The Duke's Marriage Mission is book #5 in Deborah Hale's delightful Glass Slipper Brides series, described as follows:
Rebecca, Marian, Grace, Hannah, Leah and Evangeline became fast friends while enduring a harsh childhood at the Pendergast Charity School. Now scattered throughout the kingdom, they work as governesses, never expecting to know the blessings of love, marriage and families of their own. But when their paths cross with some special gentlemen, these humble governesses may become Cinderella brides!
When I want a cozy, relaxed read that I know will leave me smiling, a Love Inspired Historical is my "go to" choice. This is the first of Deborah's many books that I've read and I certainly enjoyed it. Although it's part of a series and other characters are mentioned occasionally, this story easily stands alone.
Hayden and Leah are engaging and well-developed characters, each with past experiences that can potentially lead to poor decision making. Any parent of a disabled child can relate to the tug-of-war between Hayden and Leah, the struggle with over protectiveness vs. increased freedom when it comes to Kit. Hayden's love for his son is very moving, and Deborah did a good job in showing how they learned from each other: "Lord Northam was learning some valuable lessons from her . . . and she was learning a thing or two from him about patience, selflessness and all-consuming devotion."
There were two scenes that I especially loved: first, when Leah came upon Hayden in the chapel, overhearing the raw emotion in his prayers; and secondly, the visit of Kit's long-time family doctor. Angry over being questioned by Leah, Dr. Bannister lashes out: "I do not expect you to understand my treatments since the science of medicine is too complex for the female mind to grasp."
The spiritual theme is one of freedom, and Deborah skillfully weaves the message of 2 Corinthians 3:17 throughout: "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." Also, in a scene where Leah and Hayden are talking about the joy of eventually being able to take Kit to a worship service in the chapel, I appreciated Hayden's beautiful thoughts: "There is something special about worshipping in a consecrated place with other believers. It is like taking a single candle and putting it into a chandelier. The crystals reflect and magnify its light."
While The Duke's Marriage Mission is obviously a romance - and there is good chemistry between Hayden and Leah - I liked that the storyline seemed to revolve more around Kit. I would definitely recommend The Duke's Marriage Mission to those who enjoy historical romance that inspires.
Thank you to Deborah Hale for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. My 5-star rating is in comparison to other books in the Love Inspired line.