So it wasn't that Miss Grace thought there might be trouble. She wanted to make trouble.
Following her childhood rescue from the gutters of Calcutta, Mary Grace has lived an astonishing tags-to-riches tale. The Wellings raised the half-Indian orphan with all the love and care the childless couple possessed, allowing her to grow into a beautiful and refined woman. But upon Mr. Welling's death, it is time for Mrs. Welling to take Mary home to England-home to Meriden Park. Despite her genial nature, Mary is received with suspicion by the villagers. For his part, however, Mr. Robert Markham is intrigued by the curious new beauty in town. Determined to make her acquaintance, he offers Mary a bargain she can't refuse: a hot cross bun for a kiss. That seemingly innocent exchange is the first of many encounters between Robert and Mary, whose friendship blossoms into love during long walks in the privacy of Sherwood Forest.
But the shadows of the forest hide a sinister secret, one Mary fears Robert might be a part of. As the mystery of the recent string of murders creeps closer and closer, Robert and Mary are drawn into a dangerous game, and unless she can unearth the truth, the couple risks losing one another forever.
thoughts & feelings
A few years ago I accidentally discovered Julie Daines. Deseret Book was having one of those summer sales where all the goodies are laid out on tables. As I was browsing a few titles caught my eye, one being Julie Daines novel Unraveled. When I saw that it was a Cinderella retelling I was immediately sold. Words cannot describe just how amazing Unraveled is. It is one of my favorite Cinderella retellings. If you haven't read it you definitely should.
Having loved that story so much I was thrilled to read her newest novel, Meriden Park. To be honest I was a little nervous but excited all at the same time. I absolutely LOVED Meriden Park. It's one of those novels that immediately grabs you and has you excited to pick it back up again.
My fellow fairy tale retelling friends will be super excited to know that Meriden Park heavily weighs into the legend of Robin Hood. I feel like Robin Hood is one of those fairy tales that gets pushed to the side so I was thrilled to not only see Robin Hood-esque themes but that the legend itself is mentioned quite frequently. I loved that Sherwood Forest (Robin Hood's forest) is one of the main settings in Meriden Park. It made the town, forest, and people seem familiar because I know about the forest. It also adds a hint of intrigue to the story and the part that Sherwood Forest plays in it.
One of my favorite parts of this novel was the balance between our main plot and the romance. You guys know that I love a good romance novel but sometimes it's fun to have the romance as more of a background feature. I love that our main man and leading lady are given so much time to become acquainted with one another. It's a slow romance that has its own unique challenges along the way. My favorite part of their relationship building is how much they get to know each other. Our main man, Robert, says/thinks multiple times how Mary is truly a creature of the night. I love how he recognizes and then comes to understand why Mary loves the night and moonlight so much.
I can't talk about Meriden Park without mentioning more about our leading lady, Mary Grace. Mary was born in Calcutta and is half-Indian half-British. Julie Daines did an amazing job presenting what life would have been like for Mary and the hesitancies and feelings that she would feel. Julie did an excellent job handling the subject of racial biases delicately and accurately. I have never seen a regency period novel touch this subject before and I felt like it gave this novel so much depth.
I absolutely loved Meridan Park and highly recommend it to all you fellow readers. If you have any questions feel free to drop them in the comments.
Want to win a copy of Meriden Park? It's your lucky day! Enter the giveaway by visiting the Rafflecopter, at the bottom of this post. Good luck!
Steam Level: clean, kissing
Language: clean, mentions someone "cursing under their breath"
Content & Trigger Warnings: racial biases are presented (Mary is half Indian), murder
Title: Meriden Park
Author: Julie Daines
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/meriden-park-julie-daines/1142483858?ean=9781524422448
Deseret Book: https://deseretbook.com/p/meriden-park?queryID=a67f6b99dff3c7795fd0f5c90af5a663&variant_id=200880-paperback
Seagull Book: https://www.seagullbook.com/meriden-park.html