Review & Giveaway: With Kisses from Cécile by Jan Agnello & Anne Armistead

With Kisses from Cécile by Jan Agnello & Anne Armistead

Publication Date: September 12, 2019
eBook & Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction

A heartbroken Maggie travels to Paris to visit the grave of her great-grandmother’s French pen pal Cécile and uncovers 100-year-old secrets that give her courage to rebuild her own life.


Maggie Ruth Mitchell’s failed attempt at reconciliation with her unfaithful husband has left her more confused than ever—and with a consequence that will change her life forever. Heartbroken, Maggie travels to Paris to visit the grave of Cécile, the French pen pal of her great-grandmother Ruth. Reading Cécile's letters and learning about Ruth’s past gives Maggie not only an understanding of the strength and courage of the women in her family—all sharing the name Ruth—but also allows Maggie to find her way forward.


In the year 1919 following World War 1, two young girls, Ruth and Cécile, find each other through a Pen Pal program between American and French students. In their letters they share their dreams and bare their heartaches. A tragic death of a loved one has torn Ruth’s family apart, leaving her with a dark secret to hide. Cécile, having survived the bombs that devastated Paris, is battling against consumption. Ruth draws courage from her pen pal’s inspiring letters, each signed With Kisses from Cécile, to face what fate brings.



With Kisses From Cécile is based on a true story of Jan Agnello's great-grandmother, Ruth, and her Fench pen pal, Cécile. It is a poignant and lovely historical that tells the story of two young women, one American and one French, whose friendship defied geographic restrictions. Through their letters, readers are given a glimpse into what their lives were like and the history they witnessed.

There are two timelines in this book. In the present timeline, Maggie is at a pivotal time in her life and marriage. Estranged from her husband, and now pregnant, she is gifted a trip to Paris with her grandmother. On the plane ride to Paris, her grandmother shows her the letters between Ruth and Cécile, and tells her of their friendship.

In the past timeline, Ruth and her family just moved in with her grandfather (and one feisty rooster!), after the tragic death of her brother. She joins a Pen Pal program at school and receives her first letter from Cécile in June of 1919, the day of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, when the Great War ended. Cécile lives in Paris and writes to Ruth of the events she witnesses and tells her of her life and family. It was fascinating!

You can't help but be drawn to the strong women in this book, and it was co-written seamlessly. I absolutely loved every minute I spent reading it!

It also brought back some memories as I had a pen pal as a teenager as well. They captured the allure of writing letters - the excitement you feel when a new letter would arrive, and the disappointment when it didn't. I kind of feel bad for kids these days that won't know the bittersweetness of it all.

In addition to including the letters from Cécile, we are also gifted with photos of the real Ruth, Cecile, and drawings from the letters. That was really amazing to see! They were both so lovely! I am sad that they never got to meet, and I am grateful to know their story and be a witness to such a lovely friendship.

I highly recommend With Kisses From Cécile and can't wait to see what Jan & Anne write next!

Available on Amazon

About the Authors

Photo Credit: Sitting Pretty Photos

JAN AGNELLO comes from several generations of hobbiest antiquers. Her love of stories behind the antiques inspired her in 2013 to form Storyology Design, now Storyology Design and Publication. The necklaces Jan crafts from antique coin purses have generated a loyal customer following and garnered attention from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, jewelry network executives, and TV and film costume designers. Her love of books, romance, history, and unique jewelry design led her to collaborate with author Anne Armistead to offer a series of historical novels, each paired with heirloom quality jewelry named for the female protagonist. The first in the series, WITH KISSES FROM CÉCILE, is a story of love and redemption drawn from Jan’s family history. It is paired with THE CÉCILE JEWELRY COLLECTION. Visit to learn more about Jan and Storyology.

ANNE ARMISTEAD is a writer of historical romance. She earned her English literature degree from the University of Georgia and her MFA in creative writing from Spalding University. Her background includes project management with AT&T and teaching English at the middle, high, and college levels. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Georgia Writers of Romance. WITH KISSES FROM CÉCILE is her second romance, following the publication of DANGEROUS CONJURINGS (Soul Mate Publishing, April 2018). Anne writes for and serves as an editor for Storyology Design and Publication. Visit to learn more about Anne and her novels.

Blog Tour Schedule

Saturday, September 7
Feature at I'm All About Books
Review & Interview at Passages to the Past

Monday, September 9
Review at
Excerpt at A Darn Good Read

Tuesday, September 10
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Wednesday, September 11
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Thursday, September 12
Review at Maiden of the Pages
Excerpt at Short Book and Scribes
Excerpt at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, September 13
Review at Amy's Booket List
Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Monday, September 16
Review at Jessica Belmont
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, September 17
Review at Melissa Reads


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of With Kisses From Cecile! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on September 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

With Kisses From Cecile

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Amy, for spotlighting WITH KISSES FROM CÉCILE! Jan and I are so glad you enjoyed it! Here's to posting letters to those near and dear!


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