The Sisters of Sea View
On Devonshire Shores #1
by Julie Klassen
My rating: 3.5 / 5
Genre: Christian historical romance
Sisters Sarah, Emily, Viola, and Georgiana Summers agree (some more reluctantly than others) to turn their seaside home into a guest house to provide income for the family. They originally came to Devonshire in the hopes of curing their ailing mother, and then their father died. Now it is up to them to care for their mother and keep the family together.
I have mixed feelings about this book. After reading and enjoying the Tales from Ivy Hill trilogy by the same author, I was looking forward to another series of books with a sort of ensemble set of main characters. I did expect some romance, but there was a lot more in this book than I thought there would be. Then again, there are four women that need to find love, so it makes sense that one would find it in this book. However, I would have preferred a little more time spent developing the relationship. I also felt a little uncomfortable at the amount of skin shown in this book. Various male characters were without some or possibly all clothes multiple times when the women (or at least the one that would have any interest in that man) were there to see it. There’s a lot of blushing and thinking about broad shoulders and bare chests. That is not needed for romance, and for me, at least, it’s not welcome.
While the main characters were decently interesting, I think the side characters were the real gems in this book. The guests staying at Sea View, mainly, but also the elderly woman that Viola reads to, Major Hutton’s friend and brother—all of these people I hope to be able to see more of in the future books. Viola is the most dynamic character in this book, and I appreciated seeing the development to her own personality as well as her relationship with her family. Major Hutton, I felt, was weakly drawn. His friend and family members talk a lot about how gruff and ill-tempered he is, but I found him to be just a little unhappy (which is understandable, given his current circumstances) until suddenly he’s randomly an outright jerk for weird reasons. I get what the author was trying to show us about him, but it felt inconsistent.
Overall, I felt this was a rocky start to the series, but I have enjoyed the other books I’ve read by this author. And I definitely have interest in the world Klassen has set up in this book, so I’m looking forward to continuing the series in the future. Based on past experience, I have good reason to believe that most fans of Regency-era Christian romance will enjoy this book.
Thank you to Netgalley and Bethany House for providing me a copy of this book to review.
Publication date: December 6, 2022
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