With a depth of emotion and heart broached in the story thanks to a unique and stellar 1st person POV--this first Everstone Chronicles book took me on such a beautiful journey. A journey filled with twists and turns that had me guessing until quite literally the last page.
A cast of characters is set up in this first novel expertly for the next three books and their romantic leads. This story is about Amaryllis Brigham and Nathan Everstone, however. And oh, what a pair. They should not have worked--but they did!
Their romance was rife with chemistry from their first meeting and the sharp dialogue Crandall crafted was reminiscent of Lizzie and Darcy from Jane Austen's classic. It takes a truly gifted storyteller, especially from a singular POV, to craft a romance that has the reader invested and enamored with the development from prejudice, to warmth, to distrust, to the slow opening up of a hesitant heart to a changed man who is not at all who she assumes him to be. The grace of God mirrored in the pursuit of Nathan Everstone towards Amaryllis (what a gorgeous heroine name!) as well as in what was to be revealed as Nathan's redemption (which I wished we could've seen more of, he was that great of a hero) was nothing short of masterful.
Full disclosure? The heroine drove me nuts at a few parts, but partly because her stubbornness came through so starkly thanks to the 1st person POV. And hit close to home--her being so reluctant to open up and let down her facade. But this was a really beautiful story--with a surprising but happy ending that was so very well done and rewarding to get to that I finished this book on the plane satisfied--and looking forward to book two.
**Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion from the author and was in no way compensated for my review and all opinions within are my own.**
ABOUT THE BOOK:
After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy 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 her grandmother’s fortune. Amaryllis reluctantly takes part in her aunt’s society, intent on getting to the west coast on her own… and without a husband.
Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself falling in love with the most unlikely of men, Nathan Everstone, whose father not only had a part in her expulsion, but whose ominous presence has haunted her dreams for a decade since her mother’s tragic death. Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems and everything she never knew she wanted. But just as everything Amaryllis has recently hoped for comes to fruition, it all falls apart when she finds that the real culprit who has been “managing her life” isn’t who she thought at all.
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 become a finalist in 2013.