By Tracey J. Lyons
This was a ARC in return for an honest review.
I deliberately did not read the blurb just relying on the genre credentials, I have read these Christian Historical Romance books before with varying levels of enjoyment but the cover was appealing and so decided to give this one a bash!
I had been a teensy bit disappointed that the opening gambit was the old trunk spillage trope, and the fact that there were orphan children that our heroine is drafted in to take care of, further added to my mild dismay that this book might be formulaic.
I need not have worried!
The introduction of a Pinkerton Agent suddenly had me salivating. My adoration for the stories of the first private eyes is helped in no small part by the integral part one has in the seminal BBC series Ripper Street.
So I settled down to see just what William and Elsie were going to offer me!
A devout Christian teacher with a Wanderlust who wants to travel the world to further educate her young charges and a gruff man who needs to keep his mission and identity secret despite appropriating a pair of emotionally damaged twins thrown together by misadventure and the resulting prying eyes of the town watching it all with wry amusement and interest, is an excellent premise. Comforting for fans of this genre, but fresh enough to not feel you have read it all before.
I often feel slightly uncomfortable when the females of the piece begin to” feel” things within hours of meeting, I like the emotions to develop at a more natural pace, but I fully appreciate in a relatively short book such as this, it is important to keep the pacing brisk.
My own personal preferences aside, this was a sweet story, the main protagonists likeable and believable. Elsie was not saccharine sweet as can be the trap in these kinds of novels, she has normal human behaviours and tells like everyone without and I liked that. Similarly Will was a not sullen to start, just a man completely out of his depth !
The twins are not precocious or stereotypes and the device with little Minnie’s voice was very well handled.
When it comes to Christian novels, I always think it is better that the characters model their faith rather than having to “tell” everyone that they are acting a certain way because of Jesus. Thankfully this book stayed away from( in my opinion )the cardinal sin of shoe horning verses in, attempting to prove the Christian genre title.
As a Christian I liked that Elsie and William were kind and thoughtful even before they began to interact, William may have been out of his depth, but he is still Goodhearted. The church, Grace and prayer passages were subtle and fitted into the narrative arc snugly without seeming too forced.
The identity of the Bond thief appeared to be heavily sign posted in the very early chapters and I would have liked there to have been a little more emphasis on the Pinkerton Detective plotting, if only to delve more deeply into why William was compelled to join in the first place and a little more tension prior to revealing the identity of his prey would to my mind been more dramatic but this is not designed as a crime thriller, but a romance and it is indeed a very solid and enjoyable romance at that.
I look forward to reading further adventures in this series as two or three minor characters seem primed for romantic encounters of their own and I am more than willing to enjoy them too!