Reviewed by Carol Kurtz
Before the Season Ends
by Linore Rose Burkard
"Burkard’s writing is smooth, seamlessly holding our interest... a Pride and Prejudice meets Anne of Green Gables experience."
Every year in Regency England there is a season among the privileged when the social calendar is full of parties and events, where young ladies wear their finest and hope to become betrothed by season’s end. Ariana Forsythe never expected to be part of that high society scene. She has already accepted her fate to serve the Lord married to a rector with whom she is not in love in a small town far away for London. But God has other plans, and she is whisked away from her May/December betrothal by her God-fearing parents. She is sent to her wealthy aunt’s home in London where she will be made over and presented to society, becoming a delightful project for her lonely aunt.
Ariana’s story is not overwhelmed by historic facts in this Regency romance, but rather enriched by them. The lovely fabrics, dresses, and hats - the carriages, horses, and servants, all create a Pride and Prejudice meets Anne of Green Gables experience, with the awkward predicaments Ariana falls into while getting used to high society’s ways.
She tries to see the Lord’s purpose in her venture, and her eyes are opened to not only the extreme wealth of London, but also the extreme poverty on the very same streets. While most of the ladies around her are vying for the richest eligible young men, Ariana wants nothing more than a husband who will serve God wholeheartedly by her side. As a result, she cannot cooperate with her aunt’s designs for her.
To have a true Christian plot thread woven inexorably into a regency plot, rather than being tacked on as an afterthought or obligation, is truly a treat. In fact the story is only more compelling, with the backbone of the plot the dilemma she faces - love for God vs love for the world’s riches, and the importance of being equally yoked. Can Ariana see God’s will for her when she is blinded by love for the stormy Mr. Mornay? And how will she react to the secret of his past, be it rumored or real?
Burkard’s writing is smooth, seamlessly holding our interest. Her Victorian style with some subtle tongue-in-cheek humor is a perfect fit for the time period. If the end was somewhat anti-climatic, the first half of the book was nothing less than a page turner.
Before the Season Ends is a gripping love story between a man and a woman as well as between man and God. Replete with romance and intrigue, the message is clear that God’s love conquers all. And the good news is that it looks like the sequel (The House in Grosvenor Square, April 1, 2009) will pick up where this one leaves off.
Carol Kurtz Darlington is a certified personal trainer and a certified group fitness instructor who works with people who want to lose weight as well as those who just want to enjoy better health. She enjoys empowering and encouraging others to reach their health and fitness goals, feel better about themselves in the process, and enjoy more energy to stay active in all areas of their lives. She is the founder of Totally Fit With Carol, a Christian weight loss website featuring workout videos, health tips, exercise advice, and more. She loves her morning cappuccino and her beloved grand-dog. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and haunting Starbucks.