Kit’s Hill by Jean Stubbs #Review #SweetDelight

Kit’s Hill by Jean Stubbs #Review #SweetDelightKit’s Hill by Jean Stubbs

Series: #1 Brief Chronicles
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Small Publisher on May 19, 2015
Pages: 286
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
    four-half-stars      two-flames

Saw the blurb and was compelled to pick this up with little investigation on my part. I saw the romance of a yeoman farmer and a daughter of a gentleman during the mid-Georgian period in Lanchashire and had a feeling about it. And it wasn’t long before I realized that I’d probably picked something up that would rival Poldark in its sweeping settings, atmosphere, deftly drawn characters, and the beginning of a family saga set in interesting times of a market town emerging as a manufacturing center on the cusp of the industrial revolution. In the end, it was all that and delightfully it was only the beginning to the saga. I definitely want more of the Howarths of Kit’s Hill.

The story opens with yeoman farmer, Ned Howarth, proud owner of Kit’s Hill farm tucked in the rugged land within sight of the Pennines, setting out to do something amazing in the eyes of his people. He is a freeman, of a very little education, and situated well financially. Instead of courting a woman from his class, he sends his letter to the refined, well-educated, and genteel Miss Dorcas Wylde. Ned sets in motion something that will engulf his whole life and bring change to a place and people who have remained much the same for long time past.

Dorcas lost both her parents and her home in the south of England and now lives as poor companion to her aunt, a long time spinster. Miss Wylde is adamant that Dorcas refuse the upstart farmer who dared lift his eyes to a well-bred lady while he stunk of the muck of the farm. Dorcas hesitates. Ned’s honesty, his sincerity, and his feelings for her move her in a way that factor against his circumstances. And truly, what can she really look forward to with no real income and life with a crotchety spinster aunt. Dorcas wants to be doing. So against her better judgment, her aunt, and her friends at the vicarage, she finally agrees to Ned Howarth’s proposal.

Ned knows that he cares for Dorcas more than she, him, but he can be patient. Meanwhile, he’ll let her set up as mistress of Kit’s Hill. He is determined that his wife will retain her refinements. But even Ned doesn’t realize how hard it really is for Dorcas to be shunned by all her friends, be looked on with suspicion and animosity by his acquaintance, and struggle with finding her place in his world. However, Dorcas has a spine made of steel and the people of the village and Kit’s Hill soon learn the nature of the woman who has joined them in their hardy world. Dorcas stands beside Ned as his partner and together make a life even as the world is on the move around them.

Over many years, life brings hope, love, heartbreak, sorrow, and growth for the people of Kit’s Hill and beyond.

Alright, so I got a bit of a surprise once I started reading this story. I thought I was getting a good class-difference romance in an uncommon setting. I blame myself for not paying close attention because once I looked more closely at the details I saw that it was clear and it was me who missed it. Yes, I got my romance though it wasn’t the forefront, but it was only part of a larger picture. Dorcas and Ned are the foundation of the story, but it encompasses the history of the place and people as well as a saga that expands into the next generations. The Howarth story takes place over many years. There is lots of description, history, side stories, and a broad cast of characters that are all woven together into one story.

I truly enjoyed this one and I think the comparison to Poldark worthy. The style of writing feels authentic and has the flavor of the classical writers. It can be ponderous and I felt the length of it at times. I’m convinced the page count isn’t accurate on the listing, but I don’t know for sure because my e-reader version only tracked by location. Not that I wasn’t engaged or was bored, but I a few times I thought it was drawing to an end. Of course, when it didn’t and other events came, I realized that the author was right. There were still things that needed to be said. The crisis point for Ned and Dorcas was so well-written. It was beautiful in its fury and feeling. I liked all the historical details and the life of those times. The author made the people come to life for me. There was no glossing over or romanticism. Life was hard and raw back then and thus so were the stories of these folk.

All in all, I was fascinated and loved this historical saga that built from the romance of an unlikely pair. I will definitely be picking up the next book to continue on with the Howarth story. I would recommend this for historical fiction and lovers of sweeter long- building historical romance.

I received this book to read in exchange for an honest review.

Romance Roundabout #372 HR

Historical Romance #114

New to Me #182 author/series

Historical Fiction #38

SweetDelight

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • I hate when a story turns out to be not what you’re thinking. The cover makes it look like one of those homey “Little House on the Prairie”-type stories. I usually go by the cover…but that can be VERY deceptive, especially with small presses and self-published books–the cover doesn’t always match.

    Stephanie
    http://stephie5741.blogspot.com

    • Yep, covers can be deceptive. I’ve fallen for that one. Did this time, too, since apparently I didn’t read the blurb well enough. But, at least the book was good and not revolting. 🙂

  • Ohh it continues? Nice

    • Four books, I believe. I think it pursues the three children and a family friend for the other three stories.

  • I like this cover and it sounds like you really enjoyed this one. I always like it when characters can be patient and take their time. And it definitely sounds like Ned has a lot of patience. I do feel sad for Dorcas with how difficult it must be for her to be shunned like that, while she’s trying to find her place. It sounds like the class differences is handled pretty well and makes for a interesting romance. Great review!

    • Yes, the book was a good length to really develop things. This is one of the few class difference stories that put the characters in the lower class world as much as the upper class. Things weren’t prettied up or made overly romantic. Made for some depth and reality to the story that is generally lacking in the average historical class difference romance.

  • Probably not my type of book but thanks for the great review.

    • Yeah, this one doesn’t sound like it. Thanks, Mary!

  • Don’t you love when you get that feeling about a book and it pays off? I don’t normally read much historical romance, but have read more than usual lately.

    • I don’t usually have that fervor of excitement feeling so I revel in it when it comes. I read quite a bit of HR, but this year, I’ve been trying to find books with different settings or situations than the usual. This one was great set in the lower class near an industrial town.

  • I love the historical aspect of this story, and this type of read from time to time 🙂

    • Yes, its a refreshing change of pace. I like to grab the historical sagas once in a while.

  • i think its kind of awesome if the book ends up more than expected, I don’t mind if the romance takes a back seat sometimes, as long as the rest is enjoyable

    • That was exactly how I felt about it, Lily. I expected the romance to be front and center, but once I started reading, I didn’t care that it wasn’t.

  • oh this sounds pretty great here!!! And you know how much I love romance saga’s especially with two unlikely people that make it work and find a HEA.

    • Yes, me, too. I tripped over this one, but was ever so glad I did. Very refreshing from the usual.