Thursday, January 8, 2015
My Review: Brentwood's Ward
Okay, who doesn't love this cover? Because I do, and if you don't, then I'm not entirely sure I want to know. You may just keep that information to yourself and nod quietly in that I-don't-really-agree-with-you kind of way, okay? Now that we've gotten that out of the way, on to the book. :)
Place an unpolished lawman named Nicholas Brentwood as guardian over a spoiled, pompous beauty named Emily Payne and what do you get? More trouble than Brentwood bargains for. She is determined to find a husband this season. He just wants the large fee her father will pay him to help his ailing sister. After a series of dire mishaps, both their desires are thwarted, but each discovers that no matter what, God is in charge.
About the author:
Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones while rambling around a castle. Michelle is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and MCWG (Minnesota Christian Writers Guild). Keep up with her adventures at her blog "Writer off the Leash" or visit michellegriep.com
(Description, cover photo, and about the author copied from Christian Book. Author photo from her website. No infringement intended.)
My Review: 4 stars
Great book from a new-to-me author!
Brentwood’s Ward is the first book by Michelle Griep I’ve read and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I am happy to say that it was great and I will now be searching for her previous books!
I loved Michelle’s writing, which has a somewhat poetic feel to it. The conversations never felt stilted or forced, but rather flowed smoothly from page to page. I was immediately transported to London, without ever leaving my home (which is a little disappointing, because I would have loved to visit in person, ya know?), so vivid were the details and descriptions. I would look up from the book and be a little surprised that I wasn’t on a cobblestone street with Brentwood and Emily. I could almost hear the English accents, smell the fish at the docks, and hear the gowns at the ball swishing across the floor.
I also really enjoyed learning the history behind the Bow Street Runners and the early law in London. It is very obvious that Ms. Griep put a lot of time and research into making this story feel as real as possible and she definitely succeeded!
Emily Payne is an interesting heroine. I didn’t love her immediately, but rather the further I read, the more I fell in love with her. When we first meet her she is prideful, conniving, a bit of a brat. I did find myself getting a bit annoyed with her, until I better understood her motives. I can sympathize a bit with Brentwood’s frustration in that aspect. But the more I got to know her, the more I realized that it was simply a front, a reaction to how she was raised. I really enjoyed watching her grow and begin to care more for others than herself.
Nicholas Brentwood, on the other hand, has learned pretty well the art of being selfless. He even accepts a less than desirable job in order to better care for his ill sister. I loved him from the start, for his selfless ways, but also because who doesn’t love a tall, dark, handsome, and brooding man? He is the knight in somewhat tarnished armor that women love. He is also quite stubborn and very astute. I loved the story from his point of view, because of the details and descriptions you don’t normally read in a regency novel. There is little he misses and following his observations was fascinating for me. I really appreciated that Michelle didn’t just tell us what he saw, but allowed us to draw our own conclusions, then explained what he had deduced.
Their relationship was definitely interesting. Emily and Brentwood are both very strong willed and therefore are often at odds with each other. I enjoyed their verbal sparring and arguments. They certainly keep one another on their toes and had me laughing more than once. I loved following them as they first became something akin to friends, then something more. There are a couple passionate kisses, for those who may be wondering how sedate the romance is, but for me the romance was much more than that. It was them getting to know one another and loving them for who they were. They without a doubt fit the “iron sharpening iron” category.
The faith aspect isn’t huge or overwhelming in this story, but is rather gracefully woven throughout. Brentwood prays often and truly believes in God, even though he carries guilt from his perceived failures. Emily on the other hand, knows of God, but thinks He cares about as much as her earthly father. I loved watching her realize how much God loved her and that she isn’t alone. A favorite quote of mine is this: “No one escapes this life without scars . . . Not even God.” Nicholas Brentwood Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection so clearly shown in two sentences. It also reminds me that God understands everything we face. He knows our scars and mourns them with us.
If you picked up this book looking for a mystery, you may be a bit disappointed. While the suspense had me on the edge of my seat, there actually isn’t much to the mystery. There is no guessing whodunit, or anything like that. It is more Brentwood following the clues and figuring things out along the way. I’m sorry, if that deters you from reading the book, because the suspense was excellent!
I highly recommend this book if you enjoy regency romance full of suspense and great characters!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
*Quotation used with permission from the author. No infringement intended.
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If you're interested in checking out the book further, or perhaps purchasing a copy, here are a few links to get you started.
Barnes & Noble
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