14 December 2014

Courted by Discipline by Bree Cariad

 When Kathy Bretherton moved to Hyacinth at the age of eighteen, she looked forward to living amongst people who believed in traditional values like her family did. She did not expect to become part of the Hyacinth Courting pool and the object of interest of every man looking for a wife.

Alexander Covington was the most eligible bachelor in town and he wanted her. For Kathy, who grew up in a traditional household where the man was the head of the home and her and her mother a committed homemaker, falling in love with him was relatively easy. Following his lead and accepting his discipline was the life-changing part.
Courted by Discipline was recommended to me by a fellow reviewer who knew that I am a fan of the Corbin’s Bend series. While both series are based on Domestic Discipline (DD) relationships, Corbin’s Bend is about adults who are involved in sexual relationships whereas In Hyacinth is more focused on the courting culture of the town of Hyacinth. Much like my reaction to my first Corbin’s Bend book, I’m a little off-balance after finishing Courted by Discipline.

In Hyacinth, once a girl reaches her eighteenth birthday she can enter the courting pool. Potential suitors request a “date” and join the girl and her parents for dinner, if her father approves his request. If a suitor is interested in getting to know the girl better, he asks for additional dinner dates and may then ask her father for permission to court her. If he gives his approval, the town’s council must approve the courting request. At this point the girl is then presented with a courting contract and has the final say as to whether or not the young man may court her. If she agrees, there are 12 stages to the courting which ultimately lead to marriage. While the concept of courting in Hyacinth sounds nearly medieval to me, I can understand how a young girl raised in such an environment would look forward to reaching courting age. Although Kathy was raised in a DD family, she was not raised in Hyacinth and was unaware of the courting custom when her family moved there. This is why I was just as appalled as she was when her father sprung it on her. I do not discredit the lifestyle as I am a firm believer of “to each his own.” Rather my issue was the way in which her father waited until the eleventh hour to inform her of it. Even though her father wasn’t from Hyacinth, his brother lived there and he was familiar with the practice before they moved there. His decision to withhold information that was pivotal to her life and future until he had no choice but to tell her bugged me to no end.

Aside from that, the actual courtship between Kathy and Alexander was quite sweet and I found the innocence of it refreshing and surprising considering that he is ten years her elder. While my personal knee-jerk reaction to the courting system is “no way, no how would I EVER go along with something like that,” I completely understand where a young woman raised in a DD household would not find it a fraction as disconcerting as I did. Ms. Cariad has a smooth writing style that made this an easy read, even when the subject matter irked me personally. That said, I will be reading book two in the series as I suspect that In Hyacinth will go the same way as Corbin’s Bend did for me – at first I wasn’t sure but as I read on I was anxious for the next book.
I was impressed by this book.  I was expecting it to be very trite and awkward but instead I found it riveting.  This book describes an entire community that practices very patriarchal principles.  The males rule the household and community through the use of domestic discipline and very strict codes of behavior. The domestic discipline and courting practices in Hyacinth were explained very well and it was the perfect beginning to a new series.

Alexander and Kathy are both very interesting characters and I hope that in the subsequent books they appear so we can watch their relationship continue to grow and develop.  While both Alexander and Kathy grew up with these type of principles both of them were looking for a happy medium and were able to find it in each other.

Overall this was an interesting book and I am looking forward to reading about some of the other characters.
Bree enjoys good books with great characters. While she may be an adult, her favorite memories are from her teenage years reading inspirational romance with girls just like her and strong heroes. That's one of the reasons she's written In Hyacinth, a series of Courting Romances.

Courting Romance - where contemporary romance meets traditional values.
Hyacinth, Washington is all about old-fashioned values. In Hyacinth words like trust, honor, and kindness aren't just buzzwords. Hyacinth is a community built on tradition and trust, where men are the head of the home and women are encouraged to follow their lead.
Each story in the series is of a young woman (18-20) and her struggle to figure out who she is in this little town while at the same time going through Hyacinth's old-fashioned courting system. On their way to meet, get to know, and finally marry their princes, these heroines grow in ways they and their town never expected.


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