A Pursuit of Home – Review

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by Kristi Ann Hunter

Series: Haven Manor (Book 3)
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (November 5, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764230778
ISBN-13: 978-0764230776

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In early 1800s England, Jess Beauchene has spent most of her life in hiding and always on the move in an effort to leave her past far behind her. But when she learns the family she thought had died just might be alive and in danger, she knows her secrets can only stay buried for so long.

Derek Thornbury loves the past, which has led him to become an expert in history and artifacts. He knows Jess has never liked him, but when she requests his help deciphering the clues laid out in an old family diary, he can’t resist the urge to solve the puzzle.

As Jess and Derek race to find the hidden artifact before her family’s enemies, they learn as much about each other as they do about the past. But can their search to uncover the truth and set history right lead to a future together?


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The reader is immediately drawn into A Pursuit of Home by a story from Jess Beuchene’s past in the intense prologue.

Throughout the book there is an important mystery that must be solved. It will lead Jess Beuchene and Derek Thornbury on a journey together where they must rely on each other.

Jess and Derek are so different. He is book smart and her intelligence comes from her unique life experiences.

“He always seemed perfectly happy to be his odd self.”

He is so awkward and could spend every moment discussing paintings or telling someone a random fact.

“At least he was moving toward the carriage, even if he couldn’t stop himself from reciting every obscure fact about the smallest thing that no one in his vicinity even knew about, much less cared for.”

Even when Derek thinks of his attraction for Jess, he thinks of it from a painting’s perspective. Jess sees people and their actions and motives. She doesn’t want to get close to people because of what she has lost, and she doesn’t want to be emotional.

“Anyone who insisted on foisting their romantic notions on her could find themselves with ipecac in their tea.”

Although they are so opposite and even argue with each other in multiple languages, they are still perfect together. This is especially true when they are able to open up, like the really sweet scene when Derek is teaching Jess how to knit.

“This was different from attraction, different from friendship, different from anything she’d ever known. This made her feel vulnerable. This was terrifying.”

My favorite book by Hunter is A Noble Masquerade and I absolutely love that Ryland and Miranda return in Jess’ story. While there are returning characters from the Hawthorne House series and others from the earlier books in the Haven Manor series, any of these books can be enjoyed on their own.

A Pursuit of Home is a story of mystery, adventure, and love that will keep you guessing what will happen next.

A Return of Devotion (Haven Manor #2) – Review

devotioncover by Kristi Ann Hunter

Series: Haven Manor (Book 2)
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (February 5, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 076423076X
ISBN-13: 978-0764230769

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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?


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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.”

The Christmas Heirloom: Four Holiday Novellas of Love through the Generations – Review

heirloomcoverby Kristi Ann Hunter, Karen Witemeyer, Sarah Loudin Thomas, and Becky Wade

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (October 2, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780764230783
ISBN-13: 978-0764230783

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In Kristi Ann Hunter’s “Legacy of Love,” Sarah Gooding never suspected returning a brooch to an elderly woman would lead to a job . . . and introduce her to the woman’s grandson, a man far above her station.

In Karen Witemeyer’s “Gift of the Heart,” widow Ruth Fulbright uses the family brooch as collateral for a loan from the local businessman. But the more she comes to know the man behind the stern businessman, the more she hopes for a second chance at love.

In Sarah Loudin Thomas’s “A Shot at Love,” Fleeta Brady’s rough-and-tumble childhood means she prefers hunting to more feminine activities. She never expected her family’s brooch might be how a fellow hunter turns her attention from competition to romance.

In Becky Wade’s “Because of You,” Maddie Winslow has spent years in love with a man whose heart was already spoken for. When a church Christmas project brings them together and she stumbles upon an old family brooch, might it finally be her turn for love?


I love the idea behind this book of an heirloom because passed through the generations. And what better time than Christmas? 🙂

 
Legacy of Love by Kristi Ann Hunter

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Having read all of Kristi Ann Hunter’s published works, I had a feeling I would love this one as well. She writes such interesting, unique, imperfect characters. Not only are they more realistic, but you really want to root for them to get their happy endings.

Randall Everard is a third son.  I never really considered a third son’s life during this time period. He is neither the heir nor the spare, and he is just trying to find his place.  There is no set path for him, which has both positives and negatives.

Sarah Gooding is seen before in the Haven Manor series. I love when stories are interconnected, though this book can be read as a stand alone.

I loved how much Christmas was in this story and how it fit together so well. I also loved the message that you should be able to live your life no matter what age you are.

The scene with Sarah playing the piano was hilarious and one of my favorites.

Though I would love to spend more time with the characters, it has the feel of a full length novel and doesn’t feel rushed.

 
Gift of the Heart by Karen Witemeyer

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Like Hunter, Witemeyer is another one of my favorite authors. As a member of her “Posse”, I love that she dedicated the story to us!

Karen Witemeyer also creates characters who are not perfect. She has the ability to make her characters strong while also being incredibly vulnerable.

I loved the Biblical connection to the Ruth and Boaz story.  Besides the names, there were so many little connections as well.

Beauregard “Bo” Azlin was one of those characters you feel an instant connection to.  The back story of Bo’s childhood where his mother considered him damaged goods is heart breaking.  Bo tried to be fair to everyone and not give special treatment but he also helped protect those in need. I liked the scene where Bo is holding the heirloom and vowing to keep it safe for Ruth. It was also sweet how he liked to keep the heirloom near his heart.

Witemeyer’s books always contain some funny moments.  When Bo calls the stray cat a miscreant, little Naomi mistakenly believes that the cat’s name is Miss Creant. Bo and Naomi have a number of sweet and funny conversations.

While this felt like a very complete story, I want it to continue. I’m not ready to leave these characters.

 
A Shot at Love by Sarah Loudin Thomas

It took me awhile to get into this story.  The beginning was inundated with hunting and gun talk. While I don’t have a problem with hunting for need, I don’t like the “sport” or bragging that was involved.  The second half of the book was a lot more enjoyable for me.

I liked that Fleeta was a different kind of character.  She wasn’t “girly” and she liked the same jobs and hobbies that were usually only thought of for men.

Jack the bird was a fun little character and I liked the cousins.

I have read a novella by this author that I enjoyed and I own a few other books that are on my TBR list that I look forward to reading.

 

 
Because of You by Becky Wade

I want to start out by saying that I read over 200 books a year and out of those 200, less than 5 are contemporary. And those contemporary ones are usually by favorite authors of mine.  I just tend to find issues with a lot of contemporary books.

In the first few pages, I began to be turned off by the usage of some “trendy” modern words but was still very open-minded. Then there was the character Maddie. Maddie has been pining for Leo for years, including the time he was married to her friend. She didn’t seem to find anything wrong with that.  Then after his wife dies and he is interested in Maddie, she suddenly feels like she is betraying her friend.

Maddie spends a lot of time taking pictures for her Instagram. That in and of itself didn’t bother me. It was the fact that she would be in the middle of a conversation involving charity and she would have to stand up and take 50 shots trying to get the perfect photo of her salad and chips. Seriously? And I know some people like to look at food pictures for some reason, but a salad and chips? Then when Leo doesn’t understand, she calls him “quaint”.

There are a few conversations with Maddie and her grandmother Fleeta. Comparing Fleeta from the previous story, who is a strong, independent woman, with Maddie makes Maddie’s personality even more surprising. Maddie’s mother, Laura, also seems flaky. And it was sad how a sentimental heirloom that has been passed down since the 1700s was treated.

There were some positives.  I liked Leo.  He was sweet and adorably awkward but was also loyal to his wife and a good father. I like that adoption was included in the book but the fact that the girls had been adopted wasn’t dwelled upon. And I loved that Charlie picked out a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

Because of You wasn’t for me. As I mentioned though, contemporary fiction isn’t really my favorite genre.

A Defense of Honor (Haven Manor #1) – Review

honorcoverby Kristi Ann Hunter

Series: Haven Manor (Book 1)

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (June 5, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764230751
ISBN-13: 978-0764230752

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When Katherine “Kit” FitzGilbert turned her back on London society more than a decade ago, she determined never to set foot in a ballroom again. But when business takes her to London and she’s forced to run for her life, she stumbles upon not only a glamorous ballroom but also Graham, Lord Wharton. What should have been a chance encounter becomes much more as Graham embarks on a search for his friend’s missing sister and is convinced Kit knows more about the girl than she’s telling.

After meeting Graham, Kit finds herself wishing things could have been different for the first time in her life, but what she wants can’t matter. Long ago, she dedicated herself to helping women escape the same scorn that drove her from London and raising the innocent children caught in the crossfire. And as much as she desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, revealing the truth isn’t worth putting him and everyone she loves in danger.


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A Defense of Honor is a standalone book and can be read as such. However, the prequel A Search for Refuge really helps set the stage and it is free on Amazon.

This book had a unique and interesting plot, especially for the time period.  I have read a lot of stories set during this era and have never read anything like this.

It had a mix of very serious topics along with some funny moments. I loved the ongoing joke of how Kit FitzGilbert and Lord Graham Wharton met and their love of dancing with plants.

While this book is largely about the aristocracy it stills has a raw realness to it with feelings and situations that are seen today.

One of the themes of this book was learning to follow God’s will.  Also, needing to realize how blessed you are and that to be a good person you must help those who are less fortunate.

“A good man sees what he’s been given and does the best he can to earn it.”

I really enjoyed that this book was not predictable, had an interesting storyline, and there were a number of characters I want to know even more about in future books.

An Inconvenient Beauty (Hawthorne House #4) – Review

beauty.jpgby Kristi Ann Hunter

Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, and he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. He’s certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, but while Frederica is strangely elusive, he can’t seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, her uncle will only help them if she’ll use her beauty to assist him in his political aims. Already uncomfortable with this agreement, the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she wishes to be free of her unfortunate obligation.

Will Griffith and Isabella be able to set aside their pride and face their fears in time to find their own happily-ever-after?


I have liked Griffith since I first read A Noble Masquerade and have really been looking forward to his story.  It did not disappoint!

I loved this book.  I wished that I could read it in one sitting but had to make due with reading it all in one day. I really didn’t want to put it down.

Griffith is such an interesting character. I love his little quirks. And Isabella was so perfect for him.

I love the scene where Griffith had to keep jumping to his feet every time Frederica suddenly leaves the room.  This book had me feeling all different emotions. I love when a book is funny as well as romantic.

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I also liked how actual historical events were interwoven throughout the book.

This book and A Noble Masquerade were my favorites from the series but I would recommend all of them.  I am sad to see the Hawthorne House series end but look forward to what is coming next.

“I love you. Whatever matters to you, matters to me. And I take care of what matters to me.”