Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother Ezra turns their deceased parents’ New England country inn into a brothel to accommodate the nearby lumberjacks; but when Violet’s own reputation is compromised, the inn becomes the least of her worries. In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance; Vance Everstone.
As she prepares for a society wedding, Violet learns that her brother had staked her hand in marriage in a heated poker game with the unsavory Rowen Steele, and Ezra had lost. Now Rowen is determined to cash in on his IOU. With danger stalking her and a new fiance who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust and who to leave behind.
Having already read The Hesitant Heiress and The Captive Imposter (somehow I missed The Bound Heart), I was excited to read the newest chapter of the Everstone Chronicles, but also apprehensive. It had been a couple of years since I read the first book and several months since I read the third, plus I’d read several other books in between. It always worries me when so much time passes between serial books, but I wanted to read it anyway.
Crandall does a wonderful job of giving just enough detail to remind the reader what happened earlier without repeating everything that took place. It only took a couple of pages before I was back at Everston. The characters show depth, the descriptions paint vivid pictures, and the plot is exciting without being over-the-top dramatic.
I don’t know if it’s because this is the third book by Crandall that I’ve read or if it’s because she’s honing her voice and writing style, but I found The Cautious Maiden to be the most captivating and engaging of the Everstone Chronicles. It captured my attention more quickly and held it throughout the entire novel.
If you love historical romance novels by Lorna Seilstad or Sarah Ladd, I think you’ll enjoy Dawn Crandall’s The Cautious Maiden.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.