I really enjoyed it. Great reader.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT
As a young child bound for a strange country, Sarah Whitaker dreamed of life with her father on his sprawling Australian ranch. But her hopes were shattered when she learned of his death and of her new role as heiress of the largest sheep farm in New Wales. Orphaned in a land greatly populated by petty criminals exiled from England, the future seemed grim. But now, ten years later, Sarah has defied the odds and become a successful businesswoman much to the chagrin of her male counterparts. Hardened by the dishonesty of both her fellow ranchers and the felons in her employ, Sarah has learned one important truth: no one is to be trusted.
Daniel Burton is a lucky man. Sentenced to death for his role in a horse-race scandal, Daniel was granted reprieve thanks to the influence of his wealthy relatives. Now, rather than death, Daniel faces exile in Australia an opportunity to put past mistakes behind him. But when he purchases land with the intention of farming it, he unwittingly arouses the wrath of his new neighbor, Sarah. What begins as a battle of wits, however, soon becomes a warm friendship and perhaps something more. But when Daniel's secret past is revealed, will Sarah be able forgive yet another deception?
I listened to the audiobook. As always, the narrator does a wonderful job.
It took me only a minutes to place Daniel, whom we see in Miss Burton Unmasks a Prince. Besides being able to transport me back in time and into different locations, one of the things I love about Moore's writing is how much she makes me care about her characters.
Daniel and Sarah both have needs, and it was lovely to see them find ways to fill those for each other. The character growth was great, and my heart especially broke for Daniel. It can be a hard thing to make a mistake, especially one that could make you a convict and kicked out, lucky not to have been hung.
Moore addresses the prejudices as well as the reasons why some of them were justified. But Daniel's wonderful heart, looking at so many others who had made mistakes, wanted to see the best because if they could change their lives, so could he. Redemption is always one of my favorite book themes. In my mind, it's so much better than vengeance stories that suck all the hope out of a person's life. And bore me stupid besides.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT
Spring 1813 --The exotic splendors of India are legendary, and the colorful sights of her new home in Calcutta immediately captivate eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Poulter. Whereas many of her fellow British expatriates despise the culture they see as barbaric, Helen sees excitement in the unusual locale. It is in this vibrant, bustling city that she finds a kindred soul in Captain Michael Rhodes, an Englishman whose lifelong love of India runs deep. Their friendship quickly grows, yet despite their undeniable connection, she could never think of Captain Rhodes as more than a dear friend. Her love, in truth, has been captured by dashing British Lieutenant Arthur Bancroft. This handsome soldier represents the embodiment of all she’s dreamed of in a husband. Preoccupied by her growing affections, Helen never dreams that beneath the glamor of the city, hostilities are reaching a boiling point. When battle ultimately threatens both of the men in her life, she must make a choice: pursue the man who symbolizes her British past, or let herself love a man who promises an unknown future in the land she loves. But amid the casualties of war, will her declaration of love come too late?
I <3 Michael so much! He's so tender and sweet to her, and ever watchful for her safety and happiness. The way their friendship grew was adorable. I ached for what he had been through with his injury and the doubts he had of ever being found lovable because of it.
Helen is open-minded and kind. I loved getting to see Colonel (now General) Stackhouse again and experience the love and sense of family he had now. Once again Moore has given us flawed but likeable characters.
This is not your typical Regency romance! It has the requisite cast of characters. However, with Australia as the setting everything changes. Change is a theme of the story. Can people change and can others accept the change within them?
Sarah became an eleven year old orphan heiress upon her arrival in Australia and has had to learn to manage her father's farm while experiencing the violent betrayal of some of her convict employees. Her's is not the standard Regency upbringing.
Ten years later, Daniel, a felony convict who has been transported rather than be hanged becomes Sarah's neighbor. Thanks to the support of a wealthy English friend he's able to buy the land adjacent to Sarah's--that she had been wanting to purchase. No, it's not a good beginning for them. But, friction does make sparks. : )
I love that Jennifer Moore allows us to explore the greater reaches of the Regency world with the exotic locations of her books. The beginning of the Australian penal colony burgeons with story possibilities. I'm glad I got to read this one.
Once again, Author Jennifer Moore has delivered another book that is outside the box of the typical Regency Romance that seems to be written these days. This book takes place in Australia, New Wales to be specific in the early 1800's. Sarah Whitaker comes to New Wales as a young girl to live with her father only to find out he has been murdered. Sarah and her aunt decide to stay and keep the farm and the sheep. Sarah becomes very adept and successful at what she does but harbors a great dislike for fellow ranchers and felons in her employ and the dishonesty these groups of people have shown in New Wales. She also hates the native people,the Aborigines, who she believes were responsible for the murder of her father and is very prejudiced against them.
Daniel Burton soon comes into her life. He is a convicted felon but is lucky to have money from his uncle to buy land and freedom to start anew in New Wales without anyone knowing about his past. Daniel buys the land next to Sarah, which puts them off to a bad start since Sarah wanted that land. It is a slow process, but step by step Daniel proves to be a loyal and trusted friend to Sarah.
Without going into too many details, since it would absolutely ruin the entire book for future readers, Sarah's heart slowly opens and she starts learning to trust people that she'd vowed she'd never do. Daniel has a big hand in helping Sarah change.This was such a lovely thing to read as they slowly became closer through varied events happening. I quite liked their interactions. Sarah is so tough on the outside and it was fun to watch how Daniel chipped away at the outer shell and broke through to the loving soul that was inside of Sarah. The more she opened up, the more I liked the character. I quite understood why Sarah acted the way she did because she'd experienced so many losses in her life. It was very satisfying in the end to see how love freely given can truly change someone's heart and how forgiving others can mend one's soul too.
This sweet tale of romance, filled with some angst and tense moments, gets 4 stars from me.
Whenever I read a historical novel by Jennifer Moore, I'm guaranteed to be swept away to an earlier era and the location is always unique to any other book I've read! Miss Whitaker Opens Her Heart is no exception- I was completely immersed in early 19th century Australia, and the dynamics of the community and politics there were fascinating! I loved learning details about the lives and hardships of the people who relocated there from Europe. The characters are developed so well that I felt like I knew them and was invested in their decisions and hoping for a happy ending, especially for Sarah who suffered the loss of the people in her life who loved her. The themes of overcoming prejudice, compassion, and forgiveness are strong as Daniel and Sarah are confronted with life-changing decisions. I loved their friendship and budding relationship, which developed naturally over the course of the story. Highly recommend!
(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
I have to say very first that I just love the cover for this book. I love the magic and mystery that it sets for the story held within it's pages.
Wow, Sarah was such a great and complex character! I loved the way we saw her voyage to Australia through her childlike eyes and the way we see her later, grown up and even a bit jaded from the experiences she's been through. She doesn't trust anyone and there's no way she's going to let anyone into her life that she doesn't trust. I love the way that her eyes are opened later in the story and she realizes just how wrong she's been about her own life and also the lives of those around her, especially the people she's judged wrongly.
Then there's Daniel. I loved the way that he wanted to change and be better and how he felt that he didn't deserve to be living the way he is, outside of the prison that he feels he deserves. His great fortune has him looking at those around him and trying to make their situations better. This really is a great way to live, remembering we all have a secret past that no one knows about and trying to make life better for everyone around us.
The rest of the characters of this one are amazing and much loved as well. There are the aborigines that Daniel befriends, Mr. Thackeray, Sarah's oldest friend and pretty much only family she has left and really the whole colony in Australia.
I loved the feel of this one, it was like I stepped out my front door and found myself in the wilds of Australia with Sarah and Daniel.
And the plot was fabulous! I loved the whole thing from the very beginning to the very end. Make sure to grab a copy of this great book!
I absolutely adore Jennifer Moore's books!
LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. that she writes Regency Romance, but in such unique settings like this one-- Sarah Whitaker is a single, proper woman in Australia--Australia! SO FUN! She is just trying to run her ranch the best she can while being surrounded by aboriginals, cockatoos, and convicts. And now she has a new neighbor--Daniel. Sometimes after being hurt over and over it just becomes easier to not put your heart on your sleeve. See how it all turns out in this wonderfully written story. Add this to your MUST-READ list!
First, I love this cover. It feels so romantic to me.
Second, I love Jennifer Moore's books. She has such a unique take on regency romances. They vary in settings and never feel very typical. This one is set in New Wales (Australia) where Sarah Whitaker is carving out the life her father started in ranching and sheep. We get our first look at Sarah as she crosses the oceans on her way to New Wales as a young girl. I loved the glimpse at who Sarah was in the beginning before struggle, sadness and distrust took over.
Daniel is a good counter balance to Sarah. He believes in mercy and second chances where Sarah has hardened herself against those who need and desire those very things. Daniel and Sarah come from very different places due to life's experiences. I loved how I could see and sympathize with both sides of this story. I loved both Sarah and Daniel.
I honestly loved this book. I loved the struggle, the setting, the characters, everything. It settled gently into my mind and heart. LOVE!
Content: Some mild peril
- I received a copy of this book from the publisher in conjunction with this blog tour. A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own.
In a gripping story of redemption, this author weaves a tale full of historical facts, romance, and entertainment. I guess I haven't been fortunate to read a lot about what was going on in Australia during the Regency period. Convicts made their restitutions and settlers forged new territory, seemingly with either horse or sheep farms, and Aborigines struggled to understand the motives of these newcomers. I was fascinated by all the details and relationships, but especially with Sarah.
As a young child, she sailed to Australia to finally be with her settler father again, only to find out that he had died just months before. Due to a few misfortunate events, she struggles to trust and doesn't think anyone can change. While I could completely understand her feelings, it was frustrating to me that she could judge others so harshly. She had some pretty harsh prejudices. I love the events that almost force her to reconsider and to take a deep, inner look at herself.
This story isn't all as light and fluffy as sheep's wool--there are some great teaching moments, times of danger and adventure, endearing friendships, and a tad bit of sweet romance. I love how this author tells the tales of so many different places during this time period and they're not all set in the ballroom or at a country estate.
Content: mild violence (vague talk of death, danger, etc); mild romance.
*I received a copy through the publisher with no obligation for a positive review. All thoughts are my own.*
I loved the historical details in this story--the tales of what life was like for convicts and citizens at this time, what early frontier Australia was like, the Aborigines, crazy Australia animal life, and so forth. I felt the author did a great job of transporting me to the land down under and making me care for the characters. I loved Sarah's strength, and I adored Daniel's optimism and determination to change his life for good. They were perfect for each other, and I loved their journey towards love. When feelings bloom between the two neighbors, Sarah believes her dreams are finally coming true. But when she discovers Daniel’s past, she may not be able to forgive or forget. Her life has been full of troubles and wounds from those she’s trusted before. She's become cynical in this cruel country and doesn’t believe people can change. This was a great tale that had a little of everything--exotic setting, endearing characters with flaws and demons. Though it is a slower paced novel, it wove so many layers of mystery and emotion into each chapter that I eagerly kept turning pages. Overall, this is a solid, great read. It was delicious as a hot fudge brownie sundae, and I wanted to savor the message and words long after I finished it.
"A person is not what he have done in the past. He becomes what he chooses to do with the life he's been given."
This line from 'Miss Whitaker Opens Her Heart', really touched me. How often do we spend analyzing the mistakes of our past, or of those around us? Judging ourselves and others. Change is available to all, because of the sacrifice of the One. I was grateful for this sweet reminder as I read this extensively researched & beautifully written story by Jennifer Moore.
Should we be surprised? Not really. Jennifer has proven to be an expert at taking us to new lands in her expanding collection of historical fiction novels. In her latest book, we are transported along with the convicts from England, to the penal colony of New South Wales, Australia. It's 1814, and Sarah Whitaker is aboard a merchant ship with her Aunt, anticipating a reunion with her Father. He left England years earlier after the death of her mother, to make a new life raising sheep, and exporting the finest Saxon-Merino wool. But tragedy has arisen and now she must face living in this new land without him.
Ten years have past, and Daniel Burton is to be hung for a scandal in which a racehorse ended up dead. His relative the Duke of Southampton has come to his aid, but the best he can do is arrange for transportation to Australia, aboard a convict ship. He has the funds to make a new life for himself upon arrival and is spared a life of servitude for his crime. Daniel comes upon a beautiful farm for sale, and intends to change his life into something he dreams will erase the mistakes of his past. That is until, he discovers his disgruntled and unforgiving neighbor, the beautiful Miss Sarah Whitaker.
I really enjoyed this book. The plot is rich with descriptions of a land that is unfamiliar to me. The exotic animals, the rolling green hills that remind them of England, yet also vastly different. The aboriginal natives who are so misunderstood, yet Daniel reaches out and finds ways to befriend and communicate. The history of this time, as many emigrated to Australia, either through convict transportation or those looking for a new life. I always learn so much about new places & their history from reading Jennifer's books.
I'd like to note one more thing. The cover! Oh yes this cover! It is so different from the previous book covers on her books. As one who has chosen many novels based on cover art alone, and seen how common it is amongst book buyers (from a seller point of view) - I am certain this change will reap the rewards. The picture conjured up all kinds of thoughts when I first saw it, and it belongs right there with any classic story, that has been made into a movie. This cover could literally also belong on a DVD case. Just stunning.
Thank you to Jennifer Moore for the complimentary author copy she sent me. She did not ask for a review but I am more than happy to write one. This is my honest review.