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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 !
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
The story is a rom-com set in The Edwardian Era. Lydia Wooding was orphaned at a young age when her parents were killed in a motorcar accident. Her elder brother, Andrew, was deeply affected by this incident & became extremely protective of his sister. She is forbidden to drive any motorcar even though she longs to do so. He thinks she should rather focus on finding a suitable match for herself. Although, she loves her brother & understands his concern, she feels his overprotective nature is not letting her become independent.
Spencer Hayes is an aspiring businessman & is looking for investors to make his dreams come true. When he comes up with the plan for a business venture, he contacts his childhood friend, Andrew Wooding, who immediately invites him to stay in Briarwall Estate to discuss his proposal. Once he arrives, he is surprised to find his friend's sister, who is not a shy little girl anymore but has grown into a young beautiful woman with a free-spirited heart & shares a passion for motorcars just like him. Both of them are attracted to each other, but don't realize that they are falling in love. But Lydia's three best friends refuse to give up on them & are determined to make them understand that are meant to be together.
I liked the backdrop of the story, where things were beginning to change in the automobile industry, and its impact on the lives of people back then. Despite the story being set over a hundred years ago, there is a modern vibe which makes it unique. Spencer & Lydia were so adorable, and I liked their chemistry. I admired Lydia's personality & the way she expresses her thoughts when people try to patronize her. The bond between Lydia & her friends was my favorite aspect of the book & I hope they get their own story in the future. Despite being a rom-com the book also focuses on women's rights & their role in expanding a business venture. Overall, it's a sweet, simple & clean romance & I would recommend it to people who like to read historical romance.💖
Thank you NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for sending me the ARC of this book
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.
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!
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
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.
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!
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.
Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley.com provided the copy I read for this review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.”
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.