Happy August, my friends!
Fall and school are coming our way and I am ready for it! Lots of changes coming this month. I hope its a smooth transition for you if your kids are heading back to school. Enjoy the last weeks of summer!
Today I am so excited to share my review of a new release coming this September. Healing Hazel by Jennifer Moore is the third book in her The Blue Orchid Society series. These books tell the stories of 5 friends who support each other as they work towards their dreams in Victorian Age England. I loved Solving Sophronia and Inventing Vivian so I was so excited to read Healing Hazel!
I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.
**This novel will release on September 8th, 2022**
Book Summary: “Hazel Thornton has one great ambition: to help the sick and wounded as a nurse. But that dream can never become a reality. After a devastating childhood trauma, she has spent her life battling fits of panic that make it impossible to finish her studies. Everything changes, however, when a trip to Spain takes a perilous turn that derails her plans to visit her father for Christmas and immediately plunges her into the dangers of a brutal war.
With single-minded focus, she springs into action to help her fellow travelers. To ensure their continued care, she begins work at a Spanish hospital alongside Dr. Jim Jackson, a man whose only emotion seems to be wariness of his new assistant. Armed with gifts of support from each of her dearest friends, a group that dubs themselves the Blue Orchid Society, Hazel embarks on a journey of hope and healing to battle the demons of her past with the help of the doctor who has captured her heart.”
Hazel is such a sweet protagonist, and I loved getting to know her better. It’s so easy to cheer for her and hope that she reaches all her dreams. I was impressed by her ambitions to complete her nursing training and how many modern innovations were beginning at this time. Hazel is a natural caregiver with a sweet bedside manner and a unique ability to connect with people of all walks of life. I was cheering for her throughout the novel. She works through the trauma of her past and wants to do something worthwhile instead of wallowing in self pity. I respect her for that. And I love the way she falls in love with someone who becomes her safety and refuge from the panic and uncertainty that at times surround her.
Jim Jackson is such a fantastic compliment to Hazel. He is brooding and stand offish at first. But soon we see his kind, caring nature and the true reasons he became a doctor and why he works so hard to save patients. I admired his determination, his desire to help, and his willingness to teach Hazel. Their romance is slow building and beautiful. Their first kiss is swoony and sweet — perfect! And I love how they both begin to realize how much they mean to each other as the story progresses. They don’t judge each other for their pasts or their challenges. Instead they help each other through those challenges. The climax at the army camp and escape for their lives is gripping and reveals the depths of especially Jim’s feelings. I loved his vulnerable, loving self and how much Hazel means to him.
I was fascinated by this time period during the Spanish war as the backdrop to this story. I haven’t read anything previously set in that location during the Victorian Age and it was so interesting. The contrasts between upcoming modern medical details and old style fighting were so interesting. I was surprised by how far medicine had come at this time with innovations like disinfecting instruments and bandages, the life saving surgeries with anesthesia, and the creation of the International Red Cross. That was in stark contrast to the hospital setup in an old monastery using candles for light, limited postal service, kidnapping and the guerrilla warfare in the hills around them. The beginnings of the Red Cross were fascinating to read about as well. People didn’t trust them from both sides of the conflict and it was interesting to think about a time when the Red Cross was new and unknown.
I love the ending when Hazel and Jim realize their feelings and are reunited with a little help from the Blue Orchid Society. Such a clever and silly way to bring them together again. I felt that there could have been more development at the end as they prepare to go after each other. It felt a bit rushed. And I wish there had been an epilogue with a glimpse into their life in the future. I loved the small moments we get with the other members of the Blue Orchid Society and would have loved more of them somehow! What makes these books so engaging and memorable to me are the friendships between these women. They are true friends — fighting for each other, helping each other, supporting each other in their dreams, and loving each other as true friends.
Overall a fantastic addition to the series! I loved seeing Hazel take the spotlight as she shows everyone including herself how strong and capable she is. That journey is augmented by a beautiful love story that only adds to the beauty of the experience. Seeing her fulfill her dreams was a delight!
What are your favorite historical settings?
Do you enjoy historical romance? Why or why not?
Jennifer Moore is a passionate reader and writer of all things romance due to the need to balance the rest of her world that includes a perpetually traveling husband and four active sons, who create heaps of laundry that are anything but romantic. She suffers from an acute addiction to 18th and 19th century military history and literature. Jennifer has a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Utah and is a Guitar Hero champion. She lives in northern Utah with her family, but most of the time wishes she was on board a frigate during the Age of Sail.