I received this book for free from Covenant in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Charlotte Darby’s ship is sinking. Penniless and alone, she is struggling to care for herself and her young sister in the harsh seaport town of Hull. But when a solicitor from London brings news that she is the heir to a vast estate in Kent, it seems her days of rough seas are over. Willowkeep is prosperous and grand, far too much for a shipping merchant’s daughter to manage, and she quickly comes to rely on the help of Henry Morland, the estate’s kind and handsome steward.
Henry has worked hard his entire life, but all the money he’s saved won’t be enough to get his father out of debtor’s prison. And Henry’s fondness for Charlotte and her sister is only another reminder of his low status and lack of wealth. Though he is willing to do whatever it takes to keep Charlotte happy and looked after as the county’s wealthiest lady, she can never be his.
Courted by a charming man of the ton, threatened by those who want her money, and determined to keep her sister safe from the same fate that cost her the rest of her family, Charlotte must face some heartrending decisions. For no matter the size of the fortune, life—and love—are never smooth sailing.
I’ve always been a fan of Regency Romance, but Willowkeep adds a completely new perspective. A young woman, abandoned by her parents and left to raise her special needs sister alone. Charlotte doesn’t live in the best of neighborhoods, down by the docks. She and her sister are desperate as their funds and resources are running out. Along comes a solicitor with a surprising announcement that raises the station of both sisters and transports them to their own estate. Henry Morland, the family steward has also lived a hard life and is carrying the transgressions of his father on his back, trying to repay insurmountable debt. Both main characters are not the genteel society we usually read about, but commoners making their way to something better.
With plot twists and historical elements speckled in the story line through letters to Anne Boleyn, this story has much to offer. The bond between siblings is beautiful as is the hope that someone “different” can make their own way. The author explores children with disabilities and the way they were and can be harshly treated versus the caring selflessness of a family member. The book cover was perfect, but the design I struggled with a bit. I found the willow leaves at the beginning of each chapter a bit distracting. Overall, though, I very much enjoyed Willowkeep, the dialogue, the development and the unique point of view.
Content: clean, little violence.
About the Author
Julie Daines was born in Concord, Massachusetts, and was raised in Utah. She spent eighteen months living in London, where she studied and fell in love with English literature, sticky toffee pudding, and the mysterious guy who ran the kebab store around the corner.
She loves reading, writing, and watching movies—anything that transports her to another world. She picks Captain Wentworth over Mr. Darcy, firmly believes in second breakfast, and never leaves home without her verveine.
To learn more about Julie Daines or to contact her, visit her website at www.juliedaines.com
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