The Reluctant Guardian (2017) by Susanne Dietze is an entertaining stand-alone novel. This book was released this past February by Love Inspired Historicals. This book comes in all forms including eBook, and is 288 pages in length. With a full-time job and a busy five-year old, this novel took me four days to read. I purchased this novel to review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. I give this story 5 STARS. This book is a Historical Christian Romance set in Britain during the Regency Era.
About the Book
When Gemma Lyfeld inadvertently interrupts a dangerous smuggling operation in her English village, she’s rescued by a mysterious Scottish spy. Now with criminals after her and her hopes for an expected marriage proposal recently dashed, she will make her society debut in London. But not without the man tasked with protecting her…
Covert government agent Tavin Knox must keep Gemma safe from the criminals who think she can identify them—a mission he never wanted. But as he escorts her and her rascally nephews around London, the lovely English lass proves braver than he ever imagined. Suddenly, the spy who works alone has one Season to become the family man he never dreamed he’d be.
I enjoyed reading this story. It was exactly the book I needed in order to escape a particularly stressful week with my students. This book really does have everything a hopeless romantic could ever want in a book: a strong, capable, and smart heroine, a handsome and tortured hero, an interesting Season with elegant parties and a masquerade, a really bad villain, and a bit of mystery and suspense. This book is written almost flawlessly and is filled with fantastic quotes. I think I may have highlighted a good 1/4 of this book. Here are my two favorite in terms of excellent craft and wit:
“She drew his attention like the point of a compass to true north, and he had to struggle to fix his focus on other things, like his task.”
“He may be handsome, but I cannot spend my life educating a husband. It is too exhausting.”
Aren’t these brilliant lines?! Ms. Dietze, you have exquisite skill at turning a phrase!!! There are many, many more exceptional lines, but I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone.
For me, one of the best parts of this book is the spiritual battle Gemma and Tavin face. Their different spiritual struggles made both characters all the more real to me. Gemma struggles with trusting her future to God. It is very clear she loves and trusts God in the here and now, but she struggles to trust Him with her future. Gemma believes herself to be on the straight path to spinsterhood. She is 24 and past her prime, so she thinks. She is going to London to have her first and only Season, in a sense to check it off her bucket list before she completely resigns herself to life as a lonely old maid. Instead of giving her future to God and letting Him plan her steps, Gemma makes her own “secret” plans, which adds to the suspense of the story and really gets her into a bit of trouble. Gemma finally realizes that she can’t be the master of her future — she has to turn it over to God. And, in doing this, she comes to understand that God’s plan for her is better than anything she could have ever dreamed. I am very guilty of doing this. I often rely on myself rather than God when it comes to my future. Gemma is a great reminder for me to rely on God, and not so much on myself. He is God, and I am not.
Tavin’s spiritual struggle is with forgiveness. Boy, do I understand that struggle! Forgiveness is a hard concept in and of itself, but add the fact that I don’t have to do anything to get it from God other than say I’m sorry, and I’m left flummoxed. What do you mean all I have to do is ask God for forgiveness? That seems too easy! Forgiveness is powerful. It makes me acceptable to God. In my mind, that is a BIG deal. It shouldn’t be an easy thing. Tavin struggles with this concept. He thinks he has to work hard and be punished enough in order to get back into God’s good graces. I so totally get this. But, through the help of Gemma, Tavin does realize that forgiveness really is that easy. God’s mercy and grace are boundless when we have a contrite heart. What a beautiful God we have!
I really enjoyed this story so much, and cannot recommend it enough especially if you are in need of a good book to get lost in. Susanne Dietze is an excellent writer and storyteller. If you are looking for a lovely and engaging Historical Romance then this book is for you. Purchase it today. You will not be sad that you did!