Playing the Part by Jen Turano

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playingthepartPlaying the Part

 1882 – New York

Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but must abandon her starring role when a fan’s interest turns threatening. Lucetta’s widowed friend, Abigail Hart, seizes the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta’s life and promptly whisks her away to safety at her eligible grandson’s estate.

At first glance, Bram Haverstein appears to be a gentleman of means–albeit an eccentric one–but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there’s much more to him than society knows.

While Lucetta has no interest in Abigail’s matchmaking machinations, she can’t ignore the strange things going on in Bram’s house and the secrets he hides. As the hijinks and hilarity that Bram, Lucetta, and their friends are swept into take a more dangerous turn, can they accept who they are behind the parts they play in time to save the day?

A Respectable Actress by Dorothy Love

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respectableactressA Respectable Actress

1870 – Georgia

India Hartley, a famous and beautiful actress, is now alone after her father’s death and embarks upon a tour of theaters across the South. Her first stop is Savannah’s Southern Palace. On the eve of the second night’s performance, something goes horribly wrong. Her co-star, Arthur Sterling, is shot dead on stage in front of a packed house, and India is arrested and accused of the crime.

A benefactor hires Philip Sinclair, the best—and handsomest—lawyer in Savannah to defend India. A widower, Philip is struggling to reinvent his worn-out plantation on St. Simons Island. He needs to increase his income from his law practice in order to restore Indigo Point, and hardly anything will bring him more new clients than successfully defending a famous actress on a murder charge.

Because India can’t go anywhere in town without being mobbed, Philip persuades the judge handling her case to let him take her to Indigo Point until her trial date. India is charmed by the beauty of the Georgia lowcountry and is increasingly drawn to Philip. But a locked room that appears to be a shrine to Philip’s dead wife and the unsolved disappearance of a former slave girl raise troubling questions. Piecing together clues in an abandoned boat and a burned-out chapel, India discovers a trail of dark secrets that lead back to Philip, secrets that ultimately may hold the key to her freedom. If only he will believe her.

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Finding Olivia by Darlene Wells

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findingoliviaFinding Olivia

1937 – California

Convinced that Hollywood holds the key to her future joy and contentment, Olivia Hawkins refuses to pay heed to the voices that warn her of the inherent dangers. Nathan Grant, an ordained minister has seen Hollywood ruin more lives than he cares to count, especially the one for which he carries a burden of guilt. He won’t stand by and watch it happen again. Excitement, rejection, and terrifying betrayal daunt Olivia’s journey and threaten her relationship with God. Caught in a struggle between worldly fame and fame in the eyes of the One who created her, she must decide which is of greater worth: stardom or true peace?

Hollywood Lost by Ace Collins

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Hollywood Losthollywoodlost

1936 – California

Struggling to make ends meet during the Great Depression, Shelby Beckett flees the Oklahoma dust bowl to find work in the wardrobe department of Hollywood’s largest movie studio. Surrounded by glamour and wealth, Shelby is charmed by box office star Flynn Sparks as well as Flynn’s chief rival, fellow actor Dalton Andrews. As Shelby joins her suitors at opulent parties and intimate dinners, she rubs elbows with the likes of Clark Gable and Cary Grant and is drawn deeper into a lifestyle where her small town values are challenged or ignored.

Lurking in the shadows of this Gatsby-like lifestyle is an unseen evil force that strangles beautiful women. Suspecting a madman is connected to the studio production where Shelby works, homicide chief detective Bill Barrister believes the only way to uncover the identity of the ruthless killer is to offer Shelby as bait.

Hollywood Lost is a romantic suspense novel where separating reality from fantasy is all but impossible; where love is rare, life is cheap, and values are lost in pursuit of fame and fortune.

Sweet on the Cowgirl by Rose Ross Zediker

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sweetonthecowgirlSweet on the Cowgirl

1924 – Nebraska

Laura has always dreamed of being a trick rider in her family’s Wild West show. But her father will only allow her to perform if she disguises herself as Mr. Buckskin Jones. When soda-pop king Guy Roberts shows up to do business with her family, Laura is torn between keeping her identity under wraps and revealing her growing feelings for Guy. Guy is drawn to Laura’s poise and beauty, but he, too, guards a secret. As their affection for each other grows, Guy begins to think about a future that includes Laura. When both their secrets suddenly come to light, their romance will face the ultimate showdown.

Murder at Mikado by Julianna Deering

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Murder at Mikadomurderatthemikado

1930s – England

When a CELEBRATED ACTOR IS FOUND MURDERED IN HIS DRESSING ROOM, All signs point to Drew’s Old Flame. But Behind the Curtains nothing is what it seems and this Quickly Becomes his MOST puzzling case YET. Just as Drew Farthering thinks his life has calmed down some, Fleur Landis, a former girlfriend, reappears, in dire need of his help. She’s married now, no longer an actress–but the lead actor in her former troupe’s production of The Mikado has been murdered, and Fleur is the police’s number one suspect. Drew would rather focus on his fiancée, Madeline Parker, and their upcoming wedding, but he can’t leave Fleur and her family in the lurch–even if she did break his heart once. As Drew, Nick, and Madeline begin investigating, they discover more going on behind the scenes of the theater troupe than could ever have been imagined. It seems nearly everyone had a motive, and alibis are few and far between. Both the murder case and the presence of the beautiful, exotic Fleur put a heavy strain on Drew and Madeline’s relationship. Will their still-young romance survive the pressure?

All for a Sister by Allison Pittman

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All for a Sisterallforasister

1925 – California

In Hollywood during the Roaring Twenties, Celeste DuFrane has it all. Her father’s work with color movie film opens doors that lead to the stardom she’s always aspired to. But after losing her mother, she discovers that half the estate has been left to a woman accused of killing Celeste’s baby sister before Celeste was even born. Dana Lundgren arrives on the steps of the DuFrane mansion having spent most of her life imprisoned for a crime that never happened. After accusing her of murder so many years ago, why did Marguerite DuFrane leave her a sizeable inheritance? As Celeste and Dana learn each other’s stories, they come up with more questions than answers. Then a surprising discovery begins to fill in the missing pieces: Marguerite DuFrane’s written confession, penned shortly before her death. Uncovering the treachery and deceit that changed the course of countless lives—most of all, their own—the two women find more than they ever dreamed of.

Bridge to Haven by Francince Rivers

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Bridge to Havenbridgetohaven

1950s – California

To those who matter in 1950s Hollywood, Lena Scott is the hottest rising star to hit the silver screen since Marilyn Monroe. Few know her real name is Abra. Even fewer know the price she’s paid to finally feel like she’s somebody. To Pastor Ezekiel Freeman, Abra will always be the little girl who stole his heart the night he found her, a wailing newborn abandoned under a bridge on the outskirts of Haven. Zeke and his son, Joshua—Abra’s closest friend—watch her grow into an exotic beauty. But Zeke knows the circumstances surrounding her birth etched scars deep in her heart, scars that leave her vulnerable to a fast-talking bad boy who proclaims his love and lures her to Tinseltown. Hollywood feels like a million miles from Haven, and naive Abra quickly learns what’s expected of an ambitious girl with stars in her eyes. But fame comes at an awful price. She has burned every bridge to get exactly what she thought she wanted. Now, all she wants is a way back home. In this riveting and highly anticipated tale of temptation, grace, and unconditional love, New York Times best-selling author Francine Rivers delivers big-canvas storytelling at its very best.

Jasmine by Diane T Ashley and Aaron McCarver

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Jasmine (Song of the River)jasmine

1870 – Illinois

Jasmine Anderson runs away from her riverboat home and the faith and love of her past to pursue a life of fame. She flees to a showboat where she gains small roles and attracts the seductive attention of the lead actor and the bitter jealousy of a veteran actress. Then a great tragedy sets off a chain of events that creates promising new opportunities but also grave danger for Jasmine—and ultimately the chance to discover a dream truly worth living and sacrificing for.

A Place to Belong by Lauraine Snelling

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A Place to Belong (Wild West Wind)aplacetobelong

1906 – South Dakota

As winter settles over the ranch, the Engstrom brothers are much on the mind of Cassie Lockwood. The way Lucas smiles at her should set her heart to tripping. But it doesn’t. Shouldn’t there be some attraction to him if they are going to be married? His vow to make her love him does not seem to be working, no matter how considerate and charming he is.

Ransom Engstrom is another matter. After Cassie’s train trip to a shooting competition, she realizes she misses Ransom more than Lucas. And then there’s the look she caught Lucas sending Betsy Hudson at church one Sunday. Are she and Lucas drifting apart?

Meanwhile, Ransom has discovered that he cares for Cassie but can’t bring himself to express his true feelings to her. When she leaves to join a Wild West show for the summer, will Ransom summon the courage to go after her?

Duchess by Susan May Warren

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Goodreads duchess~ Purchase ~ Sample

1930s – California

A glamorous Hollywood starlet must fight for her life, her love, and her country in this epic 1930s tale.

During the golden age of Hollywood, film star Roxy Price’s future shines bright — until the fated Black Friday when it all comes crashing down. Her only hope is to join forces with Belgian duke Rolfe Van Horne, a film investor. But Rolfe is not who he seems, and his plans to support a growing unrest in Europe could break Roxy’s heart and endanger her life. When her country needs her, will she have the courage to surrender her glittering world and her one true love?

Wedding Belles by Janice Hanna

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Wedding Bellesweddingbelles

1912 – Colorado

Against the backdrop of scenic Estes Park, Colorado, comes a story filled with mayhem, romance, and plenty of drama— most of it on the stage. The year is 1912, and tomboy Lottie Sanders would do just about anything to help the fella she secretly loves. When Gilbert Parker’s family lodge faces financial ruin, he suggests putting on a melodrama to draw in a crowd. He appeals to Lottie to direct the show. Her plan to bring in actresses from across the country is sabotaged when the local single men turn it into a hunt for brides. Lottie finds the drama shifting from the stage to real life.

Shakespeare’s Lady by Alexa Schnee

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Shakespeare’s Ladyshakespeareslady

1600s – England

For centuries, readers have debated the identity of the mysterious Dark Lady in William Shakespeare’s sonnets. Emilia Bassano — lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth and one of the first women poets in England — could be the answer.

In Shakespeare’s Lady, Emilia Bassano is one of the most dazzling ladies at court when she meets the little-known playwright William Shakespeare. Shakespeare sees the world like no one ever has before, and despite everything — his wife in Stratford-Avon, Emilia’s husband and young son, and the will of the fiery and unpredictable queen — they fall in love. But the course of true love never did run smooth, and the Virgin Queen does not take lightly to her ladies straying. These star-crossed lovers must fight for their love — and, eventually, their lives. Meanwhile, William, courting the queen’s favor for his new theater, pens some of the most memorable stories ever written, and encourages Emilia to write; he helps her compose, and eventually steals, a little bedtime story she calls A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

In the tradition of Jane Austen Ruined My Life and The Other Boleyn Girl, this is a breathtaking, emotionally rich story spun out of historical fact. From the plague-ridden streets of London to the throne room of Greenwich Court to the stage of The Globe Theater, this is a meticulously researched and gorgeously written story about grace, forgiveness, and the forbidden love between the greatest poet the world has ever known and the woman who inspired him.

Stars in the Night by Cara Putnam

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starsinthenightGoodreads ~ Purchase ~ Sample

1942 – California

When attorney Audra Schaeffer’s sister disappears, Audra flies to Hollywood to find her—but must identify her body instead. Determined to bring the killer to justice, Audra takes a job with the second Hollywood Victory Caravan. Together with Robert Garfield and other stars, she crisscrosses the southern United States in a campaign to sell war bonds. When two other women are found dead on the train, Audra knows the deaths are tied to her sister’s. Could the killer be the man with whom she’s falling in love?

 

The Healing Season by Ruth Axtell Morren

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healingseasonThe Healing Season (Regency Series #3)

1817 – England

Though he’s found his life’s calling ministering to London’s underclass, Dr. Ian Russell hadn’t yet found his life’s mate. Then the former army surgeon encountered the enchanting stage actress Eleanor Neville. Ian’s good works and strong faith set him apart from other men Eleanor knew. She feared her notorious past would end their future together before it had even begun. Could true love overcome all obstacles and make their lonely hearts as one?