Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, and he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. He's certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, but while Frederica is strangely elusive, he can't seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.
Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, her uncle will only help them if she'll use her beauty to assist him in his political aims. Already uncomfortable with this agreement, the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she wishes to be free of her unfortunate obligation.
Will Griffith and Isabella be able to set aside their pride and face their fears in time to find their own happily-ever-after?
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London, England, March 1815
While the limits of human ability prevented Griffith, Duke of Riverton, from being everything to everyone who depended on him for their livelihoods, he'd always assumed there was no limit to what he would do for his family.
His mother's current request was more than stretching those limits. "No."
"Miss Watters is a very particular friend of Lady Cressida. And as I am married to her father I feel obliged to ensure Cressida's ball is a success in every way." Griffith's mother, Lady Blackstone, arched a brow in her son's direction as he turned from his perusal of the crowd filling the ballroom. The former duchess may have voluntarily lowered her rank to countess when she remarried a few years earlier, but she had never released her position as matriarch of her family, despite the fact that they'd all reached adulthood.
It was a position Griffith respected. Not only did the Word of God command that he do so, but he'd seen what his mother had gone through to raise her four children, including teaching her ten-year-old son how to manage a dukedom. That respect did not, however, extend to breaking one of his personal social rules.
He looked away from his mother to note the girl in question — a plain young woman hovering near a doorway, her dress an unfortunate color that was remarkably similar to the ballroom wallpaper. Given her supposedly close relationship with tonight's hostess, one would have thought the near-professional wallflower would have known to avoid that particular shade of rose. "If there is a true need for a member of our family to rescue Miss Watters from the wall — a position which I'm sure you know she takes up at every social gathering — there are other male members you can appeal to."
Mother's lips pressed together into a thin line. "They are married."
Griffith slowly lifted his own eyebrow in a perfect imitation of his mother's earlier expression. "I had no idea the institution affected a man's ability to dance. No matter. Up to now they've shown remarkable resistance to whatever marriage-related malady might inhibit a man's dancing talents. I'm sure they can hold it off for another night."
His mother said nothing, though he could tell from the crinkles forming at the corner of her eye that she wanted to laugh. Almost as much as she wanted him to dance with Miss Watters. As he only danced with women he considered family, her laughter was the only desire he was inclined to grant. One more sardonic remark from him should send her over the edge.
"It is a comfort to know, however, that public scrutiny of my lack of dancing finesse will diminish once I've married. Until then I shall endeavor to plant myself among the married men on the rare occasion that I join a dancing formation with a sister or cousin. Perhaps then we shall all be equally bumblesome."
A brief snicker sputtered between Mother's lips. Her rare break in decorum was like a trophy to the one who'd done everything in his power to make his mother smile again after the death of his father. As always, though, she quickly contained the outward signs of her mirth. "Bumblesome?"
Griffith shrugged his shoulders. Their massive width, when combined with his considerable height, was one of the main reasons he didn't perform at his best on a crowded dance floor. He was simply too large to maneuver through the steps with much grace, and bumblesome seemed the most accurate description of how he felt on the dance floor.
She sighed. "Very well, I shall ask your brother. Despite his marriage last year, he is still popular enough to draw notice."
"And accomplished enough for the lady to actually enjoy her dance. If she is only to get one turn around the floor, let it be a good one."
Cool daggers shot from his mother's blue eyes as she glided off to find Griffith's younger brother, Trent. He could have told Mother that she was going in the wrong direction, but as his primary objective was to remove her from his side, he kept his silence. By his count, he had to stay in the ballroom for two more dances before his absence wouldn't draw comment. Over the years he'd perfected the art of being seen enough that everyone knew he'd attended but not so much that he was drawn into any interactions he'd rather avoid.
Such as dancing with a female who might even remotely be considered a marriage possibility.
"You can't avoid it forever, you know."
Griffith glanced to his left to find his good friend Ryland, Duke of Marshington. Their friendship had started at Eton, holding fast through years of change and upheaval. Now that the man had married Griffith's sister Miranda, they were family as well. "You do."
Ryland grinned, the slash of white teeth standing out against his darker-than-was-fashionable skin. "I'm married."
With a tilt of his head, Griffith acknowledged the implications of Ryland's true statement. "And where is my sister?" The grin widened. "Dancing."
Griffith swung his gaze to the rows of couples weaving in and out of formation on the dance floor. He could easily see over the surrounding heads, though sometimes his sister's shorter stature still made her difficult to find. Within moments he'd located the familiar blond curls of the elder of his younger sisters. At that moment she was happily spinning around on the arm of Colin McCrae, Griffith's other brother-in-law. His youngest sister, Georgina, stood next to them, waiting for her turn in the dance.
It was still a surprise to see the sisters voluntarily sharing space. The friendliness had only come about in the two years since they'd married their respective husbands. Those marriages had taken a great load off of Griffith's mind. In truth, now that Trent had also settled happily into an initially awkward marriage, there wasn't anyone left for Griffith to guide and watch over. There hadn't been for many months now, but Griffith had put off acknowledging the fact.
"You really should consider taking a turn or two yourself, you know." Ryland rocked forward on his toes and clasped his hands behind his back. Given that the man was a former spy and a master at blending in, the falsely innocent posture was obviously intentional.
Griffith knew better than to take the bait. "I shall ask Miranda for the next set."
"She'll turn you down."
Two years of marriage had obviously not made the man an expert on his wife. Miranda would never deny her big brother. "She never has before."
"She wasn't limiting her exertions before."
The two men fell silent as Griffith considered the implications of Ryland's statement. Happiness and worry warred within Griffith. It was difficult for him to remember that Miranda was not his to protect anymore. "I suppose congratulations are in order."
"Indeed they are." Ryland nodded, one side of his mouth kicked up in a smirk. "We've a dukedom to provide an heir for, after all." Grey eyes cut from the dancers to pin Griffith to the wall behind him. "You have one as well."
Griffith didn't want to think about it. He didn't know if it was the fact that his childhood had been cut so short or the fear of having something so vulnerable dependent on him, but the idea of children frightened Griffith like nothing else. It was, however, part of his duty, and Griffith took his duty very seriously. His younger brother would certainly breathe easier when it was ensured that the title and holdings wouldn't pass to him. Griffith had never understood Trent's aversion to the title, except, of course, for the fact that Griffith would have to be dead in order for Trent to inherit.
That was a fairly decent reason not to want the title.
He looked to Ryland. "I've a plan."
"You always do." The last strains of the dance faded into the chatter of the ball's attendees, and the couples dispersed while new ones took their places. By unspoken agreement the men waited for the music to drift back over the crowd before speaking again.
Ryland inspected his fingernails. "Dare I ask what this great marriage plan consists of?"
"Getting married." Griffith had been formulating a plan for years. When he'd first hit London after graduating from Oxford, he'd marveled at the games society played. The scheming marriage-minded mothers and the calculating influence-craving fathers made a powerful counterforce to the desperate dowry-hungry sons and the fun-loving, attachment-avoiding bachelors. Somewhere in the middle, the debutantes drifted — each with their own level of mercenariness, but all with the same goal in mind. Griffith hadn't wanted to deal with any of them.
Still didn't want to deal with them.
His reprieve was fast disappearing, though, because Ryland had a point. Griffith needed an heir, and for that he needed a wife.
"Do you intend to follow the family tradition?"
Surprise at the question broke Griffith's normally controlled countenance. "Of course."
All of Griffith's family, for as long as anyone could remember, had built their marriages on a strong foundation of love. His own parents had been possibly the most notorious of the lot. Just because Griffith was approaching marriage in a logical manner did not mean he had no plans to involve love in the equation.
The skeptical smile on Ryland's face brought an extra stiffness to Griffith's back. His plan was going to work. Watching his mother and siblings find love over the past three years had only assured him that his plan was a viable one, and he couldn't resist the urge to rub it in Ryland's face, given the other man's chaotic journey to happiness. "Before my mother tried to steer me in an unsuitable direction tonight, I was narrowing down the candidates."
Ryland coughed. "Candidates? And I can't imagine your mother suggesting you socialize with anyone unsuitable."
"My idea of suitable and hers do not always align."
"Particularly since you've never seen fit to share your idea." Ryland straightened his shoulders and settled in to observe the room. He was tall, but still a good two or three inches shorter than Griffith, and possessed the ability to look like something other than a hulking mountain with legs. That didn't mean he couldn't be intimidating if he wanted to. His face hardened from easy humor into serious concentration. "Your target is in this room, I assume, for you to have been contemplating a campaign."
Griffith resisted the childish urge to roll his eyes toward the ceiling. "Target? Really, Ryland. We're not stepping outside for pistols."
"You called them candidates. I'm simply upgrading your status from prize to be won to the pursuer in control. Now, be quiet. I'm analyzing."
Griffith waited. He leaned his shoulder against the wall behind him and crossed one foot over the other. Sweat trickled down his neck into his cravat. He hated ballrooms. They were always too crowded and too hot for a man of his size and stature to retain any sort of comfort. Normally he positioned himself near the terrace doors or an open window, but the unseasonably cold weather had prompted tonight's host to close everything up tight. Right then Griffith would have welcomed a chilly breeze. Waiting for Ryland to make his guess wasn't doing anything to relieve his tension.
Minutes passed. Another song began and ended. Was Ryland still analyzing, or was he simply torturing Griffith now?
"You want someone from the edge of the dance floor."
Griffith had to admire the confidence of the man's statement. Despite the accuracy of the remark, Griffith wasn't willing to give in that easily. "You had a one-in-four chance of selecting the correct group of ladies. And as it is by far the largest of the groups, I'm hardly impressed."
When the two men had attended their first balls right after graduating from Eton, they'd divided the unmarried women into four groups. The corner held the spinsters, while the walls included those whose social standing or lack of popularity kept them outside the action. The dance floor was for the most popular of women — Diamonds of the First Water, the Incomparables, the ones on whom everyone doted and who never seemed to be without a partner or two clamoring for the next dance. The edge of the dance floor, though, held most of the women. The women who danced sometimes but not always. They were popular enough but hardly fodder for the social pages.
Ryland cast a glance over his shoulder. "Anyone else in here — your own family included — would assume you wanted someone from the dance floor. You could certainly land one, if you wished. Even the lovely Lady Alethea."
He could probably land anyone in this room, even if they were nearly betrothed. Young, single dukes weren't exactly plentiful in England. Griffith had to concede Ryland's point, however, and inclined his head to indicate his friend should continue his guess.
It was easy to spot the woman he'd mentioned. Lady Alethea was skipping her way through the dance with a wide smile on her face and strings of jewels in her dark hair.
It was also easy to see why most people, his family included, would assume he wanted someone like her. Everyone thought her the most sought-after woman among the marriage-minded aristocracy. Griffith's interests lay beyond the benefits of a beautiful wife, though.
Ryland tilted his head and looked slowly around the ballroom, murmuring to himself. "She's too attractive. Draws too much notice. Good family, but maybe a few too many of them. You don't want them asking you for favors."
Griffith forced himself not to fidget. It was remarkable how quickly Ryland was walking the lines of Griffith's reasoning.
"She's too new to London. You probably spent all of last year debating the merits of various ladies."
"Not all of it," Griffith grumbled. "I had to watch over the disastrous beginnings of Trent's marriage, after all." Fortunately, that had all worked out and Trent was now fully in love with his wife, but it had taken up a good bit of Griffith's attention last Season.
Fewer than five more minutes went by before Ryland turned around and crossed his arms. "You're not going to fall in love with her."
Griffith raised an eyebrow and lowered his head until he was glaring down his nose at Ryland. The superior look that had sent more than one man into a cold sweat didn't even make Ryland blink. "How do you know?"
"The same way I know whom you've chosen. I get the logic — really, I do — but she's not what you need."
The noise of the crowd ebbed and swelled around them as Griffith narrowed his eyes at the other duke. "You're bluffing," he finally said. "You want me to say the woman I've settled on because you don't know who it is."
"Oh, I know. But mark my words — she's not the woman for you. You don't need someone as boring as you think you are. And trust me, old friend, she will bore you."
Miranda chose that moment to come bounding to her husband's side, wide smile and flushed cheeks indicating how much she'd enjoyed her set of dances.
Griffith nodded to his sister, marveling, as he often did, that the same shade of blond hair and green eyes that he saw in the mirror each morning looked so different in a feminine face. "I hear congratulations are in order."
She frowned at her husband. "This is a terrible time for you to suddenly become incapable of keeping a secret."
"Revealing my potential heir was a strategic move, I assure you." Ryland took his wife's hand and looped it through his elbow, pulling her closer against his side.
Her smile returned. "Oh, really?"
Griffith wanted to groan, but that would have given Miranda too much satisfaction. A man of eight and twenty should not feel the need to squirm when his little sister stared at him, even if her expression held the intensity of every headmaster he'd ever had, combined.
"Pray tell, then, who were we discussing when I arrived?" Miranda bounced on her toes in anticipation.
It didn't matter now whether Ryland pulled the right name out of the crowd. Whomever he mentioned would become Miranda's new best friend as she did everything in her power to help him marry the woman she thought he wanted. There would be no stopping her.
Ryland grinned as he joined Miranda in staring Griffith's direction. "Miss Frederica St. Claire."
Excerpted from "An Inconvenient Beauty"
Copyright © 2017 Kristi Ann Hunter.
Excerpted by permission of Baker Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed this book. If you are looking for a wonderful romance to read, this is it!
Isabella has arrived in London, sponsored by her uncle, to have her 1st Season, though there are strings attached. Her cousin Frederica is the one bright spot to the whole thing. Griffith has methodically determined who his wife should be, but doesn’t count on feeling entering the picture. The struggle Isabella is mired in, along with Griffith’s logical abilities being thrown into question make this book move along. Very enjoyable conclusion to the Hawthorne series. This family will be missed and each and every book in this series was hard to put down.
As is his way, Griffith makes the logical decision to get married. After careful, rational consideration, he decides on Miss Frederica St. Claire and so pursues her relentlessly. The problem is, her beautiful cousin Isabella seems to be stealing his heart whether he likes it or not. That was not in the plan... In her usual fashion, Kristi Ann Hunter provides us with another sweet, humorous, Regency romance. It is the fourth and final installment of the Hawthorne House Series, pairing off the remaining unmarried sibling: Griffith, the Duke of Riverton. As we have seen in the previous series, he prides himself on being logical. But logic will only help so much in when love is part of the situation. Griffith has some lessons to learn. As does Isabella. She was forced to make a promise that will get in the way of any of her hopes of love with Griffith, even if he will set his pride away long enough to consider her an option. Breaking the promise and keeping it have terrible consequences for her. This truly was a sweet historical romance. I laughed and hurt through it, and I would certainly recommend it to other fans of regency romance. I received a complementary copy of this book. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for sharing them.
An Inconvenient Beauty is the fourth book in Kristi Ann Hunter’s Hawthorne House series, coming after A Noble Masquerade, An Elegant Façade, and An Uncommon Courtship. Ever since I first found A Lady of Esteem—the e-book prequel to this series—as an option for preorder on Kindle, I was intrigued by this series, though at the time I had never even heard of Kristi Ann Hunter before. I absolutely love historical fiction, so I knew that this would be a series I would enjoy, and boy was I right. While the prequel was absolutely amazing—I think I read the entire thing waiting on it to be my turn at the hair salon—it only gave me a taste of what this series would hold. I have absolutely devoured every book by Kristi that I have gotten my hands on, including this one. Although I do still think that An Uncommon Courtship is my absolute favorite, An Inconvenient Beauty just might come in a very close second. Griffith and Isabella’s story is so different from any other story I have ever read. While I have encountered characters who have a certain picture of what they want in a future spouse—and are fairly often wrong about what they actually need—I haven’t read of any quite as particular as Griffith. Or quite as stubborn. And those stories definitely didn’t feature someone quite like Isabella Breckenridge. Isabella and her bargain add such a twist to this story, and the way that Griffith reacts to her and his attraction to her—both at the beginning when he first realized it and towards the end—were both hilarious and endearing. I have to say, even though I knew a little bit about the plotline before I began reading this novel, I had no idea Isabella’s “bargain” would be quite what it was, or that everything would play out quite the way it did. There were more than a few unexpected twists and turns that I never saw coming, and Griffith, Isabella, and Frederica’s adventures captivated me through the very end of the story. I have to say, I think that this novel was the perfect conclusion to the Hawthorne House series, although I hate that I won’t be able to read any more about their family’s adventures. All in all, I highly recommend this novel, though I definitely recommend reading the rest of the series first. The entire series is absolutely wonderful, so I suggest reading them all. I can also happily give An Inconvenient Beauty all five bookshelves, and a place on my all-time favorites list. I am so very, very glad that I have this book on my bookshelf, and the other three books in this series, and I am really looking forward to reading more by Kristi in the future! (This review is from my blog, spreadinghisgrace.blogspot.com)
When I saw this book I knew I had to read it. I didn’t pay enough attention to the fact that it was fourth in a series. In my goal to read ‘all the books’ this was just a minor hiccup, not a setback. Until it was. All the books people, it’s harder than it sounds. I found other books slipping in and pushing this book back because there were three that needed to be read. I found the end of the year creeping up on me and books that were still waiting in the wings for their turn to shine. I took a leap and crossed my toes and dove into ‘An Inconvenient Beauty’ hoping on hopes that it would read well as a stand alone novel. I was not disappointed, nor was I lost, as I flew through the pages. Yes, the experience would have been enriched with the reading of the previous three. But, I wasn’t lost in the weeds and it read nicely all on it’s own. Now, I still want to read the rest of the books. I was drawn into the story and carried along with the details. Though at times I had an overwhelming need to yell at Isabella. Perhaps a Gibbs’ smack or two would have been appropriate as well. I can’t say a lot without giving away a lot of plot but suffice it to say that she got annoying with her martyr complex. Griffith with his over-analyzing and over thinking and perfectly planned out everything – wait that’s not so bad, I kinda liked it. But anyway, he took it entirely too far and he needed a couple of smacks as well if truth be told. I got bogged down in all the repeating details. There came a point where I got bored with the looping story that wasn’t really moving forward. I mean it did but ever so utterly slowly at times that I seriously considered skipping pages. I didn’t because, well fear of missing something important, but I thought about it. Gibbs’ smacking aside, the characters were well developed and engaging. The story line was developed and the plot, while somewhat predictable, was engaging. While I assumed I knew things as fact I still needed to know exactly how it played out. If you enjoy the Regency period and grand balls and titles mixed with romance then this is a great book to read. If you like a little puzzle and mystery with your romance you will really enjoy this book. It’s set in faith but it’s not an over powering and detracting to the story. It’s actually well handed and compliments the greater story of the book. I’ve definitely got to go back and read the first three! I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by NetGalley. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.
I’m still sad that An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter is the last and final installment of the Hawthorne House series. Mrs. Hunter takes her readers back to experience the Regency era full of gorgeous dresses, balls, and witty dialogue. And that’s only half of the fun! This is the story that we’ve all been waiting for: Griffith’s story. Griffith is a character that we have come to know throughout the series so it was fun to finally have a book dedicated to just him. Griffith, the Duke of Riverton, knows that it is finally time for him to find a wife of his own. Instead of choosing to marry for love and all of the silly things that come with that, he chooses to pick his wife logically. Or what he thinks is logical at least. Miss Frederica St. Clare is quite the logical choice. She’s well-connected, but not too overly social. Except as he tries to pursue her, he finds himself captivated by her stunning cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge. Readers will laugh, cry, and cheer all throughout the novel as we watch Griffith’s attempt at pursuing women. If you thought Trent was bad when it came to understanding women, wait until you watch Griffith. He’s just as clueless. Griffith is the perfect swoon-worthy guy that the ladies will love. He’s strong, confident, genuine, thoughtful, confident, and a true gentleman. Plus, he loves Jesus. Mrs. Hunter paints a beautiful story that readers are going to gobble up. This is a quick read, but since I wasn’t ready to let the characters go just yet, I took my time with it. Full of rich detailed history and a fun romantic story, readers will find a fun and engaging story. The author has clearly established herself with this series and I cannot wait to see more from her in the future. The book also contains the message of seeking God, forgiveness, and fully trusting Him with everything. Sometimes it’s all too easy to get wrapped in what we want the outcome to look like that we forget that God’s plan is much bigger and doesn’t always look like how we want it to. I loved that the author included that reminder. This can easily be read as a stand-alone, but I think you’ll find more enjoyment if you read all of the books in the proper order. I cannot recommend this series enough. Highly recommended! Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
Eldest brother Griffith is an ever-present character throughout the series yet he mostly keeps to the perimeter and rarely has more than a few words to spare. I admire his practicality and problem-solving prowess. Isabella is eager to do ANYTHING to ease her family’s pressing financial burdens, despite the protests of her conscious. Isabella draws strength from her relationship with her cousin. Each installment in the Hawthorne House series has its own unique vibe with a comforting mixture of tough topics and humor. The family setting allows readers to be lovingly invested in each character over the course of the series. I highly recommend this entire series which is firmly planted on my all-time favorites shelf and I am eagerly anticipating a new series from this author! I requested the opportunity to read this book through the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.
This is the fourth book in the Hawthorne House series and it is fabulous. You do not need to have read the other three to enjoy this one but I recommend all of them. Both Isabella and Griffith are wonderful characters. They go through a lot to get together. I received a copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
I enjoyed this read while at a resort pool on vacation and everyone around me would ask what I was reading and would hear, I’m reading a great story about a Duke looking for a Duchess! This was a great romance with twists and turns and even made up words, which I laughed out loud at. There was a trail of lies throughout and the underlining truth that lying will catch up with you eventually. Another aspect of the book was the Duke thought love could be figured out logically and found that love didn’t play by that rule. The way the author paints the dances, mansions, and the scenes was stunning. When the characters were walking along in a park, I felt like I was right there looking at the trees with them. I really enjoyed this read and recommend it to you! I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
"The seating arrangements couldn't have been more obvious than if Mother had tied a sign around his chair that said Unmarried Duke, Ripe for the Picking." (163) I closed An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter with a heavy, yet delightful heart. It's quite sad to see one of my favorite series come to an end. Hawthorne House gave me great stories, book boyfriends and wonderful heroines. To close with Griffith, the Duke of Riverton, the older brother, the responsible and always calm one was just perfect. It was just perfect. "Haven't you heard? I'm a duke.." (various) I loved everything about this story, from our heroine, Isabella Breckenridge to our hero, Griffith, we were able to be immersed in the dynamics of the Regency marriage dance. The secondary characters are just as appealing, including the more villainous roles. And speaking of secondary characters, I love seeing my favorites from the rest of the series making their appearances. The "boys' chat" was just as hilarious as it was in An Uncommon Courtship. Add in the sisters' take on Griffith's love life, you won't be able to stop a smile from making its way on your face. Skip the smile, laugh. You'll laugh. I definitely see the author's humor throughout An Inconvenient Beauty and I can't wait for more! "Marry that woman. As soon as you possibly can." (254) Yes, the characters are perfection, but I have to say, the plot was just as intriguing. I was thrown in for a loop when several unexpected twists showed up. Then there's the matter of the trees. . . Yes, trees. I think the intelligent Isabella had really allowed me to love her when that scene with the planes of the trees happened. I mean, she's quirky in a sense and I just love that. I didn't know where the story will take us, but the conclusion satisfied this fan. It was one with the series that I know I will cherish and revisit many times over. This review first appeared onJust Commonly blog. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.
I recently finished reading An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter. Compared to the last book in the series, this novel is quite the step up. With that said, I'm not entirely sure it was meant for me. Perhaps I've just become slightly jaded or particular with this genre, but little things that might not bother or stick out to a new reader of the genre irk me to my core. Now, this is not to say that the story wasn't interesting or that it didn't hold my attention (it did, barely), but after the prologue, I seriously considered whether it was worth my time to finish this novel. I did anyway, but the writing and the overall story arc could use some work. If I were to sum up my feelings, it would be that this book reminded me of a Hallmark movie--great concept, lackluster execution. All in all, for me, this book was just okay. I received this book from the publisher, but I was in no way required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own.
Kristi Ann Hunter pens her fourth book in the historical fiction series set in 1800s (Regency England) featuring the Hawthorne siblings. In An Inconvenient Beauty, Griffith Hawthorne, a rational, well-ordered man, identifies the perfect woman to be his wife – Frederica St. Claire. Griffith – the Duke of Riverton – is determined to court Frederica, who is secretly enamored with another gentleman. Since Frederica isn’t interested in Griffith, she keeps putting her beautiful cousin Isabella Breckenridge in his path. Hunter writes with historical detail, telling the story with humor and courtly romance. Hunter’s books are a delight to read, filled with excellent character development. Characters from earlier books reappear in support roles, to the delight of her fans.
I loved this book, and I loved the entire series! This particular story started out a little slow and I initially had trouble connecting to Miss Breckenridge and Miss St Clair but within a few chapters I was over that and from there on I was engaged in the story. I had trouble putting it down more than one evening. It's the sort of series where you could pick up and read the books in any order without too much trouble, but it's even more enjoyable when you are connecting again with characters that you've met in previous books. At first I was somewhat put off by the focus on how extraordinarily beautiful Isabelle Breckenridge is, I mean it seemed over the top, and then I got that it was supposed to be somewhat in order to hit home that it didn't define her. In the beginning she and her less physically beautiful cousin seem one dimensional and stereotyped but then they somewhat suddenly pop up into 3D characters you can really get behind. Griffith too has been portrayed throughout the books and rather staid and controlled, lacking a very rounded character. In this book we are invited in behind the careful control and find out the reasons for the this. He also, of course, learns to loosen up somewhat. Like I said, it did take me a few chapters to get into it, but then I couldn't put it down and it was worth the initial slow beginning to get into the heart of the story.
An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter was quite an engaging, romantic read. I’ve enjoyed the first two books in Hawthorne House, and so was greatly anticipating Griffith’s story and his happily ever after. Griffith was such an amusing character. Not personality wise, but in the fact that he was always trying to keep himself out of embarrassing and otherwise uncomfortable situations. His best efforts rarely paid off and more often than not, due to them, he found himself in more troublesome situations than he would have been in in the first place. All he wants is to find a suitable wife who he can live comfortably with so he can start a family. How hard could that really be? I felt bad for Griffith. He was doomed from the start, surrounded by all those meddlesome women in his life, and their husbands who all thought they knew what was best for him. They were right, of course, but still… I liked Isabella despite the fact that she was stunningly beautiful. She was so real and down to earth, and relatable. I felt for her and her dilemma, and just wanted her to be happy. On a whole I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Kristi Ann Hunter is one of my favorite historical authors and I look forward to more books by her. I received a copy of this book for free. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
The fourth, and final, book in the Hawthorne House series does not disappoint! I was captivated from the first word to the last. Griffith, the Duke of Riverton, is a man of order, logic, and decisiveness. Now that all of his siblings are happily married, he decides it's time for him to seek a wife...and the hilarity ensues! I LOVE the way Kristi Ann Hunter writes!!!! Her stories are well-constructed, full of description, and her characters are human-just like us. Griffith uses logic and makes a plan to marry and we know what happens when we make a plan and leave God out of the equation! I couldn't put this book down, and i know I will read it again. I would suggest starting with the novella, "A Lady of Esteem" It's free to read and the perfect beginning to this series. And you will become so enthralled with the characters, you will have to get all of the books!!! I've read each book more than five times. I enjoy the series THAT much--and I know you will too. Everyone else has written lengthy reviews of this book so I won't go into detail, but get the series and put it on your keeper shelf. I know that I will be reading these books over and over and over and i will discover something new I love every time. Bethany House gave me a copy of this book for my honest review, and I have done so. I would have purchased this book, and as a matter of fact, will buy it to share.
Kristi is a wonderful author. I have enjoyed this series so much and was very excited to finally read Griffith's story. Griffith has been a strong character in all of the books, looking after others and doing what is best for his family. The same is true in this book, but in this book we get to see a slightly softer side, but it doesn't come easily. There are some situations in this book that even made me laugh out loud. Isabella is a wonderful character as well. She is beautiful but not proud. She finds herself in a very tough situation that I was sure could only end in disaster. To see if I was right you will have to read the book. You won't be sorry. A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher. All opinions are my own.
I adored this Regency novel which was filled with star-crossed romance and heart. A great conclusion to a favorite series.
Kristi Ann Hunter continues to impress! "An Inconvenient Beauty" centers around Griffith, the Duke of Riverton, as he meticulously and carefully selects and courts his ideal wife. His family, mostly, marries for love and yet he also considers the noble qualities his wife must possess. As with any Hunter book, the moods, conversations, decorations, and events all swirl into a purely-blissful reading! If you've been following the stories of the siblings in the Hawthorne House series, you won't be disappointed to see everyone reappear. This book wouldn't be impossible to read alone, but it truly is a wonderful set of books and I'd suggest to start from the beginning with "A Lady of Esteem," which is a free novella from Kristi Ann Hunter's website. Enjoy this wonderful series with witty and realistic characters! I received a copy of "An Inconvenient Beauty" from Bethany House Publishers for my honest and fair review.
One thing that Griffith, Duke of Riverton, learned from his childhood was that he would remain in control. Always. He prefers order, logic and sensibility, and he applies that rationale to his choice of a bride. He’s logically certain that Miss Frederica St. Claire is his perfect choice for a wife. But where Frederica is, there too is Miss Isabella Breckenridge, Frederica’s stunningly beautiful cousin, whom he cannot seem to forget about. Isabella has been presented to the London elite for her society debut. Unfortunately, she cannot enjoy it due to a bargain she accepted out of desperation for her family’s difficult circumstances. Although she finds herself drawn to the Duke of Riverton, she quashes it, knowing that her regretful agreement dashes any romantic hopes she may have for a man of her choosing. Not having read a story from this author, I didn’t know what to expect. I’m happy to report that I really enjoyed this story from the ‘Hawthorne House’ series. It was as delightful as a sunshiny spring day, and I didn’t feel lost in a maze even though I did not read the preceding novels. Hunter writes characters who have substance and are not all frou-frou. She also writes with wit, as more than once did I laugh out loud. Yes, there’s struggle and regret and heartache. Yes, there’s humor and laughter, faith, prayer and love. There are passion projects for the right reasons and passions displaced. And that sounds a lot like life, whether in 1815 or 2017. -- Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions are expressly my own.
I was able to read each book in this series back to back, and it was so fun to be immersed in the Regency time period with the members of the Hawthorne family. This last book is Griffith's story, and I was excited for it since he was such a great character in the previous books. While the plot isn't too involved, it was enjoyable to see Griffith plan for one wife and end up falling in love with her cousin- who he discovers is unattainable, even for a duke. I admired his persistence while still trying to respect her wishes, and a sweet friendship formed amidst the attraction they felt but could not act on. There is some great humor to round out the angst and of course it was nice to read more about the continuing lives of Griffith's siblings and their spouses. I loved Griffith's relationship with his mother and the dynamics at play there. Of course it all works out in the end, and I especially appreciated Griffith's role in the conclusion and resolution of the obstacle that plagues Isabella. (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
It’s always such a lovely feeling to come to the end of a well-loved series like Hawthorne House. An Inconvenient Beauty was the story of the final and oldest Hawthorne sibling, Griffith, a duke and a man who likes calm and order in life. Isabella Breckenridge puts a kink in his well-laid plans. Though Griffith plans to court the practical Frederica St. Clair, Frederica seems immune to his status and attentions, while he seems to constantly bump into her cousin Isabella. Though the story was slower to start for me – I’m one of those readers who is just eager for interaction between the leads – I found both Griffith and Isabella to be endearing characters. Isabella finds herself in a predicament that leads her to participate in deception, which had me weary at first, but I understood her motivations, and, of course, as the plot deepens, there are consequences she doesn’t foresee. Griffith’s envisioned plans are almost laughable – because when can you ever apply logic to the heart? But he tries, and it’s quite humorous to watch him come to his own conclusions about that. Once he does get his act together, it perpetuates some of the sweetest scenes and achingly tender actions on his part, all the more poignant because Isabella feels stuck. I do wish that Isabella would have opened up just a little sooner, however, she felt her family’s welfare was at stake, so it made sense that she didn’t. I can get behind a realistic action by a character if there is a good reason for it. I also loved the friendship between Isabella and Frederica. It adds a genuineness to the story, and the way they depend on each other makes my heart happy. The overall message for me was that planning is all well and good, but we can be assured that God ultimately orders our steps. It’s not always the smoothest or most comfortable journey, but I believe it’s always better than what we could ever imagine for ourselves. My favorite book in the series is still book two, An Elegant Facade, but An Inconvenient Beauty is certainly a pleasing end to the series. I do recommend reading the books in order, as I think it would make for a more fun reading experience. It was fun to see the people that I "met" and whose stories I experienced previously in this current story, but I don't think it would have been quite as fun if they felt like strangers to me. Kristi Ann Hunter is one of my favorite authors that I've discovered recently, and I'm already looking forward to her 2018 series. I received a complimentary copy of this novel, which I chose to review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
What a beautiful romance! So creative in how it’s written. I love the way the characters think. The character Griffith is a Duke and carefully reasons everything out, sometimes with the help of his friend and brother-in-law who is equal to the task. He is pressured to get married and through his reasoning chooses one of the social debutantes who is not in the limelight, yet is on the fringe. Not the most beautiful, but socially prominent and acceptable. However, there are a few things he didn’t know when he was making his decision – like the fact that the girl was in love with someone else and she was using her cousin as a shield from him. And that her father was using her cousin as bait for his own political agenda - the cousin who is uncommonly beautiful and completely in the limelight. The story is very well woven, has good depth and held my interest through every line. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Bethany House Publishers - Netgalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.
What a beautiful ending to a wonderful series. I absolutely loved the Hawthorne House's family, and it's going to be sad saying goodbye to them, but this was definitely the story to end it. Griffith has always been the pillar of the family, the guiding force and sound logic when his family needed it. But, what happens when all his sound logic is thrown out the window? As a duke, he knows he has to marry someone special, someone who can wear the mantle of Duchess, and while many young women wanted that title, very few were worthy of it. But, he doesn't want to break his family's tradition of marrying for love either. But, while his mind fully believes one woman to be his love, his heart keeps pulling him to her cousin. Isabella had never been in high society, and only wanted to smile, look pretty, and save her family. She didn't expect to meet Griffith, or to actually enjoy being with him. Torn between duty to family, and the possibly of happiness, both have to decide whether to follow the logic of their minds, or to take a chance and trust God, and possibly find true love in the process. I loved this series, a great read for any lover of regencies, and I'm looking forward to meeting more families by this amazing author. I received a copy of this book for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Monday, October 9, 2017 An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter, © 2017 The Hawthorne House Series, Book 4 My Review: While their friendship goes way back to school days, Ryland and Griffith, young dukes, grow to manhood. Still confidants and advisors, they seek each other in decision-making. One is not so certain, as Griffith plans a methodical way to win a wife. Missing her Northumberland home and family, Isabella longs to return to a green countryside and fresh air. She suddenly was transported to London with her Uncle Percy and Cousin Freddie with little time to consider. Go or stay. Her uncle offers to finance her family's failing farm and provide schooling for her brother. How can she refuse? Her part? To influence young men to aid a bill in the House of Lords that her uncle has been promoting for years. Simple enough. Dancing with them at stylish balls, they will come on the at-home day and be met aforehand by Uncle and persuaded to become familiar with the need for their vote. One thing going for the Duke of Riverton is strolling with the cousins amid greenery, a definite plus for time with them. The one he has chosen has other interests, leaving the cousin who definitely doesn't want to include Griffith in the trail of men she is bringing for her uncle to concur with. I liked Frederica's urgent need for a rest, resulting in the continued walk with Isabella. A scavenger hunt during the weekend gala planned by his mother, Griffith finds a treasure of his own. Tenacity brings him to several interesting developments as he tries to find out why he is being spurned in his attempts to courtship. I liked the concurrence of the ladies in Griffith's family in encouraging him in his selection. ***Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for a copy of this fourth and final book in the Hawthorne House series. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
Kristi Ann Hunter's humor will make you laugh out loud. In her final book of this series, readers have one last chance to spend time with these wonderful characters that comprise this interesting family. Hunter ends the series with the oldest brother's pursuit of a wife and what a way to end! The story is engaging and full of scenes that Regency era fans will love. The characters learn some lessons along the way, which could easily lead to a group discussion. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.