Quick synopsis: Lydia King is a poor, young, single lady living in Teaville, a bustling city in 1905 southeast Kansas. She's active in her church because it's the Christian thing to do, and she's waiting for the town's most eligible bachelor to propose and save her from a life of poverty caused by her father's gambling and her mother's health care costs.
In an effort to impress her intended's mother, she attempts to garner a donation from Teaville's notorious miser and lumber mill owner, Nicholas Lowe, to provide sewing machines to make blankets for the poor. His answer to her is no, again and again. As she tenaciously (and desperately) pursues his donation, she finds that Nicholas is quite generous toward others, but in his own way. Spending more and more time together as they help others, they find their hearts and their faith challenged in the darkest ways.
My thoughts: When I completed this book, I felt like I'd been discipled. The key principles of the life of a Christ-follower are to know, follow, and share Jesus, and she stepped us exactly through those principles as she transformed Lydia from a pew-sitter to a follower and sharer of Jesus. Lydia goes through an incredible heart change, and it's because she is being discipled and challenged by her new friend. All of this is wrapped into a beautiful love story, with appropriate Pride & Prejudice references woven in. Bonus!
It does't hurt that Nicholas is the Darcy-type. Brooding, a little mysterious, take charge, and brave, exactly as a romantic hero should be.
This is a great read, but for far more than the romance it contains. You will be challenged to live out your faith in Christ, just as Lydia and Nicholas are challenged.
Pick this one up! You'll find it here, and a novella prequel to the series right here.