Dawn in my Heart, by Ruth Axtell Morren

 

Rating: ****– 4 Stars

GENRE: Regency Christian Romance

BOOK SUMMARY:  Called home to Regency London after his brother’s death, Tertius Pembroke, Earl of Skylar, must marry quickly and produce an heir. Lady Gillian Edwards seems the ideal bride: young, beautiful and innocent. But Sky is no ideal husband, having returned from the Indies gaunt, ill and plagued by a darkness that he dare not reveal — even to his betrothed.

Lady Gillian had promised Sky her hand in marriage but cannot give him her heart — not when she gave it to another man three years ago. Afraid of repudiation, Gillian buries her secret so deep inside herself, no one will ever know — or so she hopes.

Through lies and deceit, their marriage slowly unravels. Then Sky becomes deathly ill, and his newfound faith offers two virtual strangers a second chance at becoming husband and wife.

REVIEWER COMMENTS: This is one of those books that I could not put down. First, there is the writing style: as an avid fan of regency literature of the likings of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, the dialogues, characters, and storyline of this book transported me into the atmosphere that is captured by the British literature of that era. Second, the characters were both likable and complex. Tertius (or Sky) and Gillian are the perfect match on one end, both belonging to the ton and to very prestigious families who have conveniently arranged their engagement, but different in age, personality, and lifestyles. And yet, it works. Since the first pages of the book, their relationship is paced so exemplary, sparking the reader’s curiosity on what’s coming next. Lastly, this is very much not your classic Christian fiction novel. There is a remarkable difference in tone and direction of the story between the first and the second half of the book. The first half lacks any spiritual tone, and many traditional readers may find some of the content offensive or over their comfort zone. And then, things start changing after Tertius’ conversion, and there is such an extreme overturn that it is like reading a completely different book, with a definite Christian undertone. While a total believer of the changing power of the Holy Spirit, a more transitional pace would have been more fitting, making the story more connected and  believable. Throughout the book, however, the tension and emotions continue to be strong, and the complicated relationship between our couple ultimately becomes a powerful, passionate, and yet godly romance. This new Tertius is everything a woman would want a godly man to be, and Jillian, well, is ultimately smitten, as we would all be.

SEXUAL CONTENT and ADULT LANGUAGE: A few passionate kisses and other thematic elements. While the second half of the book is definitely Christian based, the book throughout explores themes of unfaithfulness within the marriage of the main characters, as well as other characters. No detailed description is provided, but this is definitely, in my opinion, a book for an adult audience.

*Conclusion: A compelling romance novel that transforms into a story of healing and redemption. Highly recommended!

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