A Search for Refuge (2018) by Kristi Ann Hunter is the first story in her soon-to-release series, Haven Manor. This novella was just released this past Tuesday, March 6, 2018, by Bethany House Publishers. This novella comes in eBook format, and is 129 pages in length. With a full-time job and a very busy five-year old at home, this story took me two days to devour! Currently, this novella is free through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and CBD. I downloaded a copy to read and review from Amazon on March 6, 2018. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. I give A Search for Refuge 5 STARS. This story is a Christian Historical Romance.
About the Book
Margaretta Fortescue desperately needs to disappear from London society, and her only hope is to follow the rumors of another young woman who recently made a life for herself away from the glare of society. Her search leads her to the market town of Marlborough where, in spite of her efforts to avoid attention, she can’t seem to elude local solicitor, Nash Banfield.
All Nash wants is a quiet, sedate life—no risks or surprises. When Margaretta, clearly on the run and unwilling to answer questions, interrupts his solitude, his curiosity and his principles won’t let him leave this determined woman without assistance.
But will the truth of what Margaretta is running from be worth finally opening his heart up to a chance at love?
I love Kristi Ann Hunter’s novels. She is such a masterful storyteller. She creates wonderful worlds, engaging and deep characters, and her sense of wit and humor is excellent. I will read anything she writes. So, when I heard A Search for Refuge had released, I had to make room in my review schedule to read this book immediately! Boy, am I glad I did. I love Margaretta and Nash’s story, and I cannot wait for the next book, A Defense of Honor, to release in June! I fear it’s going to be a long wait.
Nash is an excellently written hero, and my favorite part of the book. He is handsome, of course, but he is way more than that. He is kind and compassionate, and he cares so deeply that tragedies hurt him a little more than the average fellow. Nash has a big heart for the people in his community, especially for Mrs. Lancaster, an elderly widow (who is a total hoot, and I can’t wait to see her again in A Defense of Honor), but he holds everyone at arm’s length. A few years prior to the start of this story, Nash lost his sister. The pain he felt, and the pain he witnessed from his sister’s husband, made Nash vow to keep people out. He would not allow a deep connection with anyone, especially a woman he could potentially fall in love with. I appreciate this very realistic aspect to Nash’s character. I get this need to protect one’s self from pain. Why make such a deep connection with someone when it’s quite possible to lose them? How could anyone ever get over the hurt and the pain of such deep loss?
Ten years ago, I was with a very close friend on the day she was told her son had been killed in a horrific train crash. The conductor of the train had been on his cell phone and didn’t see the yellow light and two red lights telling him another train had right of way. It was a terrible crash that took the lives of many innocent passengers, and it all could have been prevented if one person was paying attention.
I will never forget the empty look, the tears streaming down my friend’s face, the absolute terror she exuded as the cop relayed that she would never see her child ever again. I remember thinking that 18 years is not enough time to have with your child. And, I remember a deep sense of fear settling in the pit of my stomach. How could I ever put myself into a position where one day a cop could tell me a loved one has been lost? That day, I felt the walls to my heart close up. I was determined to not let anyone in. I was going to “protect” myself if it was the last thing I did.
I will not lie. My friend will never be the same, and for the first two years after her son’s death, I worried for her and her husband’s health. Things were not good. BUT, time passed. My friend and her husband will miss their child every day. How could they not? But life keeps going. Today, my friend smiles, she laughs, and she loves. She has three grand babies who bring her such joy that she lights up when she talks about them. She found purpose in the foundation she and her husband created as a way to teach people the importance of cellphone-free driving. My friend survived by allowing her heart to hurt, then heal, then thrive.
I have learned a great lesson from my friend. There is an order to grief. Tragedies happen and they are awful. People have to allow time to grieve and hurt. But, they also have to allow time to heal so they can get back to living. People cannot stay in the grief-and-hurt-and-fear mode. If they do, they will live paralyzed lives. They will be like Nash — lonely and separate. This is not a lifestyle God desires for us to have. God wants us to love and live and experience and grow. Over the course of A Search for Refuge, Nash realizes that a life lived without love is not a life being lived, it’s a life being wasted. After making this revelation, Nash smiles to himself and feels free. He is free from the fear of potentially losing someone, and allows joy into his life. He finally claims the life God wants him to live. And, this reminder — that I need to live the life God gave me with joy and love and hugs and kisses — is the absolute best part of the book.
I did learn from my friend’s example. I opened my heart to life. I did fall for my husband, and we have a wonderful blessing in our lives — our beautiful daughter, Miss Isabella. I cannot imagine my life without my husband and daughter. Yes, I could lose them to an accident or sickness, but to not have had them in my life would have been even more of a loss. I am choosing God’s path for me rather than the fear that I experienced that day ten years ago when my friend lost her child. This choice to follow God’s path, and not my fear, has made my life more meaningful, and I feel a joy that is beyond anything I could have imagined for myself. God is SO good!
A Search for Refuge is a fantastic novella, and I cannot recommend it enough. This brief story lays an excellent foundation for what I am sure will be a phenomenal series. If you are looking for a fast-paced, highly engaging, romantic story that includes a timely and wise message, then I encourage you to visit Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Christian Book today and purchase a free copy of this book. You will not be disappointed that you did!