Book Review and Giveaway: The Lightkeeper’s Ball by Colleen Coble

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I’m supposed to be doing a bunch of things that I’m not doing.  Shopping, laundry, and cleaning.  It’s Saturday afternoon – which is when I’m usually working around the house.  I have things I need to return to Kohl’s, Target AND  Penny’s…  but instead…  I’m reading!!

I couldn’t put down the book, The Lightkeeper’s Ball by Colleen Coble!  I didn’t expect to get hooked like that.  When I requested to review the book a few weeks ago, I was interested because it is a historical romance mystery. Years and years ago, I loved historical romance set in the early 1900’s – you know, the ones where a woman would have to get married if she spent too much time alone with a man. And now, I’m a mystery fan, so I thought the combination would be interesting. But this book just drew me in and wouldn’t let me go until I turned the last page.

The main character, Olivia, was your typical heroine – strong, beautiful and courageous. Destined to fall in love with a handsome bad-boy-turns-out-to-be-good-guy man. Olivia’s family is one of the “Four Hundred” – the 400 highest ranking families in American society in 1910. But she doesn’t want to be merely a “doll”. “I’ve been dressed up and posed just like the Kewpie dolls. Perfect hostess, obedient daughter, scion of society. It’s hard to believe anyone would love me for myself and not for what I can do for them.”

Olivia’s sister, Eleanor, is a key part of the novel – even though she dies at the very beginning of the book. She had gone West to marry Harrison Bennett, but drowned shortly after arriving in Mercy Falls. Olivia, knowing that Eleanor is frightened of water, suspects her sister’s death was not accidental and she heads West to find out the truth about her sister’s last days.

Harrison Bennett’s family is extremely wealthy, but they are “Nouveau Riche” and Harrison’s father seeks to marry him off to nobility to bring a title to their family. Betrayed by Eleanor however, Harrison wants nothing to do with anyone in her family, including Olivia. When Olivia hides her identity and arrives in Mercy Falls as Lady Devonworth, he doesn’t realize he is falling in love with the exact woman he wanted to stay away from.

Sparks fly for Olivia and Harrison – there is a beautiful scene where they kiss during a meteor shower with falling stars all around them. But there is also danger, someone is clearly trying to harm one or perhaps even both of them!

One of the reasons I liked this book was the introduction of themes we all encounter at times in our life, such as what makes us worth? What is it that gives us confidence and a feeling of self-worth? Is it what we own, where are family comes from, or is it more? At one point in the book, Harrison faces a choice between his family business and pursuing is dream of designing airplanes. Olivia supports him, his decision, and ultimately his dream. How often do we do that for our spouse or family member? The author also explores the ideal of friendship in the book. Olivia is part of a “set” in New York City, but what makes them friends, true friends?

Well, enough of my opinion! Here is the FIRST Book tour information for The Lightkeeper’s Ball by Colleen Coble:

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today’s Wild Card author is:



and the book:


The Lightkeeper’s Ball

Thomas Nelson; 1 edition (April 19, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Colleen Coble’s thirty-five novels and novellas have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA, the Holt Medallion, the ACFW Book of the Year, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, the Booksellers Best, and the 2009 Best Books of Indiana-Fiction award. She writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail and love begin with a happy ending.

Visit the author’s website.


Olivia seems to have it all, but her heart yearns for more.

Olivia Stewart’s family is one of the Four Hundred—the highest echelon of society in 1910. When her sister dies under mysterious circumstances, Olivia leaves their New York City home for Mercy Falls, California, to determine what befell Eleanor. She suspects Harrison Bennett, the man Eleanor planned to marry. But the more Olivia gets to know him, the more she doubts his guilt—and the more she is drawn to him herself.

When several attempts are made on her life, Olivia turns to Harrison for help. He takes her on a ride in his aeroplane, but then crashes, and they’re forced to spend two days alone together. With her reputation hanging by a thread, Harrison offers to marry her to make the situation right. As a charity ball to rebuild the Mercy Falls lighthouse draws near, she realizes she wants more than a sham engagement—she wants Harrison in her life forever. But her enemy plans to shatter the happiness she is ready to grasp. If Olivia dares to drop her masquerade, she just might see the path to true happiness.


Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 1 edition (April 19, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 159554268X
ISBN-13: 978-1595542687


The New York brownstone was just half a block down from the Astor mansion on Fifth Avenue, the most prestigious address in the country. The carriage, monogrammed with the Stewart emblem, rattled through the iron gates and came to a halt in front of the ornate doors. Assisted by the doorman, Olivia Stewart descended and rushed for the steps of her home. She was late for tea, and her mother would be furious. Mrs. Astor herself had agreed to join them today.

Olivia handed her hat to the maid, who opened the door. “They’re in the drawing room, Miss Olivia,” Goldia whispered. “Your mama is ready to pace the floor.”

Olivia patted at her hair, straightened her shoulders, and pinned a smile in place as she forced her stride to a ladylike stroll to join the other women. Two women turned to face her as she entered: her mother and Mrs. Astor. They wore identical expressions of disapproval.

“Olivia, there you are,” her mother said. “Sit down before your tea gets cold.”

Olivia pulled off her gloves as she settled into the Queen Anne chair beside Mrs. Astor. “I apologize for my tardiness,” she said. “A lorry filled with tomatoes overturned in the street, and my driver couldn’t get around it.”

Mrs. Astor’s face cleared. “Of course, my dear.” She sipped her tea from the delicate blue-and-white china. “Your dear mother and I were just discussing your prospects. It’s time you married.”

Oh dear. She’d hoped to engage in light conversation that had nothing to do with the fact that she was twenty-five and still unmarried. Her unmarried state distressed her if she let it, but every man her father brought to her wanted only her status. She doubted any of them had ever looked into her soul. “I’m honored you would care about my marital status, Mrs. Astor,” Olivia said.

“Mrs. Astor wants to hold a ball in your honor, Olivia,” her mother gushed. “She has a distant cousin coming to town whom she wants you to meet.”

Mrs. Astor nodded. “I believe you and Matthew would suit. He owns property just down the street.”

Olivia didn’t mistake the reference to the man’s money. Wealth would be sure to impact her mother. She opened her mouth to ask if the man was her age, then closed it at the warning glint in her mother’s eyes.

“He’s been widowed for fifteen years and is long overdue for a suitable wife,” Mrs. Astor said.

Olivia barely suppressed a sigh. So he was another of the decrepit gentlemen who showed up from time to time. “You’re very kind,” she said.

“He’s most suitable,” her mother said. “Most suitable.”

Olivia caught the implication. They spent the next half an hour discussing the date and the location. She tried to enter into the conversation with interest, but all she could do was imagine some gray-whiskered blue blood dancing her around the ballroom. She stifled a sigh of relief when Mrs. Astor took her leave and called for her carriage.

“I’ll be happy when you’re settled, Olivia,” her mother said when they returned to the drawing room. “Mrs. Astor is most kind.”

“She is indeed.” Olivia pleated her skirt with her fingers. “Do you ever wish you could go somewhere incognito, Mother? Where no one has expectations of you because you are a Stewart?”

Her mother put down her saucer with a clatter. “Whatever are you babbling about, my dear?”

“Haven’t you noticed that people look at us differently because we’re Stewarts? How is a man ever to love me for myself when all he sees is what my name can gain him? Men never see inside to the real me. They notice only that I’m a Stewart.”

“Have you been reading those novels again?” Her mother sniffed and narrowed her gaze on Olivia. “Marriage is about making suitable connections. You owe it to your future children to consider the life you give them. Love comes from respect. I would find it quite difficult to respect someone who didn’t have the gumption to make his way in the world. Besides, we need you to marry well. You’re twenty-five years old and I’ve indulged your romantic notions long enough. Heaven knows your sister’s marriage isn’t what I had in mind, essential though it may be. Someone has to keep the family name in good standing.”

Olivia knew what her duty demanded, but she didn’t have to like it. “Do all the suitable men have to be in their dotage?”

Her mother’s eyes sparked fire but before she spoke, Goldia appeared in the doorway. “Mr. Bennett is here, Mrs. Stewart.”

Olivia straightened in her chair. “Show him in. He’ll have news of Eleanor.”

Bennett appeared in the doorway moments later. He shouldn’t have been imposing. He stood only five-foot-three in his shoes, which were always freshly polished. He was slim, nearly gaunt, with a patrician nose and obsidian eyes. He’d always reminded Olivia of a snake about to strike. His expression never betrayed any emotion, and today was no exception. She’d never understood why her father entertained an acquaintance with the man let alone desired their families to be joined.

“Mr. Bennett.” She rose and extended her hand and tried not to flinch as he brushed his lips across it.

“Miss Olivia,” he said, releasing her hand. He moved to her mother’s chair and bowed over her extended hand.

Olivia sank back into her chair. “What do you hear of my sister? I have received no answer to any of my letters.”

He took a seat, steepled his fingers, and leaned forward. “That’s the reason for our meeting today. I fear I have bad news to impart.”

Her pulse thumped erratically against her ribcage. She wetted her lips and drew in a deep breath. “What news of Eleanor?” How bad could it be? Eleanor had gone to marry Harrison, a man she hardly knew. But she was in love with the idea of the Wild West, and therefore more than happy to marry the son of her father’s business partner.

He never blinked. “I shall just have to blurt it out then. I’m sorry to inform you that Eleanor is dead.”

Her mother moaned. Olivia stared at him. “I don’t believe it,” she said.

“I know, it’s a shock.”

There must have been some mistake. She searched his face for some clue that this was a jest. “What happened?”

He didn’t hold her gaze. “She drowned.”


“No one knows. I’m sorry.”

Her mother stood and swayed. “What are you saying?” Her voice rose in a shriek. “Eleanor can’t be dead! Are you quite mad?”

He stood and took her arm. “I suggest you lie down, Mrs. Stewart. You’re quite pale.”

Her mother put her hands to her cheeks. “Tell me it isn’t true,” she begged. Then she keeled over in a dead faint.

Harrison Bennett tugged on his tie, glanced at his shoes to make sure no speck of dirt marred their perfection, then disembarked from his motorcar in front of the mansion. The cab had rolled up Nob Hill much too quickly for him to gather his courage to face the party. Electric lights pushed back the darkness from the curving brick driveway to the porch with its impressive white pillars. Doormen flanked the double doors at the entry. Through the large windows, he saw the ballroom. Ladies in luxurious gowns and gentlemen in tuxedos danced under glittering chandeliers, and their laughter tinkled on the wind.

His valet, Eugene, exited behind him. “I’ll wait in the kitchen, sir.”

Harrison adjusted his hat and strode with all the confidence he could muster to the front door. “Mr. Harrison Bennett,” he said to the doorman.

The man scanned the paper in his hand. “Welcome, Mr. Bennett. Mr. Rothschild is in the ballroom.”

Harrison thanked him and stepped into the opulent hall papered in gold foil. He went in the direction of the voices with a sense of purpose. This night could change his future. He glanced around the enormous ballroom, and he recognized no one among the glittering gowns and expensive suits. In subtle ways, these nobs would try to keep him in his place. It would take all his gumption not to let them. It was a miracle he’d received an invitation. Only the very wealthy or titled were invited to the Rothschilds’ annual ball in San Francisco. Harrison was determined to do whatever was necessary to secure the contract inside his coat pocket.

A young woman in an evening gown fluttered her lashes at him over the top of her fan. When she lowered it, she approached with a coaxing smile on her lips. “Mr. Bennett, I’d hoped to see you here tonight.”

He struggled to remember her name. Miss Kessler. She’d made her interest in him known at Eleanor’s funeral. Hardly a suitable time. He took her gloved hand and bowed over it. “Miss Kessler. I wasn’t expecting to see you here.”

“I came when I heard you were on the guest list.”

He ignored her brazen remark. “It’s good to see you again. I have some business to attend to. Perhaps later?”

Her eyes darkened and she withdrew her hand. “I shall watch for you,” she said.

And he’d do the same, with the intent to avoid her. “If you’ll excuse me.” He didn’t wait for an answer but strolled through the crowd. He finally spied his host standing in front of a marble fireplace. A flame danced in the eight-foot hearth. Harrison stepped through the crowd to join the four men clustered around the wealthy Rothschild.

The man closest to Harrison was in his fifties and had a curling mustache. “They’ll never get that amendment ratified,” he said. “An income tax! It’s quite ridiculous to expect us to pay something so outrageous.”

A younger man in a gray suit shook his head. “If it means better roads, I’ll gladly write them a check. The potholes outside of town ruined my front axels.”

“We can take care of our own roads,” Rothschild said. “I have no need of the government in my affairs. At least until we’re all using flying machines.” He snickered, then glanced at Harrison. “You look familiar, young man. Have we met?”

Flying machines. Maybe this meeting was something God had arranged. Harrison thrust out his hand. “Harrison Bennett.”

“Claude’s son?”’

Was that distaste in the twist of Rothschild’s mouth? Harrison put confidence into his grip. “Yes, sir.”

“How is your father?”

“Quite well. He’s back in New York by now.”

“I heard about your fiancée’s death. I’m sorry for your loss.”

Harrison managed not to wince. “Thank you.” He pushed away his memories of that terrible day, the day he’d seen Eleanor Stewart for what she really was.

“Your father was most insistent I meet you. He seems to think you have a business proposition I might be interested in.”

Harrison smiled and began to tell the men of the new diamond mines that Bennett and Bennett had found in Africa. A mere week after Mr. Stewart’s passing, Mr. Bennett had renamed the venture to include Harrison. An hour later, he had appointments set up with three of the men as possible investors. His father would be pleased.

Harrison smiled and retraced his steps to toward the front door but was waylaid by four women in brightly colored silk. They swooped around him, and Miss Kessler took him by the hand and led him to a quiet corner.

“Let’s not talk about anything boring like work,” she said, her blue eyes sparkling. “Tell me what you love to do most.”

He glanced at the other women clustered around. “I’m building an aeroplane. I’d like to have it in the air by the time Earth passes through the tail of Halley’s Comet.”

She gasped. “Do you have a death wish, Mr. Bennett? You would be breathing the poisonous fumes directly. No one even knows if the Earth will survive this.”

He’d heard this before. “The scientists I’ve discussed this with believe we shall be just fine,” Harrison said.

“I assume you’ve purchased comet pills?” the blonde closest to him said.

“I have no fear.”

The brunette in red silk smiled. “If man were meant to fly, God would have given him wings. Or so I’ve heard the minister say.”

He finally placed the brunette. Her uncle was Rothschild. No wonder she had such contempt for Harrison’s tone. All the nobs cared for were trains and ships. “It’s just a matter of perfecting the machine,” Harrison said. “Someday aeroplanes will be the main mode of transcontinental transportation.”

The brunette laughed. “Transcontinental? My uncle would call it balderdash.”

He glanced at his pocket watch without replying. “I fear I must leave you lovely ladies. Thank you for the conversation.”

He found Eugene in the kitchen and beckoned to his valet.

Eugene put down his coffee cup and followed. “You didn’t stay long, sir,” he said. “Is everything all right?”

Harrison stalked out the door and toward the car. “Are there no visionaries left in the country?”

Eugene followed a step behind. “You spoke of your flying machine?”

“The world is changing, Eugene, right under their noses—and they don’t see it.”

Eugene opened the door for Harrison. “You will show them the future, sir.”

He set his jaw. “I shall indeed.”

“I have a small savings set aside, Mr. Bennett. I’d like to invest in your company. With your permission, of course.”

Eugene’s trust bolstered Harrison’s determination. “I’d be honored to partner with you, Eugene. We are going to change the world.”


Enter here to win my gently read copy of The Lightkeeper’s Ball.

Main entry

1. Do you like reading romances?  Do you think they set you up for disappointment if real life isn’t quite as romantic?

Additional entries

2. Follow Kelly’s Lucky You with Google Friend Connect.

3. Follow Kelly’s Lucky You on twitter.

4. Tweet this giveaway (RT 1x per day). Feel free to use this sample:

#Win the book, The Lightkeeper’s Ball by Colleen Coble #Giveaway @KellysLuckyYou.

5. Like Kelly’s Lucky You on Facebook.

6. Add the Kelly’s Lucky You button to your blog’s sidebar or blog roll.

7. Add this giveaway to any giveaway linky (unlimited entries). You can use this list!

8.  Get an extra entry in any KLY giveaway by voting for Janet C. from Chesterton in the CSN Stores Beat the Blah Backyard Contest. Details on how to vote here. It’s easy! After you vote, come back here and leave a comment with how many votes there were so far.

Leave one comment for each entry. Contest ends May 28th at midnight EST. The winner will be chosen by and notified by email to the email address provided in the winning comment. The winner must respond within 48 hours of the notification email, or another winner will be chosen. See my Giveaway Rules page for further information. Sorry, this giveaway is open to residents of the US only.

Disclosure: I was sent this copy of The Lightkeeper’s Ball for review and with no obligation. There was no compensation and all opinions are my own. I’m disclosing this in accordance with FTC guidelines.


  1. 1
    mamabunny13 says:

    I like reading historical romance the best. If I woke up one day to find real life just as romantic I would probably go into shock. lol
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

    • 2

      Hehehe. I love that… Me too, if my hubby suddenly started acting like the hero in a novel? Hehehe – thanks for the laugh!

  2. 3
    mamabunny13 says:

    I follow you via gfc-mamabunny13

  3. 4
    mamabunny13 says:

    I follow you on twitter @mamabunny13

  4. 5
    mamabunny13 says:

    I like you on facebook-mamabunny shelor

  5. 6
    mamabunny13 says:
  6. 7
    mamabunny13 says:

    I voted for Janet C. from Chesterton in the CSN Stores Beat the Blah Backyard Contest. I am vote number 8.

  7. 8

    I do enjoy romance. I like to vary my reading tossing in mysteries often. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway

  8. 9

    I am a GFC follower. Thanks so much for the chance

  9. 10

    I do enjoy reading some romance novels; some are just ridiculous with all the heaving bosoms and etc. I don’t think they set you up for disappointment at all if you find the right partner.

  10. 11

    follow gfc-missdeb1

  11. 12

    like you on facebook-debbie coyle

  12. 13

    follow you on twitter-missdeb1

  13. 14
  14. 15
    Victoria Zumbrum says:

    I am a follower.

  15. 16
    Victoria Zumbrum says:

    I am an email subscriber.

  16. 17
    Victoria Zumbrum says:

    I love reading romance novels of any kind. I believe in true love and soul mates. I wish romance in real life was like it is in the books. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book.

  17. 18
    Maureen says:

    I like reading all fiction but don’t expect it to have a lot to do with what happens in real life.

  18. 19
    Maureen says:

    I follow on GFC

  19. 20
    Maureen says:

    I am a facebook fan

  20. 21
    Sue Farrell says:

    I like reading some romances–I don’t like those with a lot of sex—but I do like those that have some mystery in them. I think you have to be realistic and not expect your own life to read like any book.

    • 22

      I agree with you.. I like reading about the feelings, but the details? No thanks! It’s one of the reasons I like Christian authors, they still convey the passion without getting too explicit about it.

  21. 23
    Jennifer Ryder says:

    I enjoy reading romance novels sometimes, but I really don’t think that many of them have anything to do with real life so I can’t say I’m disappointed.
    jryder416 at yahoo dot com

  22. 24
    Jennifer Ryder says:

    I’m a GFC follower(Jennifer).
    jryder416 at yahoo dot com

  23. 25
    Jennifer Ryder says:

    I’m an email subscriber.
    jryder416 at yahoo dot com

  24. 26

    I like reading romances even if real life romances don’t always work out the same way =)

  25. 27

    Follow you on google friend connect

  26. 28

    I follow you on twitter @lkim496

  27. 29
  28. 30
    felecia says:

    I love to read romances and they shoudn’t set you up for disappointment because they are just an escape.

  29. 31
    felecia says:

    gfc follower

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