Calico Ball Collection – Book Review, Preview

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

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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
Series Rating:
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 received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

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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)

[gs_pinterest user=”kristindholt” board=”isabellas-calico-groom-a-calico-ball-novella”]

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 the author of critically acclaimed and award-winning Proper Romance series novels including The Lady and the Highwayman and Ashes on the Moor. Combining her passion for history and an affinity for love stories, Sarah crafts smart, witty characters and heartfelt romances. She happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library and dreams of one day traveling to all the places she reads about.

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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!