Thursday, January 8, 2015

Book Review: Brentwood's Ward by Michelle Griep

Brentwood's Ward

Book Description:

Place an unpolished lawman named Nicholas Brentwood as guardian over a spoiled, pompous beauty named Emily Payne and what do you get? More trouble than Brentwood bargains for. She is determined to find a husband this season. He just wants the large fee her father will pay him to help his ailing sister. After a series of dire mishaps, both their desires are thwarted, but each discovers that no matter what, God is in charge.

Book Review:

I admit to being a cover snob, and if the cover doesn't really appeal to me, like Brentwood's Ward I really need something else to catch my attention. I picked this up, not only because I'm a sucker for a good romance novel, but because of Brentwood's profession. I had read previous book about “ Bow Street runners” and wanted to know more about them. Not only did I find out that “runners” was considered a derogatory but the history behind it all was fascinating to me.
I really enjoyed the different points-of-view. I like knowing what “he thought” and what “she thinks”, but while the writing was well done, the story didn't keep me as riveted as I'd hoped. This was a book that, at the beginning especially, I could put it down and do other things without thinking about it again. There weren't any major grammatical errors or really any lengthy descriptions that took away from the story. The dialogue was fun to be a part of and it was nice that it flowed and didn't break up the story at all.
My biggest issue was probably with the heroine Emily. I just didn't like her. She starts out spoiled and stubborn, and while she does change a little by the end of the book I had a really hard time seeing what Brentwood saw in her, even after we are told exactly what he sees in her. I just couldn't get it out of my head that he liked her because she was pretty. I did appreciate the pacing and the timing of the romance, however. It was very believable and not a quick, “where did that come from?” romance. However, the kiss that they shared wasn't as enjoyable for me to read about because of it's location. I just kept thinking, “You're kissing passionately in the middle of the street...that isn't all.”
Brentwood was a pretty good male lead. He has a strong faith, he is compassionate, he looks after his sister and cares deeply for her, he is good at what he does, and he's attractive. What's not to like? I did sometimes wonder about the questions that he didn't ask though. It seems like if he were going to be a really great detective he would be asking more important questions instead of just taking everything in it's stride.
There did seem to be a fair number of colleagues that Brentwood worked with, and a few servants at Emily's home, but since they weren't a major part of the story I admit I didn't try very hard to keep everyone straight. I did enjoyed the housekeeper and her crusty outer personality with a soft squishy heart inside.
While Brentwood is a man of strong faith, and Emily discovers hers throughout the novel, I didn't feel like the book was preachy or overwhelming. For the most part it flowed well, and wasn't stuck in there so it could be considered in the Christian genre.
By nature of the story there are some “seedier” aspects that are described. However, I thought the author did a great job of covering some unpleasant things in a way that got the point across, without dwelling on it and making it the center of the story. It would appeal to conservative readers, and is something that I wouldn't mind a teenager reading if they picked it up.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed learning more about Bow Street Runners and the time period this story took place. I did, however, find the pace of the story to be a little on the slower side. Especially in the begging of the novel. Nothing really sticks out in this novel that makes you want to think about it long after it's read. While I will try more books from this author because the writing was sound, I can't really see myself picking this book up again to read it over and over.

Brentwood's Ward 

Title: Brentwood's Ward
Author: Michelle Griep
ISBN: 163058679
Publisher: Shilo Run Press
Published: January 2015
Source: I received an eCopy from Netgalley in exchange for a review.