Today’s book review features the latest and my personal favorite in Dawn Crandall’s “The Everstone Chronicles” series: The Cautious Maiden. It features a dramatic — and sometimes suspenseful — historical romance and story of redemption between a couple secondary characters we glimpse in the previous books. (But it can totally be a stand-alone story!) Also, Dawn is hosting a blog tour this month celebrating her recent release with some awesome GIVEAWAYS! Read on for more about the book, my review, and the giveaway info with a Rafflecopter link.
Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother Ezra turns their deceased parents’ New England country inn into a brothel to accommodate the nearby lumberjacks; but when Violet’s own reputation is compromised, the inn becomes the least of her worries. In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance; Vance Everstone. As she prepares for a society wedding, Violet learns that her brother had staked her hand in marriage in a heated poker game with the unsavory Rowen Steele, and Ezra had lost. Now Rowen is determined to cash in on his IOU. With danger stalking her and a new fiance who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust and who to leave behind.
First things first: the romance! “Marriage-of-convenience” goes through a new set of complications with the influence of outside characters. The chemistry between Violet and Vance practically screams from the page. It’s electric while remaining sweet and era-appropriate. Violet’s innocence is endearing, yet she also learns, no matter the best intentions, the importance of accountability and relying on God for strength to resist temptation. While never excusing Vance’s past behavior, this story highlights our sinful nature and our need for forgiveness.
Having read the first 3 books in the series and knowing the depths to which Vance had fallen, he had to prove himself to me a little bit. And, to Violet. His character showed redemption above and beyond what I expected. (Something tricky to show with a singular POV not from his perspective) For all Vance’s charms, his diligence and determination to show restraint with Violet are what really makes him an attractive hero. And, his obvious pursuit of a personal relationship with God and a fresh start.
The subtle suspenseful plot line added another layer of depth to the story. It offered a few surprises and something else to anticipate. And, it made the climax of the book quite exciting!
The story, like the previous books, is told from the heroine’s perspective. Violet was instantly relatable and interesting from page 1. She is so forgiving, yet she still questions her self-worth because of her belief that her social status/family scandal hangs over her. As she matures in the story, she recognizes that her trust should be in God, her ultimate Protector.
The thing I appreciate most about this series is its common theme through all 4 books: finding true identity and worth in God’s arms. With honest characters facing real struggles, Dawn Crandall has portrayed stories of romance, redemption, and purpose all pointing to the greatest Love, the love of God for his children.
Thank you to Whitaker House publishers for providing a complimentary review copy. My honest opinion is expressed in this review.
Visit my reviews of the previous books in the series:
Dawn Crandall is an ACFW Carol Award-nominated author of the award winning series The Everstone Chronicles, which consists of four books: The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart, The Captive Imposter and The Cautious Maiden which released October 4th, 2016.
Apart from writing, Dawn is also a mom of two little ones and serves with her husband in a premarital mentorship program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
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. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do.
Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and an associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter. She is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency.
There are 2 awesome prize packs available on this blog tour! The giveaway is open until Nov. 4th!