[The Hesitant Heiress]: A Review

Hi everyone! Today I am super excited to review The Hesitant Heiress by Dawn Crandall.

Several months ago, I wrote this post about what to read if you love Jane Austen. And I had this book recommended to me by the wonderful Carrie over at Reading is my Superpower. Carrie is one of those amazing bloggers who feels like family even though we haven’t met in person. Seriously, go say hi! 🙂

I have gushed over some of my favorite romances over the past several months, and I am always looking for beautiful (and clean) romance novels. The Hesitant Heiress is beautiful, it’s clean, it’s more than I expected.

Romance novels can certainly have a poor reputation. And I don’t read stereotypical raunchy romance novels. But I really enjoyed this romance because it was different. It wasn’t inappropriate. It didn’t go too far. And it built a beautiful love story.

A few initial thoughts:

  • I love love love the love story in this novel. Nathan is just wonderful, and I love that he falls for Amaryllis so completely so quickly.
  • Can I just say how similar to Edenbrooke this book is? And that I love that!?
  • I haven’t read many novels taking place in this time period (late 19th century America) but I should read more! I really enjoyed the settings and the literary quotes at the beginning of each chapter.
  • I think I need to read the whole series now. Poor TBR 🙂


The Hesitant Heiress by Dawn Crandall chronicles the story of Amaryllis Brigham–an incredible pianist and wealthy heiress. But there’s a catch. She was expelled from the Boston Conservatory because of an anonymous scathing letter. And she will not inherit her grandmother’s fortune unless she marries within the year. Additionally, she is tormented by guilt because of the death of her mother and by fear of Bram Everstone–the man who changed her life in the worst ways. But when Nathan Everstone appears in Boston after several years on Amaryllis’ beloved Washington coastline, her world is turned upside down. Amaryllis finds herself falling in love with Nathan and willingly changing all her plans of founding a music school in Seattle. But can she truly trust Nathan? And can they be happy together?

Amaryllis was not my favorite character in the book, but she is an intriguing protagonist because she changes. She begins the book with set opinions about the people she will meet and the past she avoids. But gradually she is able to set aside her prejudice to understand the past more fully. While I don’t agree with her actions (especially towards the end of the novel) and am frustrated by how hard she fights her feelings, I also appreciate Amaryllis as a character. She acts rashly, speaks instinctively, and loves deeply–I love her for these attributes, and she drives me crazy because of them. She has a hard past and has overcome intense loneliness, loss, and fear. Perhaps, she is more relatable because she has overcome hard things, like a lot of us.

Nathan is one of my new favorite love interests because he fights for the woman he loves and he is more than what society makes him. There is so much to love about Nathan–his honesty, his teasing, his intensity, his love. Seriously, from the first time we meet him, I loved his character. He makes Amaryllis face her past and move forward into the future. He protects her and advocates for her. I love that he is also more complex than I expected (some seriously beautifully written round characters in this novel). If anything, I wanted to hear a bit more about his past and his experiences on the west coast. Most of all, I love how much he loves Amaryllis.

The best part about the romance between Nathan and Amaryllis is that they make each other better people. They build each other up. They help each other move forward from difficult pasts. And they make each other laugh. I love their silly interactions and the way they confide in each other secrets they tell no one else. I especially love their beautiful vows of love and the sweet kisses they share (let’s be honest, we all love a good literary kiss, right?).

A few of my favorite swoon-worthy lines:

“I want nothing more in this life than to see you every morning when you wake–beside me.”

“I had no idea you would be so beguiling. How else do you explain this clutch you have on my soul? …. You were the first to utterly make me forget myself.”

“Will you finally admit you like me more than rocks? I do.

“This was Nathan Everstone after all. The man who could read my heart as if it were a book written specifically for him.”

The Hesitant Heiress, pages 176, 233, and 240 (x2)

The novel also surprised me along the way with several plot twists and rather exciting adventures throughout. I don’t want to give too much away, but I was seriously impressed by the storytelling. I thought I had it figured out (and that Nathan and Amaryllis could live happily ever after) then suddenly the plot would twist in a new direction.

It’s an interesting journey to read a book where you know the ending. At least, a book where you hope you know the ending. This is a romance, after all. So Nathan and Amaryllis should end up together in the end. While I thought the ending was a little rushed, I am pleased with how it comes together.

The religious elements in the novel were well written and not overwhelming overall. I appreciated the way the characters spoke about God and His will in their lives. My favorite allusion was when Nathan quoted Amaryllis’ book about Christ. Such a sweet moment (even if she was in denial!). At times, certain characters used these ideas in extreme or forced ways. But I can understand how the author was showing the various ways people can utilize religion in their lives. As a religious person myself, I applaud the religion in this novel.

Overall, a great historical romance I would definitely recommend!

green stargreen stargreen stargreen stargreen star

What historical romances have you enjoyed lately?

16 thoughts on “[The Hesitant Heiress]: A Review

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  9. Now I must read this series. I saw this on Carrie’s blog too and added to my TBR and reading your review makes me so excited. I’ve been dying to read Edenbrooke (just waiting on my library) and it sounds like that one is a winner too. I can’t wait to swoon! Nice review.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Jane! Thanks for reading and reviewing The Hesitant Heiress! I too love all things Jane Austen, just as I’ve gathered, you do. 🙂 I started hearing about Julianne Donaldson’s books in the last year or so, but I still haven’t read either of them (I’ve been rather busy having babies [the first in 2014 and another this summer!] and writing the third and fourth (coming soon!) books lately to have much free time to read!). It truly sounds like I’ll LOVE it since so many many readers think the books are similar. I would imagine a lot of it comes from our particular “historical first person POV voices” standing out in the ocean of third person POV written books out there. Well, anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I so enjoyed reading this review! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow, Dawn, I am so honored that you read my review and thanks for your comment. I totally love Jane Austen 🙂 I hope you find some time to read Julianne Donaldson’s books. But I totally understand the craziness of raising babies! My first just turned one. 🙂 I am excited to check out the rest of your Everstone Chronicles. Good luck as you finish writing! I definitely appreciate your first person POV–we need more historical novels with that voice. Thanks again so much for your comment! I hope to hear from you again soon 🙂


  11. oh yay! yay! I am bouncing up and down and grinning from ear to ear! What a fantastic review for a fantastic book, Jane! 🙂 (And I am so honored by your thoughts on me too – all the bubble hearts ❤ )

    Liked by 1 person

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