Can a proper noble lady find a future with a fossil-hunting man of faith?
As the daughter of Viscount Aynsley, Caroline Hatherleigh knows every rule of society--and she's always followed them precisely. But when she visits south Devonshire and encounters a fossil-hunting scientist and his sister, her assumptions about what is right are shaken. Questions she has never considered about the importance of friendship and faith suddenly confront her--and her comfortable understanding about how the world works is thrown off balance. What if God wants to be the center of her life, rather than merely a social obligation?
Gideon Kirby loves science, and hunting down proof of past lives is a joy he won't willingly give up. But his scientific leanings are being challenged both by his personal beliefs and by local smugglers in the Devonshire countryside. And every day his sister's illness becomes more desperate, her care growing more demanding. Adding a viscount's daughter to the mix is a complication Gideon never expected--especially since he must stay far away from this young woman he's falling for in order to protect his beloved sister's secret.
When a mysterious stranger visits the village, that secret will be exposed, no matter how Gideon fights. Then tragedy strikes in a smugglers' cave. And the threat of scandal may lead to broken hearts and passionless propriety. Will the shaky bond these two have nurtured be strong enough to overcome their differences--or will the trust they've withheld from each other tear three lives apart?
A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh by Carolyn Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This new book from author Carolyn Miller affected so many of my emotions. It made me laugh at its humor; it made me "swoon" when Caroline and Gideon were discovering each other romantically; it frustrated me with the gossip that was so rampant and it angered me when Gideon's sister Emma was suffering abuse from her husband, Lord Pratt. But most of all, this book inspired me because it showed how no one is complete until they have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Caroline Hatherleigh seemed to have it all. She was the daughter of Viscount Aynsley and enjoyed the perks of the uppercrust society in 1818 London. It is, however, her visit with her grandmother in south Devonshire that shows Caroline just how shallow her life really is. It is there in that coastal village that she finds true friendship and a chance at everlasting love. Caroline meets Emma Kirby and her brother Gideon and, even though they apparently aren't arisotcrats, they both possess an inner peace and a strong faith that only comes from believing in God and in prayer. Gideon is a research scientist and his passion is searching for fossils but this doesn't detract from his belief that God was responsible for all of Creation. Emma is very fragile and her health is very uncertain but she still trusts that God will see her through. The Kirby's influence and a dangerous cave accident show Caroline that she herself needs a relationship with a Higher Power. Miller's explanation of Caroline's acceptance of Jesus Christ is one of the most moving accounts of conversion that I have ever read! As Caroline wonders if God would even hear her prayers, she hears a voice that can only be God saying "Trust me". As she ponders "Oh, how wretched she was. Oh, how she needed hope. Oh, how she needed forgiveness" (p. 231) Caroline finally tells God "I know I am not good enough, but I believe that Jesus Christ's death paid for my sin, and that You will forgive me. Please help me trust You, help me to understand what you want me to do." (p.232)
The mention of smugglers, domestic abuse, and the discovery of a rare ancient fossil aren't topics normally discussed in a Regency novel but Miller has been able to weave them into this wonderful story of a young woman who discovers that one's social standing has nothing to do with one's value as a human being.
A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh is the first book in the Regency Brides: Daughters of Aynsley series and I believe that this may be Miller's best book yet! I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Regency romance and Christian fiction.
I received a complimentary copy from the author and Kregel Publications but my review is voluntary.
View all my reviews