Review: Saving Grace

22909644Title: Saving Grace (A Hearthfire Romance #1)

Author: Michele Paige Holmes

Rating: ★★★★

Provided Synopsis: After the death of her grandfather, the Duke of Salisbury, Grace Thatcher wants nothing more than to live quietly in the country with her younger siblings. Her father’s debts thwart those plans, and to protect her sister, Helen, Grace must marry a man of her father’s choosing.

As each suitor proves less than desirable, Grace comes up with clever schemes, causing each to reject her. While staying at the mysterious Sutherland Hall, a middle-of-the-night mishap sends Grace into the arms of a stranger, Nicholas Sutherland—and provides inspiration for her grandest plan yet—one that will leave her reputation in tatters yet free both her and Helen from all possibility of marriage.

Too late Grace regrets her rash actions when her father’s last choice, Mr. Samuel Preston, proves to be a gentleman and a friend. But Samuel is the sworn enemy of Nicholas Sutherland, the man responsible for her “ruin.” Now instead of being free, Grace is caught between two men—each with his own agenda.

Review: Without a doubt, the best part of this book was the romance. I am not usually one to read what can be labeled as “clean” historical romances, but I think I may need to remedy that mistake after being pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Saving Grace.

From the opening chapter I felt invested in this story, particularly because I was so caught off guard by Grace’s desire to thwart any chance of receiving a proposal from a suitor. The way she went about being dismissed from the suitor’s home was clever; most importantly, it niggled my interest in her character. I wanted to know why she was determined not to marry. I wanted to know the stakes at risk if she did not. In time, I came to want to know more about the siblings she was determined to protect, along with their home life. When her disastrous encounter with Nicholas Sutherland occurs and leads to her plot to be thoroughly ruined by scandalous gossip I was sold on her character. And yet, she continued to surprise me. Grace is the kind of heroine I truly enjoy to read about.

Now for the romance: there is a love triangle. But unlike the love triangles in books that usually frustrate me to no end, this one did not get too bothersome. Yes, it was an extension of perhaps more plot than this book needed in terms of conflict between characters that must be resolved, but the other party was likable and always gave the reader the feeling he knew of (and approved of) the love blossoming between hero and heroine. As for Grace and Nicholas, the evolution of their relationship happens over many months, which is a significant part of the charm of their love. I did not feel as if things were rushed, and I appreciated being able to observe the growth of respect and admiration between them. This was a romance that felt real, and the “clean” aspect of this story made the tension between them all the more delicious to behold because no bodice-ripping was going to happen.

In the end, my only disappointment with this book can be found in its ending. The conflicts were unnecessary. But even worse than that, the cheesiness of the reconciliations had me inwardly cringing. I felt as if I had come to know Grace and Nicholas very well as I read, therefore it was off-putting to encounter thoughts and dialogue that did not match what I knew of their personalities. Maybe these two are one of those couples not suited for declarations of love to be publicized…

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