My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Lydia King knows what it's like to be in need, so when she joins the Teaville Moral Society, she genuinely hopes to help the town's poor. But with her father's debts increasing by the day and her mother growing sicker by the week, she wonders how long it will be until she ends up in the poor house herself. Her best chance at a financially secure future is to impress the politician courting her, and it certainly doesn't hurt that the moral society's president is her suitor's mother. Her first task as a moral society member—to obtain a donation from Nicholas Lowe, the wealthiest man in town—should be easy . . . except he flat-out refuses.
Despite appearances, Nicholas wants to help others but prefers to do it his own way, keeping his charity private. When Lydia proves persistent, they agree to a bargain, though Nicholas has a few surprises up his sleeve. Neither foresee the harrowing complications that will arise from working together. When town secrets are brought to light, this unlikely pair must decide where their beliefs—and hearts—truly align.
Lydia King is practical and somewhat naive but she's also determined and courageous and has a tender heart. While her practical side persuades her that, in order to not end up on the streets or in the poorhouse, she needs to marry the politician courting her, her tender heart is drawn to the needs of the people in the seedy side of town that Nicholas opens her eyes to. I really enjoyed her character and the way that she matured and changed throughout the book.
Nicholas is a good man with the heart to help the people that the rest of the town turn their backs on. But he has his reasons for doing it in secret which leads to misunderstandings. He frustrated me for the longest with his stubbornness in not giving Lydia the money for the sewing machines. I mean really! What could be wrong about sewing for the poor?! Of course he has his reasons and his explanation about the difference in the warm wool blankets they could buy with that money vs the non-practical blankets the ladies would sew made sense. But I also agreed with Lydia's point that even the poor could appreciate something pretty in their life.
When the two join forces, the unforeseen complications that arise and the town secrets that are brought to light give this story an intrigue that will keep you turning pages. Will Lydia give in the politician and the promise of a financially secure future or will she listen to her heart and take a chance on love? And will Nicholas put aside the hurts of the past and let his heart love again?
*Thanks to NetGalley & Bethany House for a complimentary copy of this book. I was not paid or required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*
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Carol Award winning writer, Melissa Jagears, is a homeschooling mom who writes Christian Historical Romance into the wee hours of the night. She’s the author of the Unexpected Brides Series with Bethany House. The prequel ebook novella, Love by the Letter, is her ACFW Carol Award winning novella and free to try. You can learn more about her, her books, and where she hangs out online at www.melissajagears.com.