The Cautious Maiden
1892 – Maine
Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother Ezra turns their deceased parents’ New England country inn into a brothel to accommodate the nearby lumberjacks but when Violet’s own reputation is compromised, the inn becomes the least of her worries. In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance&, Vance Everstone.
As she prepares for a society wedding, Violet learns that her brother had staked her hand in marriage in a heated poker game with the unsavory Rowen Steele, and Ezra had lost. Now Rowen is determined to cash in on his IOU.
With danger stalking her and a new fiancé who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust, and who to leave behind.
The Honorable Heir
1900 – New York
An American heiress and widow of a rakish English earl, Catherine has returned to New York high society determined to make amends for the scandal she caused when she crossed the Atlantic to elope with her best friend’s suitor and win the title of Lady Bisterne. But a ruined reputation isn’t the only thing that’s followed her home: Lord Tristram Wolfe, the rightful heir to the Bisterne estate, has vowed to track down his family’s stolen jewels—gems he’s certain Catherine stole.
Catherine has more to think about than charming, handsome Tristram and his accusations, even if he’s beginning to change her mind about never returning to England. Back at her family’s Tuxedo Park estate, she resolves to restore her honor by earning the forgiveness of her best friend and protecting her younger sister from other fortune-seeking Englishmen with dubious titles, all while abiding by the etiquette of the Gilded Age.
Yet when Tristram’s quest takes a dangerous turn, she must decide whether to follow the rules or save her accuser’s life.
Waves of Mercy
1846-1896 – The Netherlands and Michigan
Geesje de Jonge crossed the ocean at age seventeen with her parents and a small group of immigrants from The Netherlands to settle in the Michigan wilderness. Fifty years later, in 1897, she is asked to write a memoir of her early experiences as the town celebrates its anniversary. Reluctant at first, she soon uncovers memories and emotions that have remained buried all these years, including the story of her one true love.
A few miles away at the Hotel Ottawa Resort on the shore of Lake Michigan, twenty-three-year-old Anna Nicholson is trying to ease the pain of her broken engagement to a wealthy Chicago banker. But her time of introspection is disturbed after the violent storm her steamship encounters on her journey across the lake, stirs up memories of a childhood nightmare. As more memories and dreams surface, Anna begins to question who she is and whether she wants to return to her wealthy life in Chicago. When she befriends a young seminary student who is working at the hotel for the summer, she finds herself asking him all the questions that have been troubling her.
Neither Geesje nor Anna, who are different in every possible way, can foresee the life-altering surprises awaiting them before the summer ends.
The Captive Imposter
1891 – Maine
Sent away for protection, hotel heiress Estella Everstone finds herself living undercover as a lady’s companion named Elle Stoneburner at one of her father’s opulent hotels in the mountains of Maine—the one she’d always loved best and always hoped to own one day, Everston. The one thing she doesn’t like about the situation is that her ex-fiancé is in the area and is set on marrying someone else. Reeling from her feelings of being unwanted and unworthy, Estella reluctantly forms a friendship with the gruff manager of Everston, Dexter Blakeley, who seems to have something against wealthy young socialites with too much money, although they are just the kind of people Everston caters to.
When Estella finds herself in need of help, Dexter comes to the rescue with an offer she can’t refuse. She sees no other choice aside from going back home to her family and accepts the position as companion to his sister. Throughout her interactions with Dexter, she can’t deny the pull that’s evidenced between them every time he comes near. Estella realizes that while she’s been hiding behind a false name and identity, she’s never been freer to be herself than when she’s with Dexter Blakeley. But will he still love her when he finds out she’s Estella Everstone? She’s not entirely sure.
The Unscripted Courtship
1901 – New York
Pressured into staging her play for the genteel residents of Tuxedo Park, college student Julia resigns herself to mingling with the upper crust. But she never imagined she’d have to protect herself from danger lurking in the production. Or that she’d have to join forces with wealthy heartthrob Robert Malcolm to do so.
Even though they’re from different worlds, Robbie’s captivated by the feisty young playwright—and he won’t see her hurt. Together they work to discover who’s out to get Julia. But as their love grows, will they be able to overcome their different social standings before the curtain falls on their romance?
The Bound Heart
1891 – Massachusetts and Maine
One accidental kiss. That was all it took to throw Meredyth Summercourt’s world upside-down. Determined to marry the ever-elusive Vance Everstone, she simply doesn’t have the time or the desire to fall for her friend Lawry Hampton. However, with Vance out of the country and Lawry constantly at her side, Meredyth can’t help but wonder if what’s holding her to Vance is nothing more than a desire to redeem herself from their unfortunate past. When Vance comes home to stake his claim on Meredyth, will she be strong enough to break free from the tangled web she’s convinced she deserves? Or will she find the strength to accept that God’s plan for her life could include redemption… and quite possibly the love of her best-friend?
Secrets of Sloane House
1893 – Illinois
Rosalind Perry has left her family’s rural farm in Wisconsin to work as a housemaid at Sloane House, one of the most elegant mansions in Gilded Age Chicago. However, Rosalind is not there just to earn a living and support her family—she’s at Sloane House determined to discover the truth about her sister’s mysterious disappearance. Reid Armstrong is the handsome heir to a silver fortune. However, his family is on the periphery of Chicago’s elite because their wealth comes from “new money” obtained from successful mining. Marriage to Veronica Sloane would secure his family’s position in society—the lifelong dream of his ailing father. When Reid begins to realize that Rosalind’s life may be in danger, he stops thinking of marriage prospects and concentrates on helping Rosalind. Dark things are afoot in Chicago and, he fears, in Sloane House. If he’s not vigilant, Rosalind could pay the price.
Love at Any Cost (The Heart of San Francisco)
1902 – California
Jilted by a fortune hunter, cowgirl Cassidy McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who would just as soon hogtie a man as look at him. Hoping a summer visit with her wealthy cousins in San Francisco will help her forget her heartache, Cassidy travels west. But no sooner is she settled in beautiful California than Jamie McKenna, a handsome pauper looking to marry well, captures her heart. When Jamie discovers the woman he loves is poorer than he is, Cassidy finds herself bucked by love a second time. Will Jamie discover that money can’t buy love after all? And can Cassidy ever learn to fully trust her heart to a man?
With delectable descriptions and a romantic sensibility, bestselling author Julie Lessman brings the Gilded Age to life in this sumptuous new series. Readers will faithfully follow Lessman to the West Coast for more romance, passion, and surprising revelations found in Love at Any Cost.