ABOUT THE BOOK
Josie Chadwick dreams of marrying for love in Cornwall, England, but with her father's debt threatening to destroy all she holds dear, her romantic options are dwindling. When her elder sister Delia is disowned, Josie finds herself heiress of Chadwick Park, torn between dreams and duty. After sacrificing her heart to atone for Delia's sin, Josie clings to the hope she will learn to love a distant husband, whom she fears is incapable of requiting her affection.
Charles Radcliffe's heart has been scarred and hardened by rejection. He fears hurting his new bride, but his fears of betrayal and rejection are stronger, making it impossible for him to trust her love--let alone the love of her God.
As Josie and Charles face their new life together, ominous events warn of dark family secrets that could shatter them both. More than a loveless marriage is at stake if they cannot stand as one. Will they learn to trust God and each other before it's too late?
Atoning for Ashes by Kaitlin Covel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Atoning for Ashes is set in Regency England during the time when young girls dreamed of finding true love and marriage but often were forced to marry to save their family's name or fortune. This is the case of Josephine Chadwick. Her father intended for his eldest daughter to marry into wealth but Delia Chadwick woud have no part of it. Josephine (Josie) observes her father's distress and his increasing ill-health and she volunteers to wed Charles Radcliffe to save her family from bankruptcy. She actually has very good intentions but it becomes apparent that Charles is reluctant and he isn't going to be a loving husband. I found their early marriage hard to read about because of his drinking and unpleasantness but Josie's sweetness and devotion soon begin to influence Charles Radcliffe and he starts to change. It is through Josie's goodness that he begins to believe in God.
This debut novel by Kaitlin Covel features mystery, intrigue and mistaken identities; there are shady business transactions, deceit and treachery, and even murder and attempted murder. Atoning for Ashes has some adult situations that aren't always written about in Christian fiction but the author buffers them with a strong Christian message. She shows how some of the characters grow in their faith and she often uses scripture in the plotline. There are also some beautiful passages that show trust in God. As Josie recalls how she never felt truly loved by her mother and as she wonders if she will ever enjoy a deep romantic love, she realizes that "In all of her life, only God's love had never disappointed. His love was without condition, constant and faithful as the sunshine". And later, as she faces extreme danger and perhaps death, Josie is reminded by her long-time housekeeper Esther that "God is just, Josie," she said gently. "He is fighting our battles even as we speak."
Kaitlin Covel has successfully captured the culture and mores of Regency England and I was reminded that the goodness and evil that was present during that time are still present today. This may be her first published novel but I feel that it certainly won't be her last! I recommend Atoning for Ashes for anyone who enjoys Christian historical fiction.
I received a complimentary advanced reader copy from the author but my review is voluntary.
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