Today I am thrilled to be posting my first review in several months. It seems a lovely way to get back into writing to share my review of A Return of Devotion by Kristi Ann Hunter.
I’ve raved about Kristi’s Hawthorne House series on my blog (which I have read in its entirety several times). And I really enjoyed book one in this Haven Manor Series, A Defense of Honor. What I especially love about Haven Manor is the unique niche that Kristi writes in within Regency England. It’s a lesser discussed, darker side of life then and I appreciate the way she gives voices to unique characters and finds hope in dark places.
- Giving a voice and a story to women and their illegitimate children is fascinating and noble. I applaud Kristi Ann Hunter who takes on a controversial issue with grace and poise.
- The romance and beauty are fantastic in this novel. Perhaps because there was more to be lost, the resolution and redemption of the characters is really lovely.
- Can I visit a place like Haven Manor one day? I love the English Lake District and the manor reminds me a bit of the scenery I adore there.
According to Goodreads, “Daphne Blakemoor was content living in her own secluded world for the last twelve years. She had everything she needed—loved ones, a true home, and time to indulge her imagination. But when ownership of the estate where she works as a housekeeper passes to a new marquis with an undeniable connection to her past, everything she’s come to rely upon is threatened.
William, Marquis of Chemsford’s main goal in life is to be the exact opposite of his father. Starting a new life in the peace and quiet of the country sounds perfect . . . until his housekeeper turns his life upside down.
Both Daphne & William have spent their lives hiding from the past. Can they find the courage to face their deepest wounds &, perhaps, forge a new path for the future together?”
With the focus on Daphne, this story gives us her unique perspective on life at Haven Manor. I was so excited to get into Daphne’s story. I loved getting more about her background and her feelings about her life. Her ways of living in her daydreams was fascinating as well. They really are an escape for her from the difficulties or fears in her life. I can see how we use other things like social media or food to do similar escaping in modern society. I love that Daphne learns to overcome her past. Her journey to find forgiveness with God, others, and especially herself is long but also beautiful. Along the way, we get more understanding more about Benedict in this novel. He’s a great character. I am glad he and Daphne are reconciled and their relationship matures through the novel. Daphne deserves love so much! I loved reading her love story.
William surprised me both as the duke and as Daphne’s love interest. He wants to be different. He wants to change the perceptions on his title and he wants to distance himself from his father’s legacy in every way. I was captivated by his change and motivation to be a good man and do good with his title. I admired his courage and determination to try new industrial ideas and to create jobs for people near his estates. I swooned at how tender and kind he is to Daphne. I love his passion and his sweet love for Daphne. They are so lovely together.
As always in Kristi’s novels, the love story is so beautiful. Wow, does Kristi Ann Hunter write a fantastic first kiss. The build up is intense and I remember the almost physical relief I felt when they finally admitted their feelings. I felt like their love story was so unattainable in the end. But somehow it came together. It sure isn’t a traditional “everything is going to be easy happily ever after.” Both characters will have to stretch beyond their comfort zones and plenty of other people will probably judge them for it. But I appreciated the nuances.
Book three is high on my TBR and hopefully I will read it in the next few weeks. Can’t wait to get inside Jess’s head more and see her fall in love in future!
Have you read any of Kristi’s books yet? Which are your favorites?
What Regency England novels do you recommend?