Published by Bethany House
Released on November 1, 2021
Desperation led to a daring switch and leads to intrigue during the dark times of WWI. One glimpse of the blurb as well as a fancy for the gorgeous cover led me to give As Dawn Breaks a try.
Rose desperately wants to avoid a horrid arranged marriage that her detestable guardian is pushing on her. No one will ever know that during a spectacular explosion at the munitions’ factory where she works that it is Tilly Lockhart who perishes and not Rose who miraculously survives when she was supposed to be at her wedding party. Rose as Tilly goes to Gretna to take a supervisory role at that munitions factory and stays with the Baird family. That should have been the end of it save getting the workers to listen to her, but then a disturbing letter for Tilly arrives and Alex Baird comes home and is suspicious of her even while they share a connection. Her secrets and his secret mission lies between them.
Injured, Royal Air Force Captain Alex Baird is burdened by his brother’s death and is sent home to recover. Alex is fearful for his family living in the shadow of the munitions’ factory so he grimly accepts the mission to surveil one Tilly Lockhart who worked at the Chilwell Factory before it was sabotaged and exploded. He had already been making a connection with the lady and struggles with her on his suspect list. Dare he trust her so they can work together against the certainty of another sabotage attack and dare he trust her with his heart?
I have seen so few romances let alone romantic suspenses set during the WWI era that I all but pounced on this one. The author is new to me, but I had a feeling it was not a huge gamble to dive in. Turned out superbly because the historical backdrop, the characters, and plot all wove together nicely and pulled me in. What hard times those were and especially for women like Rose. Those factories were not exactly healthy and the gals were covered in the yellow powder by the end of shift and earned the nickname Canary Girls and then there was the explosive nature of their product. But, I also speak of a woman’s lot when it came to unscrupulous legal guardians like her uncle that was forcing her to marry an abusive man so that she felt she had to pretend die just to escape. The flip side, Alex’s situation was grim too, but I was somewhat more familiar with a military character though having him in an espionage role was pretty cool.
Their romance was complicated with the lies and secrets and not at the forefront much of the time, but I enjoyed how it didn’t turn into high drama and they worked as a team to investigate the sabotage. I liked the tension the suspense side of the plot added, but thought the romance was developed well in its own right. They were friends and partners and had to take their time. Then they had to get past the reveals and to their true selves. Rose was in bad straights, but Alex had his struggles, too. His family was great support and Rose finds a real home with the delightful, sometimes mischievous Bairds in gorgeous Scotland.
I should point out that this is inspirational romance and it is a theme in the story, but there isn’t soapboxing at the expense of the story.
All in all, this was enchanting from the first page as it pulled me into Rose’s WWI era world and drew me in deeper as she was caught up in a traitor’s web, espionage, and playing her role while her real self found home, happiness and love in Scotland. I definitely want to read more of the author’s books and can recommend this one highly to those who enjoy sweet historical or inspirational romance.
I rec’d this eARC from Net Galley to read in exchange for an honest review.
COYER Seasons Fall #32 strong female protagonist
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