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Book Review of Hearts of Briarwall by Krista Jensen
I have always loved reading books from the Victorian era. The balls and fancy dresses always draw me in. I have read many proper romances set in the Victorian era, and I have loved them. This book, though, is different! Hearts of Briarwall, by Krista Jensen, is set in the Edwardian era. It’s so fun! There may still be a few horses and carriages rolling around, but now you add in automobiles! Times are a little different than the Victorian era, and it’s a fun change of pace.
Lydia Wooding is fascinated by the latest inventions the new century brings, including motorcars. She longs for the independence they represent and believes that women should have a say in the future of the industry—just as they should have a say in suffrage, adventure, and, of course, love.
Spencer Hayes is a man of practicality and innovation, but he lacks the financial backing to make his dream a reality. When he contacts his childhood friend, Andrew Wooding, about a promising business venture, he is invited to Briarwall Manor to discuss the terms. Once there, he is surprised to find that Andrew’s once shy, younger sister, Lydia, has grown into a young woman of beauty, wit, and a bit of fire. Even better, the two share a passion for motorcars.
Andrew, however, is wary of cars, having lost his parents in a tragic auto accident when he and Lydia were young. And he’s not sure a relationship between his sister and Spencer is the best idea—not when Sir Lawrence is available and could match both Lydia’s social status and her fortune.
Torn between risking their hearts and being loyal to their dreams in an era of whirlwind change, Spencer and Lydia anchor themselves with the determination they both share: to live life to its fullest.
My Book Review:
What a fun book! I thoroughly enjoyed it! When I first began reading, I wasn’t quite sure what the Edwardian era was. Therefore, I didn’t know what to expect. It didn’t take long for me to get sucked into such a fun and interesting time period. Women’s rights stood at the forefront of the political arena and minds were beginning to change regarding women owning businesses, land, and investments. Not only that, but automobiles–or motorcars–sped onto the scene, opening lots of possibilities for jobs and travel.
The characters make this book. Lydia is a spitfire! If you want a strong female character who knows what she wants and will do almost anything to get it, Lydia is your gal! I love her character! She has her moments of doubt and sadness, but that’s normal, right? Lydia shows that women can have different interests and still be very much women.
Spencer just seems like such a great guy. Just a good guy. He isn’t perfect. His family name has a few stains on it, but he’s working hard to overcome that and succeed on his own merits. Does he make mistakes? Yes, but he learns some valuable lessons and tries to make things right. Spencer is the kind of guy you hope your daughter will find someday.
I love the relationship between Spencer and Lydia. It’s fun, spontaneous, authentic, and sweet. Andrew, Lydia’s brother, comes across as a big jerk. Yep, I said it. When you delve a little deeper you see that he has reasons for his actions and opinions, but he’s quite prickly and doesn’t let many people in to see his true feelings.
This is a fun story. It has great fashion and is such a fun dive into life in the Edwardian era. This book is well written with great dialogue and descriptions. It shows how important relationships are in your life, and it also shows the importance of good communication. I think it teaches the reader and the characters the need to live life to the fullest and to work hard to achieve your dreams.
Hearts of Briarwall is a great addition to Shadow Mountain’s proper romance lineup! If you have loved the previous books, you will enjoy this one!
Content Rating: PG+ (It’s clean except for some kissing.)
Age Recommendation: YA and up
My Rating: 4/5
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.