The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall
Reviewed by: Pam Graber
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Whitaker House
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
First Violet Hawthorne loses her parents then she loses her home and with it, any claims to being a “proper lady”. When her parents die within days of each other, her brother Ezra swoops in to take over their ancestral home in New Hampshire. Her father had turned the home into an inn for travelers and Violet enjoyed serving those who stayed with them. Ezra and his friends had other ideas for the inn and when he follows up on those ideas, turning the home into a brothel, Violet feels stuck. She has nowhere else to go but she can’t stay. Offered a job at the front desk of Everton, Violet begins to feel safe until her brother shows up one night, cuts her hair off and disappears into the darkness. In a day and age when a woman’s hair is her glory, how can Violet ever show her face in polite company again?
Vance Everstone has lived the life of a rogue, gambling and drinking his way through every dark establishment he comes across. But in the last year, since the death of his wife, he has begun to reform his image. When he finds Violet weeping on the steps of Everston, he can’t help but see the beauty that shines out of her vulnerability. As he comforts her and fixes her hair so that the damage is less noticeable, he feels the first stirrings of attraction. Appointing himself her protector, Vance is instead the instrument of her downfall. Can Vance, with his bad reputation, salvage Violet’s reputation when things look bleakest for both of them?
I had very mixed feelings about this book. I liked Vance a lot. He was definitely hero material but I wasn’t all that enamored with Violet. To call her a “Cautious Maiden” is a major understatement, in my opinion. She had second, third and fourth thoughts on every decision she made and just could not see herself the way everyone around her saw her – as an innocent LADY who was a victim of her circumstances. She constantly questioned her worth and value, which I’m sure had as much to do with her brother’s treatment of her as it did with her actual circumstances as an employee of the house but, still. I will say, though, that the ending was exciting enough to overcome any other problems I had with Violet.
If you love historical fiction from the Victorian era, pick this one up. The descriptions bring the time period to life and, an added note, the book cover is gorgeous!
Rated PG: While much of the book is a very clean read, the brother of the female lead owns a brothel and gambles her virginity away at his gaming tables. There is also quite a lot of innuendo thrown around. I don’t really recommend this to young readers.
Reviewer’s copy was provided by the Publisher via bookfun.org. Thank you!