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Love on a Dime

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  • Posted October 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    What an adorable book!

    Jackson Grail raced out of Lilly Westbrook's life only hours after proposing. His heart belonged to Lilly but he just couldn't shake his pride and overhearing a conversation Lilly's parents were having about Jackson not being good enough for their heiress confirmed his darkest beliefs and sent him tearing into the night.

    Now many years later Jackson is returning. He has finally 'made good' and is able to financially keep his lovely heiress if only he can regain her love.

    Lilly is not having it. It took her all this time to get over Jackson and when she finally gets a suitor - he returns acting like he never left. Oh, and worse! Lilly's doing something unconventional. Something that could get her get her tossed from polite society. Something that Jackson will find if he starts digging...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2012

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  • Posted August 24, 2011

    Wonderful book

    Could not put it downl

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 10, 2011

    Easy romance novel.

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  • Posted May 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great Summer Read or Escape from the Winter "Blahs"

    Being a historical novel that immediately appealed to me. Also being a "summer vacation" story made it fit quite well into my summer reading list but it could easily be an escape to sunnier, warmer weather during the cool, wet, and dreary fall or winter season here in the Northwestern corner of America, the US in particular.

    Cara brings readers into an intimate and thorough peek at the behind the scenes life of a dime novelist who is not typical of the profession nor are her books. Because of the "reputed" character of many of the stories the profession in general carries a high stigma towards authors who "go public". Writing as Fannie Cole and jealously guarding her time and manuscripts is the only way Lily Westbrook can feel that she is not besmirched in her connection to an industry with blurred lines of morality. Lily however has strong values that shine through in her characters and stories. Despite the appeal of the seedier plots to a wide audience or readers much of the difference in sales is simply a function of visibility and promotion to the readers themselves. Lily's pseudonym of Fannie Cole is popular among the readers of dime novels in general but when her publisher faces a buy out and subsequently the competition of highly visible writers at their rival firm, Fannie (Lily) must make the hardest choice she has faced. She chose to write as a reflection of her faith and bring glory to God through the talent He has given her, but her life has always been her private escape from the rat race and visibility of popular scribes in her day. Though the books sell well and appeal to readers, the mystery and privacy of Miss Cole is threatened when her publisher determines that their best author should bring herself into the public eye and give readers a presence to relate to. In the midst of her private debate about letting her friends, family, and reading public see who this "mystery woman" is, Lily is also faced with the question of whether to give up writing altogether outside of private musings and keeping Fannie's true identity secret by simply ending Miss Cole's career.

    James is a new author to me but this book has proven to be inspirational and an adventure that many readers will find appealing. It appears that this book is destined to have companion volumes releasing in the future and I hope that even if the Westbrooks are not central characters in subsequent novels they will still have a presence for readers to revisit as their lives and story progress in upcoming titles of the series.

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  • Posted July 6, 2010

    A very enjoyable read!

    In Newport, Rhode Island, in 1899, proper young ladies in wealthy society were ladies of leisure. They did not work, and they most certainly did not write dime novels. Lilly Westbrook has more worries than deciding which tea or ball to attend. The young man who is about to propose to her has opened up doors to the social elite increasing her family's social status; and although Lilly doesn't particularly care about mingling with society, her family does. If anyone finds out she writes dime novels under the nom de plume Fannie Cole, her family will be shunned from society and perhaps even face financial ruin. So, she must continue to write in secret, pretending to pen poetry as her excuse of staying holed up in her room for hours at a time.

    Just when she finds herself getting over the heartbreak of her long-lost beau, Jackson Grail, and finally courting a suitable man for marriage, she finds Jackson as a summer houseguest once again. He's recently purchased the company who publishes her novels. Can she protect her secret identity and her heart? Jackson still stirs up feelings she thought she'd put behind her. Which man will truly sacrifice everything to win her heart?

    Jackson Grail regrets the decisions he made years earlier. He was a coward. He's done well for himself and now he's back to try and make things right. He suspects Lilly knows the true identity of the elusive Miss Fannie Cole. Why is she adamant about not helping him find her? Will he be able to convince Lilly that she can trust him again?

    This book has a few twists and turns that one might not expect. Ms. James has made the secondary characters quite interesting and they support the main story nicely. This was Ms. James' debut novel. I enjoyed reading it and look forward to her others in this Ladies of Summerhill series.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 5, 2010

    Review: Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James

    Love on a Dime is set in 1899 in Newport, Rhode Island. This was a time when a woman of high society was to take care of the house and socialize, one would not dare work. Lilly Westbrook is part of the elite and has started writing dime novels under the pen name "Fannie Cole". Not only does a very popular town scoundrel try to find, blackmail, and expose her, but her publisher needs her to announce whom she really is also for financial reasons. It takes you back to a time when people really cared about how they were viewed by society, much unlike the ways of the world today. This was nice in a way but also made me appreciate my independence.

    The book provides love and mystery with a mixture of Christianity also. Lilly finds herself in the middle of having to make many decisions and wants God to help her in making the right choices. Choosing between her current love and a love from the past, whom just happened to have bought the publishing company that she writes for, proves to be a difficult decision for this character. Choosing whether or not to come public with her identity is the hardest decision of all. She has to decide if she wants to put her family in the hands of public scrutiny because of her choices or to remain anonymous and risk being exposed.

    I did thoroughly enjoy this book. It caught my attention from the start and had me intrigued throughout to the end. This was a debut book by Cara Lynn James, I do look forward to reading more of her work and would recommend this book as a good read!

    I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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  • Posted June 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Enjoyable read for writers

    I can't help but love a good story about a writer. After all, I'm a writer, myself. Therefore, Cara Lynn James' new novel "Love on a Dime," which follows a society lady named Lilly secretly writing dime novels with moral twists, had my attention from the very beginning. And it kept my attention, too.

    While some of the dialogue was less than natural, the story, itself, kept me intrigued throughout, and the faith of the main characters felt natural. It took far too long for the final, inevitable result to come about, but Lilly's efforts to keep her identity a secret from her fans, her publisher (and former lover), and, most of all, her family, as well as her efforts to find a true love that will please her parents makes for a good novel that I highly recommend, especially to my fellow writers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2010

    Love on a Dime

    Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James is in the Ladies of Summerhill series. It's a romance - which I don't read much of these days but still enjoy from time to time - but not just any romance. It's a Christian romance which is definitely a new one for me.

    The story's protagonist is Lily Westbrook, a 20-something living in Newport, Rhode Island, in the 18090s. Lily has a big secret - she pens dime-store romance novels on the side. Social norms mean that Lily's family would be shamed if her secret became common knowledge. As crazy as this sounds to us in the 21st century, James does a great job demonstrating the propriety and standards of a bygone era. The details of those standards and of Lily's writing were far more interesting to me than the romance, which was very sappy at times. Lily's character was also well-done. Her deep faith in God is juxtaposed with her secret in a way that makes the story believable and resonant.

    This isn't a book I would typically buy, but I must say that it kept my attention, even through the sappy parts. That's the mark of a good writer!

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  • Posted June 10, 2010

    Exactly what to expect from a well-written historical romance

    James creates entertaining characters who capture your attention, struggle through their circumstances, and frustrate your sensibilities. Watching Lilly and Jackson navigate their lives and careers around each other, their families, and society makes the reader shudder with aggravation, but only because James does such a good job of pulling you into their world of social classes and propriety.

    Though the ending seemed a bit rushed, the book is an entertaining romantic read, full of classic romantic elements set in a turn of the century beach town. If you enjoy historical romances, I'm confident you'll like this book.

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  • Posted June 4, 2010

    review of Love on a Dime

    Imagine an author writing under a pseudonym, even her parents don't know that she is a novelist. Then put her in a setting of high society over a century ago. Add in some romance, philanthropy, and many consumed with their "place" in society. That is the basic content of Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James . This was an easy to read novel, with an interesting story of a girl who had major choices to make. The author shares the character's thoughts as she struggles with revealing her secret. It is interesting to contemplate, if you were famous, would you want your friends to know, rather than accept you for yourself?
    Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for this review.

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  • Posted June 4, 2010


    Lilly Westbrook is following God's will for her life by writing dime romance novels. Her wealthy, high-society family believes she is penning poetry for her own enjoyment. To discover the truth about what Lilly does for hours in her room would destroy their acceptance into the society of Newport, Rhode Island. But Lilly has a good handle on things, until her publishing company is bought by Jackson Grail, the man who ditched her and their love years before.

    Then, a tabloid reporter is determined to blackmail her into revealing her true identity to her readers. How can Lilly keep her heart, and her secret, safe?

    LOVE ON A DIME is a delightful read with a fesity heroince determined to follow God's will at all costs. A subtle message woven throughout the story, leaves the reader feeling good and eagerly awaiting Cara Lynn James's next novel in the Ladies of Summerhill series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2010

    Love on a Dime

    The cover of LOVE ON A DIME by Cara Lynn James, from Thomas Nelson, won me at first glance. A young woman holds a book entitled DOROTHEA'S DILEMMA, using a corner of it to hide her mouth. Once opening the book, the reader comes to realize the significance. Lilly, the main character, is the author of DOROTHEA'S DILEMMA, as well as other dime novels. Despite praising God, her dime novels are considered scandalous by the wealthy society she grew up in, and so she writes beneath the pen name of Fannie Cole. Her father suffers from a lung ailment, and removes his family to Newport for the summer holiday. While there, Lilly is courted by the dashing Harlan. Her mother is convinced that he will soon ask for Lilly's hand in marriage. It will bring greater wealth and prestige to the family, as well as gain a prosperous job in Harlan's company for George, Lilly's older brother. His wife, Irene, spends and gambles away her husband's wealth, and even forces Lilly to beg needed cash from Harlan. Lilly is also in dire need of money, for her favorite Christian charity is losing sponsorship and may have to close its doors. All proceeds from her books go to the charity for helping immigrants, but Lilly knows it will not be enough. Then, her past lover Jack reappears in her life, hoping to not only win her back, but also locate the secretive Fannie Cole - for Jack has recently purchased Fannie Cole's publishing company. Lilly is horrified that Jack will discover her secret, as well as jeopardize her relationship with Harlan. The story ends on an uplifting note, and is part of a series entitled LADIES OF SUMMERHILL.

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  • Posted June 3, 2010

    Love On A Dime

    With social rules to follow and the threat of being ostracized, Lily Westbrook walks a fine line between truth and lies. By keeping her secret from her family, she deceives them. But in her heart she believes she is doing the Lord's will by helping those in need.

    Lily's conflict is realistic and one that crosses the ages. Remember how Michal chastised David for dancing before the Ark? In her eyes it wasn't proper and she felt embarassed. Her eyes weren't necessarily upon the Lord. Love on a Dime isn't just a story about Lily and Jackson's growth in the Lord. It's a story about how one women defies societal conventions, even if it is in secret, and reaches out to touch those less fortunate than herself. I'm not saying whether Lily's actions are right or they are wrong, and I won't give away any spoilers here, but she never once wavered in her belief that what society saw as wrong was what God willed her to do.

    To be honest, I didn't know what to expect from Cara Lynn James, but I have to say Love on a Dime is quite the surprising debut novel. Although it isn't fabulously extraordinary, it will find its way on my keeper shelf once I've passed it around to my family and friends.

    In today's market where many books are written with fast paced plots and pay little attention to detail, Love on a Dime is a delightful stroll on the beach. Set in Rhode Island during the Gilded Age, Cara Lynn James brings to life the social setting of the elite and those trying to gain entrance. I appreciate all the little accouterments that are so often left off the pages. I didn't feel robbed of the little details. And although there were plenty of twists and turns, I definitely didn't feel overstuffed with it. Whether a writer or not, one can' help but relate to the lovely Lilly Westbrook. And what an unlikely, and very captivating, hero Jackson Grail makes.

    Now for the down side. There were a few times when I felt the conflict between Lily and Jackson could have easily been resolved. That being said, all in all the story is charming and very well written. I see a promise of fabulously extraordinary novels in the future and I will wait expectantly for James' next novel.

    Sittings: 3

    Hours: 4

    Recommend: Yes

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  • Posted May 24, 2010

    Cara Lynn James is officially on my favorite author's list!!!

    Cara Lynn James is officially on my favorite author's list!!! What first drew me to this book was the cover- LOOK at it, it's GORGEOUS! Then, the fact that it's set in my home state (RI) well, I just had to read it! But gorgeous cover and state pride aside, this book was WONDERFUL! I normally tear right through a book in one day, but I chose instead to savor this one and join the Westbrook's for a leisurely summer season in beautiful Newport. Taking my time seemed like the right approach to this gentle, woo-your-heart love story. Lillian Westbrook is an unassuming beauty, strong in her convictions, and modest in her accomplishments who is tenderly pursued by Jackson Grail, the handsome, steadfast, humble hero. Apparently Cara is a "debut" novelist but her talents speak of a seasoned author!! She draws you into the story effortlessly, transporting you into the scenes with charming prose and great word imagery. With each word I could feel the mist from the powerful Atlantic cool my face in the afternoon sun, hear the ever-present soundtrack of the gulls as I took a relaxing stroll, and see all the breathtaking elegance and luxury that can only be described as Newport! Of course, we discover, along with the characters, that money can never buy happiness, earthly riches are fleeting, outer beauty without inner beauty is vain, and true love scripted by the original Author of romance will weather any storm! I also really appreciated her use of the KJV. I often find in historicals that many authors try to make sure everything else is historically accurate and overlook their translational use of the Bible- so props to Cara on that one. She truly weaved a deep faith, hope, and love for Christ in and throughout every page. Simply put, "Love on a Dime" is one of the best Christian romances I've had the privilege and pleasure of reading! I look forward with great anticipation for her next novel "Love on Assignment" due out early next year! Cara, God bless you sistah!!!

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