Friday, April 10, 2015

The Captive Imposter by Dawn Crandall

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Obtained from: Author
Read: April 8, 2015

Sent away for protection, hotel heiress Estella Everstone finds herself living undercover as a lady’s companion named Elle Stoneburner at one of her father’s opulent hotels in the mountains of Maine—the one she'd always loved best and always hoped to own one day, Everston. The one thing she doesn't like about the situation is that her ex-fiancé is in the area and is set on marrying someone else. Reeling from her feelings of being unwanted and unworthy, Estella reluctantly forms a friendship with the gruff manager of Everston, Dexter Blakeley, who seems to have something against wealthy young socialites with too much money, although they are just the kind of people Everston caters to. When Estella finds herself in need of help, Dexter comes to the rescue with an offer she can't refuse. She sees no other choice aside from going back home to her family and accepts the position as companion to his sister. Throughout her interactions with Dexter, she can't deny the pull that's evidenced between them every time he comes near. Estella realizes that while she's been hiding behind a false name and identity, she’s never been freer to be herself than when she's with Dexter Blakeley. But will he still love her when he finds out she's Estella Everstone? She's not entirely sure.

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I was lucky to receive all three installments of Dawn Crandall's Everstone Chronicles in quick succession. I read the first two books in early March and rounded out the series with The Captive Imposter, early in April. I admit fitting a series into my review schedule was tough, but I believe it enhanced my experience.

As I said in my reviews of The Hesitant Heiress and The Bound Heart, the books are character heavy, but before I get too far ahead of myself, I want to make it clear that comment is not a criticism. I actually like how the earlier books established some of the relationships in The Captive Imposter and anchored it to the series. I also like how characters from those stories are referenced in the last installment. All I'm really saying here is that there are a lot people keep straight in these books and while that can be confusing for those reading the novels as standalones, it actually unifies the books quite nicely when approaching them as a series. 

As before, I appreciated how Crandall depicted her heroine's personal introspection and faith, but more importantly, I liked how she managed to do this without losing Estella's voice. It's the same approach, but Estella, Meredyth and Amaryllis are three very different women and I was impressed by Crandall's ability to retain a sense of individuality throughout each of the books.

Of the three, I think I liked Estella's revelations the best and feel the message in her story incredibly relevant to modern audiences. Historically I might have liked more detail, but I found The Captive Imposter entertaining just the same. 

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“God had listened to my little-girl prayers back then and had orchestrated the events of my life, even the painful ones, to produce a present reality beyond my greatest hopes. How great were His ways compared to ours!”
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