After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy in her hometown of Seattle, Washington, disappearing before her very eyes. Now, the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: Marry within the year to inherit the immense fortune of her estranged grandmother. Amaryllis reluctantly moves in to her aunt's Boston home and rubs shoulders with fashionable society. Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself quickly falling in love with the most unlikely of men, Nathan Everstone, the envy of every eligible female, whose father has haunted her dreams for the decade following her mother's tragic death. However, Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems...and everything she never knew she wanted. But can she ever really trust an Everstone man?
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: 3.5 stars
Great debut novel!
The Hesitant Heiress is Dawn Crandall’s debut novel and the first book in her Everstone Chronicles series. I was quite impressed with this book, it being her first. It held my attention and I didn’t want to put it down! I have to believe they will only continue to get better. The story is set during 1890 and Ms. Crandall did an excellent job of bringing the time period to life. I really enjoyed the vivid details and descriptions she included, highlighting the important things, but not burying the story in them.
Amaryllis Brigham is one of the protagonists and the story comes from her point of view. I have to confess that I don’t often care to read books that are written in the first person, but I enjoyed this one. Amaryllis has an interesting voice and I was fascinated at seeing her world through her eyes. She is kind, but honestly, not overly sweet. She is very blunt, something that amuses Nathan Everstone to no end. She says somewhat shocking things and doesn’t have much in the way of a filter. That made for some very interesting conversations and kind of endeared her to me. She is also very stubborn and is sometimes perceived as cold, because she has hardened her heart to keep from being hurt. When she is expelled from The Boston Conservatory of Music because of a false letter, it seems her whole world has fallen apart. The only thing she has known for the past 11 years is school and music. There were a couple times she seemed a little bit juvenile, but I think part of it was because of her being at school for so many years and living mainly with women for that time. She’d had little experience being around men, let alone suitors.
I was very impressed with her reaction when she is told she must marry within a year to secure her inheritance. She pretty much concludes that she will never receive the money, because she does not intend to marry. I was also very proud of several of her decisions afterward, when she followed her heart and instincts, rather than logic or the expectations of others.
Nathan Everstone is an interesting character, though I kind of wish I had known him a bit better. Since we only see him through Amaryllis’ eyes, we don’t know what he is thinking unless he says something to her. This irritated me a couple times when it was rather obvious that she had misunderstood him. Nathan is very much a conundrum to Amaryllis. He is hot, then cold toward her, confusing her with comments she considers shocking, or things that seem cryptic.
I really enjoyed their relationship, the banter and sparring, as well as how Nathan wouldn’t give up on her. He pursued her, even after numerous rejections and her attempts to avoid him. “Tenacious” is a word that comes to mind when I think of him. The romance was sweet as well as a little passionate (their kisses), and believable. I enjoyed how she fell in love with him slowly, through out the story, instead of all at once deciding she loved him.
I was a little disappointed with the faith aspect of this story. It is very light and is oftentimes barely there. But, I also know that there are a lot of people who don’t care for books they consider “preachy.” I would rather there not be much to speak of, than have it be overbearing or stilted to the point you want to put the book down.
There were a couple little nitpicky things that bothered me. One was that at one point Amaryllis obtains a job teaching music at a mission school. Which I was kind of excited about, because think of where the author could go from here! But instead, we hear almost nothing about her teaching. It seemed to have just completely dropped off, until I wondered if maybe I made that part up. I’m honestly not really sure why Dawn included that, if she wasn’t planning to take it anywhere.
The other is that Amaryllis has spent 11 years blaming herself for her mother’s death. Which I would understand, but when we find out what happened to her mother and what Amaryllis believes she has done, it all seemed rather childish. I could see a child believing that, but a woman of 25? That didn’t make much sense to me, but maybe that’s just me.
Overall, I would say that I enjoyed this book a lot. It was a quick read, with interesting characters that I’m excited to meet again. I’m looking forward to the next book, The Bound Heart (coming out in November 2014), and finding out what happens with Meredyth.
I recommend this book if you enjoy sweet historical romance with quirky characters and an interesting storyline.
I received an Advanced Reader 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.