Author: Julie Daines
Series: A Proper Romance
Genres: Historical Romance
Format: eBook, Print
Date: June 2, 2016
Charlotte Darby’s ship is sinking. Penniless and alone, she is struggling to care for herself and her young sister in the harsh seaport town of Hull. But when a solicitor from London brings news that she is the heir to a vast estate in Kent, it seems her days of rough seas are over. Willowkeep is prosperous and grand, far too much for a shipping merchant’s daughter to manage, and she quickly comes to rely on the help of Henry Morland, the estate’s kind and handsome steward.
Henry has worked hard his entire life, but all the money he’s saved won’t be enough to get his father out of debtor’s prison. And Henry’s fondness for Charlotte and her sister is only another reminder of his low status and lack of money. Though he is willing to do whatever it takes to keep Charlotte happy and looked after as the county’s wealthiest lady, she can never be his.
Courted by a charming man of the ton, threatened by those who want her money, and determined to keep her sister safe from the same fate that cost her the rest of her family, Charlotte must face some heartrending decisions. For no matter the size of the fortune, life—and love—are never smooth sailing.No matter the size of the fortune, life and love are never smooth sailing. WILLOWKEEP #properromance #regency @juliedaines Click To Tweet
This book was filled with mystery, romance, and even some action. There was only one instance of those “misunderstandings” that always cause bad decisions, and it didn’t even bother me. Loved Charlotte and Henry, and even Aunt Nora.
I’ve been on a Regency kick lately and Willowkeep totally satisfied as another great reading experience. It really stood out with the main character Charlotte being raised in a fishing village as a commoner, and the author did an excellent job portraying the difference in her upbringing, especially through her speech and expressions. Another unique aspect of the story is her care for her younger sister who has developmental disabilities. Her loyalty and compassion shine through her protectiveness of Susie. Henry’s easy acceptance of both girls, but especially Susie, make him a trusted friend of Charlotte’s and a source of comfort and strength in her new home and world where society can be difficult and judgemental. Charlotte’s thoughts about Anne Boleyn brought a historical perspective to the story which was fascinating, usually any references to the history of the time in similar books are limited to the Napoleonic War or the current royal family. For Charlotte to feel a connection to a historical figure from before her time was fascinating. I loved Charlotte’s journey from a life of physical harshness and desperation to a more emotionally and mentally trying environment. Henry identifies her as anomalous, but in a more positive way than her aunt; he finds her to be exceptional while others see her as irregular. Even with his own set of personal problems, his dedication to Charlotte and Susie’s well-being is endearing and I couldn’t help but wish for a happy ending for them both. I highly recommend Willowkeep to fans of Julie Klassen and Sarah E. Ladd.
This is a sweet little romance that isn’t over filled with angst even though bad things happen. I was delighted that Charlotte stayed Charlotte through the whole book. She didn’t let wealth go to her head. I kept waiting for someone to try to change her but other than keeping her from biting her nails they all just seemed to take her eccentricities in stride. Kind of reminded me of the unsinkable Molly Brown. It was her eccentricities that gave her charm. Charlotte cared far more about others than she did about money and never really understood how wealthy she had become. It seemed she didn’t really understand her standing in society either except she did pull rank when she needed to protect her sister. The book didn’t spend time on her getting new clothing or acquiring a lady’s maid etc…
It was sweet that Henry helped her and she helped Henry and they both felt the other had given more. True gratitude. Henry was upright and genuine even when it worked against his desires. And was gracious in accepting Charlotte’s generosity.
I read a review that complained that though Charlotte and Henry spent three days in the carriage traveling to Willowkeep they learned nothing about each other and there was no reason that they should have been falling in love. What? Charlotte learned that Henry was a kind, loving man who was willing to be discomforted by a mentally challenged child. She learned that he was willing to assist her whenever she needed. What is not to love about that? He learned that Charlotte is fiercely devoted to those she loves and was charmed by her eccentricities and so called lack of refinement. She is like no one else. Foundations for a growing attraction…
While some things were predictable, some things took me by surprise. I won’t do a spoiler though.
It was also interesting that a book of this time period dealt with something that largely would have been hushed up at the time. I loved that the staff loved and cared for Susan.
No sex or language. Some violence but not a major part of the story.