Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE LUCKY HAT MINE by @jvlbell #Western #HistFic #Romance

Today’s team review is from Jessie, she blogs at

#RBRT Review Team

Jessie has been reading The Lucky Hat Mine by J.V.L. Bell


“Ahhhhhhh”  (That’s the sigh of a contented reader who just found a book that was exactly what she hoped it would be.)

The Lucky Hat Mine is a classic old west tale complete with miners, murder and mail order brides.

But… the mail order bride’s husband-to-be was the murder victim and all the miners are lining up to propose.


And repeatedly.

Fortunately, our heroine is made of stern stuff and despite the fact that she spouts off rules of etiquette at every occasion and constantly reminds the men to watch their language, she gets along just fine, and even thrives, in the Colorado mining town she has landed in.

Would I recommend it? There is a goat in this book! A fainting goat. So, clearly, yes. Also there is a great strong female lead, humor, a smidgen of romance, a murder mystery all wrapped up in a western. What’s not to love!?!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

Book Description

A recipe for true love or murder? Ingredients: one Southern belle, one Colorado gold miner, a wife wanted classified, and a fainting goat. Let simmer.

What’s a Southern belle to do in 1863? Wife-wanted ads are always risky business, but Millie Virginia never imagined she’d survive the perilous trip across the Great Plains to find her intended husband in a pine box. Was he killed in an accident? Or murdered for his gold mine? Stuck in the mining town of Idaho Springs, Colorado territory, without friends or means, Millie is beleaguered by undesirable suitors and threatened by an unknown assailant. Her troubles escalate when the brother of her dead fiancE, Dominic Drouillard, unexpectedly turns up.

Dom is an ill-mannered mountain man who invades Millie’s log cabin, insists that his brother was murdered, and refuses to leave until he finds the killer. Compelled to join forces with her erstwhile brother-in-law, Millie discovers the search for Colorado gold is perilous, especially with a murderer on their trail.

The Lucky Hat Mine interlaces the tale of a feisty heroine with frontier legend and lore making for an arousing historical murder mystery.

About the author

J.V.L. Bell

Author J.v.L. Bell is a Colorado native who grew up climbing 14,000 ft. mountains, exploring old ghost towns, and backpacking through the back country. She and her family love to hike, raft, and cross-country ski together.

She loves reading and researching frontier history and incorporating these facts into her novels. Her historic mysteries are interwoven with amusing historical stories and lore, interesting characters, and historic events.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT WHEN DOVES FLY by @mslaurengregory #wwwblogs #HistFic

Today’s team review is from Alison, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Alison has been reading When Doves Fly by Lauren Gregory


When Doves Fly by Lauren Gregory

I love well-researched and realistic historical fiction, portraying the world as it would have been and the people as they were. I particularly love well-written historical fiction that tells the story of women, and that pulls no punches. That’s certainly what you get with this novel.

At first, I have to admit I was a little wary. I was worried that Lily was going to be one of those historical women that I hate – the type that people describe as ‘feisty’, who manage to live lives that are completely unrealistic and who emerge from life-changing, catastrophic events unscathed, having snared the handsome hero, won battles single-handed, carved out an independent existence, made their voice heard etc. etc. etc.

But this book doesn’t shy away from the realities of life for women, particularly women alone, in the wild west of the nineteenth century. This is not a light romantic historical – this is gritty, realistic, hard-hitting and at times hard to read. There are no easy solutions for Lily, no fairy-tale rescues. She fights for herself, she has to rely on herself, but she fails as well as succeeds, she suffers, she’s frightened at times, she messes up. In short, Lauren Gregory tells the truth, and tells it well. Life for Lily in the boom town of Clear Springs is hard – she makes enemies as well as friends, and those relationships have dreadful consequences.

I do feel that the early parts of Lily’s story are rather glossed over, not given enough detail. I would have liked to have got to know her better, to have understood her motivations more clearly. More time spent on this would have added a depth to Lily’s character and would have made me feel more invested in her story. Aside from this though, the writing is well-crafted, the sense of time and place extremely well-executed, and the story line is gripping, dramatic and involving. A very good read indeed – I look forward to reading more from Lauren Gregory.

Four out of five stars

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT WHEN DOVES FLY by @mslaurengregory #WildWest

Today’s team review comes from Liz, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Liz has been reading When Doves Fly by Lauren Gregory


When Doves Fly by Lauren Gregory


Here is a book which takes us back to the Wild West we used to see in old movies, where men are tough and uncouth and women are there for their pleasure. Into this setting comes Lily Wright, running away from abuse and tragedy, looking for a new life in a boomtown during the gold rush in Colorado. Intending to open a dry goods store, her plans are in disarray after she loses her money and belongings. Without any assistance she struggles to make a living despite the fates being against her.


Lily is an insecure but brave and determined woman, with whom the reader becomes intimately involved. She learns a valuable lesson from Alice Durand, a wizened old woman whose life story could make another book! We experience Lily’s suffering in intense detail and cannot help wishing that her knight in shining armour will appear. However, Lily must make her own destiny.


The hypocritical residents of the ironically named Clear Springs include evil villains, honourable citizens and a hoard of dysfunctional individuals trying to make a fortune. It’s the perfect setting for life-changing drama. This could have made the story too predictable but this is far from the case. Lauren Gregory’s characters are real and vibrant. They come with back stories which give them substance and their actions make for a dramatic plot. There are the seeds of a saga in this novel.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT WHEN DOVES FLY by Lauren Gregory @mslaurengregory #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is form Terry, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Terry chose to read and review When Doves Fly by Lauren Gregory


When Doves Fly by Lauren Gregory

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber’s Review Team

After a slightly shaky start, I enjoyed this book a lot.  Lauren Gregory certainly knows how to keep a reader turning the pages, and I was engrossed for nearly all of it.

When Doves Fly is the story of Lily Wright, fleeing tragic family circumstances and a brutal husband, in the days of the Wild West and people striking out to make their fortune via the gold rush.  A woman alone, she struggles to make a living in the boom town of Clear Springs, Colorado, and her fortunes rise and plummet at every turn.  There are some good plot developments in this story, completely unexpected, and the atmosphere of the time and situation is spot on.

One of the biggest strengths in this book is the characterisation.  The dialogue of characters as Jessie the prostitute, the evil Silas Barnes who is out to ruin Lily, wise old girl Alice Durand (I loved her, my absolute favourite character) and the miners visiting Barnes’s brothel is so very good, I kept silently applauding little bits.  When Alice was telling Lily the story of her own past, I think I was as anxious as Lily to find out all about her!  Ms Gregory knows how to write a Texan accent, a Scottish one, and many others, so incredibly well (but without being overdone) that I was reading it in the accent intended—excellent, I bow with respect!

There were a few negatives for me, though others might not agree, and they’re not big ones.  I found the beginning, when Lily arrives journeys to and arrives at Clear Springs, a tad unconvincing and a little rushed through; I didn’t get into the story until it went back in time to Charlotte’s situation.  Lily’s thoughts being actual dialogue in italics grated on me a little: ‘What in heaven’s name was I thinking?  I’m so dense!”, etc.  I thought this would have been more effectively written as an inner third person narrative, ie, ‘what in heaven’s name was she thinking?’.  There’s probably an actual name for the style of prose I mean, something like free indirect speech, I think, but I’m not sure.

The only other slight negative was that the last 10-12% seemed a trifle too neatly wrapped up; I was expecting another twist and was disappointed when it didn’t come, but, hey, this is Lauren Gregory’s book, not mine.  So a bit of an anti-climax for me, but it was still well written and convincing.

To sum up: When Doves Fly is a cracking read, I’d recommend it to anyone who likes these sort of stories.  I will definitely read another book by this author, a master storyteller who really knows how to spin a yarn!

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