Friday, March 10, 2017

The Vicar's Daughter by Josi S. Kilpack

From the publisher: Cassie, the youngest of six daughters, is bold, bright, and ready to enter society. There's only one problem: her older sister Lenora, whose extreme shyness prevents her from attending many social events. Lenora is now entering her third season, and since their father has decreed that only one Wilton girl can be out at a time, Cassie has no choice except to wait her turn. Evan Glenside, a clerk, has just been named his great-uncle's heir and he struggles to feel accepted in a new town and in his new position. A chance meeting between Evan and Lenora promises to change everything, but when Lenora proves too shy to pursue the relationship, Cassie begins to write Mr. Glenside letters in the name of her sister. Her good intentions lead to disaster when Cassie realizes she is falling in love with Evan. As secrets are revealed, the hearts of Cassie, Evan, and Lenora are tested. Will the final letter sent by the vicar's daughter reunite the sisters as well as unite Evan with his true love?

The Vicar’s Daughter is a Proper Romance from Shadow Mountain Publishing.  Proper Romances are clean romantic stories that contain interesting issues. In this one, a young woman is affected by social anxiety but is expected to follow the same path as her older sisters and find a husband all the same. While her anxiety keeps her from being able to do that, her younger sister must wait in the shadows, unable to pursue a romance of her own.

I found the plot a bit jumpy, and some of the Messages were a little too heavy handed for my liking, but overall I enjoyed this unusual romance. The character with social anxiety  showed positive growth, as did her family’s understanding of her condition. The characters grappled with right and wrong, and with how to ask for forgiveness and bring oneself to forgive. The plot is more somber than many traditional romance novels, but the ending was satisfying.

The Vicar’s Daughter is recommended for readers looking for clean historical romance with religious overtones.  It could be an excellent book club choice for the right group of readers, as there are moral and societal issues to be discussed.

I read an advance reader copy of The Vicar’s Daughter.  It is scheduled to be published in April 2017 and will be available at the Galesburg Public Library.

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