Today I am super excited to share my review of the Hawthorne House series by Kristi Ann Hunter. I devoured these books in just over a week. I couldn’t put them down; I couldn’t do anything else. I love when a book consumes my life like these did. They were fantastic!
A friend of mine referred this series to me. She said Hoopla recommended it to her after she finished Edenbrooke (one of my all time favorites!) and described it as “Pride and Prejudice with a bit of mystery” and I think that is so apt! I inhaled the first book via Hoopla in a day. Then I bought the full series on Amazon because reading on my phone that much in such a short time gave me a headache, and I knew I needed to own these books.
Because of my quick reading time, I decided to write one review of the series for a couple of reasons. First, writing one review is easier than writing five. And two, I think my thoughts on the books are similar. So it makes sense to condense them here.
Hawthorne House by Kristi Ann Hunter follows the love stories of the four Hawthorne siblings in Regency England. Each book focuses on a different sibling and their journey to find and accept love–plus a bonus novella about a family friend. Each story has unexpected twists and turns as we learn about the faults and secrets of each character. But every story also has a happy ending, which I love.
Thoughts on the Full Series:
- I love historical romance and these are some of the best I’ve read! I was captivated by the stories and by the romance. Kristi Ann Hunter writes beautiful romantic scenes and kisses that make my heart race. She blends the right amount of intrigue and misunderstanding with generous amounts of courage and love.
- I enjoyed the dual perspectives and overlapping timelines in the novels. It’s fun and satisfying to get the same scenes from multiple perspectives. I loved piecing together how the characters saw the world and how they fell in love differently. The fact that book two starts inside the action of book one was clever and extremely well done. More series should try that!
- It’s impressive and refreshing to read a series that clearly puts God and faith at the center of the narrative, but without being overbearing or preachy. Religion and faith are beautifully woven into the characters and their stories. Those elements make the stories richer and inspire readers to strengthen their faith along the way.
- The details of these novels are precise and clever. The intricacies of the stories and the connections between them are impressive. I loved that we get to see all the characters in all the novels, so we can hear about what happens to them before and after their happily ever afters. Plus, I enjoyed the prologues and epilogues that give us details about the lives of the Hawthorne siblings and why their characters act in certain ways (and we see more glimpses of their happily ever afters!).
A Noble Masquerade follows Lady Miranda Hawthorne as she is the first to find love. Goodreads summarizes, “Entering her fourth Season and approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, Lady Miranda Hawthorne pours her innermost feelings out . . . in letters to her brother’s old school friend, a duke–with no intention of ever sending these private thoughts to a man she’s . . . never met. Meanwhile, she also finds herself intrigued by Marlow, her brother’s new valet. . . . When Marlow accidentally discovers and mails one of the letters to her unwitting confidant, Miranda is beyond mortified. And even more shocked when the duke returns her note with one of his own that initiates a courtship-by-mail. Insecurity about her lack of suitors shifts into confusion at her growing feelings for two men–one she’s never met but whose words deeply resonate with her heart, and one she has come to depend on but whose behavior is more and more suspicious.”
I loved A Noble Masquerade! I love the characters, the mystery, the intrigue, and the love story.
Miranda is a fantastic protagonist–easy to cheer for as she seeks to be herself and also the perfect lady. She is willing to fight for what she believes in and wants to find love not just an eligible match. Marshington is a swoony hero–tall, dark and handsome with a mysterious past. His courtship with Miranda is witty, complicated and sometimes just funny! They bring out the best in each other and their journey to love and truth is beautiful.
The scenes when Marlow and Miranda have to escape traitors is an exciting and well written sequence. I also loved the masquerade ball and the card party exchange. The ending is dramatic and intense. It reminded me of the ending of Edenbrooke which I adore.
What I love most about this novel: The dramatic irony with Miranda’s letters and the way Miranda finally gets the true love match of her dreams.
A Lady of Esteem is a novella that tells the backstory of how Amelia and Anthony meet and fall in love. Goodreads summarizes, “Miss Amelia Stalwood may live in London at her absent guardian’s townhouse, but . . . her closest friends are servants. Quite by happenstance, she’s introduced to the Hawthorne family and their close family friend, Anthony, the reformed marquis of Raeburn. They welcome her into their world, but . . . she’s blindsided by an unexpected twist in her situation accompanied by nasty rumors. Will she lose her reputation when the world that has only just accepted her turns its back on her, or will she rest in the support of the friends who’ve become like family and the man who’s shared his faith and captured her heart?”
*I recommend reading this after book one but before book two because it gives important background about Georgina’s past.
This novella is a sweet tale but is pretty surface level in complexity. It was so fun for me to see how Amelia and Anthony met and fell in love. It actually takes place before the events in the first novel in the series which was a fun perspective. Hunter keeps surprising me in the best ways with her changing time frames and points of view. I wish this was a full novel so we could get more development and details. Overall, it’s a quick read and everything comes together without too many complications. I would have especially loved more development on Amelia’s history and the big twist in her life.
What I love most about this novella: Amelia’s relationship with her servants, her first meeting with Anthony and seeing all the Hawthorne siblings pre-series.
An Elegant Façade tells the story of Lady Georgiana Hawthorne as she seeks to make the best match of her season. Goodreads summarizes, “Lady Georgina Hawthorne has worked tirelessly to seal her place as the Incomparable for her debut season. . . . With money and business connections, but without impeccable bloodlines, Colin McCrae is invited everywhere but accepted nowhere. When he first encounters the fashionable Lady Georgina, he’s irritated by his attraction to a woman who concerns herself only with status and appearance. . . . What Colin doesn’t know is that Georgina’s desperate social aspirations are driven by the shameful secret she harbors. Association with Colin McCrae is not part of Georgina’s plan, but as their paths continue to cross, they both must decide if the realization of their dreams is worth the sacrifices they must make.”
This romance is so beautiful and unexpected. You know who will end up together (at least you hope so!) but it seems like they can’t possibly fall in love at first which makes it all the more romantic when they do! I adore Colin. He is so loyal, kind, and wise. An unlikely hero but wonderful! At first, I didn’t like Georgina but I did love the journey she goes on in this novel. I love that she chooses love.
I loved the double perspective because the main characters are so different. It was really cool to see several scenes from the first book again from different perspectives. You don’t get that very often in series but it was a fun element.
What I love most about this novel: The different way Colin and Georgina see the same scenes, their time spent at Miranda’s country estate, THE ENDING!!
An Uncommon Courtship tells the story of Trent Hawthorne’s courtship with his wife–after they are married. Goodreads summarizes, “Life for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier if she hid in her older sister’s shadow–which worked until her sister got married. Even with the pressure of her socially ambitious mother, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience to save her previously spotless reputation. Lord Trent Hawthorne couldn’t be happier that he is not the duke in the family. . . . When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he doesn’t know, his dream of a marriage like his parents’ seems lost forever. Already starting their marriage on shaky ground, can Adelaide and Trent’s relationship survive the pressures of London society?“
I think I anticipated reading Trent’s story most of all. He’s such a fun, engaging character in the first books. It was surprising to see him so unsure of himself in this one! I really admired Adelaide for how genuine and kind she is despite her upbringing.
The love story is beautiful–even more so because they are already married. The unexpected way this love story develops is so clever and sweet. I thought the courtship idea was sweet. And I loved the slow physical relationship that grew between them. Although I did worry Trent would never realize he was in love! They way they discover their love for each other is so tender. I actually loved when Trent gets in a fist fight to defend his wife. It’s just so Trent!
What I love most about this novel: I laughed out loud at Trent getting marriage advice. The ending is flawless! Hunter is a genius for writing satisfying, romantic endings.
An Inconvenient Beauty finally gives us Griffith’s story as he finds love in an unexpected woman. Goodreads summarizes, “Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, so he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. While he’s certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, she is strangely elusive, and he can’t seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge. Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, she has no choice but to agree to a bargain that puts her at odds with all her romantic hopes–as well as her conscience. . . . As all Griffith’s and Isabella’s long-held expectations are shaken to the core, can they set aside their pride and fear long enough to claim a happily-ever-after?“
It was great to see Griffith fall in love and have his world of order and logic set on its head. I love that he finally gets to experience falling in love and all the beautiful awkward and confusing qualities of it. Isabella is such a beautiful match for Griffith. But she sometimes didn’t have much faith in life working out. I’m glad God took care of her.
The political elements in this book surprised me. We get a lot of details about an apothecary bill in Parliament and the defeat of Napoleon. The story fit well into this broader, more historical backdrop. Although sometimes Isabella frustrated me with her naive belief that politics would keep her from love. Of course it didn’t!
What I love most about this novel: Favorite scenes were Griffith’s injury, dancing above the ball, and the ending. Also loved seeing all the married siblings in this novel.
I can’t say enough about how much I love this series! These romances are beautiful, meaningful, and captivating. The characters are complex, flawed, but also willing to sacrifice for love. The stories are engaging and impossible to put down.
My favorite series of 2018 so far!
Which historical romances should I check out next?
What are some of your favorite books you’ve read in 2018?