Pre-publication Copy reviewed
Dawn Crandall returns with another stellar historical novel, this one taking place in America’s Gilded Age (19th century), featuring a reformed rogue and an innocent maiden.
In The Cautious Maiden, Violet Hawthorne learns that her brother Ezra has turned their family’s country inn into a brothel. In a poker game, Ezra lost her hand in marriage to Rowen Steele, an unsavory character. Rowen is determined to collect his bride as payment for the IOU.
Although considering Ben, an aspiring minister as a possible suitor, she is forced to accept a proposal from Vance Everstone, a man with a reputation as a rake, when they’re found in a compromising but fabricated situation. She accepts Vance’s proposal initially — but when Ben returns, she reconsiders. Then Violet is faced with a choice of two suitors: Ben and Vance. Which one will her heart choose? What about Rowen? Will Rowen follow through on his threats to steal her away as payment of Ezra’s debt?
Vance appears in Crandall’s earlier novels as a rogue, causing problems for those around him. Readers don’t expect that he will find his way, accepting the gift of salvation, and leading a life of redemption. Yet he becomes a hero in this book, and a swoon-worthy one at that. Forgiveness and redemption are the book’s themes.
Crandall’s book has flawed but intriguing characters, light faith elements, and a solid plot. Told from the first-person perspective, her book combines the elements of inspirational romance with detailed historical elements, mysterious circumstances, plot twists, drama and intrigue.
Recommended for adult collections in public libraries, church libraries.
Carol R. Gehringer