Thursday, April 28, 2016
My Review: The Reluctant Duchess
"But what we'll find is that the Lord is still lord. He isn't cruel or absent, He's directing us. Even in this. He's leading us to the place He needs us to be." - Rowena Kinnaird
I had several quotes highlighted in my Kindle app to maybe use - but one was pretty long (I really wanted to use it) and another needed context to make sense and so on. So this one - I love it too! And it's a reminder I just recently needed.
Lady Rowena Kinnaird may be the heiress to a Highland earldom, but she has never felt good enough--not for her father, not for the man she thought she'd marry, not for God. But after a shocking attack, she's willing to be forever an outcast if it means escaping Loch Morar.
Brice Myerston, the Duke of Nottingham, has found himself in possession of a rare treasure his enemies are prepared to kill for. While Brice has never been one to shy away from manor-born ladies, the last thing he needs is the distraction of Lady Rowena, who finds herself in a desperate situation. But when Rowena's father tries to trap Brice into marrying his daughter, Brice makes a surprising decision.
Rowena wanted to escape the Highlands, but she's reluctant to marry a notorious flirt. And when she learns that Brice is mixed up in questionable business with a stolen treasure, she fears she's about to end up directly in the path of everything she was trying to avoid.
About the Author:
Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she's homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of nine novels, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. Roseanna lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at www.roseannamwhite.com.
I don't know why I never remember that Roseanna lives in my home state - I knew there was a reason I loved her books - besides the fact that they are excellent!
My Review: 5 stars
May I just start this review by stating how much I enjoyed this book? It may be my favorite book of the year, so far! I’ve been eagerly anticipating this book since reading The Lost Heiress, the first book in the series, and I have to say that it far surpassed all of my expectations! I was captivated from the very first page and I found it incredibly difficult to put the book down and drag my brain back to present day.
Ms. White always does an excellent job of creating characters that tug on my heart, and settings that burst to life. I loved the journey this book took me on and the chance to revisit some of my favorite settings - those of Ireland and England. Both countries have rich histories and sound like such enchanting places to visit. Roseanna brings her own unique touch to both settings and I loved the history she weaves throughout. I also really enjoyed the dialogue and how she included distinctly Irish terms and wording throughout, allowing me to vividly “hear” Rowena’s delightful Irish brogue, as well as Brice’s more refined English accent. Her characters are all painted with vibrant words and descriptions that caused them to climb right off the page and into my active imagination. I enjoyed getting to revisit characters from the previous book, as well as becoming thoroughly entrenched in the new characters’ lives.
Rowena Kinnaird is the heroine of this story and she may have been my favorite new character in this story. She has such a tender heart, though it’s often hidden behind the walls pain and abuse have built around it. My heart broke for her more than once and she’s a character that I instantly connected with. Through her character the story deals with difficult topics such as abuse and constant fear that can be insidious. Though these topics are oftentimes dark, that isn’t the focus. There is a light of hope that is present throughout and I loved the focus on it, rather than the pain and sadness that is so often found in our world.
Brice Myerston is the hero in this story, and I have to confess that I fell for his charm the first time I met him in The Lost Heiress. I’ve been anxiously awaiting his story and so enjoyed getting to know him better! He is kind and charming, with a relationship with the Lord that I frankly envy just a bit. He is also the perfect husband for Rowena, with his constant patience and easygoing manner. Though he sounds perfect, he does have his flaws, something that I think made him even more endearing. Throughout the story I saw him grow and change as he learned to love his new wife and listen to God’s heart for direction.
As this is a marriage of convenience story, much of the focus of the romance and even the spiritual topic revolves around learning to love a stranger. I really appreciated the repeated belief that love is not just an emotion, but also an action and a choice. There is this really beautiful quote found within the pages that makes that statement, and I love it, because it’s during a time when Brice is struggling to accept the truth he faces. I got to see and feel his struggle to follow God’s will and commands, which I found incredibly powerful. This book doesn’t present a cut and dried “happily ever after,” but rather shows what a marriage can look like when both are determined to love the Lord and one another, despite the pain and odds between them. It wasn’t an easy story and oftentimes wasn’t that pretty, but it was real and I loved that.
I honestly don’t have a single negative thing to say about this story. It is well written, with a gorgeous setting, wonderfully realistic characters, a bit of suspense and mystery, and a sweet romance that left me sighing at the final page. This is definitely a book that I will be purchasing a paper copy of so that it can find a permanent home on my keeper shelf!
Side note: I did buy a paper copy - in case anyone was wondering.
I received an advanced 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.
Thank you so much for stopping by to read my review! I hope you enjoyed it! Also, in case you were wondering about that long quote that I really wanted to include here - I'm adding it below the purchase links. Enjoy!
Barnes & Noble
"He'd always thought love something that happened. Or . . . an action they could take until their hearts caught up with their hands. But maybe it was more than that. Maybe it was a choice. Maybe it was as much about determination and dedication as discovery. Maybe it wasn't a feeling, wasn't an emotion - if it were, it would be changeable, fleeting, like anger or happiness or sorrow. But it shouldn't be. Couldn't be. Love had to be firmer than that. Which meant love, like faith, couldn't be based on feelings. It had to be based on what didn't change." - Bryce Myerston