Lawman Samuel Thatcher arrives just in time to save Abigail Gilbert from highwaymen. Against his better judgment, he agrees to escort her to her fiancé in northern England. Each will be indelibly changed if they don’t kill one another. . .or fall in love.
About the Author
Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the Christy Award-winning author of historical romances: A Tale of Two Hearts, The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. And guess what? She loves to hear from readers! Feel free to drop her a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read an Excerpt
Southampton, England, 1815
Was it wicked to say goodbye with a smile? Wrong to feel happy about leaving one's family behind? Surely only a sinner's heart would harbour such uncharitable emotions ... wouldn't it?
Stepping into the corridor, Abigail Gilbert closed her chamber door, shutting off such reproachful thoughts. This was a day of celebration, not bleak ponderings. Not anymore.
Hand yet on the knob, she hesitated a moment and angled her head. The usual morning sounds — servants bustling, trays rattling, feet padding to and fro — were absent. She'd heard them earlier while she'd sat at her dressing table. Why not now?
But no time to ponder such oddities. She scurried along the corridor to her stepsister's room, tightening her bonnet ribbons as she went. Her other half sister, Jane, would be down to breakfast already, but not Mary. Never Mary. The girl was a perpetual slugabed.
"Mary?" Abby tapped the bedroom door and listened.
"Sister?" She rapped again, louder this time. "Are you still abed?"
Pressing her ear to the wood, she strained to hear some kind of complaint, or at least a pillow thwacking against the other side.
And ... nothing.
Turning the knob, Abby shoved open the door, expecting a darkened room. Instead, brilliant sunbeams landed on a very empty bed. The light needled her eyes, and she blinked. Odd. Mary up so soon? How unlike her, unless —
Abby's breath caught in her throat. Perhaps she'd been wrong, and Mary truly did care she was leaving. Even now her youngest sister might be waiting along with Jane in the breakfast room, teary-eyed and saddened to say farewell. La! Abby gave herself a silent scolding. She was a bad sister to assume the worst.
Lighter of step and of heart, she darted back into the corridor and sped down the grand stairway — despite years of reprimands for such hasty movements. Even now her stepmother's voice scolded inside her head.
"Fast feet fly toward folly."
She frowned. Surely that was not what she was doing. Any woman would hurry to be with the man who loved her. Still, she hesitated at the bottom of the staircase and smoothed her skirts before proceeding in a more ladylike manner.
She glided into the morning room, all grace and smiles, a pleasant adieu ready to launch from her lips. But her smile froze. She stopped.
Not even any breakfast dishes upon the sideboard. Would there be no one to wish her well on her journey?
Her throat tightened. But perhaps her sisters were already waiting outside by the coach, desiring a last embrace and wave of the hand as she disappeared into the land of matrimony. Everyone knew sisters should part in the best of ways, even Mary and Jane. Abby pivoted, intent on sharing a merry goodbye outdoors with them.
But first she must find Father and give him a final embrace. Besides her stepsisters, he was the last person to bid farewell, for she'd taken leave of her stepmother and stepbrother the night before.
Across from the sitting room, the study door was closed. One more curiosity on this momentous day. Pipe smoke ought to be curling into the hall by now, the scent of cherry tobacco sweetening the morning. Once again, Abby knocked on wood.
Without waiting for a response, she entered.
"What are you doing here?" Her stepmother frowned up at her from where she arranged lilies in a vase on Father's desk. It was a frivolous task, for Father cared not a whit about such trivialities, yet her stepmother insisted the touch added a certain richesse — as she put it — to the home ... though Abby suspected it was more to remind her father what a doting woman he'd married so he wouldn't be tempted to look elsewhere for companionship.
Abby pulled her spine straight, a habit she'd developed as a young girl whenever in her stepmother's presence. "I came to say —"
"You should be gone by now!" Her stepmother crossed to the front of the desk and narrowed her eyes.
"I — I ..." Her words unwound like a ball of yarn fallen to the floor, rolling off to the corner of the room. Not surprising, really. Her stepmother always effected such a response.
"I asked you a question, girl. Why are you not on your way to Penrith?"
Abby's gaze shot to the mantel clock. In four minutes, the hour hand would strike eight, her planned departure time. Was her stepmother confused — or was she? But no. Father's instructions had been abundantly clear.
Even so, she hesitated before answering. "I am certain that I am not to leave for Brakewell Hall until eight o'clock."
"Do not contradict me." Her stepmother clipped her words and her steps as she drew up nose to nose with Abigail. "Seven, you stupid girl. You were to depart at seven."
Abby bit her lip. Was she wrong? Had she misunderstood? Twenty years of doubting herself was a hard habit to break. Yet if she closed her eyes, she could still hear old Parker, her father's manservant, saying, "Coach leaves at eight bells, miss. Young Mr. Boone will be your driver until you swap out at Tavistock. Charlie's to be your manservant."
She stared at her stepmother. This close up, it was hard not to. A tic twitched the corner of the woman's left eye, but even so, Abby did not look away. To do otherwise would earn her a slap.
"I am sure of the time, Mother, yet I wonder why you thought otherwise. I am surprised you are not yet taking breakfast in bed. Where is Fath —"
A slap cut through the air. Abby's face jerked, and her cheek stung. She retreated, pressing her fingertips to the violated skin.
"Do not shame me. Curiosity is a vice of the ill-bred. Of all your faults, you cannot claim a mean upbringing, for you have been more than blessed."
The heat radiating on her cheek belied her stepmother's logic. She was blessed to have lived beneath this woman's iron hand for two decades? Abby drew in a shaky breath yet remained silent.
A smile spread like a stain on her stepmother's face, her teeth yellowed by age and far too much tea. "I suppose I might as well tell you, though it's really none of your affair. Your father is taking your sisters and me abroad to see off your brother on his grand tour. They are all out even now, the first to look through a recently arrived shipment of silks and woolens. I expect each of them shall make fortuitous matches as we summer amongst the elite in Italy, surpassing even the arrangement your father made for you."
Abby pressed a hand to her stomach. Gone? All of them? When they knew she was leaving?
Her stepmother clicked her tongue. "What's this? You didn't actually expect anyone to see you off, did you?"
For a moment, her heart constricted. Of course she'd known. She was an outsider. A stranger. She knew that as intimately as the skin on her face or the rift in her heart. A loving family was nothing more than a concept, an idea — one she'd have to learn, for she had no experience of it. Her lower lip quivered.
But she lifted her chin before the trap of self-pity snapped shut. "Of course not." She flashed as brilliant a smile as she could summon. "I merely wanted to thank Father one last time for arranging my marriage to Sir Jonathan, but you can tell him for me. I am grieved you shall all miss the ceremony."
Brittle laughter assaulted the June morning. "Oh Abigail, don't be ridiculous. We have other things to do. Now that we have your association with a baronet, the chances of my daughters marrying better than you are within reach. There is no time to waste."
The words poked holes into her heart. Why had she been so foolish to expect anything different? Abby whirled and ran from the house, praying it was no folly to escape such a hateful woman.
Outside, Mr. Boone stood at the carriage door, ready to assist her, but he was the only one in sight. Her maid, Fanny, was likely already seated inside, and old Charlie, who was to accompany her for the entire trip, was nowhere to be seen.
Mr. Boone held out his hand, but she hesitated to take it. "Are we to wait for Charlie?"
Red crept up the young man's neck, matching the hue of his wine-coloured riding coat. "Pardon, miss, but he will not be attending. It was decided he was more needed here."
Here? When the whole family would be absent for months? Anger churned her empty belly. This smacked of one last insult from her stepmother. If Jane or Mary were traveling cross-country, besides a maid and manservant, the woman would have sent a footman, a coachman, and a hired guard for good measure. Abby frowned. Should she wait for Father to return? He might rectify the situation, provided her stepmother didn't make a fuss. Or should she forge ahead?
She glanced back at the house, only to see her stepmother glowering out the window.
Abby turned to Mr. Boone and forced a small smile. "Well then, let us begin our journey, shall we?"
She grabbed the servant's hand and allowed him to assist her into the coach, then settled on the seat next to her maid. With Fanny and a driver, it wasn't as if she were traveling alone.
"Ready for an adventure, miss?" Fanny nudged her with her elbow. "Soon be queen of your own castle, eh?"
"Yes, Fanny." Cheek still stinging from her stepmother's slap, she turned her face away from the only home she'd ever known. "I should like to be a queen."
* * *
Hounslow Heath, just outside London
Gone. For now. Like a demon disappeared into the abyss. Samuel Thatcher shaded his eyes and squinted across the rugged heath kissed brilliant by the risen sun. Shankhart Robbins was out there, all right. Somewhere. And worse — he'd be back. Evil always had a way of returning bigger and blacker than before, singeing any soul it touched. After ten years on the force, with five in the Nineteenth Dragoons before that, Samuel Thatcher's soul was more than singed. It was seared to a crisp.
Behind him, Officer Bexley reined in his horse. "We lost Shankhart's trail nigh an hour ago. What do we do now, Captain?"
Aye. That was the question of the hour. Shoving his boot into the stirrup, he swung up onto his mount and turned Pilgrim about. "Go back."
"You're giving up?"
"Didn't say that." He rocked forward in the saddle. Without a word, his horse set off into a working trot, though she had to be as bone weary as he. Tired from a sleepless night. Tired from humanity. Tired of life.
An hour later, he pulled on the reins, halting in front of a gruesome sight. Draped over the hindquarters of his men's horses were the bodies of two women and two men, covered haphazardly with black riding cloaks. The other two horses, taken down by the highwaymen's shots, lay beneath a gathering swarm of blackflies. Who in their right mind would allow women to travel across this stretch of scrubby land accompanied by only a postilion? And by the looks of the overturned carriage, an inexperienced one at that.
Colbert and Higgins, the officers Samuel had left behind, rose from near the felled chaise, their red waistcoats stark as blood in the morning light.
Colbert turned aside and spit. "No luck, eh?"
Next to Samuel, Bexley dismounted, working out a kink in his lower back the second his feet hit the ground. "It'll take more'n luck to bring down that lot."
The men recounted once again how the attack must have played out, shuttlecocking ideas back and forth. For the most part, their conjectures were plausible. Even so, Samuel gritted his teeth, suddenly on edge. But why? The sky was clear. The weather temperate. And Shankhart was gone for now, so there was no imminent danger to them or any other passing coaches.
All the same, he stiffened in the saddle and cocked his head.
And ... there. He angled Pilgrim toward a tiny mewl, not unlike the cry of a rabbit kit caught in a snare. Bypassing the ruined chaise and giving wide berth to the downed horses, he followed a small path of disturbed bracken, barely bent. Easy to miss in last night's gloaming, when they'd happened upon the scene. Yet clearly something had traveled this way.
He lowered to the ground, following the delicate trail on foot. The cry grew louder the farther he tracked. So did the alarm squeezing his chest. Oh God ... if this is a baby ... Upping his pace, he closed in on a small rise of bracken and rock. Tucked into a crevice, a child, two years old or possibly three, whimpered for his mam — a mother who would never again wipe the tears from the lad's smudged cheeks.
Though relief coursed through him that the victim was not a babe, his lips flattened. One more piece of his charred heart crumbled loose, leaving his faith more jagged than before. It wasn't fair, such suffering for a little one — and he knew that better than most.
Reaching into the cleft, he pulled the child out. Teeth sank into his forearm. Nails surprisingly sharp ripped some of the skin off the back of one of his hands, and kicks jabbed his stomach. Despite it all, Samuel straightened and soothed, "Shh. You're safe now."
The lie burned in his throat. No one was safe, not on this side of heaven. He closed his eyes while the child squirmed.
Lord, grant mercy.
Lately, that prayer was as regular as his breath.
He retraced his route and hefted the child up into the saddle with him. He held the lad tight against him with his left arm, and gripped the reins with his injured right hand, blood dripping freely from it.
By the time he returned to the men, they were mounted as well. Bexley's brows lifted. The other two officers clamped their jaws and averted their gazes. To say anything would only magnify their failure to discover the lad sooner.
Samuel scowled, as much at his own deficiencies as theirs. If no family could be found, the child would end up in an orphanage. Even so, God knew it could be worse — he knew it could be worse.
Bexley edged his horse closer and lowered his voice for him alone. "Don't go too hard on the men, Captain. It were an easy oversight on such a long night."
He'd have to mete out some kind of censure. Good Lord, if he hadn't discovered the child and they'd left the youngling behind — but no. Better not to think it. He shifted the child on his lap, digging out an elbow shoved into his belly, then wiped the blood from his hand on his trousers. He'd come up with a discipline for Colbert and Higgins later, when his bones didn't feel every one of his thirty-one years and his soul wasn't raging at the injustice of the world.
"Move out." He twitched the reins, and Pilgrim lifted her nose toward London.
Bexley fell in beside him. "You've got that look about you."
He slid a sideways glance at the man but said nothing.
"You're not long for the force, are you?"
He did look then, full-on, studying every nuance of the stubbled face staring back at him. "What makes you say that?"
Bexley shrugged. "It's no secret your contract is up in a month."
So everyone knew. But did everyone also know he didn't have enough money yet to purchase the land he wanted? He turned his gaze back to the road.
"Why, Captain?" Bexley gnawed at the subject like a hound with a bone. "You're the best officer we got. You know this road will be more dangerous without you."
He grunted. With or without him, danger would prevail.
"Where will you go?" Bexley asked.
"What will you do?"
"You? A farmer?" Bexley's laughter rumbled loud and long.
"No. You'll miss this. The action. The adventure. Farming's too dull and lonely a life for you."
"Exactly." He pushed air through his teeth in a sharp whistle, and Pilgrim broke into a canter, leaving Bexley behind.
That was exactly what he wished — to be left alone.CHAPTER 2
Abby's eyelids grew heavy as the chaise rumbled along. After only two days of travel, the tedium of the journey wore on both her and Fanny. Even now her maid's head drooped sideways onto Abby's shoulder, the woman's breathing thick and even. Abby shifted slightly, easing into a more comfortable position. It wouldn't hurt to close her own eyes. They still had Hounslow Heath to cross before stopping for the night. There'd be nothing to see but rain-dampened flatlands anyway.
Her chin dropped to her chest, and she gave in to the jiggle and sway of the carriage. For the first time since her father had remarried, she could finally fully relax. No more cutting remarks from her stepmother. No cross looks from her sisters. It was a welcome feeling, this freedom. Decadent and heady.
And horribly shame inducing. She ought to be missing her family, not reveling in their absence. She ought to be praying for them each night as her head hit the pillow, not dreaming of her new life with Sir Jonathan Aberley. As she bobbed along with the rhythm of the rolling wheels, she vowed to be more diligent in prayer for them. Starting tonight.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Noble Guardian"
Copyright © 2019 Michelle Griep.
Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
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
The Noble Guardian by Michelle Griep is a historical romance page-turner! The book itself is packed with excitement, romance, and suspense! Abigail and Samuel have such great chemistry together that it makes the book that much more enjoyable to read. Whenever you try to put the book down for a break, something exciting happens! I highly recommended this book if you are looking for a historical romance with some exciting twist and turns! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
“Life is more than good ideas. It’s the risks that return greater results.” England, 1815. Abbey is a combination of an extreme optimist and pure ignorance. She's very unhappy at home, and after her father arranges a marriage with a man that she met once, she's off to meet her groom to be. Unescorted except for a maid, because her family couldn't be bothered to spare anyone to go with her. The maid isn't up for as much adventure as what they're put through and goes back shortly after leaving. Even this didn't prompt her family to send someone to help Abbey. She is so frustratingly ignorant, but it adds to the constant tension of the story, mixed with the dangerous, life threatening storyline. She's also a sweet girl who has been mistreated, and you want to root for her. Samuel is a Bow Street Runner Horse Patrol Captain who runs into Abby's carriage after a massacre. Their situations bring the two of them together, an unlikely combination, and it brings out lots of feelings in both of them, especially to the surprised Samuel. Quite a cynic, he struggles with not having enough money, she with not being loved by her family after her mother died. Both have lived a hard life. It's quite an adventure, leaving you holding your breath, wondering what will happen next. But you have to know what will happen to this girl. Knowing that most of her optimism comes from her deep faith helps to explain a lot. A good read! Don't you just love the cover? It's nice to see men on the cover - shows how appealing it can be, even with their shirt on! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher and 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.” #NetGalley #TheNobleGuardian #MichelleGriep #BooksYouCanFeelGoodAbout #5Stars
This book was received as an ARC from Barbour Publishing, Inc. - Shiloh Run Press in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. The series ends on a thrilling note that will leave you breathless and speechless. The Noble Guardian continues with Abigail and the perfect life she has built for herself. About to marry one of the richest men in the town, she gets caught with some criminals and relies on a lawnman to save her and bring her back to town. Along the way, the lawnman grows fond of Abigail and their relationship starts to spark and may end up at a different direction when she returns home and she will find happiness with someone else. Christian Fiction is a popular genre with our patrons and community and I know this book will be among the most popular that gets circulated. We will consider adding this title to our Christian Fiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
This book had me in a state of suspense for most of the book! I love the historical facts woven into this story. I love the magnetic attraction between Samuel and Abby that is strong and clean. Samuel is a complex man. He is so good at heart, but struggles with his painful past, and so comes across as gruff and almost indifferent. But nothing could be further from the truth. He is loyal, and desires a good life, but doesn't think he is deserving of anything good - including Abby. Abby is just an awesome woman! She is kind, brave and wants to love and be loved. She has been treated terribly by her family, and is looking forward to a 'happily ever after'... Samuel and Abby are thrown together in the midst of extremely trying circumstances: ~ Villains, bad weather, a broken carriage, a lying scheming baronet (also a villain), and a baby to boot - among other things! Through all of it, they are both struggling with their faith, and searching for hope. But both know down deep that trusting God is the right way to go. One of my favorite quotes is from Abby: "Lord, I confess I am anxious and fretting and altogether not trusting in Your great providence. It is not You who are in my debt, but I in Yours... for everything You give. .... I will trust You for the best outcome whatever that may be, for I can do no more." The suspense is continual - wondering what will happen with the villains, and then also in wondering when Samuel and Abby will give in to loving each other!! I received a complimentary copy of this book. I am not required to leave a review. All opinions expressed here are my own. I highly recommend this book! I throughly enjoyed it!
The novel is a good romantic adventure with two memorable main characters, a wonderful villain, and an interesting secondary cast. The Noble Guardian is certainly not a Jane Austen-style Regency, but its blend of dark action, romance, and a traditional view of God and the afterlife offer an engrossing experience. Please see my full review at AllAboutRomance.com
The Noble Guardian, by Michelle Griep, was a great ending to The Bow Street Runners Trilogy. Samuel is a burned out lawman who is just trying to wrap up his last case before buying some land to relax and settle down. He comes across a young woman, Abigail, who is trying to reach her fiancé. She is a cinderella of sorts. Her father kind of ignores her and the step-mother is emotionally cruel. Her father promises her to a Baronet whom she met once. In her mind, the fiancé is some sort of noble, upstanding, loving man. She gushes on about him a little too much. Anyhow, the roads in England during the early 1800s are quite dangerous. Abigail pleads with Samuel to escort her to her intended. Along the way, there is excitement and peril, and a baby girl adds to the mix. Eventually, we find that everyone is not as wonderful as they seem. It was easy to love the characters and become immersed in the story. There was also a respectable amount of spiritual content woven into the story. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under to obligation to post a review.
Action, danger, suspense, intrigue, with some romance and inspiration thrown in for good measure—just what I expected from a Michelle Griep story, especially a Bow Street Runners series story! Griep knows how to build up the suspense and keep it humming while she takes her characters, and the readers, on a grand adventure. The careful research behind the story shines through and adds authenticity to it. With a rich historical setting and multi-layered, colorful characters, this book drew me in and kept me captivated to the last page. Abby Gilbert and Samuel Thatcher were both hurting and broken, and I was cheering for them to heal and get their happy-ever-after. Thanks to the author for a wonderful wrap-up of the trilogy! I would recommend this to those who enjoy inspirational historical fiction. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher/NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
(3 stars) – if you can overlook some rather large plot holes, you’ll enjoy the ride The premise of this book drew me to it, and the writing is good, but there were several major questions about the plot as it developed. I’ll admit to having enjoyed the story, anyway, despite some pretty big problems with it. It was a cinderella story with a fairytale-ish superficiality to it, but then I’ve loved fairytales since I was a kid & I really enjoyed seeing Samuel get his happily-ever-after.. ***SPOILERS AHEAD*** I could buy the idea that a young woman from an abusive home might naively delude herself into believing that she was going to a better situation. However, even if she were sheltered & inexperienced with life’s dangers, she would have known, from her sisters if nothing else, that it was inappropriate for women of her station to travel with only a maid, and her abusive family would have known that it would considerably damage THEIR reputation if word got out that they had done so – as it likely would because townspeople would have noted & commented on it all along the way. It would have worked better to have her sent with the necessary minimum of attendants & then be separated from them along the way so that she needed the Captain’s help. Additionally, even if a suitor were only interested in marriage for what he could gain materially from the match, he would be interested in keeping her happy & safe at least until he had successfully gotten his hands on her money. Instead he was such a blatant scuzz that there’s no way Abby marrying him could have helped the wicked stepsisters make better matches – the family would have needed him to be someone with reasonably good “ton”. It would have worked better for him to hide his scuzziness & indifference, and have Abby find out by overhearing or accidentally seeing something. There were other issues, but these are the ones that are the hardest to overlook. ***END SPOILERS*** Clean romance level: sweet kisses Religion: generic Christian, not preachy
This is the first book that I have read in the Bow Street Runners series by Michelle Griep but the book could be read as a stand-alone. I loved being introduced to Samuel and Abby. Abby is sent off to marry a baronet after her family does not need to have her around. Times are hard as many carriages are robbed by highwaymen during travels and Abby is sent without a manservant during the journey. Samuel's life has not been easy. He does not want to get straddled with anything or anyone. When life's circumstances bring Abby and Samuel together, Samuel is struggling with his feelings. He is supposed to be delivering Abby to the baronet but, now with a baby in tow along with Abby, things change. I loved reading about Samuel and Abby's journey and how they finally realize their feelings. Great historical fiction and I love the fact that Ms. Griep includes the history part in the back of the book. I will definitely be reading more of Ms. Griep's books.
Michelle Griep did it again! I enjoyed her last book, "Ladies of Intrigue," and I appreciate the work and detail she puts into her novels, set in Victorian times. "The Noble Guardian" is another engrossing read, filled with danger, love in the strangest of places, an unexpected child to transport and a woman running from the fractured family who raised her. I didn't realize this book was #3 in a series, as I got to read it thanks to #NetGalley, but I will be reading the preceding books after this! Griep always gives the reader relatable characters that interact in ways that you might not expect. This novel is no exception, as Abby is a woman who is betrothed to a wealthy baronet of her father's choice, headed across the heaths of England to meet him, along with her maid. As the trip progresses, Abby's maid deserts her, and she is forced to pay for a postillion and a guardian to protect her over the harrowing journey-- one fraught with thieves and highwaymen ready to rob an unsuspecting woman. Thankfully, she encounters Samuel, a Bow Street Runner, who begins the journey with Abby after she is physically attacked by a lecherous man claiming to be a guardian. He is not a minute too soon. Samuel knows Abby will never make it to her intended baronet, Sir Jonathan, if he does not help her. The Bow Street Runner's primary goals were to keep the roads within 60 miles of London safe for the travelers, and Samuel takes his job as a magistrate serious. He is, in fact, a good man, which Abby is not used to. Abby enters into this agreement with the intent of it being a means to an end, but as Emma, a child with no mother, is introduced into the mix, the dynamics of the relationship between Samuel and Abby begins to change. She is thrust into the motherly role and all that it entails, including a sickness that could threaten all their lives. Samuel also has a target on his back from some especially dangerous highwaymen who would rather see him dead, making Abby and Emma precious cargo he must also protect. The characters are well developed and the reader can't help but fall in love with each of them in their own way. Abby grows and changes throughout the story, finding strength she didn't know she had, and Samuel is working towards protecting his charges and doing what is right, both in the eyes of the law and the eyes of God. Can this ragtag group of people make it to their final destinations? Will Abby choose her dashing baronet, or the noble guardian who has protected both her and baby Emma all the way to their awaiting new lives? Does Abby choose to trust a family who never really treated her well or a stranger willing to put himself in harm's way for her safety and welfare? "The Noble Guardian" is so well done. Griep is an author whose work is excellent and well researched. She doesn't write in a way that lets the reader think she's neglected her homework, often leaving detailed explanations of points in history she chooses to highlight in her books at the conclusion. I can't get enough of her stories! Many thanks to #NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book. All opinions are my own and I was not required to leave a review. If you enjoy Victorian novels with a dash of romance and adventure, do not miss Griep's work!
Filled with romance, suspense, adventure and intrigue, The Noble Guardian by Michelle Griep is pure reading pleasure. I enjoy Regencies very much, a term that usually makes me think of noble men and ladies, balls, witty banter, and humorous escapades (aka Georgette Heyer). While this series is set during England’s Regency era, these stories are quite different from what I’ve come to expect, and they are wonderful. Griep excels at historical detail and descriptive scenes, to the extent that I was transported into the atmosphere of small villages and the English countryside. The writing is excellent; characters are well drawn, appealing, and realistically flawed. Villains are pure evil. Samuel Thatcher was introduced in The Innkeeper’s Daughter as a man of few words, an “officer of shadow and dust” with a unique ability at camouflage, and I’ve been eager for his story ever since. Thatcher is a war veteran working for the Bow Street Runners, a sort of detective force for hire during a time when the police force wasn’t very organized, and his assignment in this story is patrolling rural areas for highwaymen. Samuel and Abby’s backgrounds make them relatable and appealing – Samuel, who has been affected by all the evil he has seen and longs to leave this career, and Abby, who has grown up with verbal and emotional abuse. Samuel’s crusty exterior hides an inner softness, and Abby is a woman of compassion, courage and determination. The chemistry between these two is great. I loved the spiritual growth seen in Samuel and Abby, as they turn more and more to prayer and gradually discover the need to relinquish control and rely on God. Taxed with taking baby Emma to the stable master’s sister, their love and care for this little one tugs at the heartstrings. The Bow Street Runners series comes to a beautiful conclusion and I look forward to much more from Michelle Griep. I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
The Noble Guardian is a historical fiction book that I could not put down at times and at other times I found it hard to keep reading. At the start of the book, my heart broke for Abigail because of the cruelty of her stepmother. Having a father who remarried, I can relate to the difficulties that result in family dynamics from that. Thinking she had found true love, she set off to marry a baronet. Rather than being sent off with love, she is sent off with no male guardian and exceptionally harsh words. My heart broke for her. I had to wonder whether her father knew of the change in plans the stepmother had made. The interactions between Abby and Samuel captured my attention and interest. The addition of Emma (the baby of a friend of Samuel) added to the dynamics of the books. My one reservation about easily recommending this book is the inclusion of violence in a detailed manner. But the violence is a necessary component to the storyline. Their willingness to travel together to safely get Emma to her aunt kept my reading. I was glad to see Samuel was the type of man I expected him to be when he went back for Emma rather than leaving her with an aunt who was dying and an uncle who was a drunk. When the baronet was finally introduced I could not stand him. He was a true example of evil. His cruel treatment of both Samuel (who was injured), Emma, and Abigail broke my heart. So if you like reading historical Christian fiction and do not mind reading about violence, check out this book for yourself. I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.
The Noble Guardian is another exceptional read by author Griep. First off, the cover is one of my favorites of a gentleman prominently displayed. It also represents the story and sets the mood very well. The story inside is packed with love, romance, action, adventure, and highwaymen nobody in their right minds would want to come across. Abigail Gilbert had a bit of a Cinderella vibe going on with her family history and I felt her desperation and hope as she travels toward the man that she believes is her prince. However, along the way some really bad men decide to throw a wrench into her plans and her destination is delayed many times over. Enter Officer Samuel Thatcher who is tired of the inhumanity of lawless men and women and just wants to retire to a nice farm someplace off the beaten path. Unfortunately a very evil man has set his revenge and sights on doing away with Samuel and all those he may care about. Thrown together quite by accident, Samuel and Abigail along with a precocious baby girl must travel through a dangerous trek of land fighting not only weather and men’s evil but their growing attraction to one another. Gruff Samuel and tender Abigail may have set their hopes on all the wrong things. I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
My thoughts: Have you ever had a book where you just knew you were going to love it and you were only one chapter in? That is this book! Such a great read. The characters just suck you in and there is no escape. Not that you want to escape. I mean, you really don’t even want to put it down to go eat or take care of your kids. I’m a big fan of historical fiction. While this doesn’t necessarily cover any real historical time events like a world war, it’s still a great read. You get to go back in time and that in and of itself is fun. While time traveling, take the time to imagine yourself in those clothes because we all know you’re doing it anyway as you imagine yourself the heroine. There is just something about the past that draws me so that is always a plus for a book to be set in days gone by. Another plus in my “book” is if the writer knows what she’s talking about. I mean we don’t want hoop skirts in the Edwardian period or bustles on the pre Civil War farm ladies. With that being said I really think the author did a good job researching and knowing about the time period she’s writing in. This is the end book of a series. Do yourself a favor and go get the other books first. You can read it as a stand-alone but why not read the whole series!? I’m a big fan of reading series works as a series and this is one that definitely makes it all that much better. You don’t have to. I can’t force you to. Just saying I think it makes it that much better! The characters were charming. I laughed more than I probably should have as it did get my children’s attention and I had to stop reading for a bit. The main characters are so loveable and I really did feel like they were my new best friends. Best friends that definitely do not get along. . . or maybe they do. I have voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from Celebrate Lit. All views expressed are only my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations.
The Noble Guardian by Michelle Griep is the third book in her Bow Street Runners series. Abby Gilbert must journey across England to marry the wealthy gentleman of her dreams. After highwaymen upset her plans, she hires Captain Samuel Thatcher of the Bow Street Runners, to escort her the rest of the way. With the money Abby promises him once the journey is complete, Samuel will be able to purchase some land and retire. This story has it all, romance, danger, thieves, and scoundrels. At times the romance was a little too graphic for my taste, but other than that I really enjoyed the story. I liked how the author reminded us that God is always there. All we have to do is rest in Him. I received this book from the Celebrate-Lit in exchange for my honest review.
THE NOBLE GUARDIAN is a story of heartbreak and hope for a better future as a woman travels to wed her betrothed and finds a dangerous journey ahead of her, but safety in a bow street runner who protects her on the way. Full of danger and romance, makes for an overall dramatic story. I really liked Abigail and Samuel from the beginning. They have somewhat similar tortured pasts, but Samuel only saw the worst of men and Abigail hoped for the best. She was very naive and had no idea how deceitful and dangerous the world could really be. The journey and what followed was quite eye opening for her. For Samuel, Abby brought light and hope into his life and slowly his heart softened towards her. The romance was sweet with plenty of sparks, and would appeal to those who like it on the heavy side. The inspirational elements were consistently weaved through the story, although sometimes they felt a bit forced. I really enjoyed the first half of the story. Samuel was smart and very good at his job. About half-way to two-thirds through though, it seemed like there were parts of the story that were unnecessary and drew out the story more than it needed to be. The romance also became the main focus, which I think I would have been okay with, except that towards the end of the story, I just didn't understand the actions of the characters. Everything felt unrealistic to me and overly dramatized and seemed to stay that way. It left me with very mixed feelings about this story overall. In the end, was it what I wished for? I'm mixed on this story. I thoroughly enjoyed the first part and not so much the last part. I think if you enjoy stories heavy on the romance, and don't mind overlooking some things that don't feel realistic, then you'll enjoy this one. Content: Some violence, abuse, innuendo. Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through Celebrate Lit, which did not require a positive review nor affect my review in any way.
The Noble Guardian Loved the story of Abigail and Samuel. He is traveling with her to keep her safe while she is going to her future husband. A lot of danger along the way. Before being hired to travel with her he had found a baby. So they have Emma to care for also. I love reading historical books. This one is set in early 1800. Things were different but feelings and concerns are the same. How to get from one place to another. How to determine what was wrong and how to treat it. Loved how both the characters cared so much for the baby. How much they bonded. Read the book to see if they all get to stay together. I received a advanced copy of the book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write an positive review. This is my own opinion.
This was an interesting tale that reminded me of American old west stories. A bride traveling to her intended, held up by bandits, and rescued by a young, attractive lawman. But it was so much more. Set in 1815 England, Abby is betrothed to a titled bachelor by her father and stepmother. The stepmother pretty much kicks her out of the household and sends her on her way with an older driver and lady’s maid. The driver is killed by an ambush and the maid eventually heads back home leaving Abigail. If not for the rescue of lawman Samuel she would have been left for dead. I really felt for Abby. She was alone and unloved by her family and yet she was a very strong person. She and Samuel find themselves with a toddler to care for on the journey that needs to be with an aunt. I can’t imagine taking care of one that young with the inconveniences of the day, while riding in a coach that is horse drawn. There is danger from a notorious highwayman seeking out Samuel. Hindrances from weather and problems with the groom to be when they arrive at the destination. Overall an exciting, action packed novel full of twists and turns that kept me reading long into the night. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit but was not required to write a review positive or otherwise.
In this Cinderella-esque tale set in 1815 England, Abigail Gilbert lives with her father, step-mother and two step-sisters. She is at odds with her step-mother and gladly latches on to a marriage proposal from a baronet. While traveling to her new home, her carriage is attacked by highwaymen. The handsome Bow Street runner, Captain Samuel Thatcher comes to her rescue. Captain Thatcher patrols the roads thwarting robberies and capturing the bad guys. Abigail's promise of money to escort her to her intended will allow Samuel to finally leave the force and buy the farm he's been dreaming of to settle down to a simpler life. I did enjoy the plot and characters. Abby's courage and naivete were enjoyable to read. Her faith journey seemed natural, not forced or an afterthought. Baby Emma is a delight. The various innkeepers and other servants, while minor characters, keep things entertaining. This book is highly recommended. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Christian Historical Romance is one of my favorite genre. Author Michelle Griep has written a compelling book about Regency England that had me on the edge of my seat turning pages as fast as I could read them. This is Book Three and the conclusion to her Bow Street Runners Series. If you haven’t read the first two, this can be read as a stand alone. The Noble Guardian was a phenomenal book. My interest was immediately piqued within the first few pages. This is the tale of Abigail (Abby) Gilbert, a lovely character. I loved her! She is feisty, sweet, considerate, and caring although a bit naive. It is so easy to connect with her. I wanted to have a pot of tea with her and ask her so many questions! It also is the story of tall, dark, and handsome broody Captain Samuel Thatcher. “Captain” is in the horse patrol and has seen more than his share of bad things and people. He is protective and loyal. He and Abby have chemistry and tension that really make the book fun to read. All characters are well described and easy to imagine. There is a variety of secondary ones and some were just delightful. Baby Emma provided some giggles and heartfelt moments. The kitchen ladies were all different and fun. There were many things I learned from this novel which is something I hope for in every book. I also want to know it is a Christian novel without having to search for it. There was no question on this one. The faith theme is heavily woven throughout the book. I particularly enjoyed watching Abby’s faith journey. This book has so much to offer. Mystery, action, inspiration, romance, history and intrigue are all within this exciting story. The author has included historical notes at the end. I highly recommend this novel and rate it 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but I was under no obligation to write a review.
The Noble Guardian had me at the author’s name, “Michelle Griep.” I would be a liar if I didn’t admit I sign up for any book she writes, plus I preorder the paperback copy. And if I haven’t read the synopsis first, no harm done. It IS Michelle Griep, read “you’re gonna love it” in my language. Taking place in England in 1815, The Noble Guardian is, alas, the last of The Bow Street Runners Series. I loved the idea of danger from the dreaded outlaws, in some small way comparable to America’s “wild west.” The idea of a stagecoach being pulled at full gallop over the empty heath, a knowledgeable scout/protector riding ahead, DREAD being the constant companion in every coach on every trip. Then, mix in the romance, slowly at first, like flour going into a cake, little by little coming to full flavor when all the right ingredients are finally present. (Excuse me while I stop and swoon here, the hero is just perfect for his role! The cover artist helps with that fact, too, giving just the right appearance to Samuel Thatcher. He is a lawman who is bone-weary of the very wickedness he tracks in his job. Thatcher wants only to retire to a nice, safe farm, but fortunately for poor Abby, duty is stronger than the desire for comfort. This novel kept my attention from start to finish. I smiled to see references to characters from former books of the series. Yet, it is not imperative to read the other books to understand this one. Griep likes to encourage the reader to build up her old English vocabulary, well-setting the tone. I did find Google to be a good friend as a few words and concepts like “truncheon” and the “putrid throat” got me curious exactly what they might be. Griep does include a glossary at the end to discuss some English historical references for those of us unversed in English history. Learning to trust God to care for those we love, and to find our ultimate value in God are some of the themes. Funny quotes, amazingly descriptive quotes, and quotes to live by are all planted within this wonderful book. Here are a few of my favorites: “God had provided the captain at just the right time today. Surely he would continue to provide tomorrow.” This is a concept I am currently utilizing to encourage both young children and young adults as well as myself. If we can memorialize God’s past faithfulness, we can have faith the next time as we wait for Him to act. “...he stockpiled regrets as avidly as some men collected fine paintings.” “Past hurts often lose their sting when shared with others.” “...don’t let the worst of man ruin the best o’ you.” “You say you’re on your way to happiness when all along it’s been right under yer very nose. The truth is, ye are wanted, by the Creator of the stars, no less. Ye don’t have to run across the country to find love when every minute of every day it’s being offered to ye in God’s wide, open arms.” “Until ye’re fully satisfied with the love God gives ye, freely and without question, ye’ll not be satisfied at all.” “Houses leaned one against the other, like drunken sailors holding each other upright. If one fell, the rest would lie down and never get up again.” I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. I also bought my own copy. The complimentary copy did not influence my opinions, which are solely my own.
Abby has an arranged marriage with one of the most prestigious gentleman bachelors in the land—until highwaymen attack and horse patrol captain Samuel Thatcher arrives just in time. He ends up taking her the rest of the way to her betrothed with a stop along the way to pick up a child he has agreed to deliver to a friends family. A lot of action, excitement, thieves and just the right amount of romance. I may have to read this one again! I was gifted a copy, no review was required. My review is voluntary..
The Noble Guardian, by Michelle Griep, is an utterly thrilling book brimming with action, suspense, adventure, faith, and a touch of romance! From the stunning first sentence to the satisfying final paragraph, this historical fiction story does not disappoint. With riveting twists and bold turns, The Noble Guardian thoroughly entertains with immersive settings, unforgettable characters, and compelling threads of hope and redemption. From lace to homespun, from kidney pie to pottage, and from porcelain to mud, Ms. Griep excels at weaving words into an intricate tapestry of storytelling that reveals the grit and grime as well as the polish and shine of Regency England. Her descriptive, gripping style of writing successfully envelops the reader in rich historical and sensory details. Displaying great skill and thoughtfulness, Ms. Griep also crafts complex main characters that are resilient, believable, and truly likable. Though they often make terrible decisions and let the traumas of their past guide them in their futures, they still manage to hold on to a hope and a longing for love and goodness. As the characters endeavor to find acceptance and a place to belong, a meaningful message of love and redemption springs forth from the pages. Even while bearing the weight of hurts they do not deserve, they persevere and act with honor, courage, humility, and self-sacrifice enabling them to discover their own value and worth. Their hearts then grow receptive to the truth that they are indeed loveable, valuable, and worthy. Though it is the final book in the Bow Street Runners Trilogy, The Noble Guardian can easily be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone novel. It is wholly captivating, memorable, and inspiring. It is a remarkable book that deserves to be savored and shared. I recommend it wholeheartedly. *I was given a copy of this book from the publisher. A review was not required. The review I have written contains opinions that are entirely my own.
Wow. That is what I have to say to the last book in the Bow Street Runners series. I am sorry to see it end. I have read the other books in the series. But this can be read as a stand alone as some back story is shared in books 2 and 3. I have read several of this author's books - but this one has to be my favorite. Samuel Thatcher gets his own story. BOY what a story that is! This book is set in Southampton, England 1815. This is not a time period that I read a lot on, so I am always excited to learn new things. The author has down careful reasearch. One of the things that I love about this author is how she creates "real" feeling characters. They are not perfect. They are flawed. Have dirt. Have secrets. Just like you and me. This book has a lot of action and you will NOT want it to end. I received a copy of this book through the Celebrate Lit blogging program. All thoughts are my own.
A delightful, Dickensian adventure My rating is 4.5 stars It seems like each time I begin reading a book by Michelle Griep, I quickly find a huge smile on my face from the colorful descriptions and fascinating language. Then I start frantically marking passages to quote and get so caught up in the narrative I realize that I missed some great ones and need to page back and re-read. . . Abby’s journey to meet her betrothed should have been a boring jaunt north. It ended up being anything but. Highwaymen and unscrupulous men posing as protectors were just the beginning of her problems. As Samuel attempted to foist Abby off on a trusted friend, things became even more complicated. The surprising change to their adventure ended up being a wonderful twist to the story. I have no warnings for this story, only an admonition that you hurry and grab a copy. This delightful story is a must for every library! Read my review of The Noble Guardian by Michelle Griep at AmongTheReads.net