Grace A. Johnson
Review: To Treasure an Heiress by Roseanna M. White
#1 This is a long review, so pull up a chair and grab a bowl of popcorn. You’ll be here awhile. #2 When I read a review, I want substantial information. So I will not skimp on the details. Which may mean some spoilers, so watch out.
Synopsis: Beth Tremayne has one goal: find the rest of the infamous pirate John Mucknell’s buried treasure before Lord Theodore Howe, Marquess of Sheridan does. And, if in the process, she happens to insult Sheridan into complete silence (because when does he ever stop prattling on?), as well as avoid his obvious machinations to steal her heart—I mean, her treasure—then, well, that’s simply the icing on the cake!
Favorite Quote: Just a note here that I’m not going to add my favorite quote to every review I do...suffice it to say that I had such a hard time picking a favorite from this book that I simply threw them all into the review itself. You’ll get over it. *winks*
I could’ve left my review as the simple “Sheridan,” and, believe me, y’all, that would’ve been enough. I know several people were concerned about Sheridan from the first book—he was such an exuberant and eccentric character—and even I pondered just how White was going to pull off his character...but, guys, Sheridan is simply fabulous. He is on a whole new level of hero—a bit of a classic, but exuding a modern air; as posh as any lord, minus the arrogance; humorous and insightful and wise and compassionate and endearing. To be honest, he reminded me some of Lord Rule from The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer, which is very much a good thing. I adored Rule.
“Reason is greatly overrated.”
If anything, Sheridan is unique, wholesome, ever so comedic, and the sweetest fellow you’ll ever meet! If you don’t fall as hard and fast for him as I did, I can at least assure you that he’ll make you laugh, make you think, and perhaps even make you tear up!
“She hadn’t immediately told him to leave. That was something. Progress. At this rate, she’d be Lady Sheridan in a decade, at the most.”
Seriously, though, if he wasn’t saying/thinking something positively hilarious, he was giving the most delightful nuggets of wisdom—in his own way!
“Perhaps love isn’t a word, then. For that first strike, I mean. Infatuation. Attraction. Though, too—there could a knowing. Yes? The thought, from the first glance, that this is the one for me. Perhaps the deep love has to dig in over time. Chisel itself in. To one’s heart, that is. Or rather, chisel the heart its shape. But sometimes lightning does strike.”
ALSO. The man made constant references to Pride and Prejudice. That right there is enough to make me love him forever! Oh, and we mustn’t forget his precious list and his botched proposals. Y’all, this man is such a bumbling buffoon and that is somehow the most romantic thing ever.
Well, except for one thing…
“Nothing more romantic than a library by lamplight, is there?”
Now, I know some reviewers have brought up Sheridan’s spirituality, terming it “spiritual deconstruction” and discrediting not only his character but the author for the what and how he believed.
Allow me to explain. Sheridan was not “deconstructed.” Spiritual deconstruction is when an individual who once claimed to be a Christian up and renounces the faith. (For example, Joshua Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and Kevin Smith of DC Talk.) Sheridan didn’t renounce or denounce or claim anything at all.
I see your looks. But Sheridan didn’t go to church, you say. But Sheridan didn’t do this, you tell me. But Sheridan didn’t reflect the perfect image of a religious, Pharisaical Christian who followed all the rules and checked all the boxes, confining his faith to the walls of a church building and refusing to accept the truth that God revealed to him both through His Word and His Holy Spirit, you continue.
Exactly my point, dears.
Yes, my irreligious, NAR, bordering-on-heathen self found Sheridan’s faith absolutely beautiful. Why? Well, not only because I don’t go to church every single Sunday (you gonna call me deconstructed?), but because he actually had faith. One that he practiced. One that he struggled with. One that he grew. One that would falter. One that he quite obviously placed in Jesus Christ.
“Drawing closer to the Lord, being directed by Him, used by Him to help someone else...that was quite a feeling. Heady and humbling all at once. To think that they served a God who could and would do such things—and use them to accomplish it.”
He wasn’t simply a cardboard cut-out character who only went to church and blessed his meals. No, Sheridan lived out his beliefs, and whether you agree with them or not, that is something you can admire.
So, before you start bashing Sheridan for his not-Christian-enough Christianity, remember that people you know and love share a similar walk to him (*waves hand*), and think of all the “Christian” novels you’ve read in which the main characters didn’t display any faith at all. No prayers. No reading the Bible. No seeking the Lord. All they did was attend Sunday service (not that church in its essence is bad; it’s simply that one cannot live off church alone), and that was plenty enough to keep you from complaining, now wasn’t it?
*takes in a deep breath* I know that was a rant, for which I apologize, and I’m sure I stepped on some toes, so if you disagree or misunderstand (which you’re bound to), I’d be happy to expound upon my opinions privately and show you some Scriptures to back them up!
ANYWAY. Enough about that! Let’s get into the good stuff!
Oh, but first. On top of your Sheridan concerns, a lot of readers picked up on some evolutionary ideals (personally, I completely missed those) in The Nature of a Lady, in which case, allow me to assure you that no such thing exists in To Treasure an Heiress! If anything, you’ll have to deal with Sheridan’s lack of respect for nature and whatnot, being an architect and all.
Unlike Libby, our quiet and unassuming young botanist, Beth is full of energy and has a definite penchant for trouble. To be quite honest, I saw her as being a wee bit immature in TNOAL and perhaps with potential to be rather bothersome...but she was positively lovely! Which I rarely ever say about a heroine, so y’all savor this moment.
As crazy as it seemed, I did indeed enjoy Beth’s character. She was so fun and unique, so vicarious and adventurous, but she was also deep and realistic. She did retain a portion of that youthfulness, but paired with her loyalty and love, as well as her sharp mind and tongue, she didn’t seem immature at all. There was definitely growth on her part that I loved, and come to think of it, a bit of that was reminiscent of Elizabeth Bennet’s arc and how she let go of her prejudice.
Actually, if I were to pick a character that Beth most reflected, it would be Elizabeth. She had all of Elizabeth’s finer points and flaws—from her stubbornness and judgmental attitude to her unending devotion and lively spirit. With characteristics such as those, how could you not love Beth?
“Then she whispered, ‘I love you too,’ and he was pretty sure his heart would just give out then and there.”
On that note, hers and Sheridan’s romance was just. so. precious. They were simply perfect for each other, and I loved how they had their moments of conflict—it breeds the most intense chemistry, I might add—but what I loved the most was how Sheridan became so integrated in Beth’s family and their lives, and how she seemed to complete him, you know? And vice versa, of course. It was positively beautiful!
“This was a man she could imagine exploring her way through life beside. A man she knew she could count on to cherish her, who would always treasure the right things. A man who would seek adventure with her in whatever neighborhood they found themselves, here or the Lake District or Antarctica.”
Whilst I’m speaking of characters, we must make mention of how lovely Libby and Ollie were….how I craved more of Mabena and Casek...how Emily and Telly are perfect for each other...how Mamm-Wynn was as golden as always...and how absolutely amazing Abbie and Millicent—Sheridan’s older sisters—were! They—or, more specifically, their relationship with Sheridan reminded me a bit of my great-aunts Fannie Lou and Ruth, as they were much older than my papa and always treated him as their “play pretty,” and of myself and how I mother my three-year-old brother. Of course, that kindred spirit vibe there made me love Abbie and Millicent all the more, but regardless of their relationship with Sheridan (which was the most precious thing), they were absolutely splendid! As hilarious as their brother with as many eccentricities!
“But family wasn’t created by seeking your own good. Family was created by doing good for others.”
An unexpected surprise was Ainsley and Senara. Now, I wasn’t at all shocked to find Senara played such an important role in this book, nor Ainsley, for that matter, as White has a tendency to give us that upstairs-downstairs feel (somehow even wi’ de po’ folks from de isle) that adds such a depth to the story. But the significance and the beauty of Senara’s story (and hers and Ainsley’s relationship) wasn’t something I’d anticipated at all!
“Every time we make a mess of things, every time we take a wrong step, it’s just an opportunity for the Lord to meet us in an unexpected way.”
I will be honest, Senara didn’t act her age at all. I’d’ve had her pegged at anywhere from sixteen to twenty-six...not in her thirties. But apart from that, I actually liked her and her arc, and I ADORED how White wrote it and all the biblical truths she poured in! (Prepare for an overload of quotes…)
“Sins committed together are also committed against each other. And against the Lord. Repenting to Him is sometimes the easiest part. But He asks us to make right what we can too. That generally means facing those we’ve wronged.”
First of all, White didn’t let Senara’s sin go unnoticed, ignored, or glossed-over (as fornication is today). She dealt with it biblically and gracefully, which I am actually impressed by! You simply can’t find Christians who will deal in grace and truth anymore. We tend to have too much tolerance and acceptance and no—you guessed it—shame.
“But shame, Senara...it’s for a purpose. It’s there to strike our consciences, to remind of the standard of the Lord. It’s there to let us know we’ve sinned.”
I love how White describes and implements shame, something most people see as wrong and dirty, something you should never feel. But shame, as Mamm-Wynn says, has a purpose and place. Shame, you could say, is a journey, and it leads you to repentance.
“You must learn how to let the shame go. It has its purpose, a right and needful one. It can take us to life and repentance and return us to God. But if we’re not careful, it can just as easily carry us away and drown us. Others will try to force us to live in it still ever after we’ve repented, after Christ has washed us clean. They will try to push their guilt and shame upon us, if we let them. Guard against that. But only after you are once again clean.”
Then Ainsley steps in, speaking more truth into Senara in such a gorgeous way that I could’ve teared up (if I were the emotional sort, that is)!
“He makes us with great worth. Creates us that way intrinsically. Our sins, our bad choices, perhaps they coat us like mud. But the mud cannot take away the value He instilled in us. Mud does not make a pearl any less valuable. If it did, they why would Jesus have deemed us worthy of the sacrifice of His life? Because He loves us, as does the Father. Because we are valuable. And the blood of Christ, when it washes us clean, fully restores us to what He created us to be. A pearl cannot be stained. No matter how many centuries it sits in mud, wash it in a bit of water and it’s gleaming again.”
This is just one element of To Treasure an Heiress that I loved. It wasn’t just one theme, one arc, one story—it was a realistic mesh of so many lives and stories and messages and themes, and that was such an amazing experience!
So...if you find you abhor Sheridan (which is impossible) and despise him for his walk with God...or if you find you simply can’t accept the spiritual elements White weaved in through Mamm-Wynn and her intimacy with the Holy Spirit...then you can at least appreciate the lovely redemption of Senara Dawe!
“You are a pearl of great price, Senara Dawe. I could see that as soon as I met you. You are a woman of deep heart, of great love, or beautiful spirit. It is an honor to be counted among your friends.”
Seriously, there is something for everyone in this book. There’s adventure and intrigue, mystery and suspense, humor and heart, romance and passion, and a whole lot of faith! What’s not to love?
Well, except for the villains, of course.
Long story short...you must read To Treasure an Heiress. Regardless of your preconceived notions. Regardless of your mixed feelings for The Nature of a Lady or Roseanna M. White. Regardless of what other people say. Just...give it a try. If anything, I know you’ll like Beth, you’ll love Senara’s arc, and you’ll laugh at Sheridan’s strange sense of humor! (I call it strange, possessing the same sort of humor. *winks*)
Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
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about the author
Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. She and her family make their home in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.
Yours in spirit and script,
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