Separated by an inconceivable tragedy, can faith and love reunite childhood friends and light the way to a bright future?
In a quiet corner of northern Edwardian England, Margaret Lounsbury diligently works in her grandmother’s millinery shop, making hats and caring for her young sister. Several years earlier, a terrible event reshaped their family, shattering an idyllic life and their future prospects. Maggie is resilient and will do what she must to protect her sister Violet. Still, the loss of her parents weighs heavily on her heart because she wonders if what happened that day on the lake…might not have been an accident.
When wealthy inventor and industrialist William Harcourt dies, his son and Maggie’s estranged childhood friend, Nathaniel returns from his time in the Royal Navy and inherits his father’s vast estate, Morningside Manor. He also assumes partial control of his father’s engineering company and the duty of repaying an old debt to the Lounsbury family. But years of separation between Nate and Maggie have taken a toll and Maggie struggles to trust her old friend.
Can Maggie let go of the resentment that keeps her from forgiving Nate—and reconciling with God? Will the search for the truth about her parents’ death draw the two friends closer or leave them both with broken hearts?
I wasn’t sure if this was the start of a new series by Carrie Turansky (after reading, it doesn’t appear to be), but I enjoyed her Edwardian Brides novels. I’m looking forward to reading this book, which is set in the same era.
Carrie Turansky’s new Edwardian romance starts on an idyllic day for a family picnic. But this prologue ends tragically when only the two youngest members of the family survive the outing. The first chapter then sees Maggie making hats for fussy customers who want the latest London fashions even if they’re not exactly stylish. It’s a way to make a living but all that comes crashing down one night, leaving the siblings at the mercy of the new Lord of the Manor.
Shine Like the Dawn has characters to love and characters that’ll frustrate. Maggie’s grandmother has an easy going spirit, putting her trust in God and His faithfulness. She lets things go that many would not. Over one particular incident, she tells her granddaughter, “I’m simply choosing NOT to be offended.” It’s a wise decision, one I think all of us could learn from. In sharp contrast, Nate’s stepmother refuses to relinquish her position at the manor after her husband’s death. She’s class conscious and isn’t happy with Nate’s friendship with people of a lower social status. She does, however, have a few secrets of her own. Other standout characters include Nate’s younger sister, the maid (a friend of Maggie’s) and, of course, the precocious Violet.
I have just one minor gripe. It felt weird to see the city of Newcastle consistently called by its formal name of Newcastle upon Tyne. As someone with family in that area, I’ve never heard it called that in casual conversation. Perhaps, however, that’s how it was said back in 1903 and I have nothing to show that it wasn’t.
As for the plot, some unexpected twists are revealed throughout the course of the book. Maggie and Nate have their individual theories on what happened that fateful day four years earlier, and neither is willing to accept the other’s idea. A lack of trust caused by misunderstanding gradually melts away through a combination of stubbornness and action, as well as a willingness to cross that social divide. At the end, as any reader should expect, all that’s left is love.
Thank you to Multnomah for my complimentary Uncorrected Proof of Shine Like the Dawn, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Have you read Shine Like the Dawn? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Multnomah (a division of Penguin Random House)
Publication Date: 21 February 2017
Page Count: 352