She let out a laugh that probably sounded a bit forced and said, “You need not protect me. If you remember correctly, it is I who protected you far too often. I tore many gowns wrestling your older brother off you. And I believe I still can claim to be Queen of the Boulder on Chester Pond. No one ever defeated me.”
His words were quiet, but distinct: “Grace Ingrid Genevieve Iverson, no one ever will. I swear it.”
(from Inspired by Grace, page 19)
Quick summary: Inspired by Grace is a Regency romance by Jeanna Ellsworth about childhood best friends whose lives have separated them for the past 10 years. Gavin Kingston is struggling to come to terms with the tragic deaths of his father and older brother, which forced him to assume the title of Duke of Huntsman, a title he despises. Grace Iverson is in London to find a husband, attempting another Season after her last was cut short by the death of her mother three years prior. A chance (and clumsy) encounter reunites the pair, and their friendship resumes as if they had not parted ways when she was just 14 and he was 16. Still, a lot has changed in the last decade; Gavin needs to learn the many meanings of grace, and Grace needs to learn to trust. But will they find a way to be together before the hurts in their pasts converge and conspire to keep them apart for good?
Why I wanted to read it: I hadn’t yet read a Regency romance that wasn’t a variation of a Jane Austen novel, and I’ve enjoyed Ellsworth’s previous Austen-inspired novels (check out my reviews for Mr. Darcy’s Promise, Pride and Persistence, and To Refine Like Silver).
What I liked: Ellsworth always manages to inject some humor into her novels, and I laughed out loud several times while reading Inspired by Grace. I especially loved the banter between Grace and Gavin’s friend, Mr. Silence. Grace and Gavin are wonderfully flawed, and I couldn’t help but compare Grace to Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. The romance is sweet and passionate but clean, and the Christian elements are obvious but never heavy-handed. Moreover, there is plenty of tension and excitement when a face from Grace’s past appears and upends her newfound happiness.
What I disliked: Nothing! The novel was simply a pleasure to read.
Final thoughts: Ellsworth has a knack for creating likeable, well-developed characters, and I was sad when it was time to say goodbye to Gavin and Grace. The many meanings of grace are woven skillfully and seamlessly into the novel, and readers of any faith may find it a useful lesson in their own lives. Inspired by Grace is a charming novel about love built on friendship, how true friends bring out the best in each other, and how happiness requires learning to trust.
Disclosure: I received Inspired by Grace from the author for review.
© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.