Fiction Review: Holding the Line, by Jennifer Delamere

OVERVIEW

woman in long skirt and white shirt in front of a building. Book cover

Can she find the strength to heal the wounds of her past–and open her heart again?

A widow at just thirty years of age, Rose Finlay is determined to put all ideas of marriage and family behind her and pursue an independent life. But when she notices a young woman about to be led astray by a roguish aristocrat, bitter memories from her past arise, and she feels compelled to intervene. The unintended consequences of her efforts will ultimately force Rose to reexamine her life in a new light.

As the guardian of his two widowed sisters’ financial and domestic affairs, John Milburn carries heavy responsibilities for a single man. But he’s faced with his biggest challenge when his headstrong niece falls prey to the attentions of a powerful man who could ruin both her and her family.

When Rose and John join forces to protect his niece, they put everything they hold dear–including their growing attraction–in jeopardy.

MY REVIEW

Disclaimer: Although I received a copy of this book from the publisher, the opinions below are my own.

“The Spinster’s Guide to Love and Romance.”

That’s the name of the book at the center of the Love Along the Wires trilogy about three young women involved in the telegraphy business towards the end of the 19th century. Two of the women are married by the time of the final book in Jennifer Delamere’s series, and so it focuses on the third, a widow by the name of Rose. She’s already been married. She has no desire to experience it again.

So how well does Holding the Line do as the final installment of the tale? Yes, it does wrap everything up. Each woman gets her man and the required Happy Ever After. Thankfully, the dreaded spinster guidebook doesn’t play a large role, and Rose doesn’t pay much attention to it. Her role in John’s situation comes about due to a trait I don’t much care for: nosiness. She’s committed to her work, and determined to do well enough to achieve promotion, believing that remarriage would interfere with her plans. Ultimately, however, I saw that this determination, as well as her decision to get involved in a situation which didn’t concern her, was down to loneliness. Her two friends now have lives that don’t include her and, although she has family members who conveniently contribute at important times, Rose doesn’t have anyone with whom she gets on well.

Are there negatives? Oh yes. What is it about mothers in many novels? Why do authors so often make them out to be schemers, mean, or just manipulative? Rose’s late husband’s mother is a strange old bird who follows a faith that reminded me of a Christian offshoot today especially in its view of marriage. She has difficulty understanding that her deceased son was anything other than a saint. The mother of John’s niece, meanwhile, is weak and easily caves to the suggestions of her late brother’s widow who’s in charge of the young woman’s social life.

Do you need to have read the first two books in the Love Along the Wires series? Not necessarily, but it certainly helps.  Rose is introduced in the first book, but you don’t need to know much about her because her backstory is gradually revealed as needed. If this is your first foray into the series, however, you’ll probably want to go back and read the earlier books anyway.

RATING

Rating: 4 out of 5.

BOOK INFORMATION

Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 06 December 2022

Book Information

Excerpt

JENNIFER DELAMERE

author photograph

Jennifer Delamere’s debut Victorian romance, An Heiress at Heart, was a 2013 RITA Award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, A Lady Most Lovely, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She’s been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.

Jennifer Delamere’s website: https://www.jenniferdelamere.com/

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