From a color scheme standpoint, I think Michelle Griep’s The Noble Guardian has one of the most appealing covers of the year.
This is the third and final book in the Bow Street Runners series. Set in 1815, it involves Captain Samuel Thatcher and Abigail Gilbert, the soon-to-be bride of an earl, as they travel across England for her wedding.
Abby is essentially driven from the home she grew up in by her stepmother (giving the reader a Cinderella-like comparison) and pledged by her father to wed Sir Jonathan. She’s launched on her journey to the man’s estate with nothing but a personal maid as her companion.
Samuel is tired of the seedier side of humanity and looks forward to retiring from his life as a runner to become a farmer on his own land. However, he needs a little more money for the venture, along with the competence to survive the vengeance of the criminial he’s tracking. Then he comes upon a damsel in distress – a damsel in need of feeling loved.
I enjoyed Samuel’s complex character – world-weary and tactiturn, yet with a moral compass that won’t let him pass anyone needing his help.
Abigail was a harder character to get behind. Not at all unlikeable, she was fine in the beginning and I could sympathize with her need to feel as though someone loved her. As the story went on, however, I felt her personality and actions were not always consistent, even allowing for character growth. Also, she had an attitude toward her upcoming marriage that came across as immature and naive. Seriously, did she not once wonder why her beloved hadn’t come to get her himself? And I would have liked a scene with the father (and, maybe, the stepmother) in the end – a portion of her life that went over a plot cliff, never to be heard from again.
The Noble Guardian is chock-full of danger, action, and adventure on the English moors. Did I mention the one-year-old girl? So sweet.
I’m giving the book 4 stars due to the things that bothered me. For the rest of the story, it’s well worth the read for those who like their Regency romances a little wilder than a plot filled with balls, debutantes, and pursuing the approval of the ton.