The Cautious Maiden (The Everstone Chronicles #4) by Dawn Crandall

Another splendid work of art from one of my favourite authors, The Cautious Maiden is the fourth and final in the series The Everstone Chronicles by the author. I am happy and I am sad. Happy that the character that I had come to hate has grown to be endearing by the time I completed this book, and sad because the series has come to an end. More about this later. First things first, here comes my blabbering about the final installment of The Everstone Chronicles:

“I shall do one thing in this life-One thing certain-that is, love you, and long for you, and keep wanting you till I die.”

This line basically summarizes the theme that we come across in TCM. It is a journey of two characters, their growth and acknowledgement of their lives and love. It is the story about Vance Everstone and Violet Hawthorne. Vance is one of the Everstone siblings and has appeared substantially in The Bound Heart and towards the final parts of The Captive Imposter. In TCM his relationship with Violet is tried and tested through a series of ups and downs. Their conscious abstinence and the endeavours they put up to resist while still loving each other through the depths of their souls is what is so beautiful about this story. This book is emotionally power packed.

 “The heart has its reasons which reason knows not.”

They are drawn to one another, each unaware and yet each getting emotionally involved with the other. Both try to deny and both try to resist, but beyond all reason and beyond all justification and yet with good reason they are tied up with each other. And they do so fall for one another! Right from the beginning of the book, they do share a different bond with each other. And although Vance acts indifferent he still wants her to have to do nothing with him because of his past, in fear of causing her reputation to get damaged. And Violet is so engrossed in the complicated feelings of her heart and the situation of her life that it is quite late into the story that she realizes what lies beneath his apparent stance. They have splendid chemistry between them and quite a struggle of emotions and feelings.

“A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it”

Neither of them had thought of being tied to each other, and neither are they (apparently) eager to be together, for reasons of their own. Both are ready to head their own ways and yet are destined to be companions on that road. The complications of their plans, their feelings and the people surrounding them acting in devious ways makes the reader really stay intrigued and curious to know how will they finally end up!

“She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.”

Violet Hawthorne is quite the cautious heroine. Experiences in life through betrayal and abandonment have taught her to be cautious. She is lonely after having been betrayed by her brother and is facing the consequences of his indecent activities. She is endangered and sought after by Rowan Steele, the man to whom her brother Ezra lost her in a poker game. Though she is unaware of the same, the involvement of Rowan Steele is what actually leads her to be a part of Vance’s life. Her feelings for Vance are quite evident throughout the book though she always tries to cover them up. She faces her own struggles, firstly by losing her parents, both at the same time and then by her brother’s betrayal. It does not end there. When she is engaged to Vance, her next struggle begins with being accepted in his family and society. And then, there always is her constant struggle with herself in relation to Vance and her feelings for him and her doubts regarding his for her. I liked her all the more because she is a storyteller.

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.”

The life of the book: Vance Everstone. *Sigh* *Swoonworthy* He is the chief reason you should read this book. You will understand my sentiment further when you read TCM after you have read TBH and TCI. What a phenomenal change is Vance Everstone! Brilliant character growth. In fact, I had started the book with a heavy heart and a prejudice in my mind, that how am I supposed to take for a hero a guy whom I have practically hated in the previous one and a half books? And oh boy, wasn’t I pleasantly surprised! Vance in one word is: Endearing. Absolutely loved him! In fact I had to make a mental note: never judge, not even a fictional character!
What I loved about him is his redemption- his awareness of the previous wrongs he has committed and his constant contemplation and endeavors to better himself and prevent himself from becoming what he used to be. He has become so honourable and virtuous with a Bible as his constant companion and his earnestness to learn what message God has passed through it and trying to imbibe within himself Christ like virtues. He is as cautious as Violet, rather more IMO. It is a sort of rebirth that he is experiencing, the whole renewal of his character and his spirituality. His feelings for Violet are so deep and pure, the respect in which he holds her is just so beautiful.

“It strikes me with anguish to be torn from you.”

They come together, go apart. They do fall apart and heart wrenchingly at that. Throughout this phase, I had a lump in my throat. They both have their own fears, trust issues, insecurities and doubts, and it is evidently very challenging for them both to accept and then sustain the unplanned and unanticipated changes their lives are facing, for one another.

“My faith and commitment, to you only, Violet. Behold, you are consecrated to me with this ring.”

What really comes across in the story is that it is just not enough to be tied in a relationship but it needs much much more to actually stay together. The past always comes haunting. And the effort it takes for forgiveness and acceptance are mammoth. Oh, what a touching tale this has been! I would not like to indulge into spoilers, I don’t want you to miss the fun, you just got to read it.

The Everstone Chronicles

The Series starts with The Hesitant Heiress, the story about Amaryllis Brigham and the reformed rake Nathan Everstone. Then second in the series is The Bound Heart having Lawry Hampton and Meredyth Summercourt and their love and life. Though the entire series is exceptional, this is my absolute favourite! Then comes The Captive Imposter with Estella Everstone and Dexter Blakely, Estella being my favourite heroine from all the four! And finally we have, The Cautious maiden with Vance Everstone and Violet Hawthorne.

Some very beautiful lines, quotes and extracts in all the four books which are such a joy to read and preserve.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves to read some moving and touching stories and stories that take you back to the basics of pure devotion and unadulterated love. And though The Cautious Maiden can be read as a standalone book, I would advise you to start from The Hesitant Heiress and then move sequentially. You will enjoy it even greater that way. If you haven’t, you HAVE to grab a copy of each today! TCM released Oct 4th!
What an exceptional series this has been. I’ve been refreshed reading it.

The Author

Dawn Crandall is an ACFW Carol Award-nominated author of the award winning series The Everstone Chronicles, which consists of four books: The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart, The Captive Imposter and The Cautious Maiden which released October 4th, 2016.
Apart from writing, Dawn is also a mom of two little ones and serves with her husband in a premarital mentorship program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do.

Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and an associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter. She is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency.

My views of Dawn- I would especially like to put in a word about her here. She is a blessed soul and has an impeccable way of putting a story forward. I have read all four of her books, sequentially at that, and I have felt like actually experiencing living in the lives and times of the Boston society of the gilded age. There has been a flow through her books and even through the last one we come to know of what is happening in the lives of the characters of the first book, which gives it a sort of continuity and a sense of reality to it. I would wish the blessings of The Almighty upon her and wish her more success in her future endeavours.

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