The Vicar’s Daughter by Josi S. Kilpack
Cassie Wilton is the youngest of six daughters, twenty years old, and desperate to make her debut into society. Unfortunately, her father (the Vicar, obviously) only permits one of his daughters to be “out” at a time. The system has worked well until Lenora, the second-youngest daughter, who suffers from paralyzing shyness and social anxiety. With the arrival of Evan Glenside, former London clerk now raised to the status of heir to a considerable country estate, Cassie sees a way to help her sister and herself. Cassie decides to begin writing letters to Mr. Glenside, posing as Lenora, in order to strike up a romance between the two introverts. Unfortunately for Cassie, it is not long before the correspondence sparks strong feelings within herself. Cassie must choose between following her heart and being a good sister.
Well, I’m not usually a romance person, but the historical setting, and the flavors of Taming of the Shrew and Cyrano de Bergerac proved too tempting to ignore. I enjoyed the book up to a point; the characters are well written, the plot nicely paced, and the setting does well with historical accuracy. However, the overall tone of the book is a tad preachy, and I feel like the author does a bit of moralizing on the headstrong nature of Cassie Wilton.
It wasn’t until after I finished the book that I realized I had read another book by the author, A Heart Revealed, and that I’d had similar reservations about that book as well (the review was pre-blog, but you can see my Goodreads review here).
In addition, as the Vicar’s Daughter went on, it became very hard to cheer for anyone. Do I root for the shy, kind, overlooked Lenora to get the man? Or should well-meaning protagonist Cassie come out on top? Should no one get the guy? With a romance novel like this, a happy ending is virtually assured, but it was hard to decide exactly what that happy ending should be.
In all, I feel like my hang-ups about the book boil down to it simply being not the best fit for me. As I said above, the book is well-written, with great dialogue and nicely-researched historical details. A lover of historical romance (or romances in general) will probably enjoy this book. It just wasn’t for me.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.