Book Cover and Synopsis:
A life of privilege
becomes only a distant memory when Catherine Newbury's father is falsely
imprisoned and she is whisked away from her home in England to America.
Forced to disguise her past and create a completely new life, Catherine
takes on a servant's last name and carves out a tenuous future for
herself as a seamstress. Soon her dress designs are sought throughout
When the dashing Carter Danby accompanies his mother and
sister for a design consultation, Catherine suddenly encounters her past
face-to-face. Is Carter's avid interest in her genuine...or does he, as
she suspects, recognize her as the young lady he met while touring
England? She cannot deny the attraction, but admitting her true identity
may jeopardize her father's only hope for freedom. Will Catherine be
forced to sacrifice her dreams of love?
I didn't really know what to expect from this book, not having read the synopsis beforehand. I simply jumped in and started reading because it was second in the series... but I was pleasantly surprised to find myself immediately sucked into the events of the story!
Catherine's story is one of riches to rags; her whole world is changed when her wealthy father is falsely accused of criminal activity, leaving her no choice but to flee the country and change her name for fear of being discovered, innocent though she is. This type of scenario generally dictates the heroine will end up working as a servant or housemaid, so I found it refreshing that Catherine ended up as a seamstress instead. And not just any seamstress, but an accomplished one, so much so that she actually gained notoriety and fame under her assumed name. She is a likable character, and though her world has been forever changed and she is often over-worked, she manages to keep a mostly hopeful outlook on life as she dreams of the day when her father's name might be cleared and she can be reunited with him.
While I liked Catherine, I have to admit that I *loved* Carter! He is just an absolute doll. I loved how even though Catherine acted standoff-ish towards him, he still continued to pursue her, even being quite persistent at times! He orchestrated clever ways to spend time with her, which was quite a feat considering they live in completely different social classes. When Catherine was vague in her conversation, Carter didn't let it deter him, often giving her a playful or flirtatious remark in response. This could make him sound like a cad, but that's far from the truth; he never acted inappropriately, he was just very honest about his intentions towards her. Sadly, Carter's family was a total mess, behaving in unlawful and immoral ways, but it was really cool to see how he strived to live a godly life even while still living under his parents' roof. He is just a gem of a character, and if I could rip him out of the pages into reality, I think I just might do so!
If there's one thing I wasn't crazy about, I'd have to say it was the character
of Lydia. I was annoyed by the fact that she couldn't be content with the good situation she had; she insisted on letting her jealousy of Catherine's talents get the better of her, causing trouble for everyone in the process. Of course all stories do need an
antagonist to stir up conflict, and Lydia obviously fit the role well. All things considered, she was really no more than a minor annoyance, but I just thought I'd include her to round out my review, instead of it being a total gush-fest for the story. :)
This is the second book in the Ladies of Liberty series, but it could easily act as a standalone; there is nothing that ties this book to the previous one aside from a short appearance by a minor character from the first book. I highly highly recommend this novel, especially if you are a fan of historicals. It's quite enjoyable, and one of the best historicals I've read in quite a while.
My Rating: 5 stars