The Hesitant Heiress

The Hesitant HeiressThe Hesitant Heiress by Dawn Crandall
Series: The Everstone Chronicles
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Whitaker House on August 1, 2014
Pages: 320
Also in this series: The Captive Imposter, The Bound Heart, The Cautious Maiden
Also by this author: The Captive Imposter, The Bound Heart, The Cautious Maiden

 

Amaryllis Brigham dreams of starting a music school in her home state of Washington but when she is unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music those dreams begin to disappear. News of a surprise inheritance brings hope but the strings attached prove daunting. Marry within the year or forfeit the entire fortune. While living with her wealthy aunt in Boston, Amaryllis reluctantly agrees to “be seen”out and about in society in hopes of attracting a husband before the looming deadline. Much to her shock and dismay, she finds herself falling in love with Nathan Everstone, the least likely candidate for her affections. Nathan might be one of society’s most eligible bachelors, but his father has featured prominently in Amaryllis’ nightmares since her mother’s tragic death. In fact, Bram Everstone may even be responsible for the letter that challenged her character and resulted in her expulsion from school. Though Nathan seems to possess a greater depth than Amaryllis ever imagined, can she see past his father to trust Nathan with her heart?

Dawn’s writing style simply embodies talent – from her prose to her characterizations to her kissing scenes.

Dawn Crandall’s August 2014 debut release, The Hesitant Heiress, has already garnered multiple awards, including 2 from separate chapters of the Romance Writers of America. A semi-finalist in the 2013 ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Genesis Awards, the book now graces the 2015 ACFW finalist list for the prestigious Carol Award which recognizes the best Christian fiction published by traditional publishing houses in the previous calendar year. (The winners of the Carol Awards will be announced Sunday, September 19, 2015 during the gala awards dinner in Dallas, Texas at ACFW’s annual conference.) Now that the books will also be available in paperback as well as ebook, and therefore released to a wider audience of libraries and non-digital readers, I foresee this awards list growing by leaps and bounds.

Between my love for these characters and my pure enjoyment of the artistry of the writing, the setting of 1890s New England became icing on an already yummy cake.

Let me just say, right off the bat, that Dawn deserves every single award that comes her way for this beautifully-penned book! I don’t normally care for first person narrative. There are some exceptions, however – books where the author just does such a stellar job that I do genuinely enjoy that perspective for that book. Varina Denman and Kristan Higgins come to mind and now Dawn Crandall is another author I will be adding to this list. In fact, most of the time, the story so captivated me that I forgot I was even reading in the first person! Dawn’s writing style simply embodies talent – from her prose to her characterizations to her kissing scenes. (Oh the kissing scenes!!! Don’t get me started on those or we will be camped there all day! And there’s really so much more to talk about.) The quotes at the beginning of each chapter added to the entire reading experience for me, creating a sense of anticipation for what that section would hold and many times bringing a chuckle to the surface at the quote’s dry wit or the irony of its application.

At one point, I’m pretty sure I hollered through the book to Amaryllis, “Hug the poor man, for the love!”

Amaryllis and Nathan quickly became one of my new favorite romantic pairings. Nathan with his intense brooding gazes. Amaryllis with her endearing but absolute cluelessness. Oh the FEELS, y’all! I forgot to breathe so many times during The Hesitant Heiress that I’m surprised I didn’t need medical attention by the end. And when Nathan spontaneously bows his head near Amaryllis’ shoulder and prays aloud for both of them???? I think I actually swooned a little. So tenderly perfect. Real men can be sexy and still be tender and gentle and spontaneous pray-ers. In fact, they should be!!

The beauty of the romance and the dimensionality of the characters lingers long after the book is closed.

Between my love for these characters and my pure enjoyment of the artistry of the writing, the setting of 1890s New England became icing on an already yummy cake. Every part of the background without taking over or fading away, the lifestyle of these wealthy Vanderbilt-contemporaries is essential to understanding the lives and the motivations and even the insecurities of the people we meet on the pages of The Hesitant Heiress. As Nathan himself said at one point, “Were you aware that all anyone really cares to know of me is the fact that I am born into the Everstone family, and that I am therefore wealthy beyond reason?” At which point, I’m pretty sure I hollered through the book to Amaryllis, “Hug the poor man, for the love!”

With a voice reminiscent of Georgette Heyer or Jane Austen, Dawn Crandall will whisk you away into another era, a time when inheritance dictated one’s future and twenty-five was considered long past the age for marriage. The beauty of the romance and the dimensionality of the characters lingers long after the book is closed. As this is the first in the series, the author sets the stage here for the other books by introducing a myriad of secondary characters whom you will care about just as dearly by the end as you do Nathan and Amaryllis. If you like Julie Lessman (Julie Klassen too for that matter) or Sarah Ladd, you will love The Hesitant Heiress.

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