An honest and heartfelt review in exchange of ‘Two’ copies of the book! ;p
***This review may contain spoilers***
From the blurb:
Her heart is her own–but her hand in marriage is another matter
Lady Charlotte Featherington is destined for great things on the marriage market. After all, as the beautiful daughter of a marquess, she should have her pick of the eligible nobility when she debuts. She, however, has love at the top of her list of marriageable attributes. And her romantic heart falls hard for one particularly dashing, attentive suitor. Sadly for Charlotte, her noble father intends her betrothed to be someone far more dull.
William Hartwell may be a duke, but he knows he was Charlotte’s father’s pick, not the young lady’s own choice. And the captivating Lady Charlotte does not strike him as a woman who will be wooed by his wealth or title. While she has captured his heart, he has no idea how to win hers in return–and the betrayal and scandal his first wife put him through makes it difficult for him to believe that love can ever be trusted. His only hope is that Charlotte’s sense of responsibility will win out over her romantic notions.
Can a widowed duke and a romantically inclined lady negotiate a future and discover love beyond duty? Will they be able to find healing and hope from the legacy of grace?
Poignant and charming, this is another beautifully written, clean and wholesome Regency romance from Carolyn Miller in the tradition of Georgette Heyer and Julie Klassen. Fans of The Elusive Miss Ellison will meet compelling new characters–and a few old friends.
About The Captivating Lady Charlotte:
“Real love perseveres through the hard times, never giving up. True love trusts.”
The Captivating Lady Charlotte is the second book in the Legacy of Grace series by Carolyn Miller. And as bowled over as I was after reading the first one, The Elusive Miss Ellison, I can earnestly say I continue with the sentiment with TCLC.
Lady Charlotte Featherington is the estranged cousin to Lavinia Stamford, Countess Hawkesbury, the protagonist from TEME, and they have only recently been acknowledged and united (towards the last third of TEME). The book follows the adventures and growth of Lady Charlotte and is indeed very interesting and engaging.
If I could summarise what I feel about the book in a word, it would be: Unputdownable! ;p One just can’t shut it (and go to sleep!) And one is always curious to know what turn events will take with absolutely no clue as to what to expect.
The story play is interesting, as in you understand things from the perspective of not only Charlotte, but also William. What I find really different, and believable, about the story is it is very realistic, with actual human reactions, especially to things which are not to one’s liking. There are no excessive or profuse declarations, but expressions that are understandable and imminent. The overall feeling to me was of subtlety, and that makes the book a classy one for me.
With a major part of the story happening at Hartwell Abbey, the story has a gothic appeal to it with the secret passages, tunnels and priest holes. I loved the feel I got with the descriptions of the rose gardens, endearing the location to me.
Once again, the author has managed to keep the reader engaged up to the last page of the book with her distinctive style and story flow. And nothing in the story is unwanted or excessive.
William Hartwell, Duke of Hartington:
The Farmer Duke. Imperfect, yet perfect is how I’d like to describe William. Once bitten, twice shy. Having been scandalized and betrayed by his first wife, he has difficulty trusting women and love. He is flawed, is unable to express his feelings, though he feels deeply. And being reserved by nature doesn’t help him either, with verbosity a far trait from his character.
But at the same time he is straightforward, kind, compassionate, forgiving (eventually, yes), faithful and full of Grace. He is generous, loving, caring, loyal, perceptive and selfless. Even after having been made to suffer emotionally, by his family and first wife, mostly for his physical flaws, he holds onto himself with dignity.
William is very intelligent, nature loving, interesting, scientific, innovative, patient and a kind master. He has an exemplary character and a distinctive dry humour. There are a myriad of facets to his personality, which are clearly visible if one overlooks his physical imperfections and tries to understand him closely. But unfortunately, most people are too shallow to go beyond his looks and physical stature.
My heart goes out for him so many times through the course of the book, as he is trying to please Charlotte and I was annoyed many a times with her, on being unable to truly see him and failing to recognise his efforts.
The author has sketched such a believable character in William, it definitely needs praise, as it is very easy to depict a spotless character, but very difficult to bring out the flaws in pen and yet make them lovable.
Lady Charlotte Featherington:
Charlotte is beautiful, and has great expectations from her future and her marriage. She is destined for great things, but her romantic heart has listed love a top priority as an essential attribute in her future husband.
Charlotte, unlike her cousin Lavinia, is fairly naïve. She is very young, and over protected and basically unaware of people’s duplicity and deviousness. But she is not a fool. She may be swayed by first impressions, but is also a thinker. Initially, she is not a fair judge of character, and suffers from infatuation, but eventually there is a growth in her that brings out maturity and proper judgement. The initial flaw is majorly due to the fact of being over protected and considered too young to be acquainted with life’s realities and has not been given the space for growth and expression.
These aren’t the only facets to her. She is compassionate, obedient, respectful and kind. She is accommodating. Like any young girl, she enjoys the fun surrounding her and is apparently frivolous, but with proper influence, she also grows to recognise her Faith. Like William, she too has a dry humour.
She has formed distinct opinions about her requirements from her husband, chiefly being influenced by Lavinia and Nicholas. She also suffers from certain pangs of jealousies with comparisons, and wishes for a similar marriage and relationship. She is so influenced by the fact of Nicholas’s being a handsome and loving husband that she makes it a standard and expects the same in her life, and overlooks the character underneath the skin. And that is majorly why she is not chiefly interested in William initially and is unimpressed by him and finds him dull and boring. But on closer observations, she understands that no one leads a perfect life and have their sets of problems to deal with. Also, she grows to recognise the exceptional character that William is blessed with, how interesting he is as a person and values him for all his worth and understands and acknowledges that she would never find his equal.
William and Charlotte:
“Charity … beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
Their thinking is very relatable. Both are flawed. Both have trust issues. Each has it’s own doubts and reservations, but where William is quick in realising his heart, Charlotte takes a long way to come and meet him at the same point.
Then, there is always this juggling in the feelings of both, with trust, distrust, doubts, affection, love, Hope and Faith playing an acceding-receding game. While Charlotte wants profuse declarations, William is the passive loving kind who feels deeply but is unable to express. But thankfully, his deeds do the speaking. His love and feelings are apparent in the way he treats Charlotte. And thankfully again, Charlotte recognises it.
The story is not just about Charlotte understanding and following her Faith, but is also a test of the endurance of the Faith, for her and William as well.
Together, I find them to be perfect for each other. Her vivacity balancing his cool, reserved ways, her youth giving him a buoyant feel, while his staid ways bringing her stability and maturity. They complement each other exceptionally.
The Ensemble Cast:
As the blurb mentions, we meet old friends here. More about them under a separate heading 🙂
Amongst the other characters, a major role is played by Lady Exeter, Charlotte’s mother. Overbearing, manipulative, managing, interfering, a stickler to suit her own purposes, verbose and indiscreet in many instances, she reminded me of Mrs. Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. Once again putting us in mind of some similarities the author bears in her style of characterisation and writing with the exceptional Jane Austen.
While Lord Exeter is reserved, he still cares for how Charlotte feels and Henry is a loving brother, and is kind to her. Lord Markham is devious and uses his charm and looks to entrap Charlotte. Lord and Lady Ware are fine people trying to play their part by William. The staff at Hartwell Abbey also have some involvement in the story. Overall, there is not a crush of characters, and the concentration is on the storyline.
Elements form The Elusive Miss Ellison:
I loved this part of the book as well. We have Lavinia and Nicholas playing major parts in this book, and yet they do not overshadow Charlotte and William. We understand what is currently happening in their lives and how they are handling the ups and downs. So, for all the readers who, like me, were inquisitive about Lavinia and Nicholas’s future, you will get not just a glimpse but a chunk of a view from their lives. It was interesting and satisfying, yet not overboard.
A DEFINITE RECOMMENDATION FOR ALL ROMANCE READERS AND SPECIALLY FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR A POIGNANT TALE OF TRUE LOVE, HOPE, TRUST AND FAITH, NOT IMPUNGNED BY TRIVIALTIES AND SHALLOWNESS.
I look forward in all earnestness and enthusiasm for The Dishonourable Miss Delancy releasing in October.
About the author:
Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia. She is married, with four gorgeous children, who all love to read (and write!).
A longtime lover of Regency romance, Carolyn’s novels have won a number of Romance Writers of American (RWA) and American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers. Her favourite authors are classics like Jane Austen (of course!), Georgette Heyer, and Agatha Christie, but she also enjoys contemporary authors like Susan May Warren and Becky Wade.
Her stories are fun and witty, yet also deal with real issues, such as dealing with forgiveness, the nature of really loving versus ‘true love’, and other challenges we all face at different times.
Her books include:
Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace
The Elusive Miss Ellison
The Captivating Lady Charlotte
The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey