Sunday, October 30, 2016

Review & Giveaway: The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall

Be sure to enter both giveaways at the bottom of the post!

 Heidi Reads... The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


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've been anxiously anticipating THE CAUTIOUS MAIDEN, the newest book in one of my favorite series, The Everstone Chronicles. Dawn Crandall has a unique writing style which lends a compelling voice to her characters. Her skills are once again manifested as she expertly transforms a former scoundrel into a believable hero and protector of feminine virtue without making him into a completely different person by reducing his passionate nature. 
Poor Violet! In the wake of her grief she is lonely and not confident in her relationships, not feeling like she fits in anywhere. With her compromised reputation, she feels she has no other option than marriage, to whomever will take her. Her emotions and loyalties are being pulled on by various parties, and all she can do is try to follow her heart, which is difficult when she's not sure that she's wanted. It was frustrating to experience the limits of a woman's rights and choices during the time period, but Violet bore it with grace.

As much as I disliked Vance in the previous novel he appeared in (The Bound Heart), I appreciated his redemptive path and dedication to live his life on God's terms. I was skeptical at first, but as Violet comes upon him more than once studying his Bible, and witnesses his strength of character, his regrets and repentance, I began to hope that he would find happiness. His protectiveness of Violet, even against himself, is endearing and heroic.

Her brother was kind of an ambiguous character- he only made an appearance in one scene, but so much of the plot revolved around his actions- placing his sister in danger, then damaging her reputation in an attempt to protect her; the physical separation between the two doesn't reflect his continued influence on her life. Because the story is told in Violet's voice, we only receive information as she does, which gave me a feeling of uneasiness and tension over the unknown parts of the plot I could sense.

The various members of the Everstone family make appearances as they gather for special events, but I missed seeing their personalities shine through while this book was entirely focused on Violet and Vance and their passionate relationship wrought with lack of communication, self-discipline, and dangerous circumstances. 

Readers of Sarah E. Ladd and Elizabeth Camden will fall in love with this intriguing and romantic historical series!

(Thank you to Whitaker House Publishing for a copy of the book; this is my honest review)

Don't miss the first three books in The Everstone Chronicles series...

About the Author

Dawn Crandall is an ACFW Carol Award-nominated author of the award winning series The Everstone Chronicles, which consists of four books: The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart, The Captive Imposter and The Cautious Maiden which released October 4th, 2016.
Apart from writing, Dawn is also a mom of two little ones and serves with her husband in a premarital mentorship program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn't begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream. It didn't take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do.
Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and an associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter. She is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency.


Whitaker House has generously provided a copy of The Cautious Maiden for me to give away on my blog! Enter in the Giveaway Tools widget below. Author Dawn Crandall also has a wonderful blog tour giveaway that you can enter in the Rafflecoptor widget below.


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