Disclaimer: An Elegant Façade, by Kristi Ann Hunter, was provided by Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.
Lady Georgina Hawthorne has always known she must marry well. After years of tirelessly planning every detail of her debut season, she is posed to be a smashing success and have her choice of eligible gentlemen. With money and powerful business connections but no title, Colin McCrae is invited everywhere by accepted nowhere. He intends to marry someday, but when he does it will not be to a shallow woman like Lay Georgina, whose only concerns appear to be status and appearance. But beneath her flawless exterior, Georgina’s social aspirations stem from a shameful secret she is desperately trying to keep hidden—and that Colin is too close to discovering. Drawn to each other despite their mutual intent to avoid association, is the realization of their dreams worth the sacrifices they’ll be forced to make?
My rating: 4/5
When I first started reading An Elegant Façade, I thought that I would probably enjoy it but that overall it would be another generic (and maybe even clichéd) historical romance. Then, Kristi Ann Hunter introduced an issue that I’ve never seen a Regency novel do (and very few contemporary novels, for that matter): dyslexia.
Dyslexia is difficult enough today, but Hunter captures perfectly how devastating it would be to have it in the Regency period, when a woman’s worth was determined by 1.) her dowry and 2.) her ability to run a household. Georgina is carefully and elegantly written, and every aspect of her character made sense to me, right down to her frustration and her thoughts about God. The romance, though bobbling slightly here and there, is also written well in light of Georgina’s dyslexia and it helps that Colin is almost as interesting as Georgina.
My one small quibble is that Georgina’s insistence that she didn’t want anyone helping her understand Bible passages was played as a strong, good thing to do but felt wrong to me, as if Hunter was dismissing the benefits of having someone wiser help you (especially if you’re just reading the Bible for the first time!). It’s probably not what Hunter meant, but in my opinion Georgina should have gone to someone right at that moment. Her character didn’t need that showing of independence (and, realistically, I think it would actually be more harmful for her, from the things revealed about her).
An Elegant Façade combines interesting characters, good writing, and one of my favorite settings (Regency England) for a delightful, heartwarming story that addresses a topic little spoken of (and especially not in Regency novels). The topic is dealt with respectfully but also in a way that resonates in the setting and in Georgina herself. The romance is also well-done, and overall the book is quite an enjoyable read.
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian
You can buy this here: http://amzn.to/29G7xgf