Celia Compton is thrilled to be back in Hyacinth where she lived until she was eight. A year of courting to meet her prince sounds lovely, especially when combined with loving discipline. Unfortunately, sometimes reality doesn’t quite meet up with fantasy. The man she wants, Marcus Hotham, seems inclined not to court and yet the more she sees him, the more the rest of the guys just don’t measure up.
As Celia learns more about Hyacinth life and gains friendships for the first time in over a decade, it becomes more like home. When Marcus finally asks to court her, his four-year-old daughter Vanna in tow, she’s thrilled. Everything is perfect, until her mother, who hates discipline and Hyacinth, comes to town and finds out about Marcus. Now, with the possibility of being ripped from the arms of the man she loves, Celia finds herself floundering with how to explain things. When decisions are made and everything comes to light, she just might find that sometimes reality is so much better than fantasy
I really enjoyed this book because of how different it was, and it did answer a few questions that I had about what courting would be like if the other person had children. Well, I’ll start off by saying that I loved that part of the story! I thought it was great how Ms. Cariad was extremely careful about adding Vanna into the mix, and how important of a role that she played in the whole thing. But I did also like how she made sure to mention that Celia and Marcus were able to have time to just themselves.
I also loved Celia’s grandmother. She was just a trip and it was so much fun getting her insight into everything. (I swear even now I wonder how the woman could sit down with how much trouble she got into!)
Now, even though I did love certain parts of the story, the reason why I was only able to rate it at 4 stars is because, to be quite honest, Marcus came out of nowhere. While yes, it was obvious that Celia was interested in him, there was no hint at all that he felt the same way as her. So it was quite a big shock when he showed up.
But overall, I did still enjoy the story and I can’t wait for the next in the series!
“Can I have an ice cream, Daddy?”
The voice drew her attention across the street where Vanna Hotham was looking up at her father. As the girl was facing away from her, she couldn’t see her face, but Celie would have been willing to bet money the girl had on the look all girls reserved for their fathers. She had been told by her mother she used to do the same with her own father and he would melt each time.
“Not right now,” he said kindly. “We’re on our way to lunch. After lunch, if you’re still hungry, we’ll get some ice cream.” The little girl nodded and slipped her hand into his. Marcus happened to look up and catch her gaze, his eyes softly crinkling in a smile. “Well, hello, Miss Compton.”
“Celie,” she corrected, smiling back.
“So far, so good,” she answered wryly making him chuckle. “I had best let you two get to lunch. I’m on my way to my grandparents’ house.”
“Have a great rest of the day, Celie. Vanna, can you say hello?” he asked, looking down at his daughter. She moved slightly behind her father’s leg and peeked out, waving. Celia smiled. The girl looked like a cherub.
“It’s good to see you again, Vanna,” she said and the girl disappeared behind her dad.
He sent her an apologetic smile. “She’s shy around people she doesn’t know.”
“That’s okay. I used to be the same way.”
“Daddy, I’m hungry.” Celie had no doubt it was supposed to be a whisper, but as it travelled across the street, it didn’t come out that way.
“We’ll go in a second, pumpkin,” he assured her.
“You’d better go. Don’t want a little girl with a growling tummy.”
The smile he sent her made something flutter again in her stomach, but before she could figure out what it was, he nodded. “You are correct. No growling tummies. Would you like to join us?”
Startled, she almost said yes. Until she remembered her Nana’s warning about how a girl in Hyacinth was supposed to act. Going to lunch with a widower was probably against all sorts of rules. “Thanks for the offer, but I’m still filled with coffee.”
A sardonic smile crossed his face quickly before leaving and she had the feeling he knew why she had said no. Feeling the heat enter her cheeks, she was once again glad her skin tone rarely showed it. “All right, Vanna. Shall we go eat?”
“And what do you want?”
The girl’s shout made Celia laugh and he winked at her before lifting Vanna onto his arms and walked down the street.
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.