Hey y’all! How has your week been? Are you as ready for the weekend as I am? It’s not that my week hasn’t been good – the vast majority of it has been! – I’m just ready to have some time to do some picking up, catching up, and maybe even hang out with a friend or two. Even though I spent less time than usual nannying (that has to be a word, despite the red squiggly line under it…) this week, that “extra” time that I got was spent preparing my taxes and catching up on things that were pushed back during the few days that I was sick recently. The weekend promises to be busy in its own way, too, but I intend to enjoy and appreciate every minute of it.
Today’s book review covers the final book in Cecily Wolfe’s Cliff Walk Courtships trilogy. I have so enjoyed reading this series, so finishing it is bittersweet. Let’s get into it.
Title: Treasure of Hope (Cliff Walk Courtships #3)
Author: Cecily Wolfe
Genre: Christian Historical [late 19th c.] Romance
Synopsis (from Goodreads): She’s known as a hopeless flirt, but Sarah doesn’t care. She’s beautiful, young, and rich, and doesn’t want to waste a minute of her life worrying about anything or anyone. Sneaking out to parties on the Cliff Walk with her friends during winter nights becomes dangerous, and when a terrible accident happens, her carefree outlook is forever lost. Determined to blame herself, she focuses on applying her time and effort at the homeless shelter operated by her brother and his wife, but will she ever be able to move forward and accept forgiveness from those she has inadvertently harmed?
Sam is devastated when an evening of fun and drink ends in tragedy. He hardly knows Sarah, but is well-aware of her charm and spirit, neither of which gives him leave to forgive her for the life-changing event he is certain she has caused. Can his faith, shaken by his loss, be restored by granting and accepting forgiveness, however difficult and painful that might be?
Which Reading Challenges it Counts Toward: #LetsReadIndie
Content To Be Aware of: Mentions of death, characters deal with grief
I have to start with the ending on this one. In order to avoid spoiling it, I’ll just say that it is so sweet and a beautiful picture of sisterhood! I love the interaction between Sarah, her sister Catherine, and their sister-in-law Josie. I wasn’t sure from the first book how they would get along, but everything works out beautifully in Treasure of Hope. This is a group that I wish I could befriend.
Now, to go back to a more natural starting point: Treasure of Hope picks up on the same night that the previous book, Crown of Beauty, ended on. Sarah showed up in both of the previous books, and to be honest I did not really like her character despite appreciating the contrast she brings to meek Josie and thoughtful Catherine. We have seen her be loud, selfish, childish, and needy, but we have not yet gotten to know her truly. When her actions lead to a tragedy, a completely different side of Sarah begins to emerge. She spends most of the book learning to look out for others and maturing very quickly.
Sarah’s love interest is a boy named Sam. He also has a part in the tragedy from the opening scene, although neither of them know anything about the other at first. He also volunteers at the shelter run by Sarah’s brother, Arthur. This is where they meet, and where most of their interactions occur.
Treasure of Hope is meant to be a romance, but I do wish that more time were spent looking a bit deeper at the grief felt by so many characters. While conditions like PTSD and other psychological conditions would not have been formally diagnosed or recognized in the 19th century, I would have appreciated more commentary between characters about healing. So much is dealt with off the page, so to speak, and in the end we have a neat and clean romance despite complications from early in the story. It just looks a bit too easy, at times, to me.
As always, the writing is lovely. The characters are interesting and relatable, and despite the fact that each of the siblings end up with somewhat unconventional romances, the historical setting is thoroughly established and easy to see. Not surprisingly, prayer is the main symbol of the role faith plays in the characters situations. There is not a lot (if any) of explanation or theology presented, but prayer is discussed frequently and shown to help the characters find direction and comfort.
Treasure of Hope is a lovely wrap-up to a sweet trilogy. Technically you could read the books out of order and be just fine, but there are spoilers in each consecutive book for the previous ones. I recommend this series to fans of Christian Historical Romance and those who want to read something light and sweet.
Reading the Cliff Walk Courtships series has been like taking a stroll down a private beach: leisurely, occasionally buffeted by winds from the sea, generally calming and comfortable. Of course, I say all of this having never strolled down a private beach in my life, or any beach for that matter, but that is what I imagine it would be like. I definitely want to visit Newport, Rhode Island now in order to see the mansions. cliffs, and beaches described in the book. There is a great author’s note at the end of the book describing some of the real-life places that inspired the settings, as well a book recommendation for learning more about life around the turn of the century. It turns out one of Sarah’s friends in the story has the same name as a girl who actually wrote and published a book about her experience as a Vanderbilt in this time. The book is called The Glitter and the Gold, and it immediately went onto my TBR list!
I am sure this is a series that I will return to when I need some thing comfortable and refreshing. I highly recommend it, even if it is not as deep as most of the books I prefer.
Question of the day: What is your favorite real-world setting for fiction? I love traveling to new places through reading, but if I had to pick one place as my favorite, it would probably be either Ireland or generic small-farm-town America.
Until the next chapter,
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and happily provided my review. All opinions expressed are my own.*