by Kristi Ann Hunter
Series: Haven Manor (Book 2)
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (February 5, 2019)
Daphne Blakemoor was perfectly happy living in her own secluded world for twelve years. She had everything she needed—loved ones, a true home, and time to indulge her imagination. But when ownership of the estate where she works as a housekeeper passes on, and the new marquis has an undeniable connection to her past, everything she’s come to rely upon is threatened.
William, Marquis of Chemsford’s main goal in life is to be the exact opposite of his father. Starting a new life in the peace and quiet of the country sounds perfect until his housekeeper turns his life upside down.
They’ve spent their lives hiding from the past. Can they find the courage to face their deepest wounds and, perhaps, find a new path for the future together?
A Return of Devotion brings us back to Haven Manor and the characters we have come to love in A Search for Refuge and A Defense of Honor. The book can be read as a standalone but is better appreciated if read after the previous two. A Search for Refuge is available for free on Amazon.
Haven Manor was created 12 years ago after Daphne Blakemoor had her son Benedict as a single woman. The haven was created to help children who were the result of similar situations. After William, Marquis of Chemsford, inherits the estate will Daphne lose the haven she loves so much?
Daphne has always looked on the bright side and after she has turned to God for repentance, she tries to find something good that can come out of it by caring for children like her son, Benedict.
I am glad Benedict has a story now. I have been interested in him from the beginning. I can’t imagine what Daphne has gone through not being able to tell him that she’s his mother. Though I know that in that time the alternative was usually that she would have to give him up and never know him. Benedict is very strong and talented for someone who is still just a boy.
I like Daphne’s thoughts on raising up the next generation like Moses but also not being allowed to enter the Promised Land because of her sin. While our sins can be forgiven, there is often a result from our sins. Daphne forgives others and teaches the children that God loves everyone, but she doesn’t really feel forgiven or worthy of His love.
William is confused because he wants to act the part of a peer and not associate with servants, but he also wants to not be like his selfish father. He lives his life trying to do the absolute opposite of what his father had done.
Daphne has always been a dreamer. She is constantly imagining scenarios in her head and missing entire conversations. It was funny when William started daydreaming and missing parts of conversations which he hadn’t done before Daphne.
William and Benedict meeting for the first time was even more intense than I thought it was going to be. I felt so bad for what little Benedict was going through while trying to be grown up.
There were a lot of serious moments but there were some lighthearted moments as well. The readers are also given a very real and beautiful romance between William and Daphne.
“How very different they were and how glorious it was.”
It is not just a fairy tale. They have to go through a lot and they come out better for it in the end.
The Bible teaches that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.
“The past can be the stone that weighs you down or the foundation you build upon.”
Like Daphne, we need to learn that after bringing our sin to God and repenting, we need to learn to forgive ourselves.
“There’s life after forgiveness.”