Friday, February 21, 2020

The Brightest of Dreams by Susan Anne Mason


The Brightest of Dreams by Susan Anne Mason

Let’s begin with the summary:

Quinten Aspinall is determined to fulfill a promise he made to his deceased father to keep his family together. To do so, he must travel to Canada to find his younger siblings, who were sent there as indentured workers while Quinn was away at war. He is also solicited by his employer to look for the man's niece who ran off with a Canadian soldier. If Quinn can bring Julia back, he will receive his own tenant farm, enabling him to provide a home for his ailing mother and siblings.

Julia Holloway's decision to come to Toronto has been met with disaster. When her uncle's employee rescues her from a bad situation, she fears she can never repay Quinn's kindness. So when he asks her to help find his sister, she agrees. Soon after, however, Julia receives some devastating news that changes everything.

Torn between reuniting his family and protecting Julia, will Quinn have to sacrifice his chance at happiness to finally keep his promise?

And now, my review:

Readers get to experience an adventure with our hero. His primary mission is recovering his siblings, but since he was also hired to find and bring home his employer’s niece, a beautiful, single adult near his own age, his mission is complicated.

I liked this author’s fresh, engaging prose and how she provided many allies. So often main characters don’t have enough allies to support them. The story’s pacing kept me reading, and we didn't lack for conflict in this layered story.

Though the hero was on a noble quest, he often came across as juvenile, extremely whiny, and self-absorbed. We never saw him outgrow this. His selfishness contrasted sharply with the heroine’s maturity. She’s used to serving others, not putting herself first. What surprised me was that she couldn’t see his immaturity. That didn’t seem quite believable.

As with many historicals, I did find a few instances of melodrama. Unfortunately, readers are left out when this happens. I also found a couple of instances of modern language in this historical, but I was reading the ARC, so that may have been changed in the final version. The writing in the final third of the story wasn't quite as strong as earlier. That's where the melodrama came in. And I found multiple uses of phrases involving "heated cheeks," which felt repetitive. Again, it's possible that was toned down to one or two in the final version.

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