Beachy cliffs, gorgeous character descriptions, and a sweet, historical romance – Throne of Grace by Cecily Wolfe is loaded with everything I want in a historical romance!
Title: Throne of Grace
Author: Cecily Wolfe
Series: Cliff Walk Courtships #1
Genre: Historical Fiction (late 1800s), Christian Romance
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Newport, Rhode Island in the last decades of the nineteenth century was a stunningly beautiful and glamorous playground for the rich during the summer months, and a perfect setting for a romance between a rich young man from New York City and a local girl who works for his family. The two couldn’t possibly expect to have anything in common, as he is expected to follow his father in a financial career and she is merely a maid with a mother who takes care of local children while their parents work.
Arthur Davenport, spoiled and bored, unsure of his place in his family and in the eyes of God, truly meets his match in Josie Warren, who is often just a bit hard on herself for not being the perfect Christian in thought as well as deed. The two meet on the famous Cliff Walk, and neither of them can imagine where or how their instant attraction will take them as he struggles to makes his parents understand that his calling is the same as hers, to help those less fortunate. He has no money of his own, and if they disinherit him out of disapproval, how can he help Josie, who has spent her life working hard to help support herself and her mother? More importantly, how can he convince her that he would gladly give up his life of luxury just to be with her?
Throne of Grace reads like a daydream. It is beautiful, sweet, light reading, perfect for anyone with a taste for historical fiction that is not too serious. It’s written in free indirect discourse, slipping easily from one character’s perspective to another. There are no harsh transitions, and only a few places where I had to reread a paragraph to figure out who is speaking. This is quite a rare feat, and I thoroughly applaud it!
Our protagonist, Josie, is everything I imagine a mother wants her daughter to be, at least in the 1800’s. She has a spotless reputation, that is until she begins spending time with rich Arthur Davenport (insert dramatic music here). Their friendship is sweet and refreshing, but highly unrealistic, so much so that even their friends and neighbors do not believe that it can be as good as it appears. And yet, it is. They respect and admire one another, and find common ground in Arthur’s project to create a shelter for the homeless and needy as well as their Christian faith. Josie is eager to help Arthur with the shelter and to have an outlet for the calling she believes she has to help others.
The main theme of Throne of Grace is trusting God instead of listening to the doubts of those around you. Aside from Josie’s mother and the town doctor, no one believes in Josie and Arthur’s friendship in the beginning, and even they question the sanity and possibility of a meaningful romance. However, it is obvious to the two of them that God brought them together at just the time when they can help each other most, and that His plan is bigger than anything they can imagine. Arthur and Josie’s Christian faith solidifies their connection, and is mentioned several times throughout, but specifics are never discussed.
This really is a sweet and fun story. Perhaps a bit escapist, but there’s nothing wrong with that! Josie and Arthur are kind, thoughtful individuals who I enjoyed getting to know and watch fall in love. Their love story doesn’t come without roadblocks and difficulties, but they are committed to one another and do, eventually, get a happily ever after.
I’m sure fans of light-hearted historical fiction will adore Throne of Grace, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the Cliff Walk Courtships trilogy, Crown of Beauty.
I know that I usually talk about the deeper elements to a book, and the issues it interacts with more than simple enjoyment, but once in a while I like to indulge in something light as well. Okay, I would like to more than just “once in a while,” but I tend to prioritize books that interact with heavier subjects anyways. I am still totally down for a light historical fiction romance, especially when it is as innocent and sweet as this one!
Is your preference more often for books that tackle heavy topics, or do you care more about whether you enjoy the story being told?
Until the next chapter,
*Disclosure: I was sent a digital copy of this title by the author and happily provide this review.