Friday, July 29, 2016

Bookshelf Friday - An Elegant Facade by Kristi Ann Hunter

This is Kristi Ann Hunter's second book in the Hawthorne House series. After reading the first, A Noble Masquerade, I eagerly anticipated this release! I had a chance to read it last week and fell in love all over again with Hunter's writing. Here's the blurb and we'll chat on the other side.

Lady Georgina Hawthorne has always known she must marry well. After years of tirelessly planning every detail of her debut season, she is poised to be a smashing success and have her choice of eligible gentlemen. 

With money and powerful business connections but no title, Colin McCrae is invited everywhere but accepted nowhere. He intends to marry someday, but when he does it will not be to a shallow woman like Lady Georgina, whose only concerns appear to be status and appearance.

But beneath her flawless exterior, Georgina's social aspirations stem from a shameful secret she is desperately trying to keep hidden--and that Colin is too close to discovering. Drawn to each other despite their mutual intent to avoid association, is the realization of their dreams worth the sacrifices they'll be forced to make?

While this is a series, these books can easily be read as stand-alone titles. However, because I'd been introduced to Lady Georgina and Colin McCrae in the first book of the series, I was already invested in them before I even opened the book. I love the way Hunter marries serious scenes with lighthearted ones, allowing the reader to see the many sides of her characters.

One small drawback I felt to this book was it began with scenes from The Noble Masquerade only in Lady Georgina and Colin's viewpoints. And while this is completely a new story, at times--for those who read the first book--it seemed we were peeking behind the curtain of The Noble Masquerade rather than truly seeing Georgina and Colin's story. For me things didn't fully pick up pace until we moved from those scenes into completely fresh ones, allowing these characters space to grow and challenge one another in new ways. Though I did like understanding Georgina's motivations and I loved her even more for her flaws, I would have loved for the entire story to be their own.

However, I still couldn't put the book down. Hunter's ability to string words together into settings and scenes is masterful in its ability to pull a reader into her world. Her characters are multifaceted, and their layers slowly peeled back the deeper into the story you read. Both Georgina and Colin grow throughout this story, and never in ways that feel contrived. And while conflict abounds, it's driven from story moments, not created out of author convenience. Oh, and we definitely get our happily-ever-after:)

Hunter is an author I now search for in anticipation of her next release. I happily give An Elegant Facade 4 out of 5 stars and you can purchase it here.

I thank Netgalley and the publisher for my copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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