I saw this book available on Netgalley and it was a basic “request it” option. I’ve read good and bad Regency historical fiction romance but haven’t come across any that aren’t awkward “bodice rippers” or just plain bad writing (sorry…but not sorry).
But then I realized this was a second book in a series and I bit my lip from nervousness and hesitation because I had turned down reviewing a book before because I didn’t realize it was a second book in the series. Truthfully, it was my fault of not doing more research because I’ve realized there are a few books on Netgalley that do not say if it’s not the first book in a series.
Regardless, that did not stop be from enjoying the book. Spoiler-free review below.
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Netgalley.com and Bethany House Publishers.
Title: An Elegant Façade (Hawthorne House #2)
Author: Kristi Ann Hunter
Release date: June 28, 2016
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Length: 368 pages (paperback)
Genre: Christian, historical fiction (Regency), romance
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) “Lady Georgina Hawthorne has worked tirelessly to seal her place as the Incomparable for her debut season. At her first London ball, she hopes to snag the attention of an earl.
With money and business connections, but without impeccable bloodlines, Colin McCrae is invited everywhere but accepted nowhere. When he first encounters the fashionable Lady Georgina, he’s irritated by his attraction to a woman who concerns herself only with status and appearance.
What Colin doesn’t know is that Georgina’s desperate social aspirations are driven by the shameful secret she harbors. Association with Colin McCrae is not part of Georgina’s plan, but as their paths continue to cross, they both must decide if the realization of their dreams is worth the sacrifices they must make.”
My rating: 4/5 stars
Oh my goodness. Guys, I really liked this book, which is really saying a lot because I tend to stay away from Christian fiction in general. However, this was also labeled as a Regency historical romance and…all I could think about was Jane Austen and then suddenly, how could I not request it?
Thank you Netgalley and Bethany House Publishers! I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Okay, so yes, I did snub my nose a bit at this after I found out it was the 2nd book of the series. I was almost tempted to not even read it but then I just felt bad because it sounded so good! And it’s true, it is. I am thoroughly pleased I pushed through and started it because once I started, I couldn’t stop.
Eighteen-year-old Lady Georgina Hawthorne has worked years to seal her place in society by marrying a rich man with a high title. It doesn’t matter who he is in particular as long as he marries her lest her secret be known to all of Society and then she’ll surely be doomed. But when she stumbles across Colin McCrae, a man with money but no title to his name, Georgina all but puts him out of her mind. Meanwhile, Colin can’t believe he’s attracted to a woman who cares more about her appearance and status but he harbors his own family secret, one that has caused the success of his business ventures but less so at home.
When the two continue to cross paths, Georgina and Colin find themselves in awkwardly similar situations. Are you dreams worth sacrificing if it means you can embrace who you truly are?
Overall, I was very pleased with this novel. A lot of Christian fiction throws God into the mix in such awkward ways, almost as a plot device instead of flowing together with the novel and its characters. Hunter does a fantastic job doing the latter. God isn’t necessarily the main reason driving all of these characters but it’s notable that they each tackle the faith in different ways.
The writing is amazing. Hunter writes beautifully and puts you right in the Regency era, which is a lot to say, considering all the society rules placed on everyone during the time period. She truly has it down to a fine art and I can picture Georgina, picture perfect in white, floating across the dining room to reach the refreshment table.
I also like how the author portrayed Georgina’s secret. Initially, I didn’t really like Georgina. She’s selfish, stuck-up, and a bit of a brat and a snob. None which make a good main character unless there is a side we don’t see and fortunately, we, along with Colin, discover there is more to Georgina than we know.
What is even better is that you don’t even need to read the first book of the series to appreciate and love this second book. There are allusions to the previous book and practically spoilers if you haven’t read it but for me, it doesn’t deter from my desire to actually read the first book. This novel is a story of its own and it’s a great story.
Honestly, as I reached the end, I was afraid I wouldn’t get the happy ending I hoped for. The end did feel rushed especially after the library scene at Marshington Abbey. For most of the novel, Colin had internal conflict about returning home due to past circumstances. It was almost tiring to read about it but even a surprise at what happened by the end of the novel, especially the outcome of the story and the resolution between Georgina and Colin.
And I’m trying to figure out if Georgina’s character agrees with the outcome of the novel, but the more I think about it, the more I come to terms with her overall growth as a character.
I definitely look forward to another book in the series if that will happen and I would glad add this gem to my library, along with the first book! 🙂 Even if you don’t like Christian fiction, I think you’ll still enjoy this one.