Author’s Note: We were provided with a free copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Plot & Storyline Quality (3.5 points)
In this third installment of her Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope Series, Carolyn Miller goes deeper than romance to deal with real issues that occur every day. While the novel is not perfect, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found, and think that Miller will continue to improve in the future. Julia Hale is alone, destitute, and responsible for a three month old baby boy named Charles. They are both starving to death, and Julia is sick. Julia wonders where her absent husband could have gone, and why he has not returned home. His extended absence has forced her onto the streets, and it is only out of concern for little Charles that she considers asking for help. Julia intends to leave Charles on the doorstep of a trusted friend, but they catch up with her and she ends up staying in their home. These friends convince her to attempt reconciliation with her estranged mother and brother, who have not forgiven her for eloping with the enigma known as Thomas Hale. Julia soon finds herself back under her mother’s thumb and brother’s influence, and more afraid for her future than ever. Shortly after she arrives at her family home, Thomas suddenly appears one night! Their reunion is joyous, but on the morrow, they are discovered by her mother, whose reaction is slightly manic. Thomas eventually tells a somewhat unbelievable tale to explain his long absence…before disappearing again. He longs to tell Julia the truth, yet fears her reaction. After all, his father was never sympathetic when he fell, so why should she be? Julia doesn’t know who to believe, and the strained relations with her mother and brother increase her anxiety. When she is shot at while taking a carriage ride, Julia begins to seek answers. Thomas is willing to give them, yet wary of the outcome. Will the truth set them all free? Will Julia and Thomas’ rocky relationship find solid ground in Christ? To answer these questions, read the book!;) On the whole, The Making of Mrs. Hale has a well-crafted plot that contains just enough action to keep the reader guessing. The ending is mostly unpredictable, and the storyline is very creative. It is obvious that storylines are Miller’s strength. However, the story is a bit choppy at times, which keeps Miller from a perfect score. Yet, this plot is certainly nothing to be ashamed of, and shows much potential for the future.
Character Development (3 points)
Likewise, Miller’s characters show much promise, and are mostly well done. Julia and Thomas are the best characters because their present is explained through the subtle insertion of their backstories. Thomas is a realistic example of someone who has been hurt by the church, and both he and Julia are good examples of someone who grew up in a dysfunctional family system. This factor explains their hasty decisions and dislike of tradition, and create depth in an otherwise commonplace fictional setting. Furthermore, these issues are very relevant to our times, and are mostly well-addressed. However, Julia’s mother is a bit of a straw-man, and would have been more realistic if she too had a backstory. Additionally, Julia’s brother wavers between realistic and irrelevant. Therefore, with a little honing, this section will be perfect.
Creativity & Originality (1 point)
Finally, Miller earns a full point in originality for putting a fresh spin on the overused Regency romance plot, and for admitting that everything was not all hunky dory for people living in this era. By including relevant issues that are portrayed in a mostly accurate light, Miller made her novel stand out from an overcrowded genre, and will attract the attention of those who would not otherwise read books like hers. For this reason, I feel that this book would make an excellent two-part TV event that could be featured as a miniseries on a Christian streaming service. People love romance films and series from this era, and it would likely do well. In fact, this book might be better as a movie. To conclude, good job Ms. Miller! Thank you for sharing your book with us, I enjoyed getting to know you as an author!
Wish List Rating: 7.5 out of 10 points