Saturday, October 31, 2020

Book Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Love Note by Joanna Davidson Politano

Joanna Davidson Politano

Genre: Christian / Historical Fiction / Romance
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: October 20, 2020 
Number of Pages: 400

 Scroll down for the giveaway!
Focused on a career in medicine and not on romance, Willa Duvall is thrown slightly off course during the summer of 1859 when she discovers a never-opened love letter in a crack of her old writing desk. Compelled to find the passionate soul who penned it and the person who never received it, she takes a job as a nurse at the seaside estate of Crestwicke Manor.

Everyone at Crestwicke has feelings
mostly negative onesabout the man who wrote the letter, but he seems to have disappeared. With plenty of enticing clues but few answers, Willa's search becomes even more complicated when she misplaces the letter and it passes from person to person in the house, each finding a thrilling or disheartening message in its words.

Laced with mysteries large and small, this romantic Victorian-era tale of love lost, love deferred, and love found is sure to delight.

Chapter 1, Part 1
There are two ways to truly know a person—one is to begin a friendship with them. The other is to end it.
~A scientist’s observations on love

Brighton, England, 1859

It always came to this, didn’t it? Amid the glittering swirl of music and gowns, I looked up into the handsome face of Lord Cumberland and forced a smile as if nothing at all were about to happen.

He leaned close. “It’s time we spoke privately.”

No. No, not privately. I looked up, willing it not to be so, but his face was sober. Determined. Decided.

And things had been going so well between us.

I tried to swallow. Tried and failed. The grand affair swelled around me, sparkling beneath the crystal chandeliers. The vibrant music, the swish of gowns and shoes, faded into the background as our eyes met over the cup of cider he handed me with a lingering touch, and I couldn’t look away. Good gracious, how I wanted to, but his gaze was relentless. Searching. Full of anticipation. Of course, to make matters worse, he was terribly handsome in that dark and reckless sort of way. Bows continued to hum over violin strings, shoes beating a rhythm on the wood floor, as if life weren’t shifting dramatically in this shadowed corner by the drink table.

Cumberland glanced toward my father, the great Dr. Phineas Duvall, who was spouting his opinions to a senator and two solicitors across the grand parlor, then back to me with a self-satisfied smile. Unfortunately, the coast was clear. “Suppose we stroll out to the balcony?”

I was going to be sick. I forced a brilliant smile. “Oh, come now, I’ve hardly danced.”

His brows knit. “Are there other men with whom you were hoping to dance?”

“Of course not.” Too quick. Too eager. My voice had pitched higher than old widow Tarskin’s roof. I took his arm, looking straight ahead at the dreaded balcony where words would be exchanged and futures altered.

Staring down the barrel of my fourth marriage proposal left me cold and shaky. I had no remedy in our little clinic for what I now faced, no antidote to reverse it.

An evening breeze slipped through the curtains from the balcony and cooled my face. “You’d have me catch my death, would you?” I kept my tone light and swept toward the waiter carrying a tray of tarts. I turned back to make another cheeky comment, but Lord Cumberland’s eyes were brimming with the unasked question.

“Just for a moment.” He moved close and I felt his breath. “I promise to keep you warm.”

My arms prickled inside my long gloves. His voice felt invasive. Intimate. I glanced around for Father, but he had stepped out, likely to discuss the never-ending research for his new clinic. How I wish I could trade that discussion for the one being thrust upon me.

Cumberland leaned down, his hand cupping my elbow. “Come now, you know I’m a gentleman.”

But I didn’t know. How could I? With chaperoned outings and puddle-deep conversations, we were strangers. Yet he was about to suggest we share a home, our lives, ourselves, for good. Oh, heavens.

What was wrong with me, anyway? Hadn’t men and women been stepping into such a promise for centuries? Willingly, no less.

With an impulsive smile, I grabbed his hand. “Come. I’ve not given you your dance yet.”

His look darkened. “There’s no need—”

“Of course there is.” I could be relentless too. “I promised you, didn’t I? And I never make a promise I don’t intend to keep. Ever.” I let my gaze linger, but his expression didn’t register understanding. Only frustration at the interruption to his plans.

With a set jaw, he swept me into the dance, and the familiar rhythm pulled us along.

His voice was terse. Acidic. “I suppose this is the most privacy you will afford me tonight, so I’ll simply have to pose my question here.”

“What could two friends have to say to one another that couldn’t be said on a dance floor?” He’d been such a good friend too. Quite diverting.

He spun me close in the waltz. “You know I want more, Miss Duvall.” His mint-laced breath washed over my face. Deeper meaning darkened his eyes.

Innocent. Look innocent. Smile. “Nothing is greater than friendship.”


“Especially when I’m so busy helping Father. He has more patients than he can tend, and plans for a most brilliant clinic.”

“You wouldn’t have to do that anymore. I’m offering you a fine home in Manchester.”

Offering four walls, closing in around me.

“I’m trying to rescue you from all this. You don’t deserve what’s been heaped upon you.”

Rescue me from a rich and glorious life, working beside a most beloved father? Rescue me from saving lives, from pouring myself out for the broken and desperately needy? And he was right—I had done nothing to deserve the beauty and richness of my life.

His arms framed me in a way that was strong and guiding, yet restrictive. “Please. I can give you everything you desire.”

But no one seemed to recognize what that was—least of all the men who proposed.

My heart sifted through tender memories from earlier this day. A new child entering the world. A man whose foot had been spared by my work and a girl whose life had been saved. I had saved a life. A whole life. How could anyone think I’d wish that taken away from me? We twirled faster and harder, my heart thudding the rhythm.

To read the next excerpt of The Love Note, please visit Book Bustle on 11/1/2020 or later.
Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears and A Rumored Fortune. She loves tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives and is eager to hear anyone's story. 

She lives with her husband and their two kids in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan.

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