Author: Michele Paige Holmes
Provided Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Helen Thatcher grew up under the protection of her older siblings, Grace and Christopher. Living in their shadows and keeping to herself suited Helen just fine—until she met widower Samuel Preston. Watching Mr. Preston care for his young daughter and seeing his concern extend to her own family, Helen felt her reserve slipping away, as she learned first to trust him and then realized she had fallen in love with him. But instead of returning—or even noticing her affection—Mr. Preston developed his own tender, and unrequited feelings, for Grace.
In the midst of each silently nursing their broken hearts, Helen and Samuel are faced with a daunting task—reuniting Grace with her fiancé, Nicholas Sutherland. Now it is Helen who must look out for her sister and sacrifice her own fragile heart, as she and Samuel pretend to be engaged. Helen finds the role surprisingly easy to play, allowing herself to imagine that Samuel’s loving remarks are sincere. As the time for their charade to end draws near Helen must summon her courage and tell Samuel the truth of her feelings, or risk losing him forever.
Review: In this companion novel to Saving Grace, the reader now follows Grace Thatcher’s younger sister, Helen, as she falls in love with Samuel Preston. Due to the events of this book happening at the same time as those in Grace’s book, I could not, unfortunately, help but feel under whelmed by this installment. Helen is a likable character, yet there is not much to her beyond her kindness. Some readers will certainly be endeared to her, but I am the type to like my heroines to be a bit more adventurous. I could read along while this story unfolded, but I in no way felt attached to the characters or the romance between them. To be honest, I liked Samuel Preston much more as he appeared in Grace’s book because I found there to be more chemistry.
In addition, this book also has a conflict that did not develop as I had hoped it would. Said conflict could have added some adventure or danger to Helen’s tale if something more had come about. As it stood, it simply served as an unnecessary plot device to push the characters together, and to create pointless and briefly experienced angst. The conclusion of the story could just as easily have reached the same point, so why bother to include it at all?
If you are the type of reader who likes clean romances with a kind and gentle character then this will be the book for you. Helen makes a good fit for the family she has become a part of, and it was nice to see her begin to experience moments of life rather than be so timid. However, if you prefer a heroine who is bold while her hero is rough around the edges, then I would recommend sticking with Grace’s story only.
(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.)