Sunday, March 31, 2019

Review: "A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh" by Carolyn Miller

It's hard to believe I read my first Carolyn Miller novel only two years ago—she's so quickly become a go-to for regency fiction that it feels like I've been reading her forever! A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh is the first book in her third series, which connects to her others.

As the daughter of Viscount Aynsley, Caroline Hatherleigh knows every rule of society--and she's always followed them precisely. But when she visits south Devonshire and encounters a fossil-hunting scientist and his sister, her assumptions about what is right are shaken. Questions she has never considered about the importance of friendship and faith suddenly confront her--and her comfortable understanding about how the world works is thrown off balance. What if God wants to be the center of her life, rather than merely a social obligation?

Gideon Kirby loves science, and hunting down proof of past lives is a joy he won't willingly give up. But his scientific leanings are being challenged both by his personal beliefs and by local smugglers in the Devonshire countryside. And every day his sister's illness becomes more desperate, her care growing more demanding. Adding a viscount's daughter to the mix is a complication Gideon never expected--especially since he must stay far away from this young woman he's falling for in order to protect his beloved sister's secret.

When a mysterious stranger visits the village, that secret will be exposed, no matter how Gideon fights. Then tragedy strikes in a smugglers' cave. And the threat of scandal may lead to broken hearts and passionless propriety. Will the shaky bond these two have nurtured be strong enough to overcome their differences—or will the trust they've withheld from each other tear three lives apart?

A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh is a great beginning to Miller's Daughter's of Aynsley series! I honestly wasn't thrilled that Caroline Hatherleigh would be the heroine of this novel, as I knew—and disliked—her from Miller's previous A Promise of Hope series. But she so quickly won me over! I loved watching her change after her "banishment" to Devon; she became far less self-centered and much more caring, largely due to her acquaintance with Gideon and Emma Kirby and her growing desire to understand their faith, and then ultimately because of a new-found relationship with Christ.

Though immediately attracted to each other, Gideon and Caroline have a slow burn romance that kept me flying through the pages, wondering when they would finally confess their feelings. I so appreciated Gideon as a hero—he was ever so kind, cautious about falling for someone who didn't share his faith, and not at all "alpha male."

My favorite character in the novel was Gideon's sister Emma. As someone who deals with chronic illness, I was surprised to see someone similar to me in the pages of a regency novel. Emma's struggle to balance taking care of herself with being present in the world is one I know well, and I thought Miller did a wonderful job of portraying chronic illness. But aside from that, I just loved Emma's sweet spirit and the unconditional friendship she offered to Caroline.

The faith thread in this novel is strong, and it's written in a way that feels authentic and unforced. Caroline's interest in a relationship with Christ is piqued by her interactions with Gideon, but it's not an instant conversion; she takes time to search out answers and think things through. The scene where Caroline finally does surrender to Christ is probably one of the best conversions I've read.

Though the book did begin a little slowly for me, I soon found myself swept into its pages. It's a wonderful beginning to the Daughters of Aynsley series, which I definitely look forward to continuing! 4 stars.

Buy the book.
Read my reviews of Miller's The Elusive Miss Ellison (4 stars), The Captivating Lady Charlotte (4-1/2 stars), The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey (5 stars), Winning Miss Winthrop (5 stars), Miss Serena's Secret (4-1/2 stars), and The Making of Mrs. Hale (3-1/2 stars).

Carolyn Miller lives in New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. A longtime lover of Regency romance, Carolyn's novels have won a number of RWA and ACFW contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from from the publisher though Wynn-Wynn Media. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small 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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