Monday, September 9, 2019

The Noble Guardian by Michelle Griep #BookReview

Book Description

Life couldn’t be better for Abigail Gilbert—but it’s been a long time in coming. Having lived with a family who hated her, it’s finally her time for love. Abby sets off on a journey across England to marry one of the most prestigious gentlemen in the land—until highwaymen upset her plans and threaten her life.
 Horse patrol captain Samuel Thatcher arrives just in time to save Abby. But she’s simply another victim in a job he’s come to despise. Tired of the dark side of humanity, he intends to buy land and retire.
 Abby pleads with him to escort her for the rest of her journey. He refuses—until she offers him something he desperately needs to achieve his goal. . .money. Delivering her safely will give him more than enough to buy property.
 So begins an impossible trek for the cynical lawman and the proper lady. Each will be indelibly changed by the time they reach her betrothed, if they don’t kill one another first—or fall in love.

My Thoughts

The Why:
Samuel Thatcher's character seized my curiosity when he was first introduced in this series about the "Bow Street Runners," a group of men who have been called London's first professional police force. Thatcher is a quiet one, and the quiet ones intrigue me. His story reveals much simmering beneath the surface.

The Main Characters:
Samuel and Abby are a well-matched leading lady and man. Their strengths bring the other's weaknesses to light, while they challenge one another to become stronger. Abby is a sweet, Cinderella-type character with underlying mettle. She is highly naive to the world and quite the optimist, while Samuel is jaded, world-weary from his wartime in India, and a pessimist without much hope. Baby Emma, the young ward they are charged with delivering to a relative, is simply precious. She charms the reader on every page she graces.

The Faith Element:
Both characters learn to look to God for hope when all seems lost. And the story gives them plenty of occasions to lean on this hope. The hero's unwavering faith in God is refreshing and gives his character a multifaceted depth that shows all Christians need encouragement and reminders of hope. We're all susceptible to the weight of this life, no matter how strong our faith. The heroine goes from a knowledge of God to a dependent love for God and multiple times shares the message of Christ's sacrifice, even though characters sometimes mock her beliefs.

The Romance:
I like the way these characters come to care for each other by recognizing dearly held values played out in the other's actions, whether wielding courage in the face of death, caring for the helpless, or showing generosity. Besides mutual love for baby Emma, Samuel's quiet integrity and Abby's courageous and candid ways draw them to one another. A word to sensitive readers: one kiss between the hero and heroine, when she is days from marrying another man, grows a bit fierce.

The Stakes:
Life and death stakes carry the reader all the way up until around the 3/4 mark, when the focus turns to matters of the heart. I wondered if the fiance might be revealed as the true mastermind behind the earlier villains, which would have carried the stakes even higher until the ending. At this point, the story and characters I'd loved so far grew rather stagey for me, the heroine's motives cloudy. And although the story resolution didn't fully result from the character journey-struggles, I was happy to see Samuel receive a good ending after all he'd been through.

Overall Impression:
Love the characters, the setting, description, beautiful language, and the theme of hope. This is a satisfying glimpse into the character of Samuel Thatcher, whom we meet earlier in the series. I recommend reading the series in order, though it's not necessary. This story transports the reader to a living, breathing 1700s England full of intrigue and danger and love while giving us a deeper look into the lives of men who paved the way for the modern police force.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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