Sunday, March 22, 2015

"the hesitant heiress" by dawn crandall

Author Dawn Crandall recently asked me to review her latest book, The Captive Impostor, when it releases in April. Since I hadn't read the previous two books in her Everstone Chronicles, she sent me copies. I opened up the first one, The Hesitant Heiress, on the way to our district speech meet on Wednesday. (We won! Go team!) That may have been a mistake, as I was constantly thinking about the book throughout the day, reading bits and pieces every time I had a break. I finished reading after getting home ... instead of going straight to bed like I should have. The book was just so captivating!

After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy disappearing before her very eyes. Now the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: marry within the year to inherit her grandmother’s fortune. Amaryllis reluctantly takes part in her aunt’s society, intent on getting to the west coast on her own… and without a husband.

Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself falling in love with the most unlikely of men, Nathan Everstone, whose father not only had a part in her expulsion, but whose ominous presence has haunted her dreams for a decade since her mother’s tragic death. Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems and everything she never knew she wanted. But just as everything Amaryllis has recently hoped for comes to fruition, it all falls apart when she finds that the real culprit who has been “managing her life” isn't who she thought at all.

The Hesitant Heiress is a compelling romance with a side of mystery set in the late 1800s. I say "side of mystery" because the mystery is in no way the driving force of the novel—the romance is. The chemistry between Amaryllis and Nathan is palpable, and their love story kept me flying through the pages.

The characters are fleshed out and interesting, and I'm thrilled that some of the more intriguing supporting characters (like Amaryllis' cousin Lawry and her friend Meredyth) will be featured prominently in future novels. This is a series that I am 100% behind.

Here's the thing, though: I didn't love everything about The Hesitant Heiress. In fact, Amaryllis annoyed me quite a bit. She was so wishy-washy when it came to Nathan that I just wanted to shake some sense into her! But in spite of that, I couldn't stop reading. And I enjoyed reading it, even when I found Amaryllis frustrating. The story is written in first person from her perspective, and for the most part, I really liked Amaryllis. It was just when she thought about her love life that I found her trying.

And then there's Nathan. I can see how Amaryllis couldn't help falling for him—I would have fallen for him, too! He actually reminded me a bit of Mr. Darcy—rich, handsome, brooding—and I'm certainly a sucker for the Darcy type.

So here's my recommendation: Read The Hesitant Heiress. You may want to shout at Amaryllis at times, but read the book anyway. It's a gripping story featuring a fabulous romance that will hold your attention from start to finish. 4 stars.

Buy the book.
Read my review of book two, The Bound Heart (5 stars).

A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education, and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn't begin writing until her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming traditionally published, he encouraged her to quit her job in 2010 in order to focus on writing her debut novel, The Hesitant Heiress. It didn't take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from the author. I was not required to write a review, and the opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. 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."

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