Description: When stable hand Nolan Price learns from his dying mother that he is actually the son of the Earl of Stainsby, his plans for a future with kitchen maid Hannah Burnham are shattered. Once he is officially acknowledged as the earl’s heir, Nolan will be forbidden to marry beneath his station.
Unwilling to give up the girl he loves, he devises a plan to elope--believing once their marriage is sanctioned by God that Lord Stainsby will be forced to accept their union. However, as Nolan struggles to learn the ways of the aristocracy, he finds himself caught between his dreams for tomorrow and his father’s demanding expectations.
Forces work to keep the couple apart at every turn, and a solution to remain together seems farther and farther away. With Nolan’s new life pulling him irrevocably away from Hannah, it seems only a miracle will bring them back together.
My Thoughts: Something I am always looking to read is a romance with a couple who marries for love in or near the beginning of the book. It occurs far too infrequently in my opinion, so I was pleased to learn that was the case in this novel. And though this took away the will-they-wont-they tension which is very nearly a hallmark of the genre, it was still a nice change of pace to find conflict originating elsewhere.
In this case, the tension was meant to come from the difference in social class and obligation. However, the story itself shows little of that society, instead relying on Edward's (Nolan's father) word as to what society would think of Nolan and Hannah's marriage. And though this is historically accurate, that fact did not pay off as well as it should have in the book, instead casting Edward as the sole obstacle to their relationship. Which in turn made Edward an unlikeable character even toward the end.
This created a conundrum for me, as I enjoyed the romance and relationship between Nolan and Hannah while also being frustrated with the source of tension in the novel. Ultimately, I felt that the story would have been better if we had at least seen a hint of Edward's fears for his son becoming a reality. Those fears being that the aristocracy would reject Nolan and his servant-wife, the pressure of which would break Hannah's spirit and ruin the Fairchild legacy. Without seeing that, the story was sweet but with a conflict which was weak and unfounded. And this disappointed me, as I was simply unable to relate at that point to the characters.
I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of this book from the publisher.
Susan Anne Mason’s debut historical novel, Irish Meadows, won the Fiction from the Heartland contest from the Mid-American Romance Authors Chapter of RWA. Also a member of ACFW, Susan lives outside of Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and two children. She can be found online at www.susanannemason.com.
What Others Are Saying:
“Beautifully balancing sweet forbidden love with a father-son battle of wills, Mason proves to be a highest caliber author in historical inspirational romance. Set in England in 1884, this is a marvelously entertaining story of the search for identity and a struggle for acceptance for both Nolan and Hannah. The purity and tenacity of their love will leave readers tingling, and fans of Roseanne M. White will enjoy Mason’s web of nobility drama and breathlessly exciting conclusion.”—Booklist starred review
“This is a sweet story full of the historical details fans of Victorian fiction will appreciate. There is also plenty of faith and love leading this young couple to their happily ever after.”—RT Book Reviews
“An immersive narrative and sympathetic characters are highlights of this heartwarming novel from Mason about the importance of family, the power of love, and the faith to pursue your heart’s desire.”—Library Journal
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