Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Everstone Chronicles book 4 The Cautious Maiden

The Cautious Maiden, book 4 of the Everstone Chronicles
Whitaker House, October 2016
The Cautious Maiden (The Everstone Chronicles #4)
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Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother Ezra turns their deceased parents' New England country inn into a brothel to accommodate the nearby lumberjacks but when Violet's own reputation is compromised, the inn becomes the least of her worries. In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance, Vance Everstone.

As she prepares for a society wedding, Violet learns that her brother had staked her hand in marriage in a heated poker game with the unsavory Rowen Steele, and Ezra had lost. Now Rowen is determined to cash in on his IOU.

With danger stalking her and a new fiancé who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust, and who to leave behind.

My review:
I read The Bound Heart, book 2 in the series, just before this one. Technically out of order, I’m glad I did, as this book carries on with the rogue, Vance Everstone’s, story. We left him wounded after his brother-in-law attempted to seek misguided revenge, and murdered Vance’s brother. Such devastation caused a complete spiritual change, which can be understandable with what Vance witnessed. While the books stand alone and feature different characters, they are all tied together and I would recommend reading at least The Bound Heart with this book.

Starting with a shocking attack, Crandall dives right in to contrast Violet’s depraved sibling with the former rake, Vance, who steps right into gentle heroism with great aplomb. Vance’s reformation comes with a new ability to see past his own carnal desires, and find his soul mate. The problem comes when he has to convince her of his true intentions despite her brother’s interference, and without scaring her off, especially since a good man who loves her might make a better choice. Vance tries to sacrifice his love for her, but his nature of getting what he wants resurfaces. Fortunately for Violet, Vance’s altruism and reconditioned heart works in time to prevent another tragedy.

The Cautious Maiden is historical romance with a little sauce, some pretty passionate kissing and devastating swoon-worthy heroism. As a history lover, I appreciated the details of this era of late nineteenth century New England, but would also have enjoyed some more sense of the exciting accomplishments taking place in medicine and technology and world events to more firmly set the Victorian feel. The story could have been plopped into any era, but that was okay with the richly drawn characters. Book 3, The Captive Imposter, is reviewed on this site.

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