My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Cavensham Heiresses #3
Publication Date: 5/1/18
This new author is continuing to improve and refine her craft in this, her third book. While she still has issues with modern concepts and language creeping into the story, they are fewer than in the previous books – and maybe they’ll be caught and corrected before actual publication since I have an advanced copy. This book could have, so easily, been a full 5-star book, but the last part changed that. I thoroughly enjoyed the book up until about the 80-85% mark where there were some very contrived situations and some very unnecessary pain and suffering and the forgiving was much too easily won. I’d love to re-write that part of the story so that trust is unquestionably given and then working together to find the villain rather than the way it was written.
I loved all of the characters in the book. They were all fully developed, likable and very relatable. I particularly liked all of the Lawson family. They were so supportive, sweet and loving – everything a family should be. I particularly loved Bennett, the young Viscount, who was wise beyond his years. They were an awesome family and anybody would have loved to be a part of them.
March, Faith, Julia, and Bennett lost their parents eight years ago when March was just one week shy of her seventeenth birthday – Faith was eleven, Julia was ten and Bennett was just a one-year-old baby. They were now March’s responsibility to care for, raise and nurture. How was she going to do that when she was still a child herself, just getting ready to have her first season? She didn’t know how she was going to do it, but she definitely was going to. Unfortunately for them, her father named a man who was going mad as their guardian. That guardian also had very poor solicitors and as he descended into madness and subsequently died, the Lawson’s were forgotten and lost in the shuffle. No funds came in to support them or to maintain the estate. March was doing the best she could to keep food on the table and basic repairs done by raising sheep (she even sheared them herself) and offering her mathematical skills as a bookkeeper to various merchants in the village.
The Lawson’s situation was getting more and more desperate. Unexpected storm damage had caused major roof damage as well as damage to their only remaining tenant’s home. They had no food – and March was desperate. Why wouldn’t their new guardian answer their pleas for funds to manage the estate – after all, it was their money and his responsibility to see to their care. She’d written to the guardian as well as his solicitors as he had requested and still – no answers and no funds. Desperation leads to desperate acts – and March was desperate.
Michael Cavensham, the Marquess of McCalpin and heir to the Duke of Langham has a warm and loving family. He also has a secret. His secret failing makes him feel unworthy and inadequate and therefore very insecure. His brother William is the only one who knows his secret and William is very, very protective of his older brother. This insecurity is what is supposed to be the driver behind his actions later in the book – but – well – I’ll let you read and decide what you think of it. I thought it could have been written differently.
McCalpin is stunned to discover that someone is using his name and seal to embezzle funds from a Trust account he is responsible for and he’s determined to get to the bottom of it. He summons March to London to make an accounting of herself – and is struck by her bravery and tenacity. As he meets the family to whom the Trust belongs, he is stunned to see how they live – and he can’t believe it. Their circumstances are dire – they have little food, a home in disrepair and a cousin who is bent on causing them harm. He immediately has himself declared their guardian as well as the one who is responsible for their Trust –and he takes those responsibilities seriously.
The first 80% or so of the book moves along quickly and you come to know and love all of the parties involved. Neither March nor McCalpin are prone to trust others, for very different, but very valid reasons. So, it is nice to see them grow to love each other and to trust each other. That is what made the last 20% so sad. This author does tend to choose the darker route when a much nicer uplifting route is available. While I am not an author, I certainly read enough to know that there was a much more uplifting way to handle the issues that were thrown in their path. Had McCalpin, who supposedly loved March beyond all else, chosen to believe in and trust her, then they could have worked together to find and identify the villain. That isn’t what happened. Since the author chose another path, I think she made the reconciliation and forgiveness much, much, much too easy. It was just basically an “I’m sorry, will you forgive me?” And a “Yes” and that was it. After what he did and the heartache and suffering he caused for March and her siblings because he couldn’t/wouldn’t trust – it should have been much harder than it was. Then – the villains – one is punished – probably more than he deserved given what he did and the other one was actually rewarded. Say what!!! The dude who was rewarded is the one who was actually responsible for the heartache, suffering, and damage that was done to March and her family — yet — because he had a sad story he is rewarded.
So – for my rating – the first 80% of the book gets a full 5-stars, but the last 20% gets a 3-star rating. That comes out to my rating of 4-stars. I’ll look forward to the next book.
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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”