Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James

In age of elegance and excess, Lilly Westbrook longs for a love both true and eternal.

Newport, Rhode Island, 1899, is a place of shimmering waves, sleek yachts, and ladies of leisure. Of opulent mansions that serve as summer cottages for the rich and famous. Home of railroad magnates and banking tycoons–dashing young men and the women who aspire to marry them.

But it’s not the place for lady novelists. Especially not those who pen disreputable dime novels. This poses a problem for Lilly Westbrook, because that’s exactly what she does.

No one in Lilly’s social set knows she pens fiction under the nom de plume Fannie Cole. Not her family or the wealthy young man about to propose to her. And especially not Jackson Grail, the long-lost beau who just bought her publishing company…and who stirs her heart more than she cares to admit.

But Lilly must put aside her feelings and follow the path that will maintain her family’s social stature and provide the financial security that everyone is depending on.

Now Lilly faces a double dilemma. Can she continue to protect her secret identity? And will she have the courage to choose the man who will risk it all just to win her heart?

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

*Disclosure of Material Connection: 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. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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