The Captive Imposter

The Captive ImposterThe Captive Imposter by Dawn Crandall
Series: The Everstone Chronicles
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Whitaker House on April 1, 2015
Also in this series: The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart, The Cautious Maiden
Also by this author: The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart, The Cautious Maiden

 

In a captivating tale of suspense and romance, Dawn Crandall ends her Everstone Chronicles series with the story of hotel heiress and youngest daughter Estella Everstone. Set amidst the mountains and forests of Maine, The Captive Imposter brings readers to the Everstone hotel, the one inheritance Estella hopes to hold onto but that seems out of reach after her brother’s death. Hotel owner Dexter Blakely, gruff and unfriendly on the outside but vastly loyal and protective, as well, immediately catches Estella’s attention. These two characters, however, are both adept at hiding their true identities and feelings. As their relationship blossoms from an uncertain acquaintance to friendship, the possibility for something more could easily be broken by hidden truths and past hurts. Amongst the glittering Gilded Age society and the mountains of Maine, Dexter and Estella discover that love wins all when God holds your heart captive.

Amongst the glittering Gilded Age society and the mountains of Maine, Dexter and Estella discover that love wins all when God holds your heart captive.

Dawn Crandall, author of the Everstone Chronicles series, is a superb author. I knew the moment I opened her first book, The Hesitant Heiress, that she would be an author to follow. Less than seven months after that thought came to me, The Hesitant Heiress won the Gayle Wilson award for inspirational romance 2014, and I still choose her novels just as eagerly as I did that first one. The Captive Imposter is a novel that I never wanted to put down and one that I will whole-heartedly recommend to any reader who enjoys inspirational historical romance. Filled with romance, faith, suspense, and wit, Crandall has ended her Everstone Chronicles series with a novel that will make readers sad to close the last page of The Captive Imposter.

The Captive Imposter is a novel that I never wanted to put down and one that I will whole-heartedly recommend to any reader who enjoys inspirational historical romance.

Known for her novels told in first-person point of view, Crandall’s The Captive Imposter follows her other two novels just as brilliantly as The Hesitant Heiress and The Bound Heart. First-person point of view is notoriously challenging for authors to pull off because one perspective can be biased, but in The Captive Imposter this perspective creates both suspense and empathy. Estella Everstone is the perfect person for which to tell a story in first person; her limited point of view requires readers to constantly wonder about Estella’s world and circumstances, but her personality and the arc of her character immediately draw you into her thoughts and emotions. I felt as if I were with Estella during the entirety of The Captive Imposter—experiencing her growth in character and faith, understanding her confusion over a lost love, and feeling the excitement and wonder of a new relationship.

Estella Everstone is the perfect person for which to tell a story in first person; her limited point of view requires readers to constantly wonder about Estella’s world and circumstances, but her personality and the arc of her character immediately draw you into her thoughts and emotions.

Crandall’s love for Maine, setting of The Captive Imposter and primary settings for the other novels in the Everstone Chronicles, is evident within her writing. Aside from her superb and compelling writing style, the detail and attention to which Crandall infuses her setting demonstrates just how much she loves this area. I have never been to Maine but have no doubt that my imaginings of the state are just what Crandall wants her readers to see. The areas where Dexter and Estella walk, pray, and spend time together come alive because of the care Crandall puts into her settings.

Aside from her superb and compelling writing style, the detail and attention to which Crandall infuses her setting demonstrates just how much she loves this area.

Crandall creates stories and characters that make readers, to use one of her favorite phrases, “feel deeply.” Estella, with her craving to be loved for who she is—not what she is—is just the sort of character with whom readers can identify. I particularly loved that from the outset of the novel Estella recognized her flaws and searched out ways to better herself. Dexter, the perfect foil for Crandall’s heroine in The Captive Imposter, broods just as much as our beloved Mr. Darcy and Mr. Rochester. Ever the hero who comes in to save the day, Dexter stands apart from other heroes with his passion for helping others and being a man of God. The Captive Imposter is a character-driven novel in which Crandall excels at developing her hero and heroine.

The Captive Imposter is a character-driven novel in which Crandall excels at developing her hero and heroine.

Crandall’s third novel in the Everstone Chronicles is recommended for readers who enjoy inspirational historical romance; however, I due to some subjects of a sensitive nature, this novel may be better suited for adults rather than teenagers. For its character-driven story, deeply emotional faith and romance aspects, and superb writing, I claim The Captive Imposter as one of my favorite novels of 2015.

–Marisa Deshaies


Estella Everstone, under the name Elle Stoneburner for her protection, is currently living as a lady’s companion at one of her favorite of her father’s lavish Maine hotels, Everston. Everston would be the perfect refuge if not for the fact that her ex-fiancé is nearby and set on marrying someone else. Devastated by the emotional upheaval that his engagement brings, Estella forms a reluctant friendship with Everston’s standoffish manager, Dexter Blakely, who, despite being manager of a hotel that caters to the wealthy and affluent, seems to hold a grudge against wealthy socialites. When Estella is forced from her lady’s maid position, Dexter offers her a position as a companion to his shy sister. As she comes to know him and his family, she can’t help but realize that, despite hiding behind a false name, she has never felt more like her true self than she does around him. Can she trust Dexter to find her worthy not only as Elle, but as Estella Everstone as well? More importantly, can she see her own worth for herself?

Her books offer a bit of everything, but definitely deliver on the things that I look for in a historical romance – endearing lead characters, tension-filled scenes and a believable romance.

After reading this third book in the Everstone Chronicles, I have come to realize that I am in good hands when I pick up a book with Dawn Crandall’s name on the cover. Her books offer a bit of everything, but definitely deliver on the things that I look for in a historical romance – endearing lead characters, tension-filled scenes and a believable romance. Plus, she writes in first-person, which is unique, and she excels at this narration style.

Because Dawn chose to write the story in first person, Estella’s struggles and triumphs had much more impact on me as the reader.

I loved so many things about this novel, but the first draw for me was the characters themselves. Estella is a bit more reserved than the previous two leading ladies in books one and two; however, she also has lovely qualities. Despite her previous fiancé being around in this story, there was no love triangles featured here, which was refreshing. Estella has a lot of internal struggle with feelings of worthiness and sharing the truth with Dexter. Because Dawn chose to write the story in first person, Estella’s struggles and triumphs had much more impact on me as the reader. I was rooting for her the whole way through the story. Her personal and spiritual growth comes across as genuine and heartfelt. Estella’s realization that she doesn’t have to rely on a person or position in society for her worth, but on God alone, was a lovely reminder for this reader. It was obvious that Dawn had a clear message of hope and worthiness in mind as she wrote Estella’s story.

Dawn’s descriptions of their relationship are simply beautiful and drama-filled without being overdone.

I can’t mention Estella without talking about Dexter, and truly, I don’t think Dawn can write a bad male lead. Just when I think no one can top Lawry, enigmatic yet generous Dexter comes along. When I compare the three (Nathan, Lawry and Dexter), it’s just too hard to pick a favorite – the same can be said of the heroine’s as well, although Estella comes close to being a favorite. I thought it was nice that Dexter achieves personal growth as well. He has to change his mind on what he thought about the rich and wealthy, and though it focused on that less, that change was apparent to me. This story is primarily a romance, and although the plot doesn’t offer many surprises in that regard, Dawn’s descriptions of their relationship are simply beautiful and drama-filled without being overdone. If you are looking for a gorgeous happily-ever-after, you’ve definitely picked up the right book.

The setting and the scenes in the woods of Maine really came to life for me and had a very real presence in the story. My particular favorite scenes were in the outdoor church under the trees. I loved the realizations that Estella came to here and loved the idea of connecting to God through the nature that He created. It was also neat to see Vance, Estella’s brother and a character that I disliked so much from book 2, there and perhaps see some seeds of redemption begin to root more deeply in him. I’m hoping that he might make his way into a future story about the Everstone’s.

The Captive Imposter is wonderfully romantic and just an all-around great read – there is some intrigue, a bit of danger, a lot of romance, and the story is wholly uplifting and engaging the entire time. Dawn has written a lovely blend of romance, action and rich characterization in each book. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment spent reading this series and would love to read any future additions to the Everstone Chronicles. Highly recommended to fans of historical romance!

–Beth Bulow

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