Friday, April 10, 2015

My review: The Captive Imposter

For her own protection following the murder of her brother Will, hotel heiress Estella Everstone assumes the alias of Elle Stoneburner and takes a job as companion to an elderly widow. Never did she imagine that her position would lead her back to her beloved Everston, a picturesque resort property tucked away in the rugged mountains of Maine. Living below her station in a guise of anonymity has its struggles, but her spirits are buoyed by a newfound friendship with the hotel manager, Dexter Blakeley. And his distaste for the spoiled socialites who frequent his hotel causes her to take a close look at her own priorities and past lifestyle.

When Estella finds herself in need of help, Dexter comes to the rescue with an offer of employment she can't refuse. As the two interact and open up to each other, Estella feels a growing attraction to Dexter; and increasing discomfort over concealing her identity. Yet, in spite of the false pretense she's putting forth, she's never felt freer to be herself than in his presence. But will he still love her when he learns the truth about who she is?

About the Author:
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 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming published, he let her quit her job in 2010 in order to focus on writing 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.
Apart from writing books, Dawn is also a first-time mom to a precious little boy (born March 2014) and also serves with her husband in a premarriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter.
The Everstone Chronicles is Dawn’s first series with Whitaker House. All three books composing the series were semifinalists in ACFW’s prestigious Genesis Writing Contest, the third book going on to be become a finalist in 2013.

My Review: 4.5 stars
Hoping for another one!

The Captive Imposter is the final book in Dawn Crandall’s Everstone Chronicles series and I’m sad to see it end. I’ve been eagerly anticipating Estella’s book since reading The Bound Heart and was not disappointed in the least. This book may have been my favorite of the series, though I’d have to go back and read them all in order to say for certain.

I’ve come to adore Dawn’s writing. It wasn’t what I’d expected when I first picked up her books, but it is very distinctly her. I think I could read a random quote from any of her books and be able to say “that’s Dawn’s.” She once again does an excellent job of bringing the setting and characters to life! I often felt as though I was actually there with them, taking in the beauty of God’s creation with Estella and spending my days at Everston. I loved that Dawn was able to write a historical romance with little suspense and have absolutely no lag in the story. It kept me engrossed from the first page and I hated putting it down to get my work done.

I have to say, that I did get a bit confused in the beginning. There are several characters that are introduced around the same time and I struggled to keep them straight. I think it may have been easier if Estella had actually met them, but they are just mentioned in passing, then met later on. I had to keep thinking back, trying to remember who was who and how they fit into the story.

I had liked Estella Everstone from the previous books, but she really came to life for me in this one. She is a very relatable character and I connected with her almost immediately. She makes you care about her and cheer her on, though she did seem a bit spoiled at first. I loved getting into her thoughts; seeing Everstone and Dexter Blakely through her eyes. Her opinions on things sounded like something I would say and I quickly fell in love with Dexter, too. Who doesn’t love the tall, dark, and brooding hero? The one that doesn’t say much, but what he does matters immensely? Well, I do and Mr. Blakely is an excellent foil for Estella. He kept her grounded and drew her closer to her faith. Those alone would be enough for me to love him, but then he had to go and be incredibly sweet, the rescuer. That sealed it for me. It’s rare I’m jealous of a fictional character, but I confess that I was just a teensy bit envious of Estella.

The romance was great, as well! Dawn does romantic tension quite well and I could almost see the sparks between them. Their kisses were definitely sigh-worthy, the kind that were both sweet and a tad steamy. I very much enjoyed their relationship, as it progressed from awkward acquaintances, to friends, then took a sudden leap to something more. I loved the honesty between them, even though Estella wasn’t being completely honest about her identity, they shared the most important things. I also enjoyed the bluntness Dawn employs, showing us that though they love each other, it isn’t an ambiguous emotion, but rather a choice.
I really enjoyed the spiritual side of the story, too. Dexter’s words challenged me as much, if not more, than Estella. It focuses on finding who you are in Christ and just being His, without all of the trappings of life getting in the way. I needed that reminder. I love reading a book for entertainment, but it’s even better if it encourages or challenges me. I found myself often using the “highlight” option on my Kindle to mark the things I’d like to recall.

I honestly can’t think of anything else I didn’t like about this book. If I had any other complaint, it would be that this is the final book in the series, at least for now (I’m hopeful). I didn’t want it to end! I’ve fallen in love with all of the characters and definitely was not prepared to see them go. Happily, I can “visit” them as often as I like, simply by opening a book.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the author 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 taking the time to read my review!  I hope you enjoyed it!
If you'd like to check out Dawn's books so more, maybe consider downloading a copy, here is the link to Amazon.  Unfortunately, they are only available in eBook format right now.  

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