Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Linore Rose Burkard's Before the Season Ends ~ Reviewed

Before the Season Ends (A Regency Inspirational Romance) (Paperback)
by Linore Rose Burkard
Paperback: 348 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (December 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736925511

In her debut novel of what she calls “spirited romance for the Jane Austen soul,” author Linore Rose Burkard tells the intriguing story of Miss Ariana Forsythe, a young woman caught between her love for a man who doesn’t share her faith and her resolution to marry only a fellow believer in Christ.

Trouble at home sends the young woman to her aunt’s townhome in the fashionable Mayfair district of London. There she finds worse troubles than those that prompted her flight from home. Ariana is soon neck-deep in high society and at odds with Mr. Phillip Mornay, London’s current darling rogue. Then a scandal changes Ariana forever. Her heart, her faith, and her future are all at stake in an unexpected adventure that gains even the Prince Regent’s attention.

Will Ariana’s faith survive this test? And what about her heart? For it’s Ariana’s heart that most threatens to betray the truths she has always believed in. When she finds herself backed against a wall, betrothed to the wrong man, how can it ever turn out right?

Without giving away any surprises, I will say the ending satisfies the reader, as does the rest of Before the Season Ends. If you enjoy all the intricacies and frills of the Regency period, then this is the book for you. I’ll personally have to admit that it’s been awhile since I’ve read in this time period, so I was grateful to Burkard for adding a glossary of terms. Even better, she includes pronunciation for some words I’ve often wondered about.

But I digress…let’s get back to the story. Mr. Mornay is the handsome brooding male hero that every woman wants to get their hands on, and so does the reader. He’s hinted about by other characters so often that I couldn’t wait to meet him myself. By not introducing him until well into the novel, Burkard does a great job of making him even more mysterious and attractive. It’s well worth the wait, however. Mr. Philip Mornay is positively Darcy-esque in many respects.

Good thing the heroine, Ariana, maintains a strong faith throughout. She continually puts her trust in God and completely nails the gospel message not only for Mornay, but for the reader as well.

In true Austen fashion, there are quirky eccentrics, snooty aristocrats, and down-to-earth sensible characters. All in all, Before the Season Ends is a delightful read. I’m looking forward to the sequel, The House in Grosvenor Square, due out in April 2009.

Reviewed by: Michelle Griep

Bonus Review:

Let me first say that I've never read a Jane Austin book and was totally taken by the story which was set in 1813, Chesterton, England, where nineteen year old Ariana was off to her Aunt's house for an opportunity of a life time. She's never met her Aunt so this was awkward to say the least. Aunt Bentley was excited about her mission to find Ariana the best husband her city had to offer. She is totally thrilled to set up her niece's social calendar for the season of her "coming out".

I was totally floored by all the "Rules" upper society had. Amazed at how Mrs. Bentley knew all these rules along with just the right style of clothes to be worn at every occassion; to present a good impression for a successful coming out party. Ariana saw how thrilled her Aunt was with this whole process. She wasn't as excited, as a matter of fact this process was making her head spin (mine too) with all the rules, types of clothes to be seen in and which accessories (like gloves) had to be worn at certain parties. All these rules just made me laugh out loud.

Ariana was sure her parents didn't know how serious all this was? Ariana couldn't believe how much money her Aunt was spending on her -- it just didn't seem right. Would there be money left over for her sisters coming out party? Maybe some of this money could be given to the poor. She just didn't feel right about all the expense and attention.

She was determined to honor her Aunt even though her parents said Mrs. Bentley was a high society heathen. Maybe in the process of obeying her Aunt she could show the love of Christ is a special way. Ariana wanted to tell her Aunt that having a personal relationship with Christ was so much more important than following a bunch of religious rules, like she does in these high society parties. She prayed for this opportunity.

Ariana didn't think like woman her age. In Ariana's way of thinking, a personal relationship with Christ was the most important quality in a husband! Period. The end. She didn't want a man just to have one. Her Aunt thought this line of thinking was judgmental and ridiculous. I soon found myself cheering for Ariana.

I was captivated, enchanted and educated all at the same time as I read this book. I even chuckled at societies silliness -- it was great! It fascinated me! I haven't read anything quite like it. I can't wait to see what Linore writes next!.

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent

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