Title: Winning Miss Winthrop
Author: Carolyn Miller
Series: Regency Brides: Promise of Hope, #1
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Setting: English countryside, Bath
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Source: from NetGalley (in exchange for honest review)
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Winning Miss Winthrop by Carolyn Miller
Catherine Winthrop has cried out to God too many times to count. Years ago, the man who stole her heart rejected her–and she’s never recovered. Now tragedy has brought him back into her life. This time it isn’t her heart he’s taking, it’s her home and her family’s good name–and she has no one to share her grief.
Jonathan Carlew’s life may look enviable from the outside–wealthy, handsome, landed–but the mystery surrounding his birth has shadowed his entire life. Now as he ascends to the barony, fresh challenges await, including a scheming mama who wants him to embrace power, even at the cost of losing love. How can he remain the kind, honorable man he strives to be and still meet the demands of his new society responsibilities?
These two broken hearts must decide whether their painful past and bitter present will be all they can share, or if forgiveness can provide a path to freedom for the future.
I have no idea what to think of this book! I’ll unashamedly admit it. I loved it … and yet there were a couple problems that detracted from my enjoyment of the story.
Okay, so, I have no idea what to think of this plot! On one hand, it definitely kept my attention and was interesting and intriguing. On the other hand … it felt like the first draft plot got mixed up with the final draft plot.
This book needs some alpha readers. 😉 Even though I know it’s traditional, so it must have gone through multiple rounds of edits. Go figure.
I felt that the time that needed to be dedicated to Catherine and Jon’s backstory just … wasn’t? I didn’t really get a good sense of what kept them apart, et cetera. It was perhaps just a little cliche as well. (TALK, GUYS. BUT IN PERSON. NOT OVER LETTER. BECAUSE THAT IS NOT WORKING FOR YOU.)
The place where the plot of this book really shone was in the theme. The Christian content was sooo amazing. It’s been a while since I’ve read a story that put so much emphasis on God in the characters’ lives without being overly preachy.
The characters were fairly well-developed. As I said before, at times I was a little bit confused by the reasons behind Jon’s actions in the past – and even Catherine’s. I felt like that whole part could be been developed further. However, overall, they were well done.
I found myself almost liking the side characters more than the hero and heroine. Catherine’s aunt, (eventually) Jon’s mother, Jon’s friends, Lavinia (who has a book about her I should really read), Lavinia’s husband (oh, my word, this man …), and multiple other characters.
I liked Jon okay, but he didn’t stand out to me in a big way. Catherine was a decent character – and there were some things about her that I really liked, such as her stutter. It was really cute. 😛
The characters’ interactions reminded me of Kristi Ann Hunter. This is very, very good thing in my book!
The biggest thing about these characters … they were never exactly proper? And I know, being rich and in family circles (which they weren’t always, but I digress), they might have acted like that … but I think not? It just pulled me out of the story. Felt like modern-day people got dumped in a Regency setting.
However, it was hilarious. Their interactions and little comments and everything really made the book flow. So I can’t be too harsh.
Aside from what I mentioned in the character section about the characters being not exactly proper, the setting was very well done. I felt a strong influence of Persuasion in this story (BATH!!!), so that was fantastic. There was also a kind of Mansfield Park or lowkey Sense and Sensibility feeling. It was just all very Jane Austen-y. Two thumbs up!
Overall, the writing was very good. A consistent, flowing style. There were a couple times where I felt it needed a good editing, but I had an eARC so I will presume that these errors and weird sentences and such will be ironed out by publication day.
Sexual: people gossip that Catherine is in an improper relationship with an older gentleman who views her as a father. Mentions of Jon’s friends being improper/rogues/etc. Semi-detailed kissing and remembering kissing (as in, Catherine is super worried that kissing Jon when they first met drove him off)
(no, that is not how men work, sweetie).
Other: n/a (unless you count mentions of pregnancy, etc.)
I can’t remember anything that put up major flags for me. It was a clean Regency romance. A few conversations resulting from untrue gossip leads me to say 13+ with parental guidance.
I probably would have rated it a bit lower just based on the quality of the story, but … I enjoyed it so very much! From the message to the characters to the writing, it was deeply enjoyable.
And … if that doesn’t count for something to a reviewer, I don’t know what should! If you love Regency romance and don’t mind looking over some minor flaws in a plot, by all means, dig into this story!