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Monday, March 2, 2009

Before the Season Ends by Linore Rose Burkard

Before the Season Ends by Linore Rose Burkard
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Genre: Historical; Inspirational
Length: Full (348 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Linore Rose Burkard's debut novel whisks readers into the Regency with the intriguing story of Miss Ariana Forsythe, a young woman caught between 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 Ariana to her aunt's townhouse in the fashionable Mayfair district of London. There, she soon finds herself 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? 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?

Jane Austen fans and readers of historical romance will love Before the Season Ends.

Those who do indeed love to read will saunter through Before the Season Ends by Linore Rose Burkhard and savor all the delights.

It is 1813, and Miss Ariana Forsythe feels ‘called’ to marry a man of the cloth and is sadly, if utterly, resigned to her fate. Yet, she’s had strange fancies before. Her parents approach the problem logically, then with perplexity, and finally with growing alarm. Ariana’s conviction that she must marry a most unsuitable man turns the typical regency on its head! From the first pages Before the Season Ends intrigues.

And annoys. How is it that everyone interferes in Ariana’s life? It all starts long before she finds herself at # 49 in the most respectable Mayfair section of London. Once she's there, Aunt Bentley, kindly termed a ‘socialite' or in mother Julia’s view 'practically a heathen,' takes charge of her niece’s future. For Ariana, more interested in museums than parties, missing out on her hoped-for tour of city diversions is almost a punishment. Poor Auntie is equally vexed, as young Ariana’s first concern is not a potential suitor’s wallet, but his spirituality.

Ariana is dropped in the deep end of society quite abruptly, and she is from a provincial if genteel background. She is charming whatever her circumstances and of a stronger will than it first appears. Busy city life and high fashion do not turn her head. A myriad of diverse and interesting perspectives prove valuable to her. She is clever enough to detect subtle differences among the many classes – far from merely the lower and upper crust, London of the time clearly set apart ‘the beau monde,’ ‘the ton,’ – to say nothing of royalty. Distinctions were important, to some. The Aunt Bentley’s of this world are understandable, even if the object of humor, although Burkhard cleverly makes it easy to sympathize with her, too. Indeed, she toys with our emotions throughout.

Suddenly Ariana is in the ‘marriage mart’ but hardly taking it seriously. Instead, she turns up unsuitable friends, climbs trees, and barrels into all the wrong people. She manages to annoy some of the ‘right' people –and among those, there is no want for high-handed old busybodies in society, disagreeable countesses and soft-hearted admirers. The deadly earnest efforts of certain ‘gals’ she meets stands at sharp contrast to her own pursuits. You will leap between impatience and frustration and out and out laughter. Our heroine is a sterling character however, and her ideals will sway many people.

The vicious and disagreeable Mr. Mornay’s party is of course the height of fashion – and Mornay himself considered a ‘catch.’ Sensible Ariana is more interested in touring the attractions of his estate… but events again, conspire against her. There seem to be consequences to her most innocent actions: and even her parents will weigh in again before the end. Readers will revel in the unexpected, so I dare say no more.

Throughout, the strength and personal devotion of our heroine, as well as the peculiarities of the many characters will surprise and delight readers.

Unexpected action – and more unexpected consequences – keep things hopping throughout the 1813 London Season! The consequence of setting off on the first page of Before the Season Ends is to be held enthralled, tickled, and intrigued right to the end. 5 books, and this reader shall certainly remember and look for author Linore Rose Burkhard’s books again.