Dearest Darling

Love Letters

Romance - Historical
82 Pages
Reviewed on 11/29/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Born in New York, Andrea Downing returned in 2008 from the UK where she lived for most of her life. Having traveled extensively throughout Europe, Africa and Latin America, she now divides her time between NYC and the east end of Long Is., punctuated by frequent journeys out west---the area of the USA she loves best. Her first book, Loveland, was a finalist for the 2012 RONE Award for Best American Historical. Her 2013 short story, Lawless Love, was also a finalist for the RONE Award as well as the International Digital Awards. A novella, Dearest Darling, part of The Wild Rose Press Love Letters series, came out Oct., 2014. Also forthcoming Feb. 2015 is Dances of the Heart, a women's fiction novel. All are published by The Wild Rose Press..

    Book Review

Reviewed by Brenda Casto for Readers' Favorite

After the death of her parents, twenty-eight-year-old Emily Darling finds herself working as a servant in her family home, thanks to her mean brother. While collecting the mail one morning, a letter arrives, and while she quickly surmises it isn't for her or her brother, her curiosity is piqued so she opens it. She learns it is from Daniel Saunders, a Wyoming rancher, who has sent a packet for his mail order bride to come west. Emily sees this as the perfect way to escape from her brother and start over. After all, anyone who is sending for a mail order bride can't be all the choosy, can he?

Dearest Darling by Andrea Downing is a page turning mail order bride tale that doesn't really follow the standard formula. Instead, the plot is fresh - after all, it isn't often that a story starts out where the wrong woman receives tickets West and decides to use them! Don't let the size of this book fool you. Even though Dearest Darling is only 88 pages, Andrea Downing provides well fleshed characters and an interesting plot that made me feel like I was reading a full length novel.

With plenty of attention to detail, the author paints a clear picture of the setting, allowing me to visualize it as the characters did. Ms. Downing also provides plenty of emotion, and it was easy to be drawn into Emily's longing to belong, and the peacefulness she felt with Daniel was sweet. Speaking of Daniel, he was the perfect male lead: kind, considerate, but determined to send Emily back. I will say that there was one sexual situation, but it was very beautifully written. I am a huge fan of the mail order bride genre and this story was certainly unique. Instead of a predictable tale, I found several twists which kept me guessing as to how the ending would eventually turn out!


"These are not just ordinary characters. They will slip off the page and stay with you for a while. This story makes you think about what risks people take in order to find happiness and the complication and hurdles that result. The element I love best about author Andrea Downing's writing is her absolute control and use of dialog. It's always snappy, character revealing, and plot progressing. And setting comes in second, because after reading one of her books, I can put the location on my 'been there' list. The descriptions are always rich and full of small details that make me feel as if I've actually experienced them. Thank you so much for a heart-thumping story, Andrea. I look forward to reading many more."

-----Lynda Coker, Between the Pages


"The romance was pitched perfectly, lots of "do I, don't I" moments, subtle looks and indecision that had me wanting to lock them in the bedroom until the sorted things out!

I loved the twists that appeared, they weren't obvious or expected. These led to a fantastic ending that left me satisfied with the story. That takes a lot of skill to pull of in just 26,000 words…

Overall I found this novella to be an adorable story and get away from life for a little while. It was an easy read to boot, allowing the reader to get straight to the story. Despite its short length, Dearest Darling had well drawn characters and a plot that felt complete and finished.

I give this a 5 for being a good all rounder."

--Laura of Lurking reads