This book began with a typical writer's mistake - too much background history told, instead of action/story shown. But it soon progressed into an unique and historically authentic look at romance within the bounds of historic British propriety, society and class divisions in the 1800's. I thoroughly enjoyed Abigail's fiery character, and her progression from foot stomping childish young woman to mature lady, ready for marriage. Her spiritual maturity takes great strides over the course of the book as well.
The most interesting part of this book, and what had me up till 4:30 in the morning to see it through to conclusion (yes, Christian romance makes me a little crazy at times), was its unique twist: Abigail believes over a course of several months' time, that the man who is overseeing her return to good health and her preparation to become Lady of Sutton Manor is her betrothed. Although betrothed to her without her foreknowledge, introduction or consent, Abigail has been told just enough about Lord Sutton to believe that Tedric is he. However, the true Lord Sutton is his older brother, long removed to England, with a nasty reputation both for excessive gambling and indiscretion with coarse London women. Having been raised a devout Christian in the country, Abigail begins her relationship with Tedric in great anger, despair and spite but he wins her over in time. Tedric, meanwhile, believes all along that Abigail understands the situation fully, knows he's the younger brother who stands to inherit nearly nothing, and that his role is solely meant as future brother-in-law. Of course, this doesn't prevent him from developing some confusing and tender feelings of his own.
Other things I enjoyed about this book are the historically sound details which show of the writer's painstaking research, the creativity and passion invested in the lesser characters of the book (take for instance Abigail's lady's maid, the housekeeper and her mean stepmother, Griselda, all excellently written and complex), and the settings in which the book take place, mostly sweeping English countryside estates which captivate the mind's eye.
Unfortunately, I reached the conclusion with a disappointed sigh. The characters ended on a high note but I found the writing of how they did so lacking and untrue to Abigail's earlier fire and Tedric's long restrained passion. It fell a bit flat in my opinion. I also felt the working in of the book's title seemed unnatural and didn't really fit. And the epilogue left me wanting more. Had the last chapter and epiloge met the level of the rest of the book I would have given this story 5 stars but unfortunately I must rate it at a 3. Still worth the read, just don't expect to walk away 100% satisfied.
It is a christian romance about how true love wins out over everything.