9 Dec 2018

The Making of Mrs Hale by Carolyn Miller

Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope #3
November 27th 2018, 336 Pages, Kregel Publications 
Print and Audio 

Marry in haste, repent in leisure--Mrs. Hale is about to find out how painful that repentance can truly be.

Julia Hale ran off to be married in Gretna Green, following romance instead of common sense. But her tale isn't turning into a happily ever after. Her new husband is gone and she doesn't know where--or if he's ever coming back. Julia has no option but to head home to the family she betrayed by eloping and to hope they'll forgive her. Especially now that she might be carrying a baby from her brief marriage.

Carolyn Miller's clean and wholesome Regency romances continue with The Making of Mrs. Hale, following familiar characters as they learn how restoration can occur by finding hope and healing through a deep relationship with God. Full of rich historical details and witty banter, this series continues to draw in fans of Jane Austen, Sarah Ladd, and Julie Klassen

 Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Making of Mrs Hale is Carolyn Miller's sixth book, the conclusion of her second trilogy set in Regency Britain.
It follows Julia Hale, the sister of a nobleman who disappeared in the first book with a friend of her brother known as Major Thomas Hale. Thomas was known to be a rake and knowing her family would disapprove of her marrying a commoner with no title or lands and such a reputation. 

Eighteen months later, Julia reappears having been apparently abandoned by her husband on the doorstep of one of her friends. What’s more, she has a baby in tow. Here the story begins, and it’s not a typical Regency. The protagonists are already married: but their relationship is fractured through separation, secrets, betrayal and emotional trauma. 

There are many other Regency stories which involve rakish characters making right, and this could have following that formula, but does not. At least, not slavishly. Julia’s family apparently hate Thomas for what he did to her (or what they believe he did), but she struggles to love and trust him, despite the wishes of her overbearing mother and over-protective brother.
Above all, it’s a story of reconciliation: of husband and wife, family, friends, and ultimately reconciliation with God. 

There is also a strong element of danger and intrigue in this story, with a possible plot against Thomas by a corrupt army officer and a secret mission gone wrong. This provided a lot of interesting details about the 19th century military and some government offices. It also was a good way of incorporating characters from the earlier books into the story but might be a little confusing for those who have not read them.
Above all there was a very strong emphasis on the spiritual maturity of the characters, and a very strong salvation message. Some might say it’s a little heavy-handed and modern. Perhaps, but I did not find it so off-putting, and sort of appropriate in the context of the story. 
There was a great deal of grace involved, and Thomas’s reasons for hesitating and doubting in his faith were credible.

I did feel a few incidents were implausible or not properly accounted for: like how did Julia manage to travel all the way from Edinburgh to London in such dire straits and with no money? Overall though, it was a lovely conclusion to the story. 

Thanks to Kregel for inviting me to read this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

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