From the desk of Katie Jackson:
Often in romance stories, even those with dual point of view, it is the heroine and the romance itself that typically get most of the spotlight. Indeed, it takes great authorial skill to powerfully convey the nuances of multiple complex relationships, familial and otherwise, along with the deep emotions that are inextricably intertwined in them. It is just such a skill that prolific historical romance author Sarah M. Eden demonstrates in all of her novels, including her latest—The Best Intentions—the first book in The Huntresses series in which the romance almost takes second place to the emotional struggles that both the hero and heroine are enduring. With the help of the infamous Jonquil family, of course!
Scott Sarvol, Honorary Jonquil Brother
The heir of his cruel uncle, Scott has returned in 1818 to England from America where he grew up to find his long-departed father’s childhood home in disrepair and, upon the death of his uncle, a veritable mountain of inherited debts—a shameful secret that will surely send him to debtors’ prison no matter how he strives to economize. With his uncle’s harsh predictions of his inevitable failure ever present in his mind, and the suspicion that he was most likely intentionally sabotaged by his own blood relation, Scott spends his days in despair.
“How Scott wanted to prove him wrong, to surprise people in the best way. But, then, he wanted a great many impossible things.” (193)
Gillian Phelps, Artemis Jonquil’s First Huntress
As the ward of her long-departed mother’s dear friend, Gillian has a family secret that would ruin her reputation in society, and that of all of her friends merely by association.
“Gillian summoned seven years’ worth of pretending that her heart wasn’t in a constant state of breaking, wasn’t lonely almost beyond words. Pretending that she didn’t long deeply, almost desperately for family.” (159)
Rumors swirl about her unusual situation, and although she has the formidable Huntresses to support and guide her, Gillian spends her days fearful and hopeless.
“‘Retreat is as legitimate and brave a response as the others,’ Artemis had assured Gillian during that first Season they’d been friends. ‘Not responding to a taunt, walking away from an attack—that requires a degree of self-possession not everyone can claim.’” (753)
Scott and Gillian are two lonely people, each treated with cruelty in the past and recovering from the damage it wrought, seeking sanctuary in the understanding kindness they find in each other and in their group of friends who have become like family. They both know well the difficulties of bearing the consequences of decisions made by others. Will they have the courage to reveal their vulnerability for the possibility of the healing they might find?
“The greatest shows of courage come in moments when the right thing is not the easy thing, and we do it anyway.” (2464)
The Best Intentions is yet another beautiful addition to the interconnected Georgian and Regency worlds created by the brilliant mind of Sarah M. Eden. Her heartfelt stories of family, and friends one chooses to be their family, are endlessly entertaining, witty, and wise.
Full disclosure: there is no doubt that I’m an Edenite and have been for some years. What is an Edenite, you ask? Oh, only a group of readers who adore every lovely word written by Sarah M. Eden, of course. But allow me to say, completely without bias, that an author who can evoke laughter and tears in equal measure, and whose characters are so richly developed that one cannot help but earnestly wish they were real people, is one who deserves a fandom named after her. I warmly invite you all to join me in the world of Edenites.
The Best Characters
A truly delightful experience, as any Edenite will agree, is seeing the wonderful characters intermingle in each story, getting glimpses of them as time marches on as well as occasional backwards glances at formative events of the past.
In The Best Intentions, we are treated to a number of special scenes with many of our favorites from so many other books and series. There are even some unexpected connections with settings and characters from The Gents series appearing in this new The Huntresses series, and I marveled at the layers of family history delicately placed as a thin veil between the Georgian and Regency stories. Even the settings themselves become almost living, breathing characters.
In particular, I enjoyed the appearance of Julia Jonquil, our dear Mater, the beloved matriarch of those pesky Jonquil brothers and their families and of friends who have been adopted as family, such as Scott Sarvol and Gillian Phelps. Julia is a grandmother now, although we are simultaneously seeing her in her youth in the Georgian The Gents series, which is equally delightful.
“‘Have your boys abandoned you?’ he asked, already knowing the answer. The Jonquil brothers would never under any circumstances neglect their mother. To even suggest as much to any of them would likely result in a broken nose. Mater, however, would know Scott was teasing.
‘I remained behind, hoping to have a moment with you.’
That pleased him more than she knew.” (201)
I must say unequivocally that Mater is an unparalleled treasure, and if there ever comes a book where she departs this world, I shall weep for days. That is what it means to be an Edenite. Join me, friends! I envy you that you have so many lovely books awaiting your reading pleasure.
Historical romance readers will adore the sweet and heartwarming tale of two lonely souls seeking sanctuary in The Best Intentions.
5 out of 5 Stars
- The Best Intensions: The Huntresses (Book 1), by Sarah M. Eden
- Covenant Communications (November 22, 2022)
- Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook (264) pages
- ISBN: 978-1524422288
- Genre: Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction
We received a review copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Cover image courtesy of Covenant Communications © 2022; text Katie Jackson © 2022, austenprose.com, an Amazon affiliate.