The Dressmaker’s Secret by Kelly Roth & Start With Me by Kara Isaac // Book Reviews

The Dressmaker's Secret (The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, #1)

Title: The Dressmaker’s Secret

Author: Kellyn Roth

Year Published: 2020

Personal Rating: ★★★

Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction

My Thoughts:

This was a tough book for me to review, for several reasons. Over the past couple years, I have heard quite a few wonderful things about The Dressmaker’s Secret. Therefore when I realized that I was able to read it using my Kindle Unlimited subscription, I was thrilled. Until I started reading it, that is. (Yes, this is a largely negative review and yes, up to this point I have mostly posted positive reviews. I realized that I really should be sharing both the books I have mixed feelings about and the books that I enjoyed. So here you have it, my first not particularly positive review.)

To begin with, let’s talk about the positive aspects of The Dressmaker’s Secret. The storyline was interesting and fast-paced. Several of the characters were enjoyable to read about, Nettie in particular. The Dressmaker’s Secret manages to deal with some difficult subject matter in a mostly PG-rated way. This book is one that I could hand to my younger siblings without really having to worry about the content. 

Several things annoyed and surprised me about The Dressmaker’s Secret. Number one being, where was the history!? There was absolutely no focus on the historical aspect of the story beyond the necessary notes about horses and carriages. I found this surprising due to the fact that Roth writes about her love and knowledge of history on her blog often. Another thing that frustrated me was the fact that I found the characters difficult to relate to. The thought processes of Alice often seemed far too mature for an eight year old and I would have to remind myself of her age when she did do something that made her seem childish. Last, but not least, the suspenseful piece of the story was not exactly suspenseful or unpredictable. 

All that said, I did not strongly dislike The Dressmaker’s Secret, I simply could not get myself to fully enjoy it. 


Start With Me

Title: Start With Me ❤

Author: Kara Isaac

Year of Publication: 2020

Personal Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Christian Romance, Contemporary Fiction 

My Thoughts:

I know that I haven’t really mentioned Kara Isaac’s books before and I am long overdue to do so. I am absolutely in love with her stories and her beautiful characters. Isaac writes some of the best contemporary clean/Christian novels out there. The characters are always interesting and engaging, real and relatable. Isaac’s story-lines are always well thought out and edited just about perfectly. They pull you in and don’t let go until the last page without being fast-paced. All of Isaac’s books connect through overlapping characters, making reading her books enjoyable on yet another level. 

Starts With Me follows Lacey O’Connor and Victor Carlisle’s story. They are easily my favorite of Isaac’s characters. The two of them come from completely different backgrounds, Lacey’s family are struggling Americans from Minnesota and Victor is the heir of a British Viscount, who just happens to be his father. 

One of the major themes of Start With Me is restoration. Specifically restoration of family and sibling relationships. Lacey and Victor both have sadly strained relationships with their siblings, although for very different reasons. It was satisfying to watch Victor fight to prove that he has changed and to see Lacey called out by her sister. Both Victor and Lacey grew as characters and were able to move forward with their lives, stronger and together.

Start With Me is a satisfying and enjoyable read. One I would absolutely recommend to my slightly older readers who enjoy clean contemporary fiction and relatable characters. 


Have you read either of these books? Which would you be more likely to read? What is one common story trope that drives you crazy

Who seen has Hamilton? Thoughts? (I may be slightly obsessed. 😀)

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