Sent away for protection, hotel heiress Estella Everstone finds herself living undercover as a lady’s companion named Elle Stoneburner at one of her father’s opulent hotels in the mountains of Maine—the one she'd always loved best and always hoped to own one day, Everston. The one thing she doesn't like about the situation is that her ex-fiancé is in the area and is set on marrying someone else. Reeling from her feelings of being unwanted and unworthy, Estella reluctantly forms a friendship with the gruff manager of Everston, Dexter Blakeley, who seems to have something against wealthy young socialites with too much money, although they are just the kind of people Everston caters to.
When Estella finds herself in need of help, Dexter comes to the rescue with an offer she can't refuse. She sees no other choice aside from going back home to her family and accepts the position as companion to his sister. Throughout her interactions with Dexter, she can't deny the pull that's evidenced between them every time he comes near. Estella realizes that while she's been hiding behind a false name and identity, she’s never been freer to be herself than when she's with Dexter Blakeley. But will he still love her when he finds out she's Estella Everstone? She's not entirely sure.
Dawn Crandall’s debut Gilded Age Victorian romance, “The Hesitant Heiress,” was a 2015 ACFW Carol award finalist in the debut category and received the 2015 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the 2015 Write Touch Reader's Choice Award and the 2015 Romancing the Novel Reader's Choice Award. Her follow-up novel, “The Bound Heart,” received the 2016 Laurel Award from Clash of the Titles. Dawn earned a BA in Christian Education from Taylor University. She’s been balancing books and babies lately as her two sons were both born as the first four books of her 5-book Everstone Chronicles series were being released from Whitaker House from 2014 to 2016. Dawn lives with her husband and two young sons on a hobby farm in her hometown in northeast Indiana.
“I can’t bear the thought of you anywhere but with me.”
And yet again I ask the same question: Is it really possible to fall in love with fictitious characters? I have discovered that it very much is and I’ve been bitten by the Everstone bug! Absolutely, undoubtedly and unreservedly loved, loved, loved the book! (An understatement!) I don’t know how she achieves it, but Dawn Crandall does make you live the story, experience it and feel the growth. You are a gem Dawn Crandall and I’m so so very happy that I was able to experience your work. You beat your contemporaries fair and square. A zillion thanks to you for giving me a copy to review.
The Captive Imposter is the third in the series of four books based on the high society lives of the Everstone family and their friends, their past and its effects on the present generation’s lives. While the first The Hesitant Heiress dealt with Nathan Everstone the eldest of the siblings trying to win Amaryllis Brigham and the second The Bound Heart with Meredyth Summercourt who is hung up on Vance Everstone while being in love with Lawry Hampton, this one looks into the life of Nathan and Vance’s sister, Estella Everstone.
Something happens towards the end of the series’ second book, The Bound Heart which makes it imperative for Estella to assume a different identity and stay hidden from the ever prying society, and so she takes up the position as lady’s companion to a Mrs. Granton. As can be inferred from the first two books, Estella has been hung up on Jayson Crawford from like forever, and he won’t have her. Here, while playing Elle Stoneburner, lady’s companion, circumstances lead her back to Everston, her beloved family owned high profile hotel and resort, and in the proximity of Jay who is vying for another lady’s (Greenlee Cole’s) hand.
She meets the gruff and yet gentlemanly Mr. Dexter Blakeley, Everstone’s manager who has some very fixed opinions regarding young socialites, the crowd he basically caters to at Everston. And yes, there is some family history here as well! Estella being unaware of it and Dexter though aware but oblivious to her real identity they begin with an association and then a friendship which strengthens as we progress through the story.
Unexpected changes and situations lead to the loss of Elle’s employment with Mrs. Granton and she is faced with the dilemma of either returning to her family in utter humiliation or taking up the place as companion to Mr. Blakeley’s sister and her childhood friend, Roxy and Dexter’s guest Greenlee. Choosing the employment offered and the safety of his home, Estella starts on a new page. Always being overlooked by her family and friends for what she truly is and only applauded and awed for her money and social status, Estella experiences a new freer self and the happiness and companionship she discovers she had been missing, in Dexter Blakeley. With Dexter by her side she discovers herself, and comes out of the shell nobody had cared to peep into. This book is a journey, as all before in the series were.
I had not particularly liked Estella in the previous books, but now, after reading her POV, I feel she is my favorite of the three #EverstoneChronicles’ heroines. This just explains one very important thing to me: Dawn Crandall writes in first person POV, so we look into the other character’s personality from that POV and form our opinions. And when the POV changes, we also start changing our views of that same person. Something that explains to me, that no one is bad, everyone just has their own opinion!
I liked Estella, her compassionate spirit, her quiet resilience, her unwavering love and her kindness. She is an artist, and a very good one at that. Her growth through the story is portrayed with such a natural grace. She rises above her own shortcomings and is keen on continuing the same way with Dexter.
Coming to Dexter! As with Nathan and Lawry, I again was in love with Dexter! Though gruff and abrupt in many ways, he is caring, kind, playful, loyal and determined. I found the playful side very cute ;) He has this empathy for Estella, which endears him to the reader.
Both Dexter and Estella have humbled themselves in front of God, they find their peace with each other, and this was the beauty of the story.
The secondary characters were also genuine. I liked Roxy and Mrs. Granton, was annoyed beyond words at Jay and wanted to punch Ursula in the face! (Pretty harsh ;p)
Overall the story had generous amounts of romance, intrigue and an interesting plot. The complexities of previous generation relationships and their after effects are put out in such simple terms. You actually feel like living in the stories, the writing is so seamless.
There are only two elements I missed in the book: Nathan and Lawry. After having loved them in the previous books, I did want a peek into their current lives ;) I wish they were present somewhere towards the ending where Amaryllis and Meredyth have been seen.
But that does not stop me from rating it with my obvious 5*s! This series is a must have for all historical fiction lovers. When there is a dearth of good HF writers, Dawn Crandall comes as a refreshing change, she MUST be read!
Forced to hide and keep her identity secret, Estella Everstone becomes plain Elle Stoneburner -a lady’s companion- to save her life from a dangerous threat. Her father and brother think that is the only way to escape and be safe, even when she unexpectedly goes to Everstone, one of her family’s hotels -risking to be recognized-, and meets her father employee Dexter Blakeley. She does not know if she can trust him but despite that, she feels really protected for the first time in her life. She has always wanted to spend her life at Everstone but in just a few weeks, she is sure she has also found the person whom she belongs with. Will Dexter want her when she tells him the truth about her?
Estella has never felt appreciated enough. Her family loves her, of course, but she has always had a feeling that nobody understood her as if nobody knew the real Estella Everstone. But when she meets Dexter and has a chance to really get to know him, she soon feels loved. She soon realizes that the surly, brooding man that she has met by chance during a journey in a stagecoach is not the real Dexter Blakeley, who is sweet and honourable. While she slowly falls in love with him -and he with her-, she cannot deny that his feelings may not be the same towards her once he finds out that she is not poor Elle Stoneburner but a socialite who grew up in a family that his mother despises for some secret reason. To make matter worse, Dexter does not seem very happy to speak about girls like Estella Everstone, whom he believes are all spoiled and live without caring for anyone in the world. Can she prove him that she is different?
I can say that trying to find an answer to that question was what really pushed me to read this novel faster! I could not wait to see if everything would go the way I wanted, especially because I thought that Estella deserved her own happy ending. I have to admit that I was not too fond of her after reading the first two books, she did not impress me that much, maybe because she was the silent type of girl who did not share her opinions easily. And also because I did not like that she was obsessed with a guy that did not love her and she -apparently- could not accept the truth. She kept insisting and insisting and I found her a little annoying. In this book, though, she was so different! Always shy and secretive but definitely endearing, and it was very easy to relate to her.
Dawn Crandall has a talent for portraying wonderful heroes. I loved Dexter as much as I loved Nathan and Lawry. They are very different from each other but the respect they have towards women is something that makes them perfect. They make mistakes, they love passionately and they are just fantastic! Dexter Blakeley is that kind of character that at first seems haughty and aloof but it only takes a few pages to fall in love with him. His kindness and generosity are unique and given what he experienced in the past, he is even more lovable.
Absolutely surprising and totally engaging, the third book in the “Everstone Chronicles” series is a gripping tale that will not fail to captivate any reader’s interest. Historical Fiction enthusiasts will love it but I would recommend it (and the other books in the series as well) to everybody!
Note: If you do not mind reading your series out of order, “The Captive Imposter” can easily be read as a standalone book. But since Estella is hiding because of something that happened in book two -The Bound Heart- you may want to read that one first in order to avoid spoilers.
*My thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of the book.
Dawn Crandall masterfully crafts a story rich in vibrant setting, vivid characters, and sharp dialogue. Her scenes come alive, transplanting readers into Gilded Age New England and keeping them absorbed from the first word until the last. The characters she creates feel real and honest, and boy howdy can she write a kissing scene! My new favorite of the series, The Captive Imposter specifically is a beautifully engaging story of forgiveness, of overcoming prejudices, and of finding our worth in the One who died for us. And of kisses. It’s about kisses too :) I highly recommend all of the books in THE EVERSTONE CHRONICLES series for anyone who loves historical fiction, especially fans of exquisite romances and un-put-down-able stories.
(I won this book in a giveaway with no expectation of a review. This is, as always, only my honest opinion.)
I was invited to read this third book of a trilogy, curious to see if it could stand alone, and maybe even intrigue me to read the first and second books too. From the first page, I had the impression that the heroine, Estella Everstone, had been featured in the two prequels as a younger, more minor character. This time it's her own story, which she tells in first person, with many twists and turns, changing attitudes, revelations and changes in fortune.
I like the Great Gatsby sort of atmosphere the story evokes. It takes place in a similar setting, on America's east coast, in the gilded era time period. Like Fitzgerald's classic, many of these characters have worked hard to achieve the prosperity they're enjoying. Estella is the youngest child of wealthy hotel magnate Bram Everstone, but begins the story travelling incognito as Elle Stoneburner, hired companion to an elderly widow, Mrs Granton. In the course of her duties, she's forced to return to Everston, her favourite of her wealthy father's mountain hotels.
The narrative makes it clear how hard Estella/Elle must work to keep her identity concealed. Her predicaments are often amusing to read about. One on side, she admires the handsome hotel manager, Mr Dexter Blakeley, but senses that his opinion of young women born into fortune isn't very high. On the other side, Jay Crawford, the ex-fiance who broke her heart, is around the place too. As Elle is so busy with this dance between identities, it takes her by surprise to consider that Mr Blakeley may be concealing a few secrets of his own, not to mention the desperate and needy young women beneath his roof.
Talking about him, the heroine's first impression of the hero has to be among my favourites. Through a stagecoach window, Elle notices 'his chiselled, almost statuesque face which consisted of sharp, drastic angles.' It's set off by 'dark hazel, brooding eyes that seemed to cut into everything he turns his gaze upon.' However, at this stage, that's cancelled out by the fact that he has the demeanour of a wild boar. I'm sure many readers will be hooked to find out more about the goings-on of these two from this point.
I think I would be interested in reading 'The Hesitant Heiress' and 'The Bound Heart' to catch the earlier stages of this story.
The Captive Imposter is the final book in Dawn Crandall’s Everstone Chronicles series and I’m sad to see it end. I’ve been eagerly anticipating Estella’s book since reading The Bound Heart and was not disappointed in the least. This book may have been my favorite of the series, though I’d have to go back and read them all in order to say for certain. I’ve come to adore Dawn’s writing. It wasn’t what I’d expected when I first picked up her books, but it is very distinctly her. I think I could read a random quote from any of her books and be able to say “that’s Dawn’s.” She once again does an excellent job of bringing the setting and characters to life! I often felt as though I was actually there with them, taking in the beauty of God’s creation with Estella and spending my days at Everston. I loved that Dawn was able to write a historical romance with little suspense and have absolutely no lag in the story. It kept me engrossed from the first page and I hated putting it down to get my work done. I have to say, that I did get a bit confused in the beginning. There are several characters that are introduced around the same time and I struggled to keep them straight. I think it may have been easier if Estella had actually met them, but they are just mentioned in passing, then met later on. I had to keep thinking back, trying to remember who was who and how they fit into the story. I had liked Estella Everstone from the previous books, but she really came to life for me in this one. She is a very relatable character and I connected with her almost immediately. She makes you care about her and cheer her on, though she did seem a bit spoiled at first. I loved getting into her thoughts; seeing Everstone and Dexter Blakely through her eyes. Her opinions on things sounded like something I would say and I quickly fell in love with Dexter, too. Who doesn’t love the tall, dark, and brooding hero? The one that doesn’t say much, but what he does matters immensely? Well, I do and Mr. Blakely is an excellent foil for Estella. He kept her grounded and drew her closer to her faith. Those alone would be enough for me to love him, but then he had to go and be incredibly sweet, the rescuer. That sealed it for me. It’s rare I’m jealous of a fictional character, but I confess that I was just a teensy bit envious of Estella. The romance was great, as well! Dawn does romantic tension quite well and I could almost see the sparks between them. Their kisses were definitely sigh-worthy, the kind that were both sweet and a tad steamy. I very much enjoyed their relationship, as it progressed from awkward acquaintances, to friends, then took a sudden leap to something more. I loved the honesty between them, even though Estella wasn’t being completely honest about her identity, they shared the most important things. I also enjoyed the bluntness Dawn employs, showing us that though they love each other, it isn’t an ambiguous emotion, but rather a choice. I really enjoyed the spiritual side of the story, too. Dexter’s words challenged me as much, if not more, than Estella. It focuses on finding who you are in Christ and just being His, without all of the trappings of life getting in the way. I needed that reminder. I love reading a book for entertainment, but it’s even better if it encourages or challenges me. I found myself often using the “highlight” option on my Kindle to mark the things I’d like to recall. I honestly can’t think of anything else I didn’t like about this book. If I had any other complaint, it would be that this is the final book in the series, at least for now (I’m hopeful). I didn’t want it to end! I’ve fallen in love with all of the characters and definitely was not prepared to see them go. Happily, I can “visit” them as often as I like, simply by opening a book.
I received an advanced copy of this book from the author 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.
Imagine a crystal clear glass of water. Now, imagine taking some food coloring and squeezing one tiny drop into that water. Drip...thats all it takes to turn that colorless water into a vivid color. Now, maybe add one or two more drops of that coloring. Drip-- Drip. Now your water has become even more vibrant and has more depth to its color.
This is how I would describe Dawn Crandall's writing. With only a few "drops" of words, her characters and settings come alive with color and depth that allow your imagination and senses to make everything feel real. In this story we get to enjoy the brisk, mountains and lakes in Maine and the famous Everston hotel.
I loved Estella Everstone's story. She was deep and personal and to me, full of life. Dexter was just as good. I appreciated his passion for others in need.
This was a very exciting read that makes you want to keep turning the pages to see what will happen next. I loved how convicting, encouraging, and comforting elements of faith were fluidly intertwined throughout the story. I wish more authors took the time and care to write scriptural elements into their stories, like Dawn Crandall does. Thank you, Dawn, for writing these books!
Just notified by author, Release date announced as March is Now April 1st 2015 !
an.ti.ci.paaaa.tion ... has now become appreciation.
A solid historical romance that concludes Ms Crandall's Everstone Chronicles with aplomb. Steady pacing, characters I wanted to know, authentic interactions and relationship development; for me it presented the whole reading package.
I was intrigued from prologue to epilogue.
Congratulations, Dawn, and every continued success !
Another wonderfully romantic read in the Everstone Chronicles! Full review to come! :)
Estella Everstone, under the name Elle Stoneburner for her protection, is currently living as a lady’s companion at one of her favorite of her father’s lavish Maine hotels, Everston. Everston would be the perfect refuge if not for the fact that her ex-fiancé is nearby and set on marrying someone else. Devastated by the emotional upheaval that his engagement brings, Estella forms a reluctant friendship with Everston’s standoffish manager, Dexter Blakely, who, despite being manager of a hotel that caters to the wealthy and affluent, seems to hold a grudge against wealthy socialites. When Estella is forced from her lady’s maid position, Dexter offers her a position as a companion to his shy sister. As she comes to know him and his family, she can’t help but realize that, despite hiding behind a false name, she has never felt more like her true self than she does around him. Can she trust Dexter to find her worthy not only as Elle, but as Estella Everstone as well? More importantly, can she see her own worth for herself?
After reading this third book in the Everstone Chronicles, I have come to realize that I am in good hands when I pick up a book with Dawn Crandall’s name on the cover. Her books offer a bit of everything, but definitely deliver on the things that I look for in a historical romance – endearing lead characters, tension-filled scenes and a believable romance. Plus, she writes in first-person, which is unique, and she excels at this narration style.
I loved so many things about this novel, but the first draw for me was the characters themselves. Estella is a bit more reserved than the previous two leading ladies in books one and two; however, she also had lovely qualities. Despite her previous fiancé being around in this story, there was no love triangles featured here, which was refreshing. Estella has a lot of internal struggle with feelings of worthiness and sharing the truth with Dexter. Because Dawn chose to write the story in first person, Estella’s struggles and triumphs had much more impact on me as the reader. I was rooting for her the whole way through the story. Her personal and spiritual growth comes across as genuine and heartfelt. Estella’s realization that she doesn’t have to rely on a person or position in society for her worth, but on God alone, was a lovely reminder for this reader. It was obvious that Dawn had a clear message of hope and worthiness in mind as she wrote Estella’s story.
I can’t mention Estella without talking about Dexter, and truly, I don’t think Dawn can write a bad male lead. Just when I think no one can top Lawry, enigmatic yet generous Dexter comes along. When I compare the three (Nathan, Lawry and Dexter), it’s just too hard to pick a favorite – the same can be said of the heroine’s as well, although Estella comes close to being a favorite. I thought it was nice that Dexter achieves personal growth as well. He has to change his mind on what he thought about the rich and wealthy, and though it focused on that less, that change was apparent to me. This story is primarily a romance, and although the plot doesn’t offer many surprises in that regard, Dawn’s descriptions of their relationship are simply beautiful and drama-filled without being overdone. If you are looking for a gorgeous happily-ever-after, you’ve definitely picked up the right book.
The setting and the scenes in the woods of Maine really came to life for me and had a very real presence in the story. My particular favorite scenes were in the outdoor church under the trees. I loved the realizations that Estella came to here and loved the idea of connecting to God through the nature that He created. It was also neat to see Vance, Estella’s brother and a character that I disliked so much from book 2, there and perhaps see some seeds of redemption begin to root more deeply in him. I’m hoping that he might make his way into a future story about the Everstone’s.
The Captive Imposter is wonderfully romantic and just an all-around great read - there is some intrigue, a bit of danger, a lot of romance, and the story is wholly uplifting and engaging the entire time. Dawn has written a lovely blend of romance, action and rich characterization in each book. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment spent reading this series and would love to read any future additions to the Everstone Chronicles. Highly recommended to fans of historical romance!
The Captive Imposter, book #3 in The Everstone Chronicles by Dawn Crandall, focuses on Estella Everstone in a story that captivated me from the very first page. I love everything about Dawn's writing voice - lyrical prose, first-person POV, rich characterizations, and captivating storylines that stay in my mind long after the last page is turned. Dawn's writing style is beautifully unusual, refreshing, and reminiscent of a style from the past - and I hope she never loses that quality, because that is one of the many things that endears her stories to me. And the literary quotes with which Dawn begins each chapter add so much interest, as they reflect the tone of events to come.
The Captive Imposter is set in the picturesque mountain wilderness of Maine during the year of 1891 - specifically Everston, a grand hotel and resort in the Appalachian Mountains of central Maine. I love stories where the setting essentially becomes a major character, and from Everston's interior scenes to the rugged beauty of the Half Moon Lake area, Dawn excels at conveying visual images that readers can see and feel.
As a fan of character-driven drama, I'd have to say that rich characterization is one strength of this series. Estella, daughter of Bram Everstone, was a minor character in the two previous stories and I enjoyed seeing the path that her life takes in The Captive Imposter. She had pursued the affections of a doctor in the past, wanting to prove that she was worthy of sharing his call to the mission field, and that same doctor complicates her life in this story. I loved how, in the guise of a lowly companion, Estella gradually journeys from a seemingly spoiled heiress into a child of God, yielded to His will. In Ella's words, "Most people treated me as if I lived in a glass box. Now that I'd had a taste of what it was like to be outside that box, I didn't look forward to going back."
And Dexter is a wonderful hero! He's tender and caring, and makes a ministry out of his position as manager/owner of Everston. But we see growth in him as he comes to realize his antipathy toward wealth and that he had "harbored a hardness of heart" toward the very people he had ministered to. Dexter and Estella's romance is sweet and realistic because everything builds slowly, starting out as friends and growing into so much more. Dawn does such a good job at creating tension because I almost read with dread, knowing that when secrets on both sides were eventually revealed, things wouldn't go well for this unlikely pair.
Some of the most moving scenes to me were the outdoor church services offered by the hotel, services that took place deep in the woods at a place called Leightner Hollow. Dexter's words spoken from a rugged altar touched me, as well as Estella: "You've been freed. He wants you, your heart...and that's it. No motives, no questions, and no confusion. Just be his."
The Captive Imposter is a story of forgiveness, seeing people as God sees them, and surrendering our desires to God's perfect will. I especially liked how, in response to being told that she and Dexter were perfect for each other, Estella replied that they chose to marry "because we want to be together, though we know that there will be times when we aren't perfect for each other. After all, no one is perfect. But that's part of the commitment you make when you marry - to always love your spouse, flaws and all."
In The Everstone Chronicles, Dawn has created a larger-than-life family that I've grown to care about, and that's an indication of quality writing. I'm not ready to leave this family, for the ending of The Captive Imposter cries out for Vance's story, and I'd love to learn more of Bram Everstone as well. Highly recommended.
Thank you to Dawn for providing an advanced electronic copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
I've been curious about Estella Everstone. She's a little intimidating because she's quiet, obviously in love with Jay, and the younger sister of all these swoony men. After a dangerous incident, Estella finds herself under an assumed identity, as a lady's companion. Through random events, "Elle" ends up at her favorite of her father's hotels, Everton. Estella needs help and Dexter, the hotel manager, comes to her rescue, befriending her.
Dexter is a little rough around the edges, but he really grew on me. I admire his hard-working demeanor, as well as his obvious love of his family. He's a little oblivious at times, but such a great hero. Estella is a gentle and sweet character who only wants to be loved for herself. Don't we all?
There's some powerful chemistry between these two, although they each have their reasons for denying it. I love it when the tension is there, but there's also a fight, with a little give, and then more fight. I also love the relationship that Estella builds with Roxy, Dexter's sister.
I love how each story brings a little suspense, mixed in with a great story and setting, because it enhances the romance and character growth. One thing that I always forget to mention is that I love the chapter headings. Each one is a quote from a book, author, or poet, and really ties in well with what's going on in that chapter.
Overall, this is another fantastic story to add to the Everstone collection and this family and setting have wormed even deeper into my heart.
Content: mild romance (vague talk of brothels, kissing); mild violence (threats, vague talk of suicide); mild religious elements. Clean!
*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. A review was not required and all views expressed are my own.*
By now it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Dawn Crandall’s books. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed her Everstone Chronicles series and her latest installment – The Captive Imposter – read just as smoothly and satisfying as the rest. It begins with well-planted promises of intrigue and romance and concluded just as well, leaving this reader’s heart happily content.
One of my favorite things, in similar fashion to the previous two in the series, was that it felt like I spent the entire story with the hero and heroine. I LOVED that! I liked Estella with her secrets and the inner turmoil she faced of finding her true self under disguise. And I really liked Dexter, especially the strength his presence and friendship gives our girl, along with his abrupt honesty and simple faith.
It’s not every book that I can say I enjoyed every setting and every scene, but it is true here. There’s something to take away from each pivotal moment. I know I won’t be the only reader wooed and won over by the dialogue and timeless charm that’s characteristic of so many beloved literary classics.
While this story felt a little simpler and less complicated to me than the others, I liked it that way. And once again, the quotes that preface each chapter greatly enhanced the story’s development and mystery. I didn’t want to say goodbye to this series just yet. Can’t wait for what’s to come next!
Thank you to Whitaker House and the author for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
I really enjoyed the third installment of The Everstone Chronicles. This story is told in the voice of Estella Everstone, a character we’ve met in the previous two books. I wasn't sure how I’d be able to relate to her, but my worries were in vain; the author brought her to life beautifully. I connected strongly with her and thought her motivations were believable. I really enjoyed watching her grow from a childish socialite to a strong and mature woman.
Dexter Blakeley is an excellent hero; starting out gruff but winning over Estella (and the reader) with his charm, character, and humility as the story goes on. His devotion to his family was especially likeable.
The romance between the two was sweet and completely captivating. I loved the sweet, pure quality of it. As usual, the author brings in a few of the previous characters and it was exciting to see them growing and becoming better people.
I truly enjoyed this entire series, so while this is a stand-alone story, I recommend reading the other two books as well. 5 stars for a lovely historical novel!
(I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review, which I have given. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)
Dawn Crandall's writing style is fascinating. Written in first person, there is a quality about it like I'm reading in tunnel vision- I know there's more going on peripherally but I can only see what is being experienced by the main character, Estella. The story unfolds in layers and the different aspects of the plot are revealed strategically. It's almost like uncovering a mystery!
Estella has undergone her transformation from shallow socialite to compassionate companion before the book begins, so we see her new perspective of the world and herself. I love how she is drawn to Dexter and values him for his own qualities as she comes to know him and forms an unlikely friendship with him. He is a bit of a mystery as well, but from the beginning his integrity and honor are obvious. I loved reading the developing romance between Estella and Dexter and discovering all the facets of their story! This third book in The Everstone Chronicles is definitely my favorite.
(Thank you to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
Welcome back to the world of the Everstone family! I know that I am thrilled to be back in their lives, watching the drama unfold. And what a wonderful drama it is!
What did I love about this book?
For starters, I loved the setting. Everston and the surrounding land was beautifully described. I felt like I was there. The feeling of coming home that Estella experienced upon her return to Everston is palpable.
The characters in this story are also captivating, as has been the case in all three of the books in the series. It is so interesting to be able to really get to know Estella in this book and to see her personal growth into a woman who truly knows her own heart. Dexter Blakeley is a wonderful hero for Estella. What a complex situation these two find themselves in. Dexter and his family have an intriguing and painful backstory. The author does a very good job of slowly allowing the reader to learn about the events of the past that have impacted Dexter’s family so very much.
Looking for a bit of a gothic feel? Try Blakeley House. Estella’s experience here is pure gothic romance, in my opinion. Although this home is a refuge for Estella at one point in the story, I couldn’t help but feel nervous for her at times in the book. You can chalk it up to my reaction to Estella’s first impressions upon moving into the house. Two young women are currently residing in the house and spend most of their time behind the closed doors of their rooms. Then there is Dexter’s mother, mean-spirited and sharp-tongued, and decidedly unstable. Throw in a shadowy, candle-lit encounter, and the gothic vibe is definitely happening here!
I highly recommend this entire series and I am hoping to read more about the Everstone family in the future.
My thanks to the author for the complimentary copy of this book which I received in exchange for an honest review.
Dawn Crandall keeps getting better and better as an author. The Captive Imposter was an amazing book. It literally didn't want to put it down.
Although you get a glimpse of Estella Everstone in the previous books, now you are allowed to see her heart and torment. I loved that she was an artist and drawing so much since I too am an artist. I also loved how her first love was there at every corner just out of reach. I believe those who've had a first love then lost them know how it feels to have that person unfortunately still pop up from time to time and occupy a place in you that you wish would be extinguished. Even when the old, strong feelings are gone, the what if's are always there. I think in the end Estella got the winning hand. Who doesn't like brooding, good looking guys that are full of innocence and completely give their hearts to you once you've caught their eye. Dexter is a dreamy character and the kisses in this book are extremely swoon worthy- whew!
I do have to say this book left me wanting a book of redemption for Vance and if you are wondering why I would even suggest that (because trust me I couldn't stand him in The Bound Heart) you are just going to have to read this book for yourself. I can't wait to read what Dawn writes next! I know she isn't out of great ideas or original story lines so keep them coming girl! You are a talented author for sure!!! Thanks for letting me read your books.
I received an advanced copy of this book from the author 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.
Pure romance sure to induce heart palpitations. It begins at the first meet. Elle is off-kilter, Dexter abrupt and brooding. Elle's well intentioned employer imagines romance is afoot and does everything she can to fan the flames of attraction and the tumultuous, tender and oh so infuriatingly not-a-courtship ensues.
A compelling coming of age story. Elle has lived a life of invisibility as the youngest daughter of a powerful family. Overlooked because of her age and her female status, she learned to play the role of pampered daughter and sister well. Only she didn't realize she was role-playing until both family and wealth are stripped from her. Learning to live in the service of others brings her alive in a way she never imagined possible. And Dexter is the first man to see her for who she really is.
Crandall knows how to stretch a reader's nerves taut with anticipation. Her almost-kisses require a fainting couch just as much as her kisses do. Blissful sigh. Well, not so blissful since there's angst aplenty. Rabid reading required for the last third of the book! An exquisite addition to The Everstone Chronicles and now I'm caught up and will have to wait along with everyone else for The Cautious Maiden to release this fall.
Wow. I couldn't put this book down. I just love how Dawn makes you feel what the main character is feeling. And her descriptions are so good that I felt like I was in Maine, in the White Mountains. The plot never faltered and kept me turning the pages late into the night. I'm so glad this book is a part of my collection.
It’s always such fun to meet new authors and have a chance to read their work, especially when it happens to be one of my favorite genres! Each book in Dawn Crandall’s The Everstone Chronicles was entertaining and I’m super excited for her as the series will now be in paperback!
Before I share thoughts on each individual novel, I have to say I really enjoyed the era and location of the series. The late 1800s were a fascinating time in America, so I really liked diving into that time of American history.
I think this one might be my favorite of the three. I liked both Estella (super glad she got her own story) and Dexter. I also liked many of the secondary cast (especially Roxy). The setting made me want to go back to the northeast for a visit and I loved the story!
How everything progressed, the bits of mystery and final conclusion all made for a really entertaining and page turning read. The more and more I read, the more I value quality character development and change. Give me something to believe in you know? This was fun to see in this novel not only with the main characters, but many of the others. (4 stars)
Have you had a chance to read this series?
(Thank you to author for a copy of the books in exchange for my honest review)
Estella Everstone was initially the least favorite of the ladies in the Everstone Chronicles series, but she ended up being my favorite. She was more levelheaded and intelligent when it came to the men in her life -- no crazy love triangles for Elle! Since I've now had the time to mull the first three books over for a few days, I can honestly say that the third time is the charm. While The Hesitant Heiress had the most fabulous hero (I'm looking at you, Nathan) and The Bound Heart's Lawry was swoony too, The Captive Imposter has both a likeable heroine and a brooding hero. I would have liked the reason for Elle's charade to have come to a more dramatic conclusion as the other books did, but the romance was just right. The Captive Imposter brings together a story of love, redemption, and family in a neat little package. If you're a fan of romances with spiritual themes present throughout, you may want to download these books to your ereader!
~ My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ~
*I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*
The Captive Imposter was a great read that truly held me captive. The book went everywhere with me! The message of faith and trust in this book was great. I really enjoyed the scripture verses that were interwoven into a terrific storyline. The way the spirit took the words from the Bible to touch the characters hearts and lives was so raw and real. Will a man fall in love with a woman no matter her name? Will a woman trust that God holds all in His hands? Those are the two true questions to be answered in this beautifully, captivating tale. I really think this book is my favorite from Dawn Crandall so far. I can't wait to see what comes next from this amazing author! I have a hard time giving ebooks five stars, but not this one! This is such an inspirational book on love and faith. Don't miss it! You will fall in love with the strong characters, message of love, faith, and forgiveness, and a beautifully written historical romance read.
I received this book from the author for my honest opinion which I have given. Since I don't like to read what happens in a book before reading a book, I hold my reviews to what I gleaned from its pages.
This book is a sweeping love story set in the Gilded Age. The heroine is impersonating a lady's companion for the heroine's protection after her brother is killed in a prior book. When her lady decides to visit a hotel in the middle of the Maine woods, Elle is thrust into the middle of a hotel that her family owns and she's always wanted. It's harder to keep up the charade -- especially when the manager of the hotel begins to spend time with her. Dexter is enigmatic, but as Elle gets to know him she is pulled to his heart. The only problem is he doesn't know who she really is.
This story is told in first person and it works so well. I was completely entranced with Elle and wanted to know how her story would unfold. The writing is vivid, absolutely sucking me into the story. And the characterization is rich. There are some great secondary characters who seem superficial when first introduced, but then their backstory is revealed bit by bit adding further depth to the story.
This book is perfect for readers who love a historical set in the late 1800s who love a strong romance with a thread of mystery. This is first and foremost a romance -- and one well worth reading.
I may have stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to finish this book. This book was fabulous! I loved it so much! I loved the love story in this one. The tell tale sign of a wonderful writer is the ability to make you connect and fall in love with the characters. I found myself doing that exact thing with Estella and Dexter! All of her books have had a unique story line and have kept me interested right up until the last page! I would highly recommend this book and the whole series.
Somehow I managed to read these books out of order. This is the last one in the series for me, since I have already read book 4. So glad to read Estella's story:) Dawn Crandall has created a privileged but flawed family, who find God's love, mercy and purpose for the lives. Sad to say goodbye to the Everstone family.
I really loved this novel, by far the best of the series. Estella's character is believably sweet. I loved watching the romance develop between her and Dexter--she a meek mouse and he a blustery lion. The mystery about who she is as well as her growing confidence and character was wonderful to see played out.
Once again, Dawn Crandall has taken me back in time, to the rugged mountains of Maine, and into the heart and mind of another heroine. When I read this story, which is also told in first person, it's more like reading the pages of someone's journal than a piece of fiction. Crandall has told each story in the Everstone Chronicles in first person, and has done so expertly in each one. Not every author can create an page turner told primarily from one character's perspective...but that's exactly what it was. A page turner!
Estella was not a character that stood out to me from the previous novels in the series...and that's exactly why I was drawn in to her story. The author did this in The Bound Heart as well. She took a character that we are introduced to before but don't know much about and lets us into their world...all of their fears, insecurities, hopes and dreams. So because I didn't know much about Estella, I wanted to know why she acted the way she did, how she felt about things that happened in the previous novel, and I was completely drawn in from the beginning.
Estella, even though she is an heiress, has all the struggles that any girl may go through...very relateable. Her whole life she has been judged by her family name, and feels she must act a certain way with everyone, masking who she truly is inside. When there is a threat to her family (some events happened in the previous novel that explain this), Estella must assume a secret identity to protect herself from harm. But the secret identity allowed her to experience freedom for the first time. Freedom to be herself, to show her emotions, and love and be loved by a man who could see her for who she really was. Her journey is a pleasure to read and at times my heart ached for her as she struggled with all the pain from her past.
This story revolved around Estella's journey, but a big part of her journey was Dexter. He had a broody demeanor when we are first introduced to him. Dexter has past hurts as well, and his comes out initially as hardness towards Estella, but as she continues to interact with him, we see a different side. Dexter struggles with letting go and allowing himself to love, just as Estella did, but as both of their walls they've built up around their hearts begin to crumble...beautiful things begin to happen. Crandall does an amazing job at balancing the interaction between Estella and Dexter. There are the much needed serious moments, where they are discovering who they are and how they feel....and then there are the sizzling moments where they cannot deny the physical attraction they have for one another! A definite page-turner!
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and I know you will, too!
**I was given a free copy of this novel by the publisher for an unbiased review...which I gave**
If I had to pick something about Dawn's writing that was really unique, I'd have to say, it would be her names. Lawry, Amaryllis, Estella...I LOVED Dexter! What a dark, brooding, yet protective name for a gentle, handsome man with secrets! :) That term, "handsome" brings me to my next point. Dawn's character depictions are the best. She doesn't pile it all on you the second she starts the book about how they look nor does she continuously bring to point how "good looking" they are so you miss the whole story line. Dawn expertly adds in bits in pieces. Enough to make you swoon over Dexter's brooding looks while still keeping you more interested in the story line then whether or not every character in the book is model worthy. Her characters were real with real problems...Estella suffered greatly but she also experienced real healing by the end of the book. It wasn't a preachy "then Jesus showed her how much she's worth" type of healing but a natural, non-pushy turn-over that made me want more!!
As for the cover, as you can see, it was just as gorgeous as the others!! I'm a big fan of series covers that "match" somehow and Dawn's are no exception. :)
The only thing that can top all of this is a fantastic, unique story line, not any less special then her previous books!! I have never read a book with a story line like this and to me, uniqueness is a huge, rating determining factor.
___________________________________________________ *Not my favorite*
*Rating Spoiler Alert* As with all five star books, I have nothing bad to say about this book at all. Dawn didn't disappoint...now we just need to wait for book four! __________________________________________________ *My Rating*
As previously mentioned, I give The Captive Imposter by Dawn Crandall...
The Captive Imposter or "TCI" as us reviewers affectionately call this latest work of art is an inspiring, romantic story on forgiveness and being yourself. Truly "captivating" just as the title suggests!
*I received this book from bookfun.org and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts were my own and I was not compensated in any other way.
I never gave much thought to Estella in The Hesitant Heiress or The Bound Heart. She was a mousy, quiet, timid sort of gal who stayed in the background, only making herself and her thoughts know on the rare occasion. So, it was with much hesitation that I began reading The Captive Imposter, where Estella took the spotlight. Truth be told, I doubted that Dawn Crandall could bring this seemingly lacking character to light. I even wondered if I would be able to finish the book, or if it would suffer the unfortunate casualty of being tossed aside.
And then, THEN I read the novel. And proceeded to kick myself for ever doubting Dawn Crandall’s ability to breath life into her characters.
How could I ever doubt Dawn Crandall??!!!
In an uncanny twist of circumstances, Estella Everstone, heir to one of the most vast fortunes in society, is whisked away from home in order to protect herself and her family from the men who killed her brother. In order to hide her identity, Estella goes undercover as Elle Stoneburner, a lowly lady’s companion, and learns just how difficult humbling one’s self truly is.
When Estella’s employer suddenly moves them to Everston, one of the jeweled hotels belonging to the Everstone family, Estella suddenly finds herself in the same circles as her ex-finance, his new intended, and a rather intriguing hotel manager, Dexter Blakely, who wants nothing to do with the young socialites parading throughout his hotel lobby. But Estella is no longer the vain, society-driven young woman she once was, and when circumstances turn dire, she must come to terms with her reality changing once again.
The Captive Imposter is a gorgeously written story that beckons you further with every page. I was truly taken with Estella’s dilemma, the unforeseen plot twists, and the bubbling romances hidden in these pages. I am astonished and thrilled at how Dawn could take a character so far in the peripheral outskirts and fairy godmother her into the main character with seamless ease. The Captive Imposter is a work of literary art. I highly recommend you grab a copy of this novel for yourself, curl up in your favorite reading nook, and settle in for a delightful read.
I was graciously provided a free copy of this novel from Dawn Crandall and Whitaker House in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.
This is the third book that I've read by Dawn, and I can say that I liked it. I've debated with myself whether I like this one or her second book in this series better, so I'll just say that "The Captive Imposter" is just as good as book two, with some aspects that I liked slightly better than the previous books. The author did a fairly good job of characterization in this one. Estella, the heroine, has visible character growth in the story. I think it was interesting finally getting to see her thoughts and point of view of life after reading some about her in the previous books, but only getting a glimpse of who she is. I liked her, as well as many of the other characters. And pretty much the only characters I did not like were the bad guys.... and partly the character who previously broke Estella's heart. But I've not understood him much since book one. I'd also like to mention how this particular book in the series has such a lovely setting. I liked how it gave enough detail where I could see the beautiful mountains and lake, but didn't drag the story so that I was bored silly. I'd certainly like to take a visit to Everston if it were real now! I really don't have many negative thoughts on this book, so not much to really gripe about in this story. I think the only thing that really bothered me was that I felt the romance happened somewhat too fast for my taste, but it didn't annoy me as much as other romances that I thought were too instantaneous. In conclusion, I say that Dawn Crandall's newest book is an enjoyable read. So if you're looking for a unique Christian romance, I'd say give "The Captive Imposter" a try. The characters, settings, and story line stand out to me from other in the same market, plus the author's writing style is certainly catchy; I found myself able to read large portions of it at times, plus I like books written in first-person.
I recommend "The Captive Imposter" by Dawn Crandall and give it a rating of four.
*Thanks to the author for a free e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.