Author: Chalon Linton
Genres: Historical Romance
Format: Audio, eBook, Print
Date: February 3, 2020
Captain Robert Wilkins has never aspired to grandeur. So when the returned war hero unexpectedly inherits the vast estate of Cattersley from his great-aunt, he feels woefully inadequate in his new role. Out of place in his lavish surroundings, his first glimmer of hope comes when he happens upon a lovely trespasser in his gardens.
Words have never come easily for Abigail Rutherford, and she prefers the solitude of exploring the gardens at the neighboring country estate to engaging in uncomfortable conversation. But when she unexpectedly encounters Captain Robert Wilkins in her place of solace, she is surprised at the immediate ease she feels in his presence. Soon her brightest moments are those spent with the captain. But even as their friendship grows into something more, outside forces have other plans for the two. Mr. Mead, the handsome vicar, has also taken a liking to the quiet and timid Abigail—and he will stop at nothing to ensure she becomes his wife.
** spoiler alert ** Truth be told, I adored Abigail and maybe I adored Robert even more. It was telling to me from the beginning what kind of person Abigail was by how the servants treated her. They seemed to be one of the few people that were kind to her at all. Her family certainly wasn’t. Nor was society. Robert, however, was sweet and gentle with her. As was his family. I loved all the relationships between Abigail and Robert and his family. Hazel and her mother were just as amazing. I loved their kind hearts. I was a little surprised by the moments Hazel seemed insecure because in so many ways she was very strong. I smiled every time she was able to manipulate situations to help Abigail.
There were great secondary characters in the book making me hope that some of them might get their own books too. Hazel and her mother of course, were well written. Mr. Mead was well written but I don’t want a book about him. I don’t always love when the clergyman is written to be the bad guy but in this case it was kind of the obvious choice. It was a clear way to show Abigail what he was and how he was able to win over everyone else the whole time. No one suspected him. But while all his sermons taught the congregation biblical truths it showed Abigail his hypocrisy. At first I wondered why he had seemed so kind in the beginning and then escalated quickly into him being offensive. But then I realized he was being threatened by someone else showing an interest in Abigail. He could no longer do his slow seduction of her into his life. He had to move quickly to keep what he thought was his for the taking. Would the slow seduction have worked if Abigail had not had Robert to compare him with?
I was surprised by Abigail’s grandmother in the end. It was not the reaction I expected from her. It showed her redeeming graces. And I kinda thought maybe I’d like to see her have her own book. Perhaps she’ll learn kindness and be softened by love?
I think my only complaint about the story was it took Robert so long to figure out the problem and even though he knew he found Abigail adorable he was so slow to do more than be her friend. I know he had an estate to run but couldn’t he have done some investigative work to figure out what Abigail wasn’t telling him? Ha ha. Okay, okay. I got to see Abigail’s thoughts and experiences and Robert didn’t so I can’t blame him for not being as astute as I. That being said, once it because clear to him, I loved his decisive action. I was so glad to see his last interaction with Mr. Mead. And in that moment, I even loved the butler.
Also, sweet cover!
Violence: a well deserved knee to the groin and punch in the nose.
*I received a complimentary ARC of this book through netgalley and voluntarily chose to review it.