Calico Ball Collection – Book Review, Preview

Posted July 10, 2018 by Phyllis Helton in Book Reviews / 1 Comment

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I’ve always had a fascination with the pioneers and the late 1800s. Perhaps it was from growing up in California and the camping trips we took all over the Southwest. The Indians (as we called them when I was younger) fascinated me as well. Western fiction, both in books and movies, is a genre I enjoy.

When one of my favorite authors for this time and setting, Kristin Holt, gave me the opportunity to read a pre-release copy of this collection, I was delighted. I especially appreciate the copious amounts of research that goes into each word she writes and the way she has of infusing history into her stories in such a way that transports the readers into her stories.

Calico Ball Collection – Book Review, Preview

Calico Ball
by Carla Kelly, Sarah M. Eden, Kristin Holt, Mirror Press

Series: Timeless Western Collection #1
Published by Mirror Press
Publication Date July 10, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction, Western, Clean Romance
Setting: Wyoming Gilded Age – US – 1875 – 1900
Written for: Adults
Pages: 283


From the publisher of the USA TODAY bestselling & #1 Amazon bestselling Timeless Romance Anthology series in Clean & Wholesome Romance, comes CALICO BALL.

Three brand new Historical Western Romance novellas by Carla Kelly, Sarah M. Eden, and Kristin Holt.



I would like to thank Kristin Holt for giving me this copy of the book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

Goodreads Amazon Barnes and Noble Book Depository

The Keeper of the Western Door by Cala Kelly – 4 1/2 stars

Tags: Seneca, Prejudice, Military, Indian

The Keeper of the Western Door was a tender story. Mary was such an interesting character. She was part Seneca Indian and part Caucasian. She endured much prejudice from the officers’ wives at the fort where she worked for a woman she had thought to be a friend. Her journey of self-awareness was well written. Mary tells a Seneca story of a spider and a badger that is woven neatly throughout as she personally learns the lessons from the tale.

Rowan is so tenderhearted and yet such a great leader. I loved the way he was always looking out for those in his care and offered his protection especially to Mary.

A Convenient Arrangement by Sarah Eden – 5 stars

Tags: Mail Order Bride, Orphan

At first, I was thinking that Mirabelle is a lot like me. She had a very positive, cheerful outlook and tried really hard to ignore the less pleasant aspects of life, of which she had experienced many. She was also great at winning the hearts of those around her, especially those who were not inclined to be won. But she was also assertive in a way I have never been, willing to haggle over prices with the tightfisted shopkeeper, and I can’t do that.

Quinn was another one of those adorably clueless men, strong and silent. He thought that he could get a mail-order wife so that he didn’t have to worry about another man snatching up his perfectly capable maid. He wasn’t looking for a relationship and especially wasn’t looking for love.

This was a funny, sweet, tender story. I was drawn to the characters and enjoyed reading it.

Isabella’s Calico Groom by Kristin Holt – 5 stars

Tags: Dentist, Woman’s Suffrage, Statehood

I have to confess that the first time I read “painless dentistry” in the story, I immediately thought of “Painless Potter” a Bob Hope character in The Paleface, but I blame that on the fact that my husband and I both love goofy old movies and not on anything that author Kristin Holt wrote in the story!


This was a fascinating story that pulled me into the Wyoming town of Evanston in 1890. Statehood, women’s rights and the needs of the poor were all prominent issues at that time and each played a role in this story. As with the two previous novellas set in Evanston by Krisitn Holt at this time, the female character is one who has chosen a profession, which is shocking enough, but that the profession chosen is one that has predominantly been a man’s domain is almost scandalous!

I loved the characters and the deep heartfelt struggles Henry and Isabella dealt with. And loved the details that added so much richness and imparted so much information about the way that things were done almost a century and a half ago. A great deal of research goes into every book this author writes, and she freely shares it on her blog and her Pinterest board. If you have an interest in learning more, be sure to visit both.


Preview of Calico Ball

Kristin Holt’s Isabella’s Calico Groom Pinterest Board

(click here to go directly to the board on Pinterest)

  • Calico Ball Collection - Book Review, Preview - Among the Reads
  • I’ve always had a fascination with the pioneers and the late 1800s. Perhaps it was from growing up in California and the camping trips we took all over the Southwest. The Indians (as we called them when I was younger) fascinated me as well. Western fiction, both in books and …
  • Vintage Quips and Poetry Spark Fictional Ideas
  • Victorian Suit, made from calico, softly bustled. Modern Reproduction, sold by Recollections.
  • Dentist
  • Our inventive and problem-solving Victorian American ancestors patented some amazing stuff. One of those things were workable “snow tires” for their 19th century farm wagons and buggies. Not everyone owned a sleigh, and even if they did, the wagon bed was often needed. See Victorian America’s solution! | “Snow Tires” For 19th Century Wagons: Sled Runners
  • Vintage Cabinet Cards, taken in 1889 to 1890 (novella is set in 1890), used to visualize my characters in the writing process.
  • Introducing the main characters (Dr. Henry Merritt, DDS and Dr. Isabella Pattison, DDS) from Isabella's Calico Groom-- a new release within Calico Ball: A Timeless Western Collection.
  • With the arrival of commercial safety bicycles in the 1880s, the aristocratic society of the Continent responded great.  One group that really made daily news was the lovers. Young men and women deep in love wanted a space for flirtation. Since cycling was accepted as a social form of recreation, it was the easiest thing to ride away with boyfriend from the watchful eye of the parent or chaperon.
  • StarleyRoverSafety1889 _ John Kemp Starley, creator of the bicycle that “set the fashion to the world”
  • Description: An unusual printed cotton Independence day dress, circa 1876, of inexpensive striped and spotted calico trimmed with red and white lace, the un-boned bodice with stand collar, short tabs to the back, over draped and polonaised skirt, bust 86cm, 34in, waist 71cm, 28in (2)
  • An unusual printed cotton Independence day dress, circa 1876, of inexpensive striped and spotted calico trimmed with red and white lace, the un-boned bodice with stand collar, short tabs to the back, over draped and polonaised skirt, bust 86cm, 34in, waist 71cm, 28in (2)
  • Red, white, and blue bunting. I think this blue in the middle is the most common way to do it. Here we have stars in the middle, nice.
  • "Miss Gracie's House"--Front Porch for 4th of July
  • Country Living comes to Stillwater Farm!
  • fountainBrought to you by Cookies In Bloom and Hannah's Caramel Apples
  • #4thofjuly #cards #vintage

About Kristin Holt

Hi! I’m Kristin Holt. Thanks for stopping by.

I recall the winter of my first grade year, basking in the heat from our fireplace in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Dad read aloud Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and Mom peeled orange segments for us to enjoy. That was the definitive moment I fell in love with fiction.

My varied past includes:

  • Attending 5 elementary schools, 2 junior highs, 1 high school, and 2 universities
  • Working as an RN in Labor and Delivery and Certified Childbirth Educator
  • Delusions of Medical School
  • Piccolo section leader in marching band
  • 7 surgeries (maybe 8…I’ve lost count)
  • Collecting enough fabric, patterns, and notions to fill more space than my card-making paper supplies—and that’s really saying something
  • 30+ years of marriage to one wonderful guy and raising our four children
  • Residence in 7 states
  • Visiting romantic locales: Costa Rica, Hawaii, the Panama Canal, Brussels, and Paris
  • Shedding 70 pounds, working for Weight Watchers of SLC as Receptionist, Leader, and ultimately, Territory Manager

I’ve served as Vice President in my local chapter of Utah RWA and Chairperson of the 2015 SLC Readers Luncheon. Several of my titles achieved bestseller status on On June 28, 2016, Mail Order Bride Collection: A Timeless Romance Anthology, reached #10 on the Bestseller list on Barnes & Noble, overall. One day earlier, this collection reached #19 overall on Amazon’s Kindle (paid) bestseller list. On July 7, 2016, this title debuted on the USA Today Bestseller list at #101.

I write frequent articles (or view easily on my Home Page) about the nineteenth century American west–every subject of possible interest to readers, amateur historians, authors… as all of these tidbits surfaced while researching for my books. I also blog monthly at Sweet Americana Sweethearts (first Friday of each month) and, in the past, blogged for Romancing the Genres and Sweet Romance Reads where you’ll still find my true-to-history content.

I love to hear from readers. Please click on the CONTACT tab and drop me a note. Or find me on Facebook, including lots of fun group interaction between readers and authors of western historical romance (see green buttons, below).


Happy Reading!

KRISTIN signature

About Sarah M. Eden

Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today Bestselling author of witty and charming historical romances, including Foreword Review’s 2013 “IndieFab Book of the Year” gold medal winner for Best Romance, Longing for Home, as well as 2014 Whitney Award winner for “Best Novel of the Year,” Longing for Home: Hope Springs. Combining her obsession with history and affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting witty characters and heartfelt romances set against rich historical backdrops. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library. Sarah lives with her husband, kids, and mischievous dog in the shadow of a snow-capped mountain she has never attempted to ski. 

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One response to “Calico Ball Collection – Book Review, Preview

  1. A heartfelt thank you to Among the Reads for your kind, gracious review of Calico Ball: Timeless Western Collection, Book 1. We appreciate your time and energy to read, review, and share with others! We’re honored to be one of 202 so far this year!

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