Kaye Dacus earned a Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and received a Christy Award nomination for her first published novel Stand-In Groom. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
Follow the Heart: A Great Exhibition Novelby Kaye Dacus
Kate and Christopher Dearing’s lives turn upside down when their father loses everything in a railroad land speculation./i>
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Set during the Industrial Revolution and the Great Exhibition of 1851, Follow the Heart is a “sitting-room romance” with the feel of a Regency-era novel but the fashions and technological advances of the mid-Victorian age.
Kate and Christopher Dearing’s lives turn upside down when their father loses everything in a railroad land speculation. The siblings are shipped off to their mother’s brother in England with one edict: marry money.
At twenty-seven years old, Kate has the stigma of being passed over by eligible men many times—and that was before she had no dowry. Christopher would like nothing better than to make his own way in the world; and with a law degree and expertise in the burgeoning railroad industry, he was primed to do just that—in America.
Though their uncle tries to ensure Kate and Christopher find matrimonial prospects only among the highest echelon of British society, their attentions stray to a gardener and a governess.
While Christopher has options that would enable him to lay his affections where he chooses, he cannot let the burden of their family’s finances crush his sister. Trying to push her feelings for the handsome—but not wealthy— gardener aside, Kate’s prospects brighten when a wealthy viscount shows interest in her. But is marrying for the financial security of her family the right thing to do, when her heart is telling her she’s making a mistake?
Mandates . . . money . . . matrimony. Who will follow the heart?
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Love or Money? Kate and her brother are sent to England to live with a relative and find a rich spouse to keep the family from being penniless due to a railroad deal gone bad. Kate is older and knows that her age and the fact she does not have a dowry is going to make it harder to find someone to marry. What she does not expect is to find a handsome garden designer who shares her love for plants. When a viscount shows interest in her as well she must choose her family or her heart. This is the first in a new series that takes place in the mid 1800’s. What I liked: The story was interesting and I liked the characters for the most part. Though I found the story about her brother and the governess more interesting at times then the main story. I also liked hearing about The Great Exhibition and the description of the glass building was quite impressive. What I did not like: The story was slow at times and even though the story line was interesting it also felt a little weak. Maybe its just hard for me to understand needing to marry for money to keep the family happy. Her father made a bad choice and expecting his kids to bail him out seemed silly. Over all it was an okay book. I really liked the ending and felt the last 25% of the book made up for the slow beginning. I am interested to see if the next book in the series has any ties to this book. If you like historical fiction you might like this book.
I loved the clash of characters, the upstairs vs. downstairs type of stuff. It had whispers of Downton Abbey in it, even though it's not the same era, but the storyline reminded me of Dowton Abbey somewhat. I like how Kate wasn't confident in her looks and she wasn't perfect but when men got to know her they found her beautiful. Isn't that what ever woman wants, to be found beautiful, to be seen for who we really are? And Kate struggles with who she is and how she is expected to act and how she really wants to act. Love wins, isn't that the type of story we want to read? Love wins over money and over others expectations. Love wins because God is love and nothing can defeat Him. Kaye weaved two wonderful romances into one story. I can't wait to read another Kaye Dacus book, if this is any indication I have found a new author I enjoy reading. A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Americans Katharine and Christopher Dearing have a problem. Because their father has lost his fortune, they must, in essence, sell themselves to the highest bidder and marry money to save their family from financial ruin. During a time when women of wealth were groomed only to marry money, a life of service for Katharine was out of the question. I must admit, living in the day and age in which we do, I find it repulsive that women and daughters were treated as possessions. Things to be bartered with by undisciplined and selfish fathers and brothers. This created a wave of sympathy and empathy for Katharine's plight. Although her brother wasn't totally unfeeling, he could find a way to be self-supportive and marry whom he chose. Yet, even that would leave the burden of their family's financial issues on Katharine. Parents who make mistakes are normal, as I myself can attest to. But parents that make the mistakes and then expect their children to clean up the mess? Unfathomable and disturbing. I honestly did not see a way out for Katharine in this book. Her heart had found the man it could love. But poor and obscure Andrew wasn't the answer to her family's financial woes. Ms. Dacus is a seasoned author and it shows. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Follow the Heart and will be reading more from her in the future. Scenic settings, great plot structure, and imperfect heroes and heroines? Yes please! I love how her characters were flawed. Self-sacrificing, yet flawed in such a way that made the reader care for them and wish they had a fighting chance. Highly recommend.
Since Downton Abbey, I am officially a traditional regency fan! What does that mean? If you love historical romances set in the mid 1800's in London where social classes and marriage to a fine upstanding family are your cup of tea, then look no further than Follow The Heart by author Kaye Dacus in her Great Exhibition Series. The story begins in Pennsylvania in 1850 where Katharine and Christopher Dearing's lives are to be turned upside down. Their father has lost the entire family fortune in a failed investment in the railroad. Katharine's opportunity of marriage to a wealthy family has been withdrawn when they learn she has no money for a dowry and her family's name is now tarnished in their social circles. Now forced to sell most of their family's belongings to keep their head above waters, their father sends Christopher and Katharine to live with their wealthy uncle in England in hopes that both of them may secure a marriage to keep the family from losing everything. When they arrive at their uncle's estate in England, Katharine and Christopher are treated with the same respect that their cousins receive however, they are reminded by their cousin Edith that they are the poor relations from America and it would serve them well to remember their place. Now living at Wakesdown Manor in England, Katharine tries in vain to do all she can to find the most eligible man with not only a suitable title but the means to elevate her poor family back into a social standing again. Only it seems that no matter how hard she tries, she can't fight the feelings she has for Andrew Lawton, the landscape architect that works her uncle's estate. She knows she can't fall for Andrew because to do so would be beneath what her father and stepmother wanted for her but could cause their family to lose everything back in America. Her only hope is to find someone who can look back her age and background and save her family. Her brother Christopher is hoping that he can find a way to save the family name and fortune by finding a contact in working with the local railroad companies now coming to take part in the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace. He doesn't want all the burden of saving their family to fall on Kate's shoulders even though she is far past the age of most women to marry and begin a family of their own. He hopes that using his expertise in railroad law he might find job that would allow Kate to find a man suitable for marriage that she truly loves instead of settling for money. Yet how can he hope for Kate finding true love among the lower class when he himself is falling in love with the governess Nora. Is it possible for Christopher and Katharine to find a way to save their family and still follow their heart? I received Follow The Heart by Kaye Dacus compliments of B and H Publishing Group and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance Tours for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for a favorable review. This novel reminds me of Cinderella meets Downton Abbey, only instead of the wicked step-sisters, poor Katharine and Christopher have to deal with the oldest cousin Edith who is competing with Kate to see just who can marry the richest man possible. For Edith it isn't about love but about the title and fortune that accompany her dream of marriage. She will do almost anything to remind Katharine of just where she comes from and to prevent her from finding true happiness. I encourage you traditional regency lovers to grab a cup of tea, sit by the fire and immerse yourself in this wonderful novel created just for you by Kaye Dacus. I loved this one and the only disappointment I faced was when I turned the final page. It was over too soon and I wanted more of these characters. Good thing that Kaye is adding to this series in her upcoming novel An Honest Heart this fall. I easily rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and will be adding this one to my personal library.