About the book:
"Handsome appearance counts for naught unless matched by good character and actions." That's the firm opinion of not-so-meek minister's daughter Lavinia Ellison. So even though all the other villagers of St. Hampton Heath are swooning over the newly returned seventh Earl of Hawkesbury, she is not impressed. If a man won't take his responsibilities seriously and help those who are supposed to be able to depend on him, he deserves no respect from her. In Lavinia's pretty, gray eyes, Nicholas Stamford is just as arrogant and reckless as his brother--who stole the most important person in Livvie's world.
Nicholas is weighed down by his own guilt and responsibility, by the pain his careless brother caused, and by the legacy of war he's just left. This quick visit home to St. Hampton Heath will be just long enough to ease a small part of that burden. Asking him to bother with the lives of the villagers when there's already a bailiff on the job is simply too much to expect. That is, until the hoydenish, intelligent, and very opinionated Miss Ellison challenges him to see past his pain and pride. With her angelic voice in his head, he may even be beginning to care. But his isn't the only heart that needs to change.
These two lonely hearts may each have something the other needs. But with society's opposition, ancestral obligations, and a shocking family secret, there may be too many obstacles in their way.
Fans of Georgette Heyer, Lori Wick, and Julie Klassen will enjoy the spirited exchanges between the bluestocking minister's daughter and the bruised war hero as they move past pride and presumption to a humbled appreciation of God's grace and the true strength of love.
I absolutely loved this book! The writing was wonderful with such witty dialogue! It reminded me very much of Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. The romance was very sweet. Lavinia was a great, spunky character, always trying to do good and spur Nicholas to do the same. However, she wasn't perfect and realized her shortcomings as the story progressed. I loved her independence and strength but ultimately that she depended on the Lord as she was thrown into many difficult situations. Nicholas reminded me very much of Mr. Darcy in the way he could seem distant from everyone and prideful, but Nicholas was much gruffer and not quite as genteel. I was frustrated with Nicholas sometimes as he made a few wrong decisions or said the wrong thing, which led to some misunderstandings. It was especially wonderful to see Nicholas grow and change throughout this story, from a self-centered, guilt-ridden man to one who saw the caring and special woman Lavinia was and the God who loved them both. There was a wonderful scene as Nicholas comes to understand the gospel message by reading the Bible for himself and I liked how the message was explained clearly. I especially liked how body language was used to show how they felt rather than left out or said outright. There was a lot of rich detail in the story that really made the time period come alive, from the situation of the tenants to the manners and customs of the people. This was a wonderful book to imagine as I read. I can't wait for the next one! I highly recommend it, especially if you love Regency romance!
I received this book free from Kregel Publications.