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A Return of Devotion

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Daphne Blakemoor was content living in her own secluded world for the last twelve years. She had everything she needed—loved ones, a true home, and time to indulge her imagination. But when ownership of the estate where she works as a housekeeper passes to a new marquis with an undeniable connection to her past, everything she's come to rely upon is threatened. William, Mar Daphne Blakemoor was content living in her own secluded world for the last twelve years. She had everything she needed—loved ones, a true home, and time to indulge her imagination. But when ownership of the estate where she works as a housekeeper passes to a new marquis with an undeniable connection to her past, everything she's come to rely upon is threatened. William, Marquis of Chemsford's main goal in life is to be the exact opposite of his father. Starting a new life in the peace and quiet of the country sounds perfect . . . until his housekeeper turns his life upside down. Both Daphne and William have spent their lives hiding from the past. Can they find the courage to face their deepest wounds and, perhaps, forge a new path for the future together?


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Daphne Blakemoor was content living in her own secluded world for the last twelve years. She had everything she needed—loved ones, a true home, and time to indulge her imagination. But when ownership of the estate where she works as a housekeeper passes to a new marquis with an undeniable connection to her past, everything she's come to rely upon is threatened. William, Mar Daphne Blakemoor was content living in her own secluded world for the last twelve years. She had everything she needed—loved ones, a true home, and time to indulge her imagination. But when ownership of the estate where she works as a housekeeper passes to a new marquis with an undeniable connection to her past, everything she's come to rely upon is threatened. William, Marquis of Chemsford's main goal in life is to be the exact opposite of his father. Starting a new life in the peace and quiet of the country sounds perfect . . . until his housekeeper turns his life upside down. Both Daphne and William have spent their lives hiding from the past. Can they find the courage to face their deepest wounds and, perhaps, forge a new path for the future together?

30 review for A Return of Devotion

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kellyn Roth

    Read the Full Review {and watch the vlog} on my blog! FTC Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to provide a positive review. All thoughts are my own. Title: A Return of Devotion Author: Kristi Ann Hunter Series: Haven Manor, #2 Genre: Christian Historical Romance Era: 1810s (Regency) Setting: England, countryside Publisher: Bethany House Publishers Source: from NetGalley in exchange for honest review Overall Rating: 5/5 stars 5 Reasons You Should Read A Read the Full Review {and watch the vlog} on my blog! FTC Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to provide a positive review. All thoughts are my own. Title: A Return of Devotion Author: Kristi Ann Hunter Series: Haven Manor, #2 Genre: Christian Historical Romance Era: 1810s (Regency) Setting: England, countryside Publisher: Bethany House Publishers Source: from NetGalley in exchange for honest review Overall Rating: 5/5 stars 5 Reasons You Should Read A Return of Devotion by Kristi Ann Hunter 1: If you love historical romances, the Regency era, amazing Christian themes, realistic characters, sweet children, and books that beautifully balance humor and seriousness. Honestly, this is without a doubt one of the best Regency romances I’ve ever read. It has the best themes, the best characters, and the best plot! It’s emotional without being melodramatic and touches your heart without being preachy! 2: If you want to read about one of the most realistic, role-model female protagonists EVER. Honestly, there are so many great things about Daphne! She is an angel from Heaven, but at the same time, she’s real. She’s not perfect … but she can teach us so many things about being a woman just through her actions, personality, and opinions. -She isn’t ashamed to cry. -Quiet and takes time to think things out. -Actually loving. -Not particularly selfish or prideful. -She’s a good mom—to a whole bunch of kids! -Can recognize her own strengths and weaknesses … most of the time. -She’s just different from most historical heroines. Not cliche at all! And that makes me happy inside. -I don’t want to venture into spoiler land, but she also learns some great lessons and learns to value herself more. Love it! 3: The premise for this whole series is fantastic. This sweet and clean serious hosts some AMAZING themes in the two books (a novella) that I’ve read thus far. Orphaned or might-as-well-be-orphaned children are one of my passions, and I would love to be involved in something like Haven Manor when I become an adult. I just really think kids need to be given more of a chance than they are. This series so far has explored different angles of moving on from the past and embracing who you are in Christ, and I love it! I can’t wait to see what book 3 brings us, especially since Jess is such an interesting character. (Not my favorite, but eh. I don’t know why she rubs me wrong … maybe it’ll be different from her POV.) But, basically, love this series, love Haven Manor, and love the girls in it! (Definitely go back and read book 1 if you haven’t already; it’s fantastic!) 4: WILLIAM IS AMAZING! He’s a strong, amazing, godly man! And I know he has his faults, but he is also sooo sweet and supportive and gentle and AWESOME. “Awesome” and “Amazing” are two great words for William. He’s just … wow. I really love William! His POV kept rivaling Daphne’s for my favorite. I loved them both, honestly, and I love them for each other even more so. ❤ One of the best things about William was his determination to take responsibility—not just for his own actions but for those of his family members. He truly is a hero, and a fighter, and I love him for that! Too many people are self-focused and deny responsibility for others, and even shirk their own duties. Not William! He does a great job. AND … HE WOULD MAKE SUCH AN AMAZING DAD! Okay, but am I wrong when I say there is nothing more attractive in a man than just being an amazing dad-figure!? We need more good dads in this world. 5: It was impossible to put down! I know not everyone has the same reading taste, but for me, it was one of those books where you just … you can’t stop reading it! I read this book in almost six hours, staying up until … *drumroll* … 5 AM! Wow. That is literally when a lot of people get up. Once I started the book, I had to finish it. There was no other option available but to read on and on and on. And yes, the late hour was my fault—I shouldn’t have started it at 11:30. But you know what? Had to be done! So yes, those are my five main reasons you should read A Return of Devotion by Kristi Ann Hunter. And a lot of them, in different ways, apply to book 1, too. Honestly, I loved book 2 more than book 1, but they were both 5-star reads which I would highly recommend! More Reasons Why I Loved A Return of Devotion: -The situations with the young servants and William’s reaction to the absurdity that is Haven Manor cracked me up. -Benedict is one of the most amazing kiddos in the world. (p.s. for those of you who noticed, I have it straight from the author that his initials were not intentional. *coughs and dies* Though it gave me a good chuckle while reading!) -The ending scenes were amazing! All the crazyness with eVeRyOnE who could possible show up showing up all at once was aMaZiNg. -William is awesome. Did I mention that before? -Daphne is also fantastic. -Daphne’s father is similarly fantastic! I loved everything about this guy. Like, yeah, he wasn’t perfect, but as far as dad’s go, especially given the era, I give him an A+. -The series features other relationships besides romance—mother to son, daughter to father, friendships between people of all shapes and sizes, etc. -The contrast between book 1 and book 2—Kit focuses on the mothers, Daphne focuses on the children—is awesome. (I personally couldn’t care less about the mothers, haha—#TeamDaphne, I guess???) -The author actually cares about putting God into the book. She doesn’t just have the characters give an occasional nod to Him, as is required in Christian fiction—“Oh, by the way, God, prayer, blahblahblah, now back to the story!” Mrs. Hunter actually takes the time to weave elements of her faith into the plot, the characters, and of course the theme! So, basically, there were tons of amazing things about this book (and a lot of them apply to book 1 and the prequel novella, as well, if you want to start at the beginning of the series). I can’t wait for book 3, and I’m so grateful to NetGalley for giving me the eARC and then to Bethany House for sending me a paperback copy with which to reread my favorite parts! FTC Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to provide a positive review. All thoughts are my own. *** Original Review January 1st, 2019: So good I had to wait until 2019 to mark it as read so I could count it in my "Top 2019 Books." xP Review to come - but how shall I write it? It shall just be incoherent squealing. I have no negatives. I loved this book half to death - I stayed up until 5 AM reading it, after all, finishing it in about 7 hours. (Which is pretty good; I'm not a fast reader, haha!) Anyway, yes, I shall try to review this soon, but I really don't know what to say! FAVORITE THINGS -- -WILLIAM, who is honestly super sweet idek -DAPHNE, who is the best motherly creature every and she's also super brave and her imagination is amazing (I cannot not be aware of my surroundings so I found it super interesting) and she's just the sweetest girl ever -- but without a doubt the worst housekeeper. -BENNEDICT. OMW. Sweet dear boy. <3 I feel bad for him, but still ... #STRENGTH -But ... did the author realize ... his initials??? xD :P -Daphne's dad, actually. He was a sweet gent. -Seeing Kit and Graham again, even briefly. Argggg, these two! Also, Graham cracks me up. Like, "Oh, dear, everyone's fainting. *glances about* Better stop William from killing his cousin ..." -THAT WHOLE LAST SCENE WAS OVERWHELMINGLY AWESOME. I mean, it wasn't the last scene, bUt LeGiT EvEryOne SHOweD uP anD wAs AwEsOmE! Okay, I'm done. I don't like ... Jess? Is her name Jess? Or something like that? Anyway, I don't like her - and I don't know why because you'd think that'd be JUST my kind of character, but she rubs me wrong??? I don't know why! She's even a lot like me! But maybe she's just like ... Idek! Anyone else with me on this? I JUST DISLIKE HER. THANKS FOR READING! *** ~Kellyn Roth, Reveries

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cara Putman

    For those of you who love Jane Austen Regency England, you must read Kristi Ann Hunter. You know how there are characters who crawl under you skin and won't let you walk away? Daphne is one of those for me. She was a sweet character in the prior book, but now she steps to the foreground. Daphne's story is poignant and one that needs to be told. William, the hero, grows personally as Daphne works her way beneath his defenses. His journey beneath hers is much more challenging, but her story is tol For those of you who love Jane Austen Regency England, you must read Kristi Ann Hunter. You know how there are characters who crawl under you skin and won't let you walk away? Daphne is one of those for me. She was a sweet character in the prior book, but now she steps to the foreground. Daphne's story is poignant and one that needs to be told. William, the hero, grows personally as Daphne works her way beneath his defenses. His journey beneath hers is much more challenging, but her story is told so well. Loved every page. You will inhale it if you read the first, but will thoroughly enjoy this novel on its own. But be prepared to feel. Deeply.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    I cannot put into words my love for this book. This book was a beautiful masterpiece. This book had me feeling so many emotions throughout the entire thing. This book had me laughing, sighing, squealing, and hiding underneath my pillow because (view spoiler)[ Maxwell came into the house. (hide spoiler)] I literally freaked out. My sister was looking at me so weirdly. This book also had me nearly crying. I loved Daphne's character. I related with her on a lot of things, well not all things, but a I cannot put into words my love for this book. This book was a beautiful masterpiece. This book had me feeling so many emotions throughout the entire thing. This book had me laughing, sighing, squealing, and hiding underneath my pillow because (view spoiler)[ Maxwell came into the house. (hide spoiler)] I literally freaked out. My sister was looking at me so weirdly. This book also had me nearly crying. I loved Daphne's character. I related with her on a lot of things, well not all things, but a lot. She and I both have a wild imagination. I always am daydreaming and coming up with different situations in my brain. I loved her passion for the kids. Her love and compassion warmed my heart so much. I just love her character!! William was also amazing. I loved getting to know him better. I loved how he treated Daphne and didn't force anything on her. He also was an amazing man of God and you could see that in the way that he cared for everyone. Sure, he definitely had his faults but he, just like Daphne, became a changed person through the blood of Jesus. This story was truly an inspirational one. I loved the message that is being portrayed in these books. It's not everyday that you can pick up a book that is portraying a message like this. This is a message that I think a lot of people need to hear, especially those who have had sinned like these characters in the past. The historical content in this book is impeccable and truly accurate to how times were back then. I was astonished at how well researched everything was. If there are any Jane Austen fans out there, this book series is for you!! The ending of this book was really enjoyable to read except for the one part where a whole bunch of people came. Some people that I was very excited to see and others that I wanted to just punch! But page 354 was probably one of my favorite scene just because (view spoiler)[ Everyone wanted to punch Maxwell and I was just cheering for them to do so. It made me laugh hard when Graham, who was holding everybody else back nearly punched him!! xD (hide spoiler)] Overall this book was so beautifully written from the character to the message to even how historical accurate it was. If you haven't already, I highly recommend picking up and reading this series. You will not regret it!! :D *I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. It did not have to be positive.*

  4. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    In the first Haven Manor novel, we meet Daphne, and she is a lovely character. In A Return to Devotion, we get to see the Haven Manor story continue through her eyes, and she is absolutely charming and endearing. I loved getting to know her better in this story. I appreciate the Hunter continues to tackle a subject not done often in this historical setting, the consequences of having an illegitimate child in a time when it was considered to be a terrible scandal and not mentioned in "polite" soc In the first Haven Manor novel, we meet Daphne, and she is a lovely character. In A Return to Devotion, we get to see the Haven Manor story continue through her eyes, and she is absolutely charming and endearing. I loved getting to know her better in this story. I appreciate the Hunter continues to tackle a subject not done often in this historical setting, the consequences of having an illegitimate child in a time when it was considered to be a terrible scandal and not mentioned in "polite" society. What is not really evident about Daphne in the first book is that she is fierce – she loves fiercely, and she protects fiercely. In essence she loses part of herself to protect the ones that she loves. Now, all these years later, she is not sure exactly who she is, nor what she wants. William is a man who thinks he knows what he wants, but his bewildering housekeeper has him questioning things. For an arrogant aristocrat, William is a complex character. Normally, I wouldn’t really care for his type, but his character development is superb. The interactions between the two of them are sometimes hilarious, sometimes poignant, and also tender and romantic. They are both loners in the sense that they really only rely on themselves, and perhaps one other person, and even with that small dependency, their inner worlds are very much hidden from others. Moreover, Daphne often hides her own true feelings from herself, so as to continue to put others before herself. A good quality, of course, but no one can pour from an empty cup. This beautiful truth and more are woven quite seamlessly throughout the narrative. Growth comes at every stage of life, and the idea of “arriving” is a false, no matter how smooth of a ride it’s been. Though there is a lot of depth to this story, Hunter’s trademark wit is still present. One scene in particular made me chuckle several times. I wasn’t expecting, and it caught me happily off guard. The secondary characters are lovely – their inclusion and the interactions between them all really ground the story in reality, and I loved that. Jess’s story comes next, and for those who have followed all of Hunter’s books, her story has been a long time coming for sure. Happily, we only have to wait until November for Jess’s book! I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a review; this review is my honest opinion.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alysha (For The Love of Christian Fiction)

    I KNEW I shouldn't have started this book at 8 p.m on a work night! Did I listen to myself? No. The consequence of this was staying up until 3 a.m, then having to be the perkiest zombie in the Subway industry! (Do not ask me how I made it through that shift) Am I sorry? No. I know Kristi Ann Hunter will ALWAYS grab my eyeballs and my heart within the first few words, and this book did not disappoint! I was instantly swept back to Haven Manor and I disappeared into the story within minutes. If you've I KNEW I shouldn't have started this book at 8 p.m on a work night! Did I listen to myself? No. The consequence of this was staying up until 3 a.m, then having to be the perkiest zombie in the Subway industry! (Do not ask me how I made it through that shift) Am I sorry? No. I know Kristi Ann Hunter will ALWAYS grab my eyeballs and my heart within the first few words, and this book did not disappoint! I was instantly swept back to Haven Manor and I disappeared into the story within minutes. If you've read book 1 "Defense of Honor" then you know we technically got Daphne's story then, however we got it from Kit's perspective then. We finally got to see Daphne's pain, Daphne's scars in this book. There were some very powerful scenes when she REALIZED she lost her self when Benedict was born. Though she was not my favorite character I really admire how she fought to find herself after she realized how lost she really was. William. I liked him. Why? Because he was arrogant. Weird I know, but hear me out! In this time period aristocrats were supposed to have this mentality. He was a marquis and he KNEW it, and he knew how to use the power the title gave him. Yet he was a gentle and slightly unconventional aristocrat. He was very complex, and I liked him... Both Daphne and William were very solitary individuals, but in different ways. And they had a chasm worth of differences between those reasons. They still balanced each other out super well. Their love story was not what one normally sees, a normal happily ever after did not happen. They MADE their own, they made it work for their quirks because love overcomes all those little things. The author did an amazing job crafting a hopeful story out of a hopeless situation. This series is definitely deeper than her other one, but she still finds a way to bring humor, wit and unwavering love to her stories. Not only does she do a FABULOUS job writing romances, she always shows GOD'S love too! I did enjoy this story, but I'm chomping at the bit to get Jess' story. She's a mystery and it should be a fun ride. 😏 I rated this 4/5 stars. *I received this from the author**All opinions are my own

  6. 5 out of 5

    Clara

    Conundrum. Bewilderment. Touched on the head. Those are the words William, Marquis of Chemsford, chooses to describe his housekeeper. From the moment she bangs the door of his house on his face to when she acts as she owns his house, not to mention when she acts as she owns him - bossing him around, corraling him in his own house-, he knows something about the entire situation is absurd. Especially since he has to remind himself now and then that the house is actually his, not hers. Thus, his dre Conundrum. Bewilderment. Touched on the head. Those are the words William, Marquis of Chemsford, chooses to describe his housekeeper. From the moment she bangs the door of his house on his face to when she acts as she owns his house, not to mention when she acts as she owns him - bossing him around, corraling him in his own house-, he knows something about the entire situation is absurd. Especially since he has to remind himself now and then that the house is actually his, not hers. Thus, his dream of a secluded country life might just be unfulfilled if he doesn't get rid of her. Soon. We've known Daphne for a while, we know her story, we know she's not touched in the head but loves fiercely. We also know part of her life has been shadowed by lies. Despite good intentions and the blessings that have come from hers and Kit's endeavors, the thick layer of lies is undeniable. She hopes the new owner of the house might ignore a few scratches on the wall and not raise too many questions about the number of goats and chickens in his property, enough to feed an entire band of soldiers (or children). But, she didn't expect that one person could bring all she's built in the past fourteen years crashing down and take her back to where she found herself in that fateful day fourteen years ago: alone to deal with the consequences. Funny how meeting someone can change our lives. Practicality might not be the answer anymore when feelings and personal stories start to interplay. But, most important of all, through this equation, refinement comes, and who you are and want to be in the end takes the biggest toll. In a Return of Devotion, Kristi Ann Hunter brings a book filled with her usual humor, but also timeless truth delineating the characters' stories and tugging your heart big time. I love how through this series we're reminded that we never "overgrow" the process of learning and maturing. As life happens and our lives intertwine, we're always impacting and sharing stories with one another, consequently expanding each other's worldview. It's our choice to let this be for the best or to turn a blind eye to what we now know. I've said it before and I repeat, this is one of the smartest series I've ever read, and Jess's book couldn't come soon enough :) ** I received a review copy from the publisher. This is my honest opinion.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)

    What stood out to me most about this book was the daydreaming and fantasizing of Daphne! It's something I've done, more at some times in my life than others. It was interesting to see how her fantasies faded as she became more present and invested in a real relationship and her own life beyond her son and the other children. I love the premise of this series, how the characters provide aid to women in desperate circumstances, even raising their children. Their haven came to an end, and it was fu What stood out to me most about this book was the daydreaming and fantasizing of Daphne! It's something I've done, more at some times in my life than others. It was interesting to see how her fantasies faded as she became more present and invested in a real relationship and her own life beyond her son and the other children. I love the premise of this series, how the characters provide aid to women in desperate circumstances, even raising their children. Their haven came to an end, and it was fun to see them try to keep the secret from William, who kept discovering curiosities about his estate and the people who remained there. I also enjoyed Daphne and William's early perceptions of each other and the way they slowly became more comfortable... until the secrets rising to the surface could no longer be avoided. I was happy with the way the story ended, with a new future and direction for their humanitarian efforts. Looking forward to the next in the Haven Manor series! (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Monzon

    I really love how Kristi Hunter is tackling the subject of physical relations (come one, its a historical. I can’t just say sex 😜)in this series. Yes, premarital sex is wrong, but it isn’t an unpardonable sin. God’s amazing grace is sufficient and His forgiveness boundless. As sinners, no matter what the sin, we need to come to the point of forgiving ourselves. And, let’s face it, sometimes that’s hard. Daphne was an interesting character. I related to her social awkwardness and not wanting to b I really love how Kristi Hunter is tackling the subject of physical relations (come one, its a historical. I can’t just say sex 😜)in this series. Yes, premarital sex is wrong, but it isn’t an unpardonable sin. God’s amazing grace is sufficient and His forgiveness boundless. As sinners, no matter what the sin, we need to come to the point of forgiving ourselves. And, let’s face it, sometimes that’s hard. Daphne was an interesting character. I related to her social awkwardness and not wanting to be around people but her escapism from reality had its dangers...and consequences. I loved the characters arc Daphne went through—the growth she experienced. And whenever william said he saw her, the real her, and then helped her to see herself as well...swoon.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rachael

    I loved Daphne. She's whimsical and day-dreamy, rather shy, and a terrible liar. She isn't spunky, nor quite the proverbial Mama Bear, but she is a brave Mama Bird, dragging her wing to lure the predator away for her nest. She's delightful. And I have to give credit William--though his decision process is maybe not the soundest (choosing to do whatever he thinks is the opposite of what his father would have done), he has a good heart: he cares as he learns Daphne's story. He knows where he has g I loved Daphne. She's whimsical and day-dreamy, rather shy, and a terrible liar. She isn't spunky, nor quite the proverbial Mama Bear, but she is a brave Mama Bird, dragging her wing to lure the predator away for her nest. She's delightful. And I have to give credit William--though his decision process is maybe not the soundest (choosing to do whatever he thinks is the opposite of what his father would have done), he has a good heart: he cares as he learns Daphne's story. He knows where he has gone wrong, and he isn't willing to throw stones. I love the humor in Kristi Ann Hunter's books--this one made me laugh out loud (as I said, Daphne is delightful, and prone to predicaments). But even more it had me tearing up over and over again as we learn more of her story, the hard and hurtful things she has endured through her own mistakes, the difficult decisions she has to make now as her son is growing up and distancing himself. Choices have consequences--and she has made poor choices. But God also has grace. And she has learned from her mistakes to move forward, raising up children to be wiser than she was. This has been a spectacular series, touching on the people who are too often unseen and forgotten. It's a brave subject, and not an easy one, but one that is important to remember. I'm really looking forward to Jess's story; something tells me behind her terrifyingly competent, knife-wielding exterior is a woman just as in need of a haven (emotional as well as physical) as Daphne and Kit and all the other women they've helped. Highly recommended!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Beth Erin

    Full review on FaithfullyBookish.com A Return to Devotion is genuine, heartfelt and sprinkled with humor and grace. The personality of Haven Manor itself leaps from the pages, inviting readers to reminisce even as it conforms to its new purpose. William's inner dialogue as he attempts to sort out the unusual clues and occurrences surrounding him at Haven Manor (as well as Daphne’s often frantic or dramatic inner musings) cleverly fills the natural void between the two introverts. Fans of Regency r Full review on FaithfullyBookish.com A Return to Devotion is genuine, heartfelt and sprinkled with humor and grace. The personality of Haven Manor itself leaps from the pages, inviting readers to reminisce even as it conforms to its new purpose. William's inner dialogue as he attempts to sort out the unusual clues and occurrences surrounding him at Haven Manor (as well as Daphne’s often frantic or dramatic inner musings) cleverly fills the natural void between the two introverts. Fans of Regency romance won’t want to miss a single moment of Kristi Ann Hunter’s original storytelling. She skillfully laces drama, humor, and faith throughout each book and I highly recommend the Haven Manor series. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed are my own.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kristine Morgan

    Daphne has been content to live a quiet life hidden away from society for 12 years. She has her secrets and doesn't feel the need to share. Then suddenly her quiet world is disturbed when William, Lord Chemsford comes to claim his home. A Return of Devotion is a story of redemption. If God has forgiven us but we haven't forgiven ourselves are we truly alive? Kristi Ann Hunter is one of my favorite authors. She creates intriguing characters who have real life problems. Her characters have depth Daphne has been content to live a quiet life hidden away from society for 12 years. She has her secrets and doesn't feel the need to share. Then suddenly her quiet world is disturbed when William, Lord Chemsford comes to claim his home. A Return of Devotion is a story of redemption. If God has forgiven us but we haven't forgiven ourselves are we truly alive? Kristi Ann Hunter is one of my favorite authors. She creates intriguing characters who have real life problems. Her characters have depth and she is a master of witty dialogue. I buy her books automatically when they come out as I am assured of a delightful read. So grab your Breakfast tea and and settle in for a fantastic read! I was given a copy of this book by NetGalley.com with no expectations. All thoughts are my own.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    "Something wasn't right here, but he wasn't sure if it was the remoteness of the house or an indication of a bigger problem." Living in virtual obscurity, Daphne Blakemoor has had plenty of time to conjure, until her imagination runs head on into reality; the new owner of Haven Manor decides to reside at his lovely, slightly dilapidated country estate. How is she going to hide the fact that the manor has been under the supervision of two women and a handful of children or more importantly, how i "Something wasn't right here, but he wasn't sure if it was the remoteness of the house or an indication of a bigger problem." Living in virtual obscurity, Daphne Blakemoor has had plenty of time to conjure, until her imagination runs head on into reality; the new owner of Haven Manor decides to reside at his lovely, slightly dilapidated country estate. How is she going to hide the fact that the manor has been under the supervision of two women and a handful of children or more importantly, how is she going to hide the carpenter's apprentice? None of her daydreams had turned out like this. William, Marquis of Chemsford, wonders if his housekeeper is inept or simply needs to be replaced. Her constant nervous chatter about meaningless topics leads him to believe that "Mrs. Brightmoor" is a little off kilter, except that the home is spotless and the cook is turning out delicious food. He thought coming to the country would afford him time to think about how he could become the kind of leader that his father never was, instead his head has been filled with curiosity about his housekeeper. Beautifully written conversations fill this story; some quite comedic and others intensely heartbreaking, but the combination of the two expose the souls of two people who have desperately sought forgiveness for their past mistakes and determine to make a difference with their lives going forward; the question is, will it be apart or together?

  13. 4 out of 5

    Micaiah

    I loved the first book in this series, A Defense of Honor, and so I was looking forward to diving into the sequel. I was slightly hesitant about Daphne (I wasn't sure what to make of her in book one), but I figured the author could make her shine! However, I did have problems with the book, most of which are probably just personal preference. I want to explain some of my thoughts though, so there will be a few non-minor spoilers ahead! DAPHNE. I couldn't connect with this sweet gal. She was defin I loved the first book in this series, A Defense of Honor, and so I was looking forward to diving into the sequel. I was slightly hesitant about Daphne (I wasn't sure what to make of her in book one), but I figured the author could make her shine! However, I did have problems with the book, most of which are probably just personal preference. I want to explain some of my thoughts though, so there will be a few non-minor spoilers ahead! DAPHNE. I couldn't connect with this sweet gal. She was definitely a different heroine, but not necessarily in a bad way? She was realistic, and I liked getting a glimpse into her head. But she was kind of...flighty. Not in character, but she daydreamed often, which just seemed a bit childish and inappropriate considering certain aspects? I didn't mind so much, until she thought a scene with the hero WAS a daydream, and then I got a little uncomfortable. And the almost-lying was somewhat exasperating at times. I felt like it was kinda taken to an extreme, so much so that I ended up wanting the two characters to meet that were being kept apart. I don't know if we were supposed to want them kept apart or not... :P WILLIAM. I adored Graham in A Defense of Honor! William didn't quite live up to him for me... But he was still a good guy. There were times where he seemed somewhat stuck up and arrogant, and this was dealt with - but there was, I felt, a lot of back and forth between him lowering his guards and being truly kind and gentlemanly, and turning back into the 'master of the house.' THE ROMANCE. I said there was some back and forth between William's decisions/actions... There was with the romance too. It bothered me that William would flip from being really enamored with Daphne one moment, to treating her like a servant and distancing himself the next. Same with Daphne. I TOTALLY GET why this happened, but it just felt like it happened so much that I was like, "Really, guys?!" Things are worked out, OF COURSE, but it seemed like some unnecessary pain to get there. LASTLY, things were somewhat slow for a bit. It was about halfway through before the story felt like it got rolling to me. I do, however, want to applaud the author for dealing with tough situations with grace. There was more detailing in this book than I was completely comfortable with at times, but overall it was pretty well done. OVERALL, I didn't enjoy this as much as the first novel, but I would still recommend it to people! I hate leaving negative feedback, but I just don't think the book was for me - I really enjoyed the first book and the tie-in about Nash and Margaretta. Things that I mentioned probably wouldn't bother others as much! Most of my thoughts were just personal preference. If you enjoyed A Defense of Honor or A Search for Refuge, I would definitely say it's worth a try to read this one! I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts above are entirely my own, and I was under no obligation to write a positive review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Paula Shreckhise

    A Return of Devotion is book two in the Haven Manor series by Kristi Ann Hunter. It is best to read the first book in the series: A Defense of Honor. Kristi Hunter delves deep into the emotions of Daphne Blakemoor. Daphne is currently the housekeeper at Haven Manor, a remote estate in England. Due to an incident long in her past, Daphne has spent her time out of society and secretly helping the less fortunate. William Oswald, the new Marquis of Chemsford, has come to inspect one of his many esta A Return of Devotion is book two in the Haven Manor series by Kristi Ann Hunter. It is best to read the first book in the series: A Defense of Honor. Kristi Hunter delves deep into the emotions of Daphne Blakemoor. Daphne is currently the housekeeper at Haven Manor, a remote estate in England. Due to an incident long in her past, Daphne has spent her time out of society and secretly helping the less fortunate. William Oswald, the new Marquis of Chemsford, has come to inspect one of his many estates. What he finds is a puzzle. Daphne is shocked to find that William is the new owner of Haven Manor. Will this new information throw obstacles in her path and dredge up things best forgotten? But William is not your typical aristocrat. He shuns most society but still takes his responsibilities seriously. Will William and Daphne work at cross purposes or eventually work together? Ms.Hunter does a masterful job of showing how a bad situation can be turned to good. She imparts the atmosphere of the country manor. We see Haven Manor through new eyes as William comes to oversee one of the properties he has recently aquired. The themes of repentance and forgiveness shine through. Daphne and William are truly seeking God’s wisdom. William is a hero to be envied. He is kind, thoughtful and slow to anger. It is nice to see how Daphne slowly blossoms in her spiritual growth. I was pleased by the depth of character of Daphne, William and Jess and Benedict. Those familiar with the first book will be glad to see Jess and the children return. Additional characters bring levity and confluct to the story. If you enjoy Regency stories, give this series a try. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

  15. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Boyd

    Kristi Ann Hunter is tops when it comes to Regency romance. I've read all of her books and have never been disappointed. This is a continuation of the story of two friends, bonded together through a rough time who found God's purpose in their lives. In this one, it's Daphne's turn for love. William (my favorite character in this book. Well, besides Jess.) Comes into the picture as an unexpected tie to her past. Can they get past her fears to find a future together? I suggest you read it to find Kristi Ann Hunter is tops when it comes to Regency romance. I've read all of her books and have never been disappointed. This is a continuation of the story of two friends, bonded together through a rough time who found God's purpose in their lives. In this one, it's Daphne's turn for love. William (my favorite character in this book. Well, besides Jess.) Comes into the picture as an unexpected tie to her past. Can they get past her fears to find a future together? I suggest you read it to find out! A Return to Devotion fits right in with the rest of this series. I loved it. Now to move on to the next story. The one I've been waiting to read since the very first book I ever read from this author. Can't wait! This book was provided to me by the publisher, but as always my opinions are my own.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    "A Return of Devotion" is a Christian romance set in 1816 in England. This is the second book in a series. It can be read as a standalone, but reading the previous story will help you to better understand the situation that Daphne is in. This book does not spoil much of the previous story. When Daphne was young, she let her imagination carry her away into a romantic fantasy which misled her into becoming pregnant with no chance of marriage. She has raised her son at Haven Manor, a remote house th "A Return of Devotion" is a Christian romance set in 1816 in England. This is the second book in a series. It can be read as a standalone, but reading the previous story will help you to better understand the situation that Daphne is in. This book does not spoil much of the previous story. When Daphne was young, she let her imagination carry her away into a romantic fantasy which misled her into becoming pregnant with no chance of marriage. She has raised her son at Haven Manor, a remote house that was essentially abandoned by the owner. However, William, the new owner, has sent word that he's coming to stay and look the manor over. He looks exactly like Daphne's nearly teenaged son even though he is not the father. She tries to prevent the two from meeting, leaving her in a mess when answers are demanded both by her son and William. William was a kind and very patient hero who tried to make things better for Daphne, partly because a family member hurt her in the past and partly because he comes to love her. Daphne still felt guilt over getting pregnant out of wedlock. Seeing no better option, she tried to overcome her extreme shyness and learn how to be a housekeeper for William. But she's miserable without a special purpose--something she can do to help other people. William helps her to find that purpose. Daphne learns to accept the forgiveness that she knows God has extended to her. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable story. I received an e-book review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Facing head on the anxiety and fears that Daphne has dealt with far longer than the night she found herself running from London. There’s so much more to Hunter’s stories than a bit of historical fiction, romance and fluff. Every character she introduces are intricate, with a depth that makes them entirely unique from each other. Kit is now gone on her wedding trip, and Haven Manor has been left to Daphne & Jess to prepare for the unavoidable arrival of the new owner. William the Earl of Chem Facing head on the anxiety and fears that Daphne has dealt with far longer than the night she found herself running from London. There’s so much more to Hunter’s stories than a bit of historical fiction, romance and fluff. Every character she introduces are intricate, with a depth that makes them entirely unique from each other. Kit is now gone on her wedding trip, and Haven Manor has been left to Daphne & Jess to prepare for the unavoidable arrival of the new owner. William the Earl of Chemsford, is desperate to get as far away from his impending responsibilities & the title seat and has come to see to the repair work to the estate. The dialogue between Daphne & William is as always carefully tailored to each of them. The reader quickly discovers who he is while learning far more about Daphne than we previously have been given. The two are so perfectly matched - it just takes them a lot longer to discover it. Likable & tender personalities to delve into the difficult subject of the series. Done in a way that is both informative & thoroughly enjoyable. You won’t want to put this down. Thank you to Bethany House for the complimentary copy. This is my honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Toni Shiloh

    A happy return to Haven Manor. Daphne makes an unusual heroine with some qualities you don’t see too often in the romance world. But it’s what made her interesting and added twists to the story. And the hero! William is one of my favorite Kristi Ann Hunter heroes. He doesn’t accept at face value anything presented to him. It made for some laughable movements and kept me turning the page. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. The review was not required nor influenced.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Faye

    Daphne Blakemoor lives happily in the country caring for the children and working as a housekeeper, and continuing to keep her secret. But when the new Marquis decides to move into the mansion, she finds every things that she has fought for threatened. William is the new Marquis of Chemsford, and he is determined to establish a legacy completely the opposite of his father. He is looking forward to a quiet life in the country away from the foils of society. But when he arrives at his country esta Daphne Blakemoor lives happily in the country caring for the children and working as a housekeeper, and continuing to keep her secret. But when the new Marquis decides to move into the mansion, she finds every things that she has fought for threatened. William is the new Marquis of Chemsford, and he is determined to establish a legacy completely the opposite of his father. He is looking forward to a quiet life in the country away from the foils of society. But when he arrives at his country estate he is surprised by the housekeeper's reluctance to let him in, he is baffled by her peculiar habits but wants to give her a chance to prove herself. But does this housekeeper hold a secret that will change his life forever? An engaging read, with strong characters and serious situations with a humorous twist. William is understandably baffled by the goings on at his country estate and his beautiful housekeeper who often goes missing at odd hours. He is ashamed of his past and vows to chart a different course rather than follow in the footprints of his father. As he gets to know Daphne he admires her ideas and resourcefulness. Daphne never really liked the bustle and betrayal of society, she struggles with fear of her secrets being revealed and how they will affect the ones that she loves. I like how she expresses her ideas and holds to her faith. Though part of a series, it stands well on its own and has strong themes of faith, family, and forgiveness. I liked returning to Haven House and the many characters. I really admired William and Daphne, they were both good heroes, strong in their weaknesses. Good character growth and a great use of situational humor to lighten the mood and bring a smile to my face. Highly enjoyable! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

  20. 4 out of 5

    V. Palmer

    A Return of Devotion by Kristi Ann Hunter holds the cheeky humor and endearing characters that we've all come to cherish in Kristi Ann Hunter's stories! The story is humorous and fun, while staying true to the beautiful era! I adore the humor between the characters and the hilarious situations in which they find themselves! Readers, you won't be disappointed! William wasn't the typical hero that you see in Christian Fiction -- and that's a good thing! He was raised with the kind of privilege and A Return of Devotion by Kristi Ann Hunter holds the cheeky humor and endearing characters that we've all come to cherish in Kristi Ann Hunter's stories! The story is humorous and fun, while staying true to the beautiful era! I adore the humor between the characters and the hilarious situations in which they find themselves! Readers, you won't be disappointed! William wasn't the typical hero that you see in Christian Fiction -- and that's a good thing! He was raised with the kind of privilege and entitlement that causes a person to forget the humanity of the people around them. However, his desire to be the exact opposite of his father -- what brought him to God in the first place -- helped him realize the hardness of his heart. I could relate to Daphne's fear of large groups all too well, and watching her journey from a tangled web to freedom made my heart very happy! I grew to love Daphne and William, but they did frustrate me at times. However, I rather like it when I get the urge to growl at some characters because it means they are imperfect and relatable, and I think this is one of the author's greatest strengths! Her characters don't always make the right decision the first, second, or third time. Sometimes their emotions, hurts, and fears get the best of them. Sometimes you want to shake some sense into them. Because of this honest writing style, Daphne and William's perfectly imperfect story will touch the heart of each perfectly imperfect reader! There are so many beautiful spiritual truths in A Return of Devotion! Each little revelation pointed to the big wonderful truth that God's abundance of forgiveness and second chances paints a future better than we ever could have imagined! Four Stars ~ A Return of Devotion by Kristi Ann Hunter is a gem filled with humor, endearing characters, and loads of truths! It is the second full-length novel in the author's Haven Manor Series, and I can't wait for the next book! Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Regency is my favorite genre to read. I like the intertwining of the culture with mystery and romance and manners. When the setting is an out-of-the-way manor house used to house illegitimate children of the upper crust, my interest is piqued. These things happened. A lot. This is not a subject that is delved into in any of the books I had previously read until this series from Hunter. While it may sound slightly uncomfortable, the matter is dealt with compassion and sensitivity. William, Lord Ch Regency is my favorite genre to read. I like the intertwining of the culture with mystery and romance and manners. When the setting is an out-of-the-way manor house used to house illegitimate children of the upper crust, my interest is piqued. These things happened. A lot. This is not a subject that is delved into in any of the books I had previously read until this series from Hunter. While it may sound slightly uncomfortable, the matter is dealt with compassion and sensitivity. William, Lord Chemsford, was a delight to read. When he meets Daphne, whom we met in book one, A Defense of Honor, his thoughts made me chuckle more than once. She comes off as slightly dimwitted (okay maybe a lot dimwitted) and says and does strange things to keep him occupied and away from certain areas of the house. Of course, he begins to become suspicious as to why and then the game is on. His character is sort of gruff but then his true gentlemanly nature comes out and oh my. He is something! There are sections of the book that seemed to drag with too much info but then I am a dialogue driven reader. Truly, the banter was such fun to read I would have liked more of that. It’s an entertaining and moving story though and one I highly encourage fans of Regency to read. I look forward to the third book coming out this fall. That will feature Jess and if you’ve read either of these books, you know she is a spitfire! I was provided an electronic copy of the book through Netgalley and the publisher. No review required. No compensation received.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Voss

    Kristi Ann Hunter has impressed me again with her latest, A Return of Devotion. Taking up where its predecessor, A Defense of Honor, takes off (yes, you will want to read these books in order), Hunter centers this story on Daphne and her own journey to accept her past. With a message that we all can relate to – accepting our mistakes and moving forward in grace and freedom – Hunter delivers a story filled with humor and meaning. This is a story of hope, a story of redemption. With characters you Kristi Ann Hunter has impressed me again with her latest, A Return of Devotion. Taking up where its predecessor, A Defense of Honor, takes off (yes, you will want to read these books in order), Hunter centers this story on Daphne and her own journey to accept her past. With a message that we all can relate to – accepting our mistakes and moving forward in grace and freedom – Hunter delivers a story filled with humor and meaning. This is a story of hope, a story of redemption. With characters you cannot help but love, dialogue that is witty and thought provoking, and a plot that keeps you riveted the entire way through, this is a book you will not want to miss. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dana Michael

    A Return of Devotion is the second book in the series and I recommend reading them in order. That way you'll enjoy it more and get the full picture. It took me a quick minute to get into it, but once I did, it was really good. I loved the characters and I felt for the heroine. She had so many issues and yet was still so loveable. The hero was quite patient and in awe of his quiet and quirky housekeeper. It was a moving story and had moments of humor as well. I loved the ending. That's why I give A Return of Devotion is the second book in the series and I recommend reading them in order. That way you'll enjoy it more and get the full picture. It took me a quick minute to get into it, but once I did, it was really good. I loved the characters and I felt for the heroine. She had so many issues and yet was still so loveable. The hero was quite patient and in awe of his quiet and quirky housekeeper. It was a moving story and had moments of humor as well. I loved the ending. That's why I give it 4.5 stars.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tricia Mingerink

    A good sequel. Less action than the first and more focused on the love story. I missed all the craziness of the children from the first book. I can't wait for book 3 that will hopefully be about Jess. Hopefully a story about the tough-girl ex-spy will have a bit more tension and intrigue!

  25. 5 out of 5

    MJSH

    "But I'm not going to do that to you without your approval. I see you, Daphne. Don't think I'm waiting for you to turn into someone else because I'm not. But I'll never make you do something you don't feel you can handle." What an incredible blend of angst, heartache, and faith! Beautiful writing, unforgettable characters, and an intricately detailed plot in Regency England make this novel one of the best historical romances I have read this year. Kristi Ann Hunter has outdone herself. This book "But I'm not going to do that to you without your approval. I see you, Daphne. Don't think I'm waiting for you to turn into someone else because I'm not. But I'll never make you do something you don't feel you can handle." What an incredible blend of angst, heartache, and faith! Beautiful writing, unforgettable characters, and an intricately detailed plot in Regency England make this novel one of the best historical romances I have read this year. Kristi Ann Hunter has outdone herself. This book is second in the Haven Manor series but can be read as a stand-alone. Once you've read this book, I'm sure you'll be rushing out to get A Defense of Honor (book 1) if you haven't read it already. It's a must-read for those who love historical romance! Daphne, a gentleman's daughter who has fallen on hard times, has rebuilt a life for herself and those children and women whom she and her friends are trying to help. She's a shy and awkward wallflower by nature and indulges too much in her own imaginations and fanciful musings. She's somewhat flighty and absent-minded but so tender and cares for those who are hurt and wounded. William is a marquis who has grown up privileged but without his father's approval or affection. Yet he's thoughtful, kind, considerate, compassionate, and unconventional for a titled peer of the realm. They make an unlikely pair and their relationship is merely a housekeeper and the lord of the manor for quite a bit of the story. The plot starts slowly at the beginning but once Daphne's story tumbles out, her life unravels quickly and the plot picks up pace with surprising twists and turns. Discovering God's purpose is a theme that resonates throughout the book and William's gentle admonishing that "there's life after forgiveness" brings home what forgiveness truly looks like. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series about Jess! I was given a copy of the book by Bethany House and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Raechel

    This was fantastic. Truly. I love this series. :) Going into this one, I wasn't sure if I'd relate to main character Daphne, just because in the previous book, Kit had been my favorite. It was so silly of me to wonder this, because I not only related to Daphne, I bonded with her. I share so many of her struggles, and to be perfectly honest, there were so many times during the reading of this that I almost had to remind myself she wasn't actually real because I was tempted to write her a letter s This was fantastic. Truly. I love this series. :) Going into this one, I wasn't sure if I'd relate to main character Daphne, just because in the previous book, Kit had been my favorite. It was so silly of me to wonder this, because I not only related to Daphne, I bonded with her. I share so many of her struggles, and to be perfectly honest, there were so many times during the reading of this that I almost had to remind myself she wasn't actually real because I was tempted to write her a letter saying I relate XD The struggles with fantasizing and daydreaming that she dealt with was so relatable to me. And how when things actually happened in real life, it was harder - and scarrier - to deal with than the "harmless" imaginings. But oh how many troubles the fantasizing gets us into. I still need to continue to remind myself to live right here in the present, just as life is. The truths she discovered, and the journey she took was inspiring and realistic, and so beautiful. I just really, really loved Daphne. And William. Of course we cannot forget William! He was great as well. Snobbish at first (oh William), but his character grew so much and he was a sweetheart. I absolutely love these two!! Really, all of the characters deserve their own paragraphs of gushing over them, but I don't know that we have space or time for that. ;) Jess....Benedict...Sarah...Eugenia...Reuban...I think you get the gist. Such three demensional characters that you cannot help but adore. And the story itself was so well done! I loved every minute of it. And waiting for the next book is going to be so hard. :P Excellent writing, amazing characters, superb plot, and an ending that leaves you wanting more! Definietly recommend this series :)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Meagan Myhren-bennett

    A Return of Devotion Haven Manor #2 By Kristi Ann Hunter For more than thirteen years Daphne Blakemoor has been out of the notice of society following the biggest misstep of her life - one that ruined not only her but her best friend as well. Kit has reclaimed the life that she gave up with her recent marriage but Daphne still calls Haven Manor home though everything is about to change. With most of the children that they've housed and cared for over the years placed in homes, Daphne and Jess have A Return of Devotion Haven Manor #2 By Kristi Ann Hunter For more than thirteen years Daphne Blakemoor has been out of the notice of society following the biggest misstep of her life - one that ruined not only her but her best friend as well. Kit has reclaimed the life that she gave up with her recent marriage but Daphne still calls Haven Manor home though everything is about to change. With most of the children that they've housed and cared for over the years placed in homes, Daphne and Jess have less to do but they are about to take on new rolls so that can stay on. Daphne has assumed the role of housekeeper while Jess the role of cook and the three remaining older children various roles in the estate staff. William, the new Marquis of Chemford has decided to make the estate his temporary residence and his arrival has created a most unexpected situation, one that has Daphne's long-held secret teetering on the edge of discovery. She's sure she can come up with a plan to keep Lord Chemford from ever seeing Benjamin, the son she has never claimed as her own. She just needs a little time. Of course, her actions just might have Lord Chemford looking for a new housekeeper. William needs to escape from the pressures that have come to him following his father's death. He's determined to be as different from his father as he can be and his first decision has him seeking the peace and solitude of the country estate his father never set foot on. But peace is the last thing he is about to find when his seemingly wacky housekeeper all but thwarts his every step with her demands. Daphne has allowed herself one too many times to be caught up in her imaginings and Lord Chemford's coming has just added a new element to her dreams. But that is all they will ever be, even had she not ruined her future she would never have been within his social circle as she was on the outer edges. But what harm could come from dreaming? This is the second book of the Haven Manor series. The first book A Defense of Honor introduced readers to the world of societies castoffs - children who could never be accepted by the society that brought them forth as they were the result of a lady's ruination and poor judgment. Daphne was one of these lady's but she refused to give up her son though none of the children that she, Kit, and Jess knew of her ties to Benjamin. The long-abandoned estate in which they had been living is now no longer an option for providing a safe haven for castoff children. Caring for the children has been Daphne's life and in a sense her identity with everything that has taken place she finds herself without a purpose. William comes to Haven Manor with his own deep wounds that are tied to his parents failed marriage and his father's lack of involvement. Can these two wounded souls find healing in letting go of their secrets? Fans of Kristi Ann Hunter's work will enjoy her return to Regency-era England. This book could be read on its own but readers will be left with questions much like William is if they don't read the first book before starting this one. I highly recommend this book it is the perfect way to spend a long snowy weekend (the last two weeks have brought several feet - so a cozy corner with a warm cup of tea and a pile of books is my weekend plan). I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations but that I offer my honest opinion - all thoughts are my own.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lynda Edwards

    I enjoy Kristi Ann Hunter’s books, I have since her debut novel. This most recent series has taken a bit of a more serious turn than her previous one, and added a bit more poignancy, too. But amid the questions of identity and forgiveness, a sweet love story involving two imperfect people plays out despite the forces that would keep them apart. As with many novels dealing with the Regency time period, there is an honest exploration of class distinction and the very real societal strictures that I enjoy Kristi Ann Hunter’s books, I have since her debut novel. This most recent series has taken a bit of a more serious turn than her previous one, and added a bit more poignancy, too. But amid the questions of identity and forgiveness, a sweet love story involving two imperfect people plays out despite the forces that would keep them apart. As with many novels dealing with the Regency time period, there is an honest exploration of class distinction and the very real societal strictures that governed the time—and the consequences of breaking those rules for whatever reason. But I liked how the characters realistically deal with the potential obstacles their choices will create, and find that what they are fighting for is worth the troubles they may face. The truly stunning moments come when the characters start looking at each other as people rather than by rank, then begin to examine their own actions and motivations in their treatment of others. William’s character is exceptional at this, at comparing his own life to the true living he sees in others—and not only does he see it, he uses it to make positive changes. Oddly enough, one of the things that struck me as I read seemingly came out of nowhere: it was how I instantly understood more about Daphne from knowing how she could relate to Moses’ disastrous decision to strike the rock rather than speak to it, how one wrong choice could completely alter the rest of your life and cause you to reexamine everything else in light of that moment. I don’t know that I had ever thought about how familiar Bible passages and characters could tell me about the people in front of me, but I will certainly be looking deeper now when someone says they can relate to a certain Biblical person. The spiritual content is solid and deals extensively with forgiveness—of self and of those who have wronged us, as well as God’s forgiveness of our sin. Moving on with life and refusing to remain mired in poor choices is beautifully portrayed, especially when it causes us to focus on others and find meaning beyond our worst mistakes. This is a good, if sometimes bittersweet story, of how the past shapes our lives, but doesn’t have to have the final say. I recommend it for mature teens and up. I received a review copy of this book from the author and publisher but was under no obligation to post a positive review. The opinions expressed are both honest and my own.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rosanne Lortz

    Daphne Blakemoor is terrified about the impending arrival of the new owner of Haven Manor. How can she and her friend Jess conceal that his estate has been used to house a dozen illegitimate children? When William, the Marquis of Chemsford, arrives, her terror grows to new heights. He is the exact image of her son Benedict, and who will believe her that she's never met the man before in her life? William is confused by the strange behavior of the housekeeper on his new home. Not only does she sta Daphne Blakemoor is terrified about the impending arrival of the new owner of Haven Manor. How can she and her friend Jess conceal that his estate has been used to house a dozen illegitimate children? When William, the Marquis of Chemsford, arrives, her terror grows to new heights. He is the exact image of her son Benedict, and who will believe her that she's never met the man before in her life? William is confused by the strange behavior of the housekeeper on his new home. Not only does she stare strangely and try to manage all of his movements around the estate, she also seems singularly unqualified to be a domestic. But as the secrets of Haven Manor begin to unfold, William's opinion of Daphne begins to change. In this sequel to A Defense of Honor, shy and retiring Daphne must overcome her fears of re-entering Regency society if she's to find love with a man who takes his public duty seriously. She must decide how to break the news to Benedict of who his mother and father truly are. And she must come to terms with her own past, overcoming the shame of previous actions through the forgiveness that Christ offers. This book was an interesting continuation to the first book in the Haven Manor series, but I found it a little long in parts. Both William's initial opinion of Daphne and her recurring daydreams made her seem somewhat dimwitted. All in all, I preferred the prequel to this one, but I anticipate that the third book in this series (Jess' story) should be a good tale. Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

  30. 4 out of 5

    Karen Palmer

    A Return of Devotion Kristi Ann Hunter This is a fantastic second installment in the Haven Manor series! My daughter and my niece (16 year olds!) have a penchant for watching sad movies. They actually seek them out just so that they can have a cry fest at their sleepovers. My daughter is always asking me to join her for a good sad movie, but life has enough sad moments, and I'd much rather watch something that will lift my spirits. After the loss of a beautiful friend this week, I was looking for A Return of Devotion Kristi Ann Hunter This is a fantastic second installment in the Haven Manor series! My daughter and my niece (16 year olds!) have a penchant for watching sad movies. They actually seek them out just so that they can have a cry fest at their sleepovers. My daughter is always asking me to join her for a good sad movie, but life has enough sad moments, and I'd much rather watch something that will lift my spirits. After the loss of a beautiful friend this week, I was looking for something to read and in my library found the first book in Kristi Ann Hunter's Haven Manor series, Defense of Honor, a book I recently picked up at a yard sale around the corner. I was quickly wrapped up in the story, though I had already read it (I don't know when!). I was so excited to find the next book in the series in my Bethany House review list and decided to read it today. Return of Devotion does not disappoint! The Haven Manor series is about two best friends, Kit and Daphne, who are ousted from 'society' after an indiscretion caused in part by mistaken identity that leaves one of them pregnant and the other with a ruined reputation. They decide to turn a bad situation into good by helping other women and their ill-begotten children. For over a decade, the women have lived in Haven Manor, an abandoned country estate that is hidden away in the countryside, helping women hide their conditions and then raising their children. Unfortunately, the owner of the home has died and his son unexpectedly decides to actually live in the forgotten estate, which leaves a dozen children and three women (the mysterious, ex-spy Jess has recently joined the group) in quite the quandary! Fortunately, one of the women, Kit, and her husband, Graham, have decided to take the endeavor to the next level by finding homes for the children so that they can be raised in a real family. (You'll have to read Defense of Honor to hear Kit and Graham's love story and to find out how they decide to work together in this cause!) They find homes for the younger children, leaving five, including Daphne's own son Benedict, on the estate while Kit and Graham embark on their wedding trip. Daphne and Jess pose as the housekeeper and the cook, while the children (aged 9-13!) are given jobs as maids, etc. Poor William, the new Marquis of Chemsford, has no idea what to think when he arrives on this supposedly abandoned estate and finds a very unconventional arrangement and quite the strange reception. What he doesn't know is that Daphne's son, Benedict, is a mirror image of William. Daphne immediately sets out to keep the two apart to protect the secrets of the manor...and her son. Despite his confusion and annoyance, William finds himself drawn to his 'housekeeper' Daphne and is compelled to uncover her secrets. As the book unfolds, both Daphne and William must discover who they truly are and decide what they are meant to do. The outcome of an unlikely situation is a beautiful resolution to the story. I highly enjoyed reading Daphne and William's story. Their unconventional romance has some wonderful laugh-out-loud moments, and readers get an intimate peek at the hearts of these main characters who set out to do some good in the world. I can't wait for the next installment of the series! Karen PS I received a free e-copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

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