So, a caveat: this is a christian romance and I am not a christian. I'm reading these as a secular reader, and if you're a religious person looking for christian reads, I might not be the best person to come to for an opinion. However, I do read a lot of romance novels, so if you're looking for the opinion of a seasoned (and secular) romance reader gauging the quality of the story, characterization, and writing, come sit next to me, friends.
The heroine, Delia, is the widower of a smuggler, and his whole family hates her because they basically think she's a narc. (She is.) She becomes the governess to a wealthy man, but then he dies in an accident, leaving his children orphaned. The whole lot of them are shipped off to the wealthy man's estranged brother, Jac, which causes a whole slew of tension because the wealthy man has ranted and railed about how Jac's house should have been his, and how their father changed the will at the last minute, etc. etc.
Delia has the children to worry about and also her late husband's sinister relatives who are coming back into the picture because they think she's keeping some of her hubby's merch to himself. Jac, meanwhile, is a bachelor who never really planned on children and now has 5+ to contend with, and he's decided to invest on apples, and his whole livelihood basically depends on the finicky apple orchard on his estate.
Did I like this book? No. The heroine is such a weenie and spends so much of this book crying. CRY ME A FLIPPING RIVER, DELIA. I mean, really. Have some fortitude. I don't expect every heroine to be Rosie the Riveter, but I do want them to have a backbone. This heroine's got lost under her masses of tears and frippery. As with a lot of christian books, this also is "passionless" as another reviewer described it. Of course, you can have romantic chemistry without any physicality, but this book has none. The only thing that got hugged and stroked in this book was a bible (no, seriously).
As for the mystery and danger element, that was a miss too. I actually got all these christian romances because I read another one by Thomas Nelson that I really enjoyed. Like, that author was Victoria Holt redux, it was so good. This one had Jane Eyre vibes and I liked the promise of mystery and danger, but the smuggling was so lame and filled with cartoonish villainy and the matters of inheritance were not that thrilling either. I skimmed for closure but didn't enjoy this at all.
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!
1.5 to 2 out of 5 stars