Thursday, April 30, 2015

Book Review: Loving Helen by Michele Paige Holmes

Loving Helen, by Michele Paige Holmes
2015, 227p, Clean Regency Romance
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: eBooks for Review--Received a free copy for an honest opinion

From Amazon Top 100 Regency Romance author, Michele Paige Holmes, comes LOVING HELEN, a regency romance from the Hearthfire Romance series. Revisit the characters from SAVING GRACE in this story of Grace’s shy, younger sister.

Eighteen-year-old Helen Thatcher grew up under the protection of her older siblings, Grace and Christopher. Living in their shadows and keeping to herself suited Helen just fine—until she met widower Samuel Preston. Watching Mr. Preston care for his young daughter and seeing his concern extend to her own family, Helen felt her reserve slipping away, as she learned first to trust him and then realized she had fallen in love with him. But instead of returning—or even noticing her affection—Mr. Preston developed his own tender, and unrequited feelings, for Grace.

In the midst of each silently nursing their broken hearts, Helen and Samuel are faced with a daunting task—reuniting Grace with her fiancĂ©, Nicholas Sutherland. Now it is Helen who must look out for her sister and sacrifice her own fragile heart, as she and Samuel pretend to be engaged. Helen finds the role surprisingly easy to play, allowing herself to imagine that Samuel’s loving remarks are sincere. As the time for their charade to end draws near Helen must summon her courage and tell Samuel the truth of her feelings, or risk losing him forever. 

This is the second book in this series and I wouldn't consider it a stand alone read. I think it will be more enjoyable if you read Saving Grace first. This story takes place at the same time and we learn what was happening with Helen. Helen wants Samuel Preston to notice her as a woman but he tends to see her more as a nanny for his daughter, Beth. She also overhears his conversations with others and realizes that he's in love with someone else. 

When Grace and Nicholas are in danger of breaking up, her brother Christopher approaches Helen and Samuel with a plan for them to pretend they are engaged. Helen is excited about this plan but Samuel's heart doesn't seem to be in it so she's a bit discouraged. 

I loved Samuel in the first book and now I love him even more! Helen was likable in the first book, too, but she was in the background so I enjoyed getting to know her better. Their relationship developed over time and there were obstacles to overcome. I also enjoyed their interactions with Samuel's daughter, Beth, and thought she added lots of fun to their story!

I was torn for a while while reading Saving Grace. I loved both Nicholas and Samuel and, while I felt Grace wound up with the right man for her, I wanted Samuel to be happy, too. In this book, I loved getting the "rest of the story." There was a lot going on behind the scenes in the first book and this book fills in the blanks. When I read Saving Grace, I did feel like there was a lot missing with Grace's family so I'm glad there was a book about Helen. We also got to see a little more of Christopher and he's a fun character, so I'm looking forward to reading his story next!  

Michele Holmes spent her childhood and youth in Northern California and Arizona. After marrying her high school sweetheart in the Oakland Temple they moved to Utah, and she now feels very blessed to enjoy a beautiful mountain view from her Provo home.

Michele graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in elementary education—something that has come in handy with her five children, all of whom require food, transportation, or Band-Aids the moment she sits down at her computer.

In spite of all the interruptions, Michele is busy at work, with more story ideas in her head than she will ever likely have time to write. Michele’s first published novel, Counting Stars, won the 2007 Whitney Award for best romance. All the Stars in Heaven continues the story of one of the characters from that first novel.


Unknown said...

Well another series I am going to have to add to my TBR pile :)..Great review

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