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Holiday Hopes is now available. Come see who is keeping Henry company.

Holiday Hopes

Holiday Hopes

 HolidayHopes-small

by Terry BarrMarianna BoncekNell DuVallMegan HusseyShannon KennedyCharmaine PaulsLeslie D. SouleLinda White-Francis and Aubrey Wynne

Buy Links:

http://melange-books.com/authors/anthologies/HolidayHopes.html

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GXO287A

Secret Santa by Terry Barr
Ten-year old Terry Barr discovers one day just before Christmas that his little brother has found Santa’s stash of toys. The secret of Santa is out now, and as Terry tries to help his mother cover the story to retain his brother’s innocence, the world of secrets, conspiracies, and emotional entanglements for him only grows deeper.

An American Noel by Marianna Boncek
Charlie Reardon is a down-and-out bum looking for some returnables and a warm place to sleep on a snowy, Christmas night. Instead, with the help of his on-again-off-again angel, Gabriel, Charlie finds a baby in an alley. Does the baby offer some type of redemption?

The Three Gifts of Christmas by Nel DuVall
The Three Gifts of Christmas by Nell DuVall is a tender love story of people facing difficult choices in an uncertain world. Family or love? Stephanie Graham must choose between her frail elderly grandmother and Craig, her fiancé, when he gets a promotion that would take him to England. She’s never traveled far from home and dreads leaving her friends and all she knows, especially her grandmother, to migrate to a strange country. Besides, if he loved her, he wouldn’t go.

Merry Christmas, India Stone by Megan Hussey and Linda White-Francis
Facing her first Christmas alone as a recent divorcee, India Stone takes an impulsive trip to an Aspen ski lodge; where the handsome, dashing Tristan sweeps her off of her feet and onto the slopes. Spoiling her with romantic sleigh rides, beautiful gifts and romantic candlelight dinners, Tristan lends light, love and color to India’s holiday.

Deck the Stalls by Shannon Kennedy
All Sierra McElroy wants for Christmas is a guarantee the horses at Shamrock Stable will be home for the holidays. Her mother has decided they can’t keep every horse and should sell some. Now, what can Sierra do to save her friends and Christmas for everyone?

A Miracle for Christmas by Charmaine Pauls
Michael Slanders only wants a steady job and a family of his own, but instead he lives from hand to mouth with his sick mother. Fired a week before Christmas and down on his luck, Mike needs nothing short of a miracle. Sometimes, goodness prevails. Sometimes, magic is made.

The Feast of Yule by Leslie D. Soule
Ash Kensington gets to spend her first holiday in the fantasy realm known as Fallenwood. Her friends, the sorcerer Will Everett, the court jester Terces Solario, and the cat who was once a human, Greymalkin, are put in charge of watching a trio of unruly gnomes over the weekend, and chaos breaks loose! Join Ash and her friends as they celebrate the holiday known as The Feast of Yule!

Merry Christmas, Henry by Aubrey Wynne
Henry, a shy and talented artist, moonlights as a security guard at a museum and loses his heart to a beautiful, melancholy woman in a painting. As his obsession grows, he finds a kindred soul who helps him in his search for happiness. On Christmas Eve, Henry dares to take a chance on love and fulfill his dream.

Henry small cover

Excerpt:

“Hey, Henry, you want a little overtime?” the supervisor had asked. “Charlie called in sick and I could use an extra hand. Another rich collector remembered us in his will. We’ve got a pricey piece arriving in about an hour and I’d feel better with some extra security.”

Henry tried to wipe the smile off his face. Five years in the city and he still felt like a country bumpkin. “Sure.”

“The paper says a Rubens. Flemish, wasn’t he? But it’s a small one.”

Henry gave a whistle. “Impressive.”

“There’s a companion painting with it, artist unknown. We’ll have to find a spot for it in appreciation for the collector’s piece.”

An hour later, Henry held a priceless painting in his hands. God, he loved this job.

“The family probably figured they wouldn’t get any money out of the other one. But this one sure is a beauty,” the supervisor said as he reached for the Rubens.

“Yes, indeed,” Henry replied, as his eyes landed on the second painting. “Striking.”

Henry’s boss laughed. “I’m talking about this one, Bud. The little one is worth the big bucks!” His boss headed toward the office to start the paperwork on the new museum pieces.

“Yes, of course,” he murmured, but his attention remained focused on the woman in the larger painting.

She sat on the edge of a rocky cliff, her face slightly turned as if looking over the edge. Her legs were out to the side, knees bent, a long, olive-colored skirt spread around her haphazardly as if blown by the wind. The stormy ocean breakers rushed between jagged rocks then turned into frothy waves that lapped at the sand. The details in the picture were crisp and stark, the color was minimal—just the woman on a cliff with the turbulent water below. But the overall effect created a hauntingly beautiful scene.

He felt her distress, her sorrow. His fingers itched to reach out and pull her from the painting and hold her, soothe her, give her comfort. Henry knew that if she could turn and face him, he would be looking at the most exquisite creature he’d ever seen. His hand shook as he reached out to touch the canvas.

“Are you okay, Henry?”

Henry drew his hand back quickly as if he’d been caught in the act of—of what? Touching a frame? Good lord, he must be tired.

“What? Oh, yeah, I just need some sleep. ” As Henry turned to leave, he took one last look at the woman who had just stolen his heart. Fate had given him a precious gift. He whistled “Angels We Have Heard on High” all the way home.

Buy Links:

Melange Books, LLC: http://www.melange-books.com/authors/aubreywynne/merryxmashenry.html

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GHWQHYS

Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Merry-Christmas-Henry-Aubrey-Wynne-ebook/dp/B00GHWQHYS

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/merry-christmas-henry-aubrey-wynne/1117352015?ean=2940045373494


 

 

 


Aubrey’s Ageless Romance Café

In this literary world, a handful of stories will stand the test of time. A modern classic novel holds the attention of every generation with a thoughtful plot, complex characters and a scene or two that lingers long after the final page. These books will never be traded in at the paperback store or sold for a quarter at a garage sale. An ageless romance is passed on to your sister, then to her daughter who loans it to a friend. By the time it makes it back to your shelf, the pages are yellowed, earmarked and appreciated. And ever so often, when you need to be reminded of the remarkable power of love, you dust off that old friend and peruse its pages again. These are the stories I want to share with you in Aubrey’s cafe.

Loving Frank

By Nancy Horak

Published: 2007       Publisher: Ballantine Books       POV: Third person

Setting: Oak Park, IL and Spring Green, WI 1907-1914

Spoiler alert! A true story with the ending discussed in graphic detail.

Loving Frank is an historical romance about the love affair between architect Frank Lloyd Wright and feminist Mamah (Mahmuh) Borthwick Cheney. In the beginning, we think: classic boy meets the right girl at the wrong time. Although both Frank and Mamah were married, the attraction proved too strong to resist.The affair became headline news and reporters followed their journey from a passionate escape to Europe, their cold welcome home to the ghastly, abrupt end of their relationship.

Even in childhood, Mamah Borthwick considered herself an outsider and chose books for her closest friends. The written page filled her mind with adventures and she longed to ‘do something’ with her life. As a young woman, she left her hometown of Oak Park, Illinois and attended the university in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There, she caught the freedom bug and a feminist flu. Hoping to become an author in support of the Woman Movement, she moved to Port Huron to teach high school and later ran the public library. After six years, her determination to maintain her independence waned as one by one, her friends married and family became their new focus.

Edwin Cheney lost his heart to Miss Borthwick on their first meeting and vowed to win her hand. She saw thirty drawing close and realized independence also meant loneliness. His persistence finally convinced Mamah to give up the ‘modern’ life and give in to conformity. Her life took on a comfortable routine. With the birth of a son, Mamah soon convinced herself that contentment and affection were a fair substitute for passion.

Frank Lloyd Wright, an eccentric, up-and-coming architect, had made a name for himself and his Prairie Houses outside of Chicago. The focus on nature in the construction of a home became a hot trend for those who could afford it. The simplicity and open concept of his design appealed to men; his charming manner and larger than life personality appealed to women.

Enter: the Cheneys. Edwin commissioned Wright to build a Prairie House in Oak Park. Since her husband worked long days, Mrs. Cheney handled most of the consultations throughout the project. The housewife and architect found they were kindred souls intellectually. Just as they considered becoming intimate, Mamah discovers she is pregnant and refuses to see Frank again.

Jump ahead several years later. Frank Lloyd Wright is speaking to a group of women in Oak Park. Mamah knows it is dangerous to attend the presentation but can’t help herself. The moment their eyes connect, the reader knows there can only be one conclusion.

This is a story of a woman who gave up everything for love. Yet with this sacrifice, she eventually finds her own self worth and makes a name as a literary translator. While she never regretted her decisions, the reader is left to wonder if she would have done it differently if given the choice.

It is the account of a man who considered his talent a gift to the world and only Mamah could keep him grounded. The reader learns not only the intricacies behind Frank’s genius but the flaws within the man as well. He left behind a legacy accompanied by a mountain of unpaid bills.

Nancy Horan accurately describes the time period with intellect, humor and grace. She plops the reader in the middle of Europe, sipping tea in a German or French cafe and introduces us to the social radicals of the time. We share the frustration of women at the turn of the century as they struggle to transform their roles in a changing society. The author also brings us step by step through the construction of Frank Lloyd Wright’s beloved home, Taliesin. We are transported into an extraordinary time when architecture began to alter not only the landscape but the world.

I thought this story appropriate for October and Halloween because of the brutal murders of Mamah and her children. John was twelve and Martha only nine years old. In August of 1914, a disgruntled household servant, Julian Carlton, dished up lunch as usual for the master’s family. He then went outside, locked all the doors except for one, poured gasoline around the perimeters of the house and lit a match. Back inside, he took an axe to the family, split their skulls and watched them burn. Other staff, eating in another part of the home, smelled smoke and ran for the only open door. An axe greeted them as they exited. Martha lived for several hours so severely burned she was unrecognizable. Mamah’s ex-husband dug through the ashes to find his son’s bones. Frank Lloyd Wright rebuilt Taliesin only to watch it burn again. He never fully recovered from the tragedy. I found this novel to be engaging and thought-provoking.

A few times in the middle of the novel, I skimmed a chapter or two. Yet, I also found myself hoping that the novel would end differently and my heroine would live happily ever after. A huge a happy-ever-after fan, I cannot give five mugs but highly recommend it with four to fans of historical romance, Frank Lloyd Wright or architecture.

4 coffee mugs
Hot, strong, and addicting.