Reviewed by Carol Kurtz
Country House Courtship
by Linore Rose Burkard
"The Country House Courtship lets us in on a life of chaperones and equipages, bonnets and redingotes, romance and obligation."
We watched Ariana come of age in her first London season, back when she charmed both her aunt and the Paragon, Mr. Mornay in the House at Grosvenor Square. Now Beatrice, Ariana's little sister, wants her own Cinderella story. She wants the same prestige, a large estate, and a doting husband like her sister has enjoyed. Ariana, however, never set out to marry into money, but happened upon it while seeking God's will for her life. Beatrice is determined to improve her place in society as she feels her sister has done, and she will never fall for any man who can't give her what she desires.
Which brings us to Mr O'Brien and Mr. Barton. We watched Mr. O'Brien unsuccessfully try for Ariana in the first book of the series. He is the curate, now a humbled and matured man since last we saw him. He is a thorn in Beatrice's side with his genuine kindness, since he cannot give her the material life to which she aspires. But Mr. Barton can. He is charming, even with his lack of interest in the things of God and family. Why is he renting the manor house in the country? His motives are not clear, but Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Mornay suspect they are less than above board.
Linore Rose Burkard's series from the early 19th century rings authentic, compared to many regency novels. Dialogue in regency novels can often be full of 21st century jargon with topics and conversations people would have today, but would never have had back then. Burkard's dialogue and tone reads exactly as you would picture the characters talking in 1818.
The historical situations are based on the culture and beliefs of the period in England - the paranoia of disease that caused workers to be prohibited from working if any family member was sick in order to protect the landlord's family. The age of bloodletting and warming a fever and the fear of not yet understanding how sickness was spread lends itself to superstition and to the mercy of the town apothecary.
When crisis strikes, and Ariana is close to death, Beatrice remembers her faith. She and her close knit family turn to God for help, led by Mr. O'Brien who is no longer Mr. Mornay's nemesis. Marrying for love, regardless of title or dowry, is illustrated beautifully by none other than Mr. Barton's lonely, troubled sister. Will Mr. Barton change his scheming ways? Or will Beatrice grow into the woman of God she was meant to be?
The Country House Courtship lets us in on a life of chaperones and equipages, bonnets and redingotes, romance and obligation. But one thing that never changes from century to century and is skillfully woven into this story, is faith in a loving God who offers salvation to all.
Darlington is a certified personal trainer and a certified group fitness
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