series. Clean Romance with some kissing but no explicit content. This book is scheduled to be released on 8/2/22.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced reader’s copy of Hearts of Briarwall. All thoughts and opinions expressed here in this review are my own.


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I just finished this delightful and absolutely wonderful book! I loved every page! Krista’s writing just takes me on a journey that I can’t ever look back! The characters and environment are enthralling and endearing! What a joyful Victorian Rom-Com! I need more! Enjoy!

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A lighthearted read that doesn’t take itself, or it’s characters, seriously. The best part of this book was the quick exchanges through snappy dialogue.

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Funnily enough, I wasn’t interested in reading this book after first reading the synopsis, it just didn’t seem too appealing to me; but it has the name Krista Jensen on it, so I decided to just for got it and read.
Boy! I’m so happy I did! This is the first historical romance I’ve read during this time period and it was fascinating seeing all the differences from the histfic I normally read, like regency. Everything from the motor cars, the relaxed rules, and yes, the breeches.
Krista created a fun literary world that has many great characters, an engaging plot, and hilarious banter. I now want to be in the Wendy League and absolutely need future books about these incredible women.
Spencer and Lydia’s love story is sweet, swoony, and filled with many delightful and humorous moments. I loved how family (both blood-related and by choice) relationships seemed so realistic in this book. Sometimes we get along, sometimes we can’t stand each other, other times we try our best (yet still fall short), and other times we lovingly let them flounder on their own. Between the friends, siblings, and parents you see it all in this book, which only made me like it even more.
I’m so happy I decided to jump right into this story and not judge it off of the “book blurb.”

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This is a fun quick read written by a talented author. Curl up with a cozy Afghan and go back in time…imagine what it must have been like…the characters are intriguing and quirky at times…this book was sent to me for review by Netgalley.

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This was a diverting read that drew me in immediately. Lydia is such a spit fire and I loved it! This book takes place during the turn of the century when women’s roles were changing. Lydia fought hard for what she believed in and what she wanted. Things such as her desire to learn how to drive, wear what she wants, invest her own money and marry who she chooses. She has wonderful friends, who I hope get their own stories eventually! Spencer was a great balance to Lydia. They had a bit of a rocky start, and just as a budding affection began growing, past secrets came to light and tested the power of love and forgiveness. I also enjoyed the little details scattered throughout, such as the perfume and reference to peacocks. It was truly such a well written and delightful read!

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This is my first time reading an Edwardian romance novel and Krista Jensen has easily sold me on the time period. I love the immediate connection of Spencer and Lydia, her unique and headstrong personality, paired with his charm and fascination with her was really fun to read, Krista has once again created a beautiful, swoon-worthy story that will be thoroughly enjoyed by many, myself included.

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Sweet and so fun. I’m definitely reading more by Krista Jensen! I really liked this story. The turn of the century isn’t a time period I generally gravitate towards, but I thought this was set perfectly in that time period. I thought the main characters were fun.

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This book was a little slow to get going and I felt like it lost some steam at the end. I enjoyed the female friendships, but I think it could have used a bit more "oomph" or something to propel the story along.

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This book is lovely. Simply lovely. I've never read anything by this author, but I hope to read more from her in the future. I read a lot of historical fiction and historical romance, this book is beyond Lydia and Spencer's story. It's a coming of age story in many ways, of the characters adjusting to the rapidly changing world around them, of Lydia fighting to be more than her brother's little sister. The romance is gentle and unhurried, very little drama, no real villain, the relationships, between the four female friends, the romantic leads and the brother and sister are what shine through. There's a maturity here that I appreciated. I hope this is the first in a series as I'd like to see where Florrie, Violet and Ruby end up, and Andrew as well. I received an ARC copy from the publisher and Netgalley for review

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I was excited about the time period and the main character of the book, but it seemed surface level in terms of the historical accuracy. I am going to blame my personal interest in this era for being too critical on this count, but I wish there was some more in-depth research conducted.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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#HeartsofBriarwall #NetGalley

This book was set in the early 1900's, when motorcars were starting to replace carrige. Lydia wants to learn to drive, but her brother Andrew, refuses to have anything to do with a motorcar. Ever since their parents were killed in an accident involving a motorcar accident,.A part of the women's sufferiget, Lydia has a mind of her own. Lydia's friends are all apart of a group they call The Wendy League, which I found so fun. Spencer.Hayes, loves motorcar and is determined to find investors in a business he wants to start. I enjoyed this book.

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I really enjoy reading historical romance novels and of course I enjoyed reading this too. It was interesting to read this because I haven't read a book yet that was set in Edwardian times.

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Krista Jensen has a wonderful talent for writing stories and characters that take you in and make you care. This book, set during the turn of the twentieth century, captures what life was like when women were beginning to push for more rights. It explores how both women and men dealt with the changing times while still experiencing love. It featured a group of friends who I am hopeful to see in the future. I enjoyed the forbidden romance (brother’s friend) and seeing how it was resolved, especially when Spencer had his own demons to work through that put roadblocks in the way to happy ever after.

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I absolutely adored this novel by Krista Jensen!
I loved the Edwardian/turn-of-the-century setting! It was so fresh and so fun! And I loooved the historical aspects of that time that were written into the story - the clothes, what was deemed appropriate, the motorcars, women's suffrage, etc. The author weaved all these things beautifully into the story.
The characters were amazing and had such great personalities! I wanted to be friends with all of them!
You can really feel the author's love for this piece in her writing! The wit and sarcasm in this book are fantastic and I was smiling and laughing so much!!
"Blast it all to Hades in a skirt!"
The romance between Lydia and Spencer is so well done! Its a brothers-best-friend trope and I loved it - neither were looking for love, it just happened upon both of them, and they're so perfect for each other!
And their kisses are 🔥🔥🔥
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was hard to put down, and I highly recommend to all who enjoy historical romance!

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It is a little more difficult to find romances written about the early Edwardian period - most are either Victorian, Regency, or Medieval. Luckily <i>Hearts of Briarwall</i> exists to help fill in the gap, and it beautifully captures the struggle between traditional 19th century ways and the rapid changes of the modern world. Jensen uses J. M. Barrie's play <i>Peter Pan</i> as metaphor for how Lydia, the heroine, feels trapped between two worlds - her brother (and traditional society) want to keep her a little girl, while Lydia wants to grow into not just a woman, but a <i>person</i> who can drive, vote, and control her own future. She and her friends (whom I dearly hope get their own books) determine to be each other's pixie dust, enabling each other to fly.

This is blended with a fairly grounded romance between Lydia and Spencer, whose father's past informs his own present in ways that aren't necessarily helpful. This feels like an extension of the <i>Peter Pan</i> metaphor that Jensen is working with in terms of past versus future and how we should all get to make our own choices and not be trapped by someone else's. Peter and Wendy were both free to chose whether to grow up or not; Lydia and Spencer both need to learn that they, too, can be free to decide on their futures, with Lydia's brother Andrew as the person who most needs to hear what they have to say.

A bit spicier than other Proper Romance titles I've read (but still perfectly proper!), this is a well-written story with solid characters and a light, deft touch with the metaphor of choice and growing up. It slows down a bit much in places, but overall this is simply a charmer of a romance, and I look forward to the author's next works.

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3 1/2 rounded up.

Lydia is living with her older brother, Andrew. Their parents were killed in a motor car when she was young, so she has few memories of them. But she is fascinated with motor cars. And she does remember the young man, Spencer, that has come to stay with them- a school chum of her brother.

Spencer has come with a proposal for a new venture for Andrew to join him in. Not realizing how agonizing it is, he wants to go into the motor car repair business, a new idea for the time, as cars are a brand new item. Andrew is adamantly agains cars, and soon is fighting against Spencer in all things- to include his growing affection for Lydia.

This is just a cute story. I loved Lydia's friends and wish we could have had more scenes with them- they are the perfect group of girlfriends and I want them for my own! They provided some great comedic relief in the story and I really enjoyed them a lot. I'll let my teens read this one for sure.

Thanks to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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This book was so much fun! It was the first Edwardian romance that I have ever read and I can tell that this is going to be a new favorite genre of mine. I have read so many regency romances, and it was fun to change the time period to be a little more modern, and Downton Abbey-esque, while maintaining all the gorgeous romance. I absolutely adored the Wendy League, and I hope that there will be books about those girls, and possibly Lydia's brother Andrew, in the future. I loved that they were all budding feminists, suffragettes advocating for women's right to vote. I also loved the added elements with cars and the new automobile industry. Such a sweet book filled with so many tenacious characters. I would highly recommend this book.

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Lydia longs for adventure, is part of the suffrage movement, and is fascinated by motorcars. She would really like to learn to drive one. Her brother, Andrew, won’t ever let that happen, as their parents were killed in an auto accident, and he is very protective of his little sister. Andrew’s childhood friend, Spencer, is visiting to discuss a business venture, and he discovers little Lydia has grown up into a wonderful lady. But Spencer doesn’t think he stands a chance when Sir Lawrence is vying for her hand.

This is the first Edwardian Era Proper Romance novel, and it’s so good! It’s an interesting time period because you have some of the rules of propriety from the Regency and Victorian Eras, but you also have cars and telephones. I loved Lydia and her friends in the Wendy League, and I was happy to read in the acknowledgments that she has plans to tell more of their stories! And Lydia and Spencer are so good together! I’m really looking forward to more books with these characters!

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Read it for the:
- unique plot
- Brother’s best friend / Best friend’s younger sister trope
- flirt, Wit, and Humor
- strong female lead
- motor cars
- women’s suffrage movement

Final rating: 4.5.
Trigger warnings: talk of car accidents
Heat level: sweet, kissing only.

Set an age of rapid change and innovation. Lydia Wooding and Spencer Hayes try to carve out a place for themselves in the world, while also trying to navigate their growing feelings for each other.

Lydia was a refreshing and witty lead. I enjoyed reading her views and laughed several times at her antics and interactions with others. Spencer was her perfect match, letting her be herself, while pushing forward with his business.

The friendships and sibling relationships in the novel were one of my favorite aspects. They added complexity, humor, and a certain realistic touch to the plot.

The connection between Lydia and Spencer was there from their first meeting. The chemistry between the two was great. While many of the historical elements were present, I enjoyed the fact the romance came through and was at the front of the plot. However, historical readers will not disappointed. I have not found other stories that are set during England’s second industrial revolution, so the talk of important events like the woman’s suffrage movement and motorcar innovation was both interesting and welcomed.

Overall, I enjoyed this read and would recommend it to historical romance readers everywhere.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgallery for allowing me to read and review this wonderful book ahead of publication date. Although an ARC was provided to me, this unbiased review is my own and will be shared on other platforms.

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I loved everything about this book. It was a light spirited romance and the characters jumped off the page for me from the start. I loved our main character Lydia Wooding and her group of friends. They had the best chemistry together. It reminded me of the toned down, virgin, old English version of Sex in the City type of female friendships. They loved and supported each other, but the author never lost that sense of ease and light spirited way of moving the story along. I never felt like any part of the story dragged on.
I enjoyed how she portrayed her older brother and how they as siblings adjusted in life after experiencing tragedy. Although I felt frustrated with her brother at times, it was very clear he wanted what was best for his sister.
The chemistry between Lydia and Spencer was so great. It was romantic, yet done just right.
I also thought the touch of how Spencer came about for a business opportunity was built into the story. The way that played out for each character was once again, engaging enough, yet did not overly tone down the ease of this book.
This book was the perfect romance to curl up with for an easy breezy yet engaging good story.

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This was a fun romance story! It has some Peter Pan nods, while staying in era. I loved the group of young ladies and their efforts to live life to its fullest. Spencer and Lydia were both alluring characters with depth and draw. This book will make an awesome addition to the other Proper Romance novels on my shelf!

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This book was so much fun to read!! I absolutely loved the ladies in the Wendy League. The Wendy League were a group of friends—Lydia included—who have a passion for women’s suffrage and innovation. Their addition to the story was super entertaining. Even when they had stubborn Andrew to deal with.

Pretty much, all the characters were fabulous. I especially liked Lydia and Spencer. They understood each other and respected one another for their brilliant minds. I loved reading their quirks and boy did they have chemistry. Krista Jensen sure knows how to write romance that make you want to devour the story in one sitting.

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Are you looking for a historical romance that’s refreshing, empowering, and different in the best ways? Look no further than Hearts of Briarwall! My goodness I loved this book!!

Set in Edwardian England you get glimpses of the amazing changes that were taking place at this time. Even more amazing though you get Lydia Woodhouse. A heroine that I admired so much throughout the whole book. She’s bold, energetic, full of fire and life and not scared to go after what she wants. She wears trousers, rides astride, dreams of driving a motorcar and yet is still beautifully feminine. I want her as a BFF. Her and her Wendy Leauge of friends are the best kind of women… at the forefront of the suffragette movement. Embracing their womanhood, yet standing up for their rights. Not scared of owning who they are. I wanted to applaud them at so many moments!! I CANNOT wait for their stories!!

Spencer Hayes is a childhood friend of Lydia’s older brother, Andrew. Trying to overcome his humble background, he comes to Briarwall with the hope of gaining financial backing for his innovative business venture. He finds himself drawn to Lydia at every turn despite his best efforts at keeping his space. Their chemistry was palpable from the get-go!

Lydia‘s older brother Andrew was a fantastic character! His depth and story arc was superbly written. I loved the effect that Spencer had on him in helping him grow and realize where he needed to improve in his relationship with Lydia. I am going to keep my fingers crossed that his story is coming soon!

I have been a big fan of Krista Lynn Jensen for a while now and I cannot tell you how happy I am that she has delved into the world of historical romance. If this book is any indication we have some amazing stories coming up from her!

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Yes -read it!

Loved the period and location story settings. The characters were interesting and fun. The storyline kept my interest and enjoyed it.

I thought all the ladies of the Wendy group were fun. I hope this means more stories about each of them as well.

I received an ARC from Netgalley to help me prepare my honest review.

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Krista Jensen has done a wonderful job sending us into the Edwardian Era. I loved the chance to see England and cars as they were before Henry Ford made them easier to buy. Seeing the world through this time period was a joy, and of course if you add a clean love story it is that much better.

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I initially wasn’t going to pick this book, but I’ve liked books by Krista Jensen, so I decided to give it a try. This book is set during the Edwardian era and it was so fun to see how innovation and Women’s rights were changing the world. I loved all the women in the Wendy League. I loved their femininity, their individuality, and their role in women’s rights. I can’t wait for their future stories.

Lydia was such a fun heroine and one I really admired. She was smart, kind, and knew how to stand up for herself, while also being feminine. I loved her speech about breeches to her brother Andrew. I wanted to clap for her!

Spencer was a dynamic character and I loved the person he became despite his upbringing and disappointments. He was perfect for Lydia. I love how he respected her and pointed out her strengths to her brother Andrew.

Andrew was such a complex character. He was written perfectly and while I disliked him at times, I like how his experiences really shaped him and made his choices make sense. I’m really really hoping he ends up with one of the girls from the Wendy league that he has great banter with and who I know will push him to become his best self.

The chemistry between Spencer and Lydia was so good! I just want to re-read this one right away and enjoy it again.

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Very interesting book this was how How women were perceived in the Edward era of England. LY DIA WOO DIR Y was a young woman with a lot of money. She grew up on this estate Called BRI AUI L Man You are O r. Her brother came to the house with Spencer Hayes. He was interested in buying a motor company but he did not have the money so we asked Andrew if he could get some money. And this book you can see how they fell in love with each other. Her brother was skeptical because he didn't want her money to go to this man because he had a background and and he was nervous. Was when you married all the money went over to the man. And she had friends and stuff like that who were very radical in thoughts and she was very free spirit and very outspoken. She really wanted to be with this man but she had to think of her options and what they would lead to. And she tried to have some kind of remance with this man named Spencer but she was kind of skittish at 1st and then she kind of fell in with him in love but eventually her brother put a stop to that.

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I loved this delightful, funny, and sweetly romantic book! Lydia is a free spirit, living outside of London with her older brother, Andrew. Lydia has three delightful friends who meet weekly for a "book club". They talk politics, men, and anything else that strikes their fancy. Andrew's friend, Spencer, from school, comes to stay and discuss a new business venture. It is quickly apparent that Lydia is turning his head and he needs to stay focused on what he came for.
This is a darling story that kept me laughing, smiling, and even crying as you experience all the fun and trials of Lydia, Spencer, Andrew, and her friends. Learning as you go how Lydia and Andrew's parents died and the effect it has had on her and her brother. It explores the sibling's relationship and how they work out their differences. It also explores the movement to give women the right to vote and suffragette activities that Lydia is involved with. It has plenty of romance to enjoy throughout the story. I highly recommend this story and hope future books by this author will tell the stories of the other 3 friends.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are voluntary and unbiased and are completely my own opinion.

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I really enjoyed this well-written romance. The suffragettes were appropriately frustrated without being too man-hatery and the story was well-paced and kept my interest. Lovely story, would definitely recommend.

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Charming, witty, humorous and full of heart! I loved this story from Krista Jensen. The characters just sparkle! There is so much personality from these delightful characters that the story truly leaps off of the page as your read it. I loved the time period! You can just feel the turning of the tide through the pages as the author highlights the suffragettes, motor cars, and a woman wearing breeches! The romantic chemistry is off the charts between Spencer and Lydia! Him denying his attraction and her pushing for his affections was entertaining and kept me turning the pages. The supporting characters also really enriched this story and left me wanting a book for each one! Please, pretty please? Witty and full of dry humor Lydia’s friends and her brother Andrew were great additions to this story and I would gladly read more! This was just an overall enjoyable read and I loved it so much!

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I love historical romance stories where the heroine is forward thinking and moves beyond what society dictates as appropriate for her. It is my favorite kind of heroine and Lydia was just that. She refused to be cowed into what others wanted her to be. It was delightful. As frustrated as she was with her brother, Andrew, I was encouraged that through her tutelage, he would eventually be able to accept the advances for women that were coming.
As for Spencer, our hero, I was never quite sure if he was truly that forward thinking. He was always very careful with what to say in order to avoid offense. Sometimes I thought he was mostly just charmed by Lydia's ways rather than having the belief himself. But maybe he did and was just careful because he needed his business to work.
I loved the Wendy League group of friends. They were perfect in their support of each other and I love books with friend support groups. I hope each of them get their own book.

No Sex, language or violence
*I received a complimentary ARC through NetGalley and voluntarily chose to review it.

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If you're looking for a fun clean, historical romance in a period of time that isn't regency - this is a good one. It reads like a romantic comedy of the early 1900s. The characters are run, the story is engaging and you'll find a smile on your face as you read your way to another happily ever after.

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This was my first Krista Jensen book and I am now a diehard fan after reading "Hearts of Briarwall."

I requested this book because I was interested in the description. The moment I knew I was going to love it was after reading the first paragraph. The entire first chapter was hilarious. I can see why Krista Jensen has won a Whitney award before; she's an incredibly talented writer.

The book is about Lydia, a spunky and determined suffragette, falling for one of her brother's closest friends, Spencer. The only problem is that domineering older brothers, complicated business ventures, motorcars, and meddling neighbors are all trying to get in the way.

Overall, "Hearts of Briarwall" was the perfect mix of swoon-worthy romance mixed with reality. Each character was so well constructed, especially Lydia's close group of friends, who call themselves the Wendy League. And being set in the Edwardian period? Absolutely loved it.

Nothing but good things to say about this book, it was definitely a five star read.

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With her three closest friends, Lydia Wooding longs for independence and to be seen as an intelligent woman. Spencer Hayes has a promising business venture and in need of investors. A whirlwind romance blossoms as this pair try to make their way in a new era.

I have never read this author before, so I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. It definitely feels like it is meant to kick-start a series with Lydia and her "Wendy League." Four quirky best friends anxious to flout tradition and do what their hearts' desire! In their interactions with each other, they behaved very much like teenagers. It was difficult to believe that Lydia was almost twenty-one.

"Do not mistake this attraction between us for love." This has to be the one sensible thing Spencer said in the whole book. It was a shame it came about halfway through the story and he let himself be persuaded otherwise soon after. He is at Briarwall for a week and thinks he is in love? It was just too fast for me to take seriously. 

It wasn't an awful read, but I did find myself bored often. The author describes it as a rom-com, and I didn't find anything amusing in the plot. I would recommend it to readers looking for a sweet romance set in the Edwardian period and extreme feminist discussions.

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Hearts of Briarwall was such a wonderful story. Lydia is so lovable, as is her and her friends society, ‘The Wendy League’. Lydia is a forward thinking woman at a time when women are meant to be quiet and submissive. Two things Lydia is not! She is independent thinking, adventurous and a force to be reckoned with. She sees life as it could be, not just as it is. She is the type of person I would honestly love to know and be friends with.
Spencer is Lydia’s brothers friend, and he’s come for a visit. And he’s just as easy to love as Lydia.
The dynamic between the two is so sweet! I love that Spencer never tries to make Lydia change. He accepts and even adores her way of thinking and acting, never making her feel inadequate as herself. I mean, how could we not love him for that?! How could Lydia not?!! And that’s just the question. Lydia is determined to be an independent woman, not chained to a husband who will take all of her rights away and expect her to be a demure wife. But Spencer is different and seeing their relationship grow throughout the various twists and turns of the plot was so much fun. It was a true pleasure to read.

Thankyou NetGalley and Shadow Mountain for the complimentary e-arc, in exchange for my review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Content: clean
Romance: kissing
Violence: mild
Language: none.

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Set in 1906 Edwardian England on the cusp of vehicular modernization and daring women's fashion (trousers!), delightful Hearts of Briarwall is chock full of wit, whimsy, banter and clean fun. The cover drew me immediately and the writing is humorous with a nod to beloved author P. G. Wodehouse. Other literary components are incorporated such as The Wendy League comprised of four young ladies who meet weekly under the guise of a book club. And what a book club it is! It is easy to envision them giggling hysterically and doling out wisdom from their short life experience. Every young girl ought to be part of such a group.

Not only are mores and fashions changing but so are attitudes about equality. Lydia Wooding is an intelligent spirited young lady who acts first, thinks second much to the chagrin of her steady older brother Andrew. Their parents were killed in a car accident years before so Andrew is very concerned about Lydia's predilection for cars. They inherited Briarwall Estate where they live with staff. Andrew's childhood friend Spencer Hayes returns and is shocked at how the little girl he once knew has changed...but time stands still in more ways than one. Sparks begin to fly and bantering follows. Not only that but secrets begin to come out.

If you enjoy light Historical Fiction and/or Romance, this refreshingly clean read should be next on your list. Sure, liberties have been taken with the era but I am besotted with this book and look forward to more by Krista Jensen.

My sincere thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley for the privilege of reading this charming escapist read. Pure joy!

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I couldn't help myself, I smiled and laughed and giggled and swooned and sighed while reading this book. It was just delightful and made me happy. There were a few moments of angst and uncertainty but overall it was just fun!

Lydia and Spencer had a pretty instant connection when meeting again as adults. It had been many years since they'd last seen each other and even then she was still very young and had limited memories of him. The same for him, there were some memories but nothing he'd dwelt on over the years. To discover the charming young woman she'd become was a shock for him. A good shock. Lol!

I loved the adventures and moments they were able to find together to kindle a friendship between them. Her group of lady friends were just the best! Especially in their covert and not so covert attempts at helping Lydia get to know Spencer to discover if she could truly care for him more than a friend.

The time period, turn of the century, was a great setting for this book and characters. I loved the more flexibility and freedom it allowed them in propriety. The motorcar aspect was very interesting and added some great scenes into the book. And I enjoyed learning more about it and thinking about aspects of the industry that I hadn't before done.

There are so many scenes that I'm smiling over. The clock and key, the musicale, the apple tree song, the temple on her property and the rain, the bicycles, horses, friends, family, kisses, smiles, inheritances, struggles, mistakes, apologies, forgiveness, sweet romance and much more!

Lydia's friends were such a fun addition in this story. I kept hoping while I was reading the book, that her friends would each be getting their own story. There's a lot of great potential for multiple stories here! I would be one happy reader if we were to see more of them from this author. Hint. Hint. ;-)

Content: Sweet and clean.

I received a copy from the publisher, Shadow Mountain, via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions in the review are my own.

Happy Reading!!!

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Delightful! I smiled the whole time I was ready. It's just the right amount of funny, fluffy, and different to have made this a fantastic read. I haven't been exposed to many romances within this time period and it added the perfect backdrop for this sweet romance.
Lydia lives with her stern brother, Andrew, and enjoys a life of leisure and friendship with three other women interested in the benefits of the industrial revolution including motorcars and the suffragette movement. An unexpected friendship of her brother's with a Spencer Hayes gives Lydia another chance to open up her world to more including love.
I loved Krista's Miracle Creek Christmas a couple of years ago and knew that she'd be an author to watch. Switching to historical was an unexpected twist, but just as equally bingeable.
Thank you to Shadow Mountain and Netgalley for the advanced copy. All thoughts in this review are my own.

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I need more books in this era!! I loved it. Definitely gave me Downton Abbey vibes.

Lydia was a great character. She’s fun and “a bit of fire”, much to her older brother Andrew’s annoyance. Under his care, Lydia longs for independence, to be treated like an adult and to learn to drive a motorcar! I love how Lydia knows what she wants and goes for it. She is definitely an “ask for forgiveness instead of permission” type of gal! I also really enjoyed Lydia’s friends and their club, the “Wendy League”.

Spencer thinks he going to visit his childhood friend, Andrew, and talk about a business proposition. It never crosses his mind that Andrew’s little sister might be a grown woman now. A beautiful and witty one at that!! I loved Spencer’s practical personality. It made for great interactions between him and Lydia.

Lydia and Spencer hit it off at once. The chemistry between these two is fantastic! And there’s several “bone-melting” 😉 kiss scenes.

This is one of those books that had me smiling through the entire last 2 chapters. I thought the ending was perfect!

Thank you @netgalley and Shadow Mountain for this eARC! I thoroughly enjoyed it!!

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Hearts of Briarwall by Krista Jensen
This book comes out in August!

Such a fun read set at the turn of the century. I have never read a book set at this time and it was so cool to read about the time when motorcars are invented and are becoming more popular.

Lydia Wooding longs to be independent and wants a say in her future. Her brother Andrew can be a little overbearing after their parents died in a motorcar accident. Spencer Hayes, Andrew's old school chum, comes for a visit to talk about his business idea. Spencer and Lydia instantly feel an attraction but can they make a future together work?

I really enjoyed the characters and can see a lot more good reads coming from this series. I really love the Wendy League and hope to see more of them!

#HeartsofBriarwall #netgalley #ShadowMountain

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Hearts of Briarwall was such a fun read. I love the turn of the century Era with all the excitement of new inventions. Lydia and Spencer are perfectly charactered and win love Andrews character and how he is a typical older brother who wants to protect and do what’s best for his sister. Well done!

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I haven't read many Edwardian books. I think when I've hit turn of the century, it's usually taking place in America, so this was a fresh setting for me. I loved the time of progress. This book focused heavily on industrial progress in the form of automobiles, and social progress with the suffragist movement.

Lydia and her friends were readers, suffragists, and a little bold even for their time period. It led to some interesting challenges to one another, lots of amusing conversations, and a tight knit group. It seems like this book set up the world nicely to continue a series with Lydia's friends from the Wendy League. I'm really hoping that's the case.

I loved Lydia and her quest to be herself, and to fly. She and Spencer had great chemistry, and a relationship that built steadily. I loved all of the adventures they had. I also loved the depth and complexity of the relationships in this book. Lydia's brother was a dunderhead at times, but still had her interests at heart. I want to see the woman who knocks some sense into him.

Content: clean (some kissing, no language, no violence, talk of an automobile crash)

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I loved the characters in this story! A good cast of side characters makes this story so fun and enjoyable. Our main characters are great, too. Lydia is spunky and kind, and Spencer is determined and encouraging. I hope there will be more books with this characters, because I feel like each of them had their own stories to tell. Lydia and Spencer’s interest in motorcars is a bit of a departure for typical historical romances, and it made for a great storyline.

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Hearts of Briarwall by Krista Jensen hooked me from the very first page! Being able to learn about Lydia’s character from interacting with her sweet friends was refreshing.

You know it’s a good one when you’re not only invested in the male and female lead… but the brother…the friends… and the friends brothers! I want them all to find happiness one day!

Jensen wrote such amazing characters! I related so much with Lydia and Spencer. They were perfect! They were open yet guarded their hearts but ultimately fell so hard for each other. I am all here for falling for the brothers friend trope!

Hearts of Briarwall has the perfect amount of longing that won’t leave you disappointed with the ending. I smiled so big!

It is not only filled with love/romance but family, friendship, and loyalty.

Thank you to Netgalley, Shadow Mountain Publishing, and Krista Jensen for the opportunity to read and review this book!

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I was completely sucked into this story by the girls of the "Wendy League." They are soooo much fun! I really hope they each get their own story. Poor Andrew, Lydia's older brother, didn't have a chance against them when they put their mind to something. Spencer is the perfect hero for this story. I loved watching him try to maneuver his feelings for Lydia. I really enjoyed this peek into the Edwardian era. We definitely need more stories written about this time period. These characters bring it to life in a most entertaining way.

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This entertaining historical romance is a great escape to another time and place.
Many thanks to Shadow Mountain Publishing and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Hello! When I read Hearts of Briarwall, I thought 'Downton Abbey' all the way. This book combines romance and modern-age development in such a wonderful way. As technology and the world has evolved, so have Lydia and Spencer; so have the Wendy girls; and so has the romance between Lydia and Spencer grown and matured. It is always an uncertainty when faced with change, but we soon learn to embrace it in all its forms. That is what we see in Hearts of Briarwall. The carriage was de rigeur, but enter the automobile...and enter an entirely new world... literally and figuratively. I loved this book and cannot wait to read it again! Thank you NetGalley for this ARC! :)

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To say that historical romance is my jam is an understatement. While I do prefer Regency era novels, I’m quite thrilled to come across a Victorian from time to time. It’s interesting to me, the biggest complaint most readers have with Regency era novels is the lack of women’s rights, the strict societal expectations, and the caste system in general. For these reasons alone, I’m always at a loss as to why there aren’t more novels set in the Victorian era. In 1882, England passed the Married Women’s Property Act, giving them vastly more autonomy and civil rights, in particular, in regard to owning property, businesses, and deeming that the husband and wife were two separate legal entities. All of that to say, I was optimistic about a novel set in 1905 England but kept my expectations low. Plus, I usually trend more toward the quintessential ‘bodice ripper’, so I wasn’t overly hyped.

I was absolutely pleasantly surprised with Krista Jensen's Hearts of Briarwall, which upon further research, looks to be her first published piece. The novel kept me engaged; moreover, so much so that I finished it in an evening.

A Little Bit of Plot
Lydia Wooding has an issue. While she knows she's an adult, in fact, within months of receiving her majority, her brother still insists that she’s a brash young girl with more spirit than sense. When her brother’s friend Spencer visits Briarwall with a business proposition, he appreciates Lydia for the woman she has become yet he is still harboring a wounded heart. The chemistry between the two is undeniable and with their mutual love of the motorcar, it seems to be a fated match, however, societal expectations and a long past scandal threaten to keep them apart.

The Compliment Sandwich
The Top Bun (The Pro)
The Wendy League

We are reminded throughout this book that we are at the absolute cusp of womens suffrage. Fifteen years from the events of this book, British women will receive the vote. Women's right’s issues are dealt with very deftly and with sensitivity here. A few characters describe suffrage as nothing more than harridans not knowing their place, but these individuals are portrayed as simple and elitist.
For Lydia and her small group of friends, they’ve spent their youth and formative years as spirited women with opinions and idealistic morals. Under the guise of a book club, the Wendy League meets weekly to banter ideas about autonomy, suffrage, and women’s rights.
They were not The Wordsworth Ladies, the name she’d used to convince Andrew to allow them to hold their official meetings in this seldom-used morning room. They were The Wendy League. ..Long ago, the girls had decided that Wendy’s brush with the boy who could fly changed her forever, for the better. She must’ve sought out adventure after soaring in the skies, must’ve been fearless after facing pirates, and must have had a better understanding of boys after finding homes for the Lost Boys.

Throughout the novel, we witness each member of the Wendy League individually interacting with Lydia’s brother Andrew (at times the villain of the novel) by protecting or supporting Lydia through verbal sparring, outwitting others, and often physical means. Each member exhibits different characteristics that when combined as a group, make them almost formidable. A Victorian era Captain Planet, if you will. As most of the women are older than Lydia, and as she has no family outside of Andrew, they have taken upon themselves to be her mentors, sisters, and confidantes. “Like Wendy Darling at the nursery window, we seize the opportunity to fly.”

The Meat (The Con)

The scandal that arises which leads to the 3rd act breakup seems to come out of nowhere. I find it hard to believe that while Andrew and Spencer have been out of touch for sometime, one party, in particular, would not have been cognizant of what has transpired. Additionally, the way in which the ‘offended’ party reacts doesn’t feel on brand with how they related to the offender previously. Additionally, the preening peacock of an antagonist needed to get more recompense than they received.

The Bottom Bun (The Pro)
The Love Story

While the entire novel takes place over a week, you feel as though the hero and heroine have built a solid foundation for a relationship. Instant attraction is evident, and obviously needed to further the plot, but both parties are cautious, Spencer in particular, not wanting to jump headfirst too quickly. While this is a shorter novel, the pacing worked well to bring about a natural and realistic love story. I did mention that clean romances were not my forte, I believe you can have a scintillating book if the chemistry is evident - and it’s definitely evident.
But then his hands slowly circled her waist, and then he tightened his arms around her back, his fingers grazing her bare shoulder blades. She sighed, and he growled low, moving his lips across hers and over her neck, then back to her mouth. Tingles raced through her body…they exchanged kiss after kiss until she became dizzy with the power of it.
Y’all, that’s way more action than Elizabeth got from Darcy before he put a ring on it, that’s for sure.
We don’t really have a grand gesture in this novel, but I interpret that as neither party is actually in the wrong for the 3rd act break up. The party that forces the breakup, has their own moment of penitence, and it’s absolutely lovely.

I would absolutely recommend this book and I’m excited to read about each member of the Wendy League as we move forward. Honestly, I’m really interested to see who captures the affection of Andrew, the Grecian God.

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This isn't a love story but a good time in the world.
London and the countryside of Albury, England, 1906
Lydia Wooding can hardly keep up with all the inventions the new century has brought. She’s particularly fond of the petrol motor car, a luxury that fuels her longing for independence. Her older brother and guardian, Andrew, however, refuses her frequent requests to learn to drive. He’s been extra protective of Lydia after their parents were killed in a motor car accident, and he’d prefer his sister focus her attention on finding a suitable husband.
Lydia and her three best friends anticipate they’ll all get married someday, and they certainly enjoy the attention they receive from their coterie of suitors. But settling down is hardly a priority for any of them when there is so much life to experience. Inspired by the play Peter Pan, which they all saw on the London stage, and its promise of everlasting fun and adventure, the young women vow to seize the day and pursue all that life has to offer, including engaging in meaningful causes like the upcoming, and controversial, women’s suffrage march.
Spencer Hayes is a man of practicality, purpose, and innovation, but he lacks the financial backing to make his dreams a reality. When he contacts his childhood friend, Andrew Wooding, about a promising business venture, he is happy to be invited to Briarwall Estate to discuss the terms. Once there, he is surprised to find that Andrew’s shy, younger sister, Lydia, has grown into a young woman of beauty, wit, and a bit of fire. Even better, the two share a passion for motor cars.
Torn between his dream for the future and pursuing a relationship with a passionate, free-spirited woman intent on creating her own future, Spencer must figure out how to protect his head and his heart from Lydia who is determined to live life to the fullest—and change the world in the process.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinion of this book which I read and reviewed voluntarily.

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I LOVED this book! Even the first chapter I was constantly highlighting lines I loved! I’m so excited for this series! I love Proper Romance books and am so excited to see an Edwardian setting in one.
Lydia is a handful at times. In the eyes of her stiff older brother - she’s not proper, brash, speaks too quickly before thinking and a list of other annoyances. Thankfully Lydia has her friends who love and understand her. Andrew has a chum from school over (I love how everyone was shocked and made jokes about Andrew being chums with someone 😂) and Lydia is agitated at first. She vaguely remembers him and thought him gangly and dull. But that is not who is staying as a guest!
I loved all the characters, their distinct personalities, it brought their world to life! I didn’t see what year this takes place but it’s before the Women’s vote and World War 1. So the suffrage is the underlining tone as any young women would agree. They want a say in their life.
The pieces from Peter Pan, the Wendy League and wanting to fly. Perfect!
I received this as an e-arc from the publisher . This book releases next month and I will definitely be buying my own! (I don’t love her pillow chest on the cover but that’s my only gripe). These are my own thoughts and opinions.

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This book was nice and refreshing! I couldn’t put it down. There was such a good balance of humor and fun characters. It was well written with the perfect balance of history and story.
I absolutely loved the Peter Pan references! I love that Lydia and Spencer empowered the other. While neither was without flaws they fit the story perfectly.
I loved the different characters and their interactions. I’m definitely crossing my fingers that the others in the Wendy League get their own stories!

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I like the idea of this, but not sure I care for the execution. It’s branded as a romance, but the suffragette activities with the Wendy League stand out way more than the romance…I really could not care less about the male lead. And Lydia is weird too. In some ways she wants to be grown up, but she also has moments of wanting Peter Pan to “fly her to Neverland.” It just seemed super odd, especially for an adult (or bridging on adult) romance.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain for an ARC of Hearts of Briarwall by Krista Jensen in exchange for my honest opinion.

Hearts of Briarwall is set during an exciting time of history with suffragettes, motorcars, and class fluidity. Among all this social upheaval, we have four girls who are best friends and determined to change their worlds.

This is the story of Lydia. She is a wonderful blend of strength and insecurity. And she loves motorcars and looking to a bright future. Her brother is older and fusty, concerned about her future if she continues to be so wild. Lydia is certain she is a nuisance and failure in her brother's eyes.

Then comes here brother's chum from Eaton, Spencer. No longer gangly, but handsome and progressive in his thoughts. Fireworks start going off!

I adored this proper romance with kissing. It's a fast fun read that had me laughing. I highly recommend this book.

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I have come to the overwhelming conclusion that if I see a book from Shadow Mountain listed on NetGalley and it has the "Proper Romance" banner on the cover, I need to request it immediately. Each one I have read so far has been absolutely delightful and exactly what I have needed -- even if I was under the impression that the last thing I wanted at the time was any sort of romantic drivel.

These are definitely not drivel. They are not pure fluff. They are not bookporn with half-hearted storylines thrown in between sexy-time excerpts. These are perfectly proper romances.

I spent most of Saturday afternoon and evening reading my latest grab from Shadow Mountain -- Krista Jensen's Hearts of Briarwall, which will be released August 2nd. My son kept shooting me strange looks from across the room every time I laughed ... or swooned ... or sniffled. When I was finally finished (and he was relieved that it was finally time to go to bed), he asked if I was so speechless over it that my review would simple be :

I laughed. I swooned. I cried. And then I did it all again.

It would be pretty accurate, but I didn't fully cry. Just almost. And generally they would have been happy tears rather than ugly ones ... though that was tempting a few times.

I really cannot think of anything to dislike about this book (except, of course, for the characters we're meant to dislike). I hope that it is only the first we see of the Wendy League girls. They each have such uniqueness to them and I would love to see them all again ... and again ... and again ... and then maybe the brothers ... or new League members or ...

Full review with teaser at https://wellreadpiratequeen.blogspot.com/2022/07/ill-sleep-when-ive-read-hearts-of.html

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This book appealed to me from a literary perspective - allusions and references to Peter Pan, themes throughout and much to ponder and discuss. I loved the historical time period it was set in and exploring this era, the descriptive writing, and a cast of new characters all just begging for their turn in the spotlight. The message I took away from the book was to give yourself and others the space and tools to fly!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are completely my own.

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Andrew and Lydia were orphaned at a young age then left to the disinterest of their mother's best friend Mrs. Piedmont and sainted (to her) son Sir Lawrence until Andrew reached majority. The non-familial "acquaintance" continued with a shared dinner once each month. (A tepid though presumptuous guardianship if there ever was one, until Lydia grew pretty and came close to her age of inheritance.)

This story is as much about Andrew as about his much younger sister Lydia. The death of both parents and raising a sister only 7 years younger (with restrictions but no help), was weighty. He, the stern over-protector, and she the intelligent, playful, struggling-for-autonomy young woman, with three cheerful but equally bright friends.

Nearing 21, Lydia had no desire for another romantic heartbreak, but she took her role as hostess (aka host) in the home seriously. When her brother announced an old "school chum" was coming to stay, she was nervous.

The chum, it turned out, was the previously gangly and studious Spencer Hayes. Now much less gangly, and visiting for business reasons; Spencer had no intention of being humiliated and toyed-with again by a female.

As period romances go, this one was clean (thank you), interesting, and had the benefit of intelligent, business-savvy women. It also had a "she will be the death of me," young man (of 28) who was in (a touch too much) agony over the young woman. And a typically confused female while her reluctant love interest sent "come here, come here, and get away, get away" messages in his struggle to gain investors for a promising business venture.

Maybe these books have uncommonly pretty women who really did drive men--in those eras--to distraction. Otherwise, the suffering is surprisingly lacking in evidence in men during these modern times!


Note: This book has a minor focus on the women's suffrage movement; equality, equity, and the right to vote. The subject is handled well; convincingly, but not forcefully.

Thanks to Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley for the unedited preview of this in ebook format; the review is voluntary.

#HeartsofBriarwall #NetGalley
#KristaJensen #KristaJensenAuth

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Have you read anything by Krista Jensen? I recommend you do. She has such a witty and engaging writing style, that sucks you in and makes you feel at home.
And Hearts of Briarwall is no exception.
If you like strong friendships, history, brother's best friend romances and Peter Pan references, this book is for you. It's just delightful, in every definition.

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4.5 stars. I fell in love with this book from the first line! I adored Lydia’s character and her group of girl friends. She is independent and fiery. Spencer comes from humble beginnings and is trying to build a motorcar parts business. He stays with his friend, Andrew (Lydia’s brother) and tries to fight his growing feelings for the once shy Lydia. Andrew and Lydia’s parents were killed in a motorcar accident so there is a lot of tension and fear with Andrew. I loved the Edwardian setting with women’s suffrage and the advancement of the motorcar.

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This is so sweet, with a lovely strong heroine. I generally read books set during the Regency or Victorian eras, so this Edwardian era story was a real treat. I could have done without the eleventh hour conflict, as it felt very rushed, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book overall.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher through NetGalley.

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I received a paperback ARC from the publisher as well. I loved this addition to the proper romance series. Sometimes I get bored with them and feel as if they are all the same but lately they’ve all been different which is nice. This one meets that criteria. I love reading this time period of history when petrol cars became more popular. The mischief was fun and the writing gave way to formidable characters who you grew attached to.

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"My persistent desire to never grow up is at war with my suspicion that I already have, and I'm left wondering what to fight for."

After reading Miracle Creek Christmas by the same author, I was thrilled and a little nervous to see a historical by her. My nerves were absolutely unnecessary. I loved genuinely everything about this book. The time period, the setting, the characters, the story. It is all well-researched, completely believable, refreshing, and so relatable. The friends of The Wendy League are my new favorite. Lydia and Spencer's relationship is so sweet as they learn to trust and support each other's dreams. I 100% recommend this lighthearted and delightful love story!

Thank you NetGalley and Shadow Mountain for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions here are my own.