A Heart Most Certain, by Melissa Jagears
This book was such a delightful read! Here's the review I wrote for it:
When the author asked if I'd be willing to be an influencer for her new book, I jumped at the chance...because I'd already loved the novella set in this town, and I really liked Lydia and her fascination for books.
It was a delightful moment to get this in the mail and realize what sort of enjoyment I was in for! I'd just gotten it started, though, when a sickness and death in the family brought my intelligent-reader brain to a halt. There was no way I could create a nice, reasoned review...so now, this is embarrassingly late!
I savored so many details in this story. My favorite part was Lydia's passion for good reading, something I obviously share with her. I was very impressed that Jagears didn't only include known classics of today (which is an author pet peeve of mine, as it is unrealistic) but mentioned others such as Laura Jean Libbey, a popular writer of the day who is mostly forgotten today. +1 for that detail!
The little working details were all there, too, careful as worldbuilding in a fantasy (which, indeed, does share many characteristics of a recreation of a historical world). Lydia's good dresses were handmedowns; many of her gowns show careful mending. This in particular is delightfully refreshing, as many heroines are portrayed with lavish and perfect wardrobes. For certain scenes, the horses and carriages/conveyances are mentioned, with a few words of why certain styles are suited to rich men/poor men/etc.
Well, then...the hero. I suppose if you've read the back cover, you're pretty sure who he turns out to be. The town's most famous miser is a hero in disguise, only--best part--he doesn't think he really is. A fine man content to hide his qualities under a disguise? One who prefers to help fallen women than to hurt them or censure them? Well, it makes for good reading.
I'll stop here, lest I betray too much of the content...but I love it, and if you enjoy history, or just-right romance, or a good bit of page-turning suspense, be sure to give this book a try!
Thanks to the author for my free copy.