Sunday, August 16, 2020
VYING FOR THE VISCOUNT by Krist Ann Hunter, Reviewed by Paula and Winnie
Kristi Ann Hunter is off to a great start with her new book, Vying for the Viscount, the first story in her Hearts on the Heath series. With an interesting setting in Newmarket in Regency England and populated with endearing, delightful characters, this charming and witty story drew me in and kept me turning the pages. I adore Hunter’s sense of humor and fun that shines throughout her writing.
“You mean to tell me that all English food is that bland?” “We make up for it with saucy women who attack men in their own stables.” “I think, given the choice, I’d rather have bland food than boring company.”
Hudson (newly titled Lord Stildon and recently arrived from India) is lovable, slightly insecure, and needing to learn about his new country and station in life. Bianca Snowley is a spunky, horse-loving heroine who is willing to help him out. I thoroughly enjoyed their camaraderie and banter as they got to know each other. A sweet message of the importance of seeking God’s approval instead of man’s approval gave depth and a spiritual dimension to the story.
Cameo appearances of characters from previous Hunter stories added to my enjoyment of this tale. I’m looking forward to the rest of this series from one of my favorite authors.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy through Bethany House Publishing on behalf of the author. All opinions are my own.
Oh, how good it is to get back into the Kristi Ann Hunter world of Regency England. We even get to see a few appearances by characters from her other series.
Hudson Stildon has become a Viscount at the death of his grandfather. He knows horses but knows nothing of England since we grew up in India. When meeting his neighbor, Bianca Snowley, she mistakes him for a horse thief. When she realizes her blunder, she muses: “If the new Lord Stildon did make an appearance tonight, she needed to be ready to apologize. What was the appropriate outfit for a woman to wear when she grovels?”
Bianca has taken joy in exercising the horses on the Stildon estate but that may be short lived, since her stepmother seeks to marry her off. The motive is to set her own daughter up for an advantageous match. Bianca’s thoughts: “Her dislike was not based on the action, but the man himself. Even more reason to avoid her stepmother’s machinations. Listening to the man speak made her hope he somehow stabbed himself in the lip with his fork.” And “The desire to chuck her plate at her stepmother raged through Bianca, but contrary to what the other woman seemed to think, she was too much of a lady to follow through on the act... This time... Next time? Who was to say?” I love her inner snarky voice. Ms. Hunter injects much fun into her storytelling.
This was an enjoyable story with elements of forgiveness and what it means to truly love someone, whether that is a potential spouse or a family member. The story also showed that to be a true friend, you need to first show friendship.
I liked the way Bianca and Hudson each sought the will of God instead of societal norms of the times. One of my favorite tropes is friends to something more, and one of my favorite authors is Kristi Hunter. Her novels showcase Regency to perfection.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.* I give this a 5 Star rating. Clear but not overt Christian thread.
For Hudson, the newly titled Viscount Stildon, moving to England from India where he was born and raised was already an arduous enough endeavor. When he learns the fate of the racing empire he inherited along with his title depends upon him getting in the good graces of another stable owner, he's even more at a loss.
The stable at the neighboring estate has been Miss Bianca Snowley's refuge for years, and when a strange man appears to be stealing the horses, she jumps to their protection without a second thought. Upon learning Hudson is actually the new owner, she can't help but be intrigued by the area's newest eligible bachelor.
Any thought of romance is quickly set aside, however, when Hudson proposes they work together to secure suitable spouses for each other. As their friendship grows, Hudson and Bianca begin to reconsider what they truly want in life. But will societal expectations and the weight of their responsibilities keep them from pursuing their true desires?
Bethany House publishers, August 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy Vying for the Viscount at Amazon
Buy Vying for the Viscount at Christianbook.com
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