The Making of Mrs. Hale by Carolyn Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the final book of the Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope series and it is a wonderful way to wrap the series up. As I read this story I was struck with the thought "the more things change the more they stay the same". It is 1818 in Regency England and two young people elope to a small village in Scotland that is known for quickie marriages. This is what Julia and Thomas did in the nineteenth century and this is what young couples are still doing today, two centuries later. The hopes are always the same: being together and living happily ever after but this doesn't always happen. At the beginning of The Making of Mrs. Hale we find Julia alone, poor, and hungry because Thomas is missing and she doesn't even know if he is alive! Her family was very much against this marriage and Julia is forced to go home to face them alone. Soon after, Thomas returns home and Julia forgives him; and then, he disappears again and she must once again deal with her mother and brother's disapproval. They can't understand why she allowed him back into her life in the first place and when they learn that Thomas has been accused of adultery while being held prisoner in a Spanish jail their mistrust seems to have been justified. Julia's mother suggests that she should get a divorce and finally be free of Thomas Hale and we see Julia's anguish as she wrestles between defending her husband and wondering if he really could be capable of being with another woman.
"Betrayal. She had never realized just how powerful that word was, just how poignant that word could be, until the last two days....How could he have loved her, if he had betrayed his vows, by being with another?" (p. 207) Yes, she knew that he had left her more than once so was he unfaithful? Could she ever completely trust him again?
The Making of Mrs. Hale shows Julia's growth as she faced all of these obstacles and conquered them. Through the worst times she continued to hope and she continued to have faith. Thomas returns and begins to prove that he has changed. He works to regain Julia's trust and we watch as they both try to strengthen their marriage and convince others that their elopement wasn't a huge mistake. Is it possible for Julia to truly trust? Is unfaithfulness forgivable? Can Thomas ever be the loving and faithful husband that Julia deserves?
Carolyn Miller's reputation as an author of clean and wholesome Regency romance continues to grow and she certainly doesn't disappoint with this book. She always writes of the moral values of this era but this book features some subjects that are often glossed over and many characters who are flawed. These only prove that humans make mistakes, redemption is possible and that God always offers forgiveness. Ms. Miller never fails to remind us that it is our duty to offer others the same love and forgiveness that we ourselves have been granted from God our Father.
The Making of Mrs. Hale can be read as a standalone book but people who've read the first two books of the Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope series will enjoy seeing how some previous characters are mentioned in this story. I recommend this book to all who enjoy Christian fiction set in the Regency era and I look forward to what Carolyn Miller has planned for her future works.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to write a review. All opinions are my own.
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