Monday, August 24, 2020

Vying for the Viscount by Kristi Ann Hunter - a Bethany House book review

book reviews, Kristi Ann Hunter, Bethany House Publishers

How do you handle it when everything changes in your life and you feel adrift? Miss Bianca Snowley is about to find out. Her step-mother decides that as the oldest daughter she needs to hurry up and get married so Mrs. Snowley's preferred younger daughter can become the center of attention and make a good marriage match. If that was not disturbing enough to Bianca's normally peaceful life, there is a new Viscount next door, and her access to his horses she loves to ride may be in jeopardy.

Hudson has endured a grueling six month sea voyage from India to England, yet once he arrives he finds out that assimilating into English society is exceedingly more complicated than he expected. As the new Lord Stildon Hudson now owns a vast home and grounds, and a well-known racing stable. Can he learn the nuances of moving within society and balance breeding, and racing, his horses while still looking for a wife? After all, would not a wife with good connections be an asset he needs? The life Hudson finds himself in is so different from the one he was raised in that he struggles at every turn.

Vying for the Viscount is Kristi Ann Hunter's newest Regency era romance from Bethany House Publishers. Hunter does a masterful job of weaving the history of Regency England into a charming and challenging story of life, friendship, and chances at true love. Fans of Jane Austin will find a wonderful tale filled with characters to adore and despise. 

Lord Stildon and Miss Snowley decide to work together to help each other find spouses. They start as neighbors and end up as friends. The problems arise when Bianca starts to realize she is comparing each of her possible suitors to Hudson. How can she keep her word to help him court Lady Rebecca while secretly pining for his attention herself? 

Hudson is struggling as well. His stable manager Aaron Whitworth becomes Hudson's only other friend besides Bianca. Aaron admits he is an illegitimate son and therefore no help in matters of navigating the society circles. How can courting Lady Rebecca be so difficult? Hudson starts to doubt his own plans for his future when an acquaintance of Aaron's invites Hudson and Aaron over for a game of cricket and dinner. 

I enjoyed this story immensely. The characters might be set in Regency England, but they deal with problems that people have had since the beginning of time. How do you know who to trust? Is it better to have a wide swath of acquaintances or a few close friends? Is marriage a business deal, or a love match? Can financial security make up for a broken heart, and who would ever choose a broken heart?

Miss Snowley learns a lot about herself, and comes to realize it was not her step-mother's decision that set her adrift, but rather that she had been adrift for a while, and the command to marry soon simply pointed that out to her. Bianca learns how to invest time in friendships, to choose to offer compassion, and how help can come at just the right time from the most unlikely places.

Step away from the challenges of today and get lost in a wonderful story of friendship, choices, consequences and love in the English countryside.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are mine. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

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