As a young child bound for a strange country, Sarah Whitaker dreamed of life with her father on his sprawling Australian ranch. But her hopes were shattered when she learned of his death and of her new role as heiress of the largest sheep farm in New Wales. Orphaned in a land greatly populated by petty criminals exiled from England, the future seemed grim. But now, ten years later, Sarah has defied the odds and become a successful businesswoman much to the chagrin of her male counterparts. Hardened by the dishonesty of both her fellow ranchers and the felons in her employ, Sarah has learned one important truth: no one is to be trusted.
Daniel Burton is a lucky man. Sentenced to death for his role in a horse-race scandal, Daniel was granted reprieve thanks to the influence of his wealthy relatives. Now, rather than death, Daniel faces exile in Australia an opportunity to put past mistakes behind him. But when he purchases land with the intention of farming it, he unwittingly arouses the wrath of his new neighbor, Sarah. What begins as a battle of wits, however, soon becomes a warm friendship and perhaps something more. But when Daniel's secret past is revealed, will Sarah be able forgive yet another deception?
I'm a big fan of Jennifer Moore's books, and was very excited for the chance to review Miss Whitaker Opens Her Heart. As per usual, I just dove in without re-reading the description I'd initially read a month or so before. Everything is a surprise that way. :) I was immediately drawn to Sarah. I loved how the sailors were so kind to her, and let her "help" them on the long journey to Australia. I was heartbroken for her upon her arrival and wondered what would become of her. When we jumped forward in time I enjoyed how she didn't fit the mold (a character trait that intrigued Daniel as well).
Daniel was perhaps not as easy to love when we first met him, but being depressed and remorseful fit his circumstances before he arrived in Australia. As the story went on Daniel definitely grew on me. He was greatly blessed compared to others who had committed crimes, and I appreciated that he was very mindful of that. His experiences seemed to help him see the good in those around him, and he was able to make a difference.
I don't recall reading any other books about criminals being sent to Australia, and how they lived there. It was very eye opening! The characters and setting pulled me in and kept me entertained throughout.
This was a very enjoyable story that I'd read again and would recommend.
I loved that this book was set in Australia. One of my bucket list items is to go there someday. I found it interesting to read about the time when Australia was a penal colony, and the attitudes of the free people against the convicts and ex-cons. (Which I guess is pretty similar to some people's attitudes today, come to think of it.) I can totally understand Sarah's lack of trust for people since she had been burned so many times. It can't have been easy to be a woman running a business in that day and age. I'm sure there were plenty of people who either thought she'd be an easy mark, and did their best to take advantage of her. We didn't get to know a lot about Daniel's background, only that he had lived a wild life for a while and was truly sorry for his actions. It was interesting to read about the dynamic between Sarah and Daniel, especially knowing Sarah's opinion on ex-cons. The book seemed to end pretty abruptly. I do wish that there had been more to the conclusion than there was.
I was so excited when I got this book in the mail. I wanted to get started right away, but figured it would be better to wait until my trip so I had uninterrupted time to dive right in. I love that Moore writes in places that are generally not written about. You hear about convicts being sent to Australia, but you never read about them. Now you get to! And you won't be disappointed.
With her descriptive writing you get lost in the story right away. Everything from Sarah's loss, to Daniel's poor choices and where that leaves him. And oh the angst you feel for him when he is trying to tell her about his past. Gah! Just tell her already!
I loved this quote from the book, "One thing I've learned, my friend, is every person you meet has different needs, and when we wish to be a valuable part of the person's life, we must learn them....Caring for a person in the way they require, even when it's not how we'd wish to."
My one issue with the book was that it was all resolved just a little too quickly. You have most of the book leading up to the conflict, and with most of the book finished it just seems to fix itself rather quickly. While it would be nice if forgiveness was that fast and straight forward, it wasn't super realistic in my mind. Granted, it isn't going to stop me from rereading it, or recommending it to my friends. I'm happy to have this on my self to enjoy again and again.
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Title: Miss Whitaker Opens Her Heart
Author: Jennifer Moore
Published: April 2017
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.