Thursday, January 14, 2016

At Love's Bidding

At Love's Bidding
Regina Jennings
(Bethany House)
ISBN: 978-0764211416
December 2015/352 pages/$14.99

She Sells Priceless Antiques.
He Sells Livestock by the Pound.
Is He Really the Man to Make a Bid for Her Heart?

After helping her grandfather at their Boston auction house, Miranda Wimplegate discovers she's accidentally sold a powerful family's prized portrait to an anonymous bidder. Desperate to appease the people who could ruin them forever, they track it to the Missouri Ozarks and make an outlandish offer to buy the local auction house and all its holdings before the painting can move again.

Upon crossing the country, however, Miranda and her grandfather discover their new auction house doesn't deal in fine antiques, but in livestock. And its frustratingly handsome manager, Wyatt Ballentine, is annoyed to discover his fussy new bosses don't know a thing about the business he's single-handedly kept afloat. Faced with more heads of cattle than they can count--but no mysterious painting--Miranda and Wyatt form an unlikely but charged partnership to try and prevent a bad situation from getting worse.

Read an excerpt.


Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She is the author of A Most Inconvenient Marriage, Sixty Acres and a Bride, and Caught in the Middle, and contributed a novella to A Match Made in Texas and With This Ring?. Regina has worked at the Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children and can be found online at


Regina Jennings quickly became one of my favorite authors with her debut novel several years ago, and I have enjoyed reading each of her books since that first release. This latest novel combines romance and mystery in a tale containing both dramatic and humourous moments. Jennings convolutes the circumstances with the contrast and clash of class distinctions as well as the disparity between provincial and urban cultures, adding conflict and tension. Perhaps the most meaningful aspect for me, however, is one you don't often see in historical fiction: that of an elderly character displaying dementia and the effect on the family. Jennings portrays this beautifully as Miranda, the community, and her family deal with the awkwardness, embarrassment, spiritual questioning, and decisions that come with such a situation, played out in an era when little was known about such a disease. I know God will use the nuggets of truth tucked in this story to minister to someone on a similar journey. Act now to get your copy of At Love's Bidding before it's going, going, gone!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Regina Jennings and Baker/Bethany House Publishers for a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


1. Tell us about At Love’s Bidding.
At Love’s Bidding is the story of a Boston art appraiser who works in her family’s auction house. Miranda Wimplegate loves handling the beautiful objects that come through their office, but when a family heirloom of a wealthy customer goes missing, the family’s livelihood is endangered. Miranda and her grandfather track the painting down to the Missouri Ozarks and make an outlandish offer to buy the local auction house if they’ll promise not to sell anything until they arrive.

What they don’t know is that the auction house doesn’t deal in fine art, it deals in livestock. And its manager, ruggedly handsome Wyatt Ballentine, is frustrated to discover his fussy new bosses don’t know a thing about the business he’s single-handedly kept afloat. Faced with more cattle than they can count—but no mysterious painting—Miranda and Wyatt form an unlikely but charged partnership to try and salvage a bad situation getting worse.

2. What’s different about this romance?
Miranda is very class conscious, as she’s been forced to remember her station as she deals with her wealthy clients in Boston. Wyatt has always lived in the mountains, and although he’d be completely lost in Miranda’s world, he doesn’t think he’s any man’s inferior. Poor Miranda feels obligated to educate him on his place in the world—a place which happens to be somewhere below hers—while at the same time wishing she wasn’t bound by those same limits.

Also, this story has a strong mystery running throughout it. Who has the missing painting and what’s its significance? The answer to that could change everything for Wyatt and Miranda.

3. So this is an auction story? What’s so great about an auction?
There’s nothing like a live auction, especially when the stakes are high. My grandpa owned a couple of auction houses in Missouri, and growing up I was a frequent guest. My dad also made his living as a livestock dealer. He bought hogs at auctions and, when he opened his own buying station, I jumped in to help with bookkeeping and running the scales.

More recently, we bought our house at an auction. Those bids were coming so fast. My heart was pounding. Just a few more bids and it’d be out of our price range, but then everything stopped, the seconds stretched out…and no one else bid. We got the house. It was quite a dramatic moment.

4. So you already knew about auctions. What else did you research for this story?
Like Wyatt, I know about livestock auctions, but I had to brush up on my antiques so I could adequately describe the pieces that Miranda worked with in Boston. I dug out my art appreciation books from college and watched Antiques Roadshow every chance I got.

Another fun topic I researched was phrenology. For those who aren’t familiar with nineteenth-century quack-medicine, a phrenologist supposedly could tell everything about a person’s character by feeling the shape and lumps on their skull. As you can imagine, that was a hoot to study, and even more fun to create a character who is constantly sharing his science.

But now I find myself gazing in wonder at bare heads. Is that a bad thing?


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