Lily of the Valley (The Gents, #2)

Written by Sarah M. Eden
Review by Ray Thompson

1786. Since Violet’s father has prospered in business, he decides to purchase an estate in Cumberland and join the gentry. But how are they to negotiate its unwritten rules of conduct and its snobbery towards those who come from trade? When their house is damaged by fire, however, the setback proves fortuitous, for not only do Mr. Kester Barrington and his friends rush to their assistance, but as their closest neighbor, he invites the family to be his guests until their home is repaired.

Violet and Kes fall in love and eventually marry, but the path is difficult. Both struggle with deep-seated insecurities (the former has a prosthetic arm, the latter is an introvert), and their situation is aggravated by reluctance to share their true feelings with others. Fortunately, friends and family are good-hearted and supportive, and when they finally confide in each other, both react with understanding and helpful advice, opening the way towards healing.

The characters are idealized, the camaraderie among Kes’s friends rather juvenile, and the tone threatens to become didactic at times, but the insights into the problems of those whose differences attract unkind social criticism are perceptive. Recommended to those enjoy sentimental and inspirational romances.