A Return of Devotion

A Return of Devotion

Daphne Blakemoor was content living in her own secluded world for the last twelve years. She had everything she needed—loved ones, a true home, and time to indulge her imagination. But when ownership of the estate where she works as a housekeeper passes to a new marquis with an undeniable connection to her past, everything she's come to rely upon is threatened....

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Title:A Return of Devotion
Author:Kristi Ann Hunter
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Edition Language:English

A Return of Devotion Reviews

  • Rachael

    I loved Daphne. She's whimsical and day-dreamy, rather shy, and a terrible liar. She isn't spunky, nor quite the proverbial Mama Bear, but she is a brave Mama Bird, dragging her wing to lure the predator away for her nest. She's delightful. And I have to give credit William--though his decision process is maybe not the soundest (choosing to do whatever he thinks is the opposite of what his father would have done), he has a good heart: he cares as he learns Daphne's story. He knows where he has g

    I loved Daphne. She's whimsical and day-dreamy, rather shy, and a terrible liar. She isn't spunky, nor quite the proverbial Mama Bear, but she is a brave Mama Bird, dragging her wing to lure the predator away for her nest. She's delightful. And I have to give credit William--though his decision process is maybe not the soundest (choosing to do whatever he thinks is the opposite of what his father would have done), he has a good heart: he cares as he learns Daphne's story. He knows where he has gone wrong, and he isn't willing to throw stones.

    I love the humor in Kristi Ann Hunter's books--this one made me laugh out loud (as I said, Daphne is delightful, and prone to predicaments). But even more it had me tearing up over and over again as we learn more of her story, the hard and hurtful things she has endured through her own mistakes, the difficult decisions she has to make now as her son is growing up and distancing himself. Choices have consequences--and she has made poor choices. But God also has grace. And she has learned from her mistakes to move forward, raising up children to be wiser than she was.

    This has been a spectacular series, touching on the people who are too often unseen and forgotten. It's a brave subject, and not an easy one, but one that is important to remember. I'm really looking forward to Jess's story; something tells me behind her terrifyingly competent, knife-wielding exterior is a woman just as in need of a haven (emotional as well as physical) as Daphne and Kit and all the other women they've helped. Highly recommended!

  • Kellyn Roth

    Title: A Return of Devotion

    Author: Kristi Ann Hunter

    Series: Haven Manor, #2

    Genre: Christian Historical Romance

    Era: 1810s (Regency)

    Setting: England, countryside

    Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

    Source: from NetG/>FTC

    Title: A Return of Devotion

    Author: Kristi Ann Hunter

    Series: Haven Manor, #2

    Genre: Christian Historical Romance

    Era: 1810s (Regency)

    Setting: England, countryside

    Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

    Source: from NetGalley in exchange for honest review

    Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

    1: If you love historical romances, the Regency era, amazing Christian themes, realistic characters, sweet children, and books that beautifully balance humor and seriousness.

    Honestly, this is without a doubt one of the best Regency romances I’ve ever read. It has the best themes, the best characters, and the best plot! It’s emotional without being melodramatic and touches your heart without being preachy!

    Honestly, there are so many great things about Daphne! She is an angel from Heaven, but at the same time, she’s real. She’s not perfect … but she can teach us so many things about being a woman just through her actions, personality, and opinions.

    -She isn’t ashamed to cry.

    -Quiet and takes time to think things out.

    -Actually loving.

    -Not particularly selfish or prideful.

    -She’s a good mom—to a whole bunch of kids!

    -Can recognize her own strengths and weaknesses … most of the time.

    -She’s just different from most historical heroines. Not cliche at all! And that makes me happy inside.

    -I don’t want to venture into spoiler land, but she also learns some great lessons and learns to value herself more. Love it!

    This sweet and clean serious hosts some AMAZING themes in the two books (a novella) that I’ve read thus far.

    Orphaned or might-as-well-be-orphaned children are one of my passions, and I would love to be involved in something like Haven Manor when I become an adult. I just really think kids need to be given more of a chance than they are.

    This series so far has explored different angles of moving on from the past and embracing who you are in Christ, and I love it!

    I can’t wait to see what book 3 brings us, especially since Jess is such an interesting character. (Not my favorite, but eh. I don’t know why she rubs me wrong … maybe it’ll be different from her POV.)

    But, basically, love this series, love Haven Manor, and love the girls in it! (Definitely go back and read book 1 if you haven’t already; it’s fantastic!)

    He’s a strong, amazing, godly man! And I know he has his faults, but he is also sooo sweet and supportive and gentle and AWESOME.

    “Awesome” and “Amazing” are two great words for William. He’s just … wow. I really love William! His POV kept rivaling Daphne’s for my favorite. I loved them both, honestly, and I love them for each other even more so. ❤

    One of the best things about William was his determination to take responsibility—not just for his own actions but for those of his family members. He truly is a hero, and a fighter, and I love him for that!

    Too many people are self-focused and deny responsibility for others, and even shirk their own duties. Not William! He does a great job.

    AND … HE WOULD MAKE SUCH AN AMAZING DAD! Okay, but am I wrong when I say there is nothing more attractive in a man than just being an amazing dad-figure!? We need more good dads in this world.

    I know not everyone has the same reading taste, but for me, it was one of those books where you just … you can’t stop reading it!

    I read this book in almost six hours, staying up until … *drumroll* … 5 AM! Wow. That is literally when a lot of people get up.

    Once I started the book, I had to finish it. There was no other option available but to read on and on and on.

    And yes, the late hour was my fault—I shouldn’t have started it at 11:30. But you know what? Had to be done!

    So yes, those are my five main reasons you should read

    by Kristi Ann Hunter. And a lot of them, in different ways, apply to book 1, too.

    Honestly, I loved book 2 more than book 1, but they were both 5-star reads which I would highly recommend!

    -The situations with the young servants and William’s reaction to the absurdity that is Haven Manor cracked me up.

    -Benedict is one of the most amazing kiddos in the world. (p.s. for those of you who noticed, I have it straight from the author that his initials were not intentional. *coughs and dies* Though it gave me a good chuckle while reading!)

    -The ending scenes were amazing! All the crazyness with eVeRyOnE who could possible show up showing up all at once was aMaZiNg.

    -William is awesome. Did I mention that before?

    -Daphne is also fantastic.

    -Daphne’s father is similarly fantastic! I loved everything about this guy. Like, yeah, he wasn’t perfect, but as far as dad’s go, especially given the era, I give him an A+.

    -The series features other relationships besides romance—mother to son, daughter to father, friendships between people of all shapes and sizes, etc.

    -The contrast between book 1 and book 2—Kit focuses on the mothers, Daphne focuses on the children—is awesome. (I personally couldn’t care less about the mothers, haha—#TeamDaphne, I guess???)

    -The author actually cares about putting God into the book. She doesn’t just have the characters give an occasional nod to Him, as is required in Christian fiction—“Oh, by the way, God, prayer, blahblahblah, now back to the story!” Mrs. Hunter actually takes the time to weave elements of her faith into the plot, the characters, and of course the theme!

    So, basically, there were tons of amazing things about this book (and a lot of them apply to book 1 and the prequel novella, as well, if you want to start at the beginning of the series).

    I can’t wait for book 3, and I’m so grateful to NetGalley for giving me the eARC and then to Bethany House for sending me a paperback copy with which to reread my favorite parts!

    ***

    So good I had to wait until 2019 to mark it as read so I could count it in my "Top 2019 Books." xP

    Review to come - but how shall I write it? It shall just be incoherent squealing. I have no negatives. I loved this book half to death - I stayed up until 5 AM reading it, after all, finishing it in about 7 hours. (Which is pretty good; I'm not a fast reader, haha!)

    Anyway, yes, I shall try to review this soon, but I really don't know what to say!

    FAVORITE THINGS --

    -WILLIAM, who is honestly super sweet idek

    -DAPHNE, who is the best motherly creature every and she's also super brave and her imagination is amazing (I cannot not be aware of my surroundings so I found it super interesting) and she's just the sweetest girl ever -- but without a doubt the worst housekeeper.

    -BENNEDICT. OMW. Sweet dear boy. <3 I feel bad for him, but still ... #STRENGTH

    -But ... did the author realize ... his initials??? xD :P

    -Daphne's dad, actually. He was a sweet gent.

    -Seeing Kit and Graham again, even briefly. Argggg, these two! Also, Graham cracks me up. Like, "Oh, dear, everyone's fainting. *glances about* Better stop William from killing his cousin ..."

    -THAT WHOLE LAST SCENE WAS OVERWHELMINGLY AWESOME. I mean, it wasn't the last scene, bUt LeGiT EvEryOne SHOweD uP anD wAs AwEsOmE!

    Okay, I'm done.

    I don't like ... Jess? Is her name Jess? Or something like that? Anyway, I don't like her - and I don't know why because you'd think that'd be JUST my kind of character, but she rubs me wrong??? I don't know why! She's even a lot like me! But maybe she's just like ... Idek! Anyone else with me on this? I JUST DISLIKE HER.

    THANKS FOR READING!

    ***

    ~Kellyn Roth,

  • Beth Erin

    Full review on FaithfullyBookish.com

    A Return to Devotion is genuine, heartfelt and sprinkled with humor and grace. The personality of Haven Manor itself leaps from the pages, inviting readers to reminisce even as it conforms to its new purpose. William's inner dialogue as he attempts to sort out the unusual clues and occurrences surrounding him at Haven Manor (as well as Daphne’s often frantic or dramatic inner musings) cleverly fills the natural void between the two introverts.

  • Abigail

    I cannot put into words my love for this book. This book was a beautiful masterpiece. This book had me feeling so many emotions throughout the entire thing. This book had me laughing, sighing, squealing, and hiding underneath my pillow because

    I literally freaked out. My sister was looking at me so weirdly. This book also had me nearly crying.

    I loved Daphne's character. I related with her on a lot of thi

    I cannot put into words my love for this book. This book was a beautiful masterpiece. This book had me feeling so many emotions throughout the entire thing. This book had me laughing, sighing, squealing, and hiding underneath my pillow because

    I literally freaked out. My sister was looking at me so weirdly. This book also had me nearly crying.

    I loved Daphne's character. I related with her on a lot of things, well not all things, but a lot. She and I both have a wild imagination. I always am daydreaming and coming up with different situations in my brain. I loved her passion for the kids. Her love and compassion warmed my heart so much. I just love her character!!

    William was also amazing. I loved getting to know him better. I loved how he treated Daphne and didn't force anything on her. He also was an amazing man of God and you could see that in the way that he cared for everyone. Sure, he definitely had his faults but he, just like Daphne, became a changed person through the blood of Jesus.

    This story was truly an inspirational one. I loved the message that is being portrayed in these books. It's not everyday that you can pick up a book that is portraying a message like this. This is a message that I think a lot of people need to hear, especially those who have had sinned like these characters in the past.

    The historical content in this book is impeccable and truly accurate to how times were back then. I was astonished at how well researched everything was. If there are any Jane Austen fans out there, this book series is for you!!

    The ending of this book was really enjoyable to read except for the one part where a whole bunch of people came. Some people that I was very excited to see and others that I wanted to just punch! But page 354 was probably one of my favorite scene just because

    Overall this book was so beautifully written from the character to the message to even how historical accurate it was. If you haven't already, I highly recommend picking up and reading this series. You will not regret it!! :D

    *I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. It did not have to be positive.*

  • Clara

    Conundrum. Bewilderment. Touched on the head.

    Those are the words William, Marquis of Chemsford, chooses to describe his housekeeper. From the moment she bangs the door of

    house on his face to when she acts as she owns

    house, not to mention when she acts as she owns him - bossing him around, corraling him in

    own house-, he knows something about the entire situation is absurd. Especially since he has to remind himself now and then that the house is actually

    , not hers. Thus, his dream of a

    Conundrum. Bewilderment. Touched on the head.

    Those are the words William, Marquis of Chemsford, chooses to describe his housekeeper. From the moment she bangs the door of

    house on his face to when she acts as she owns

    house, not to mention when she acts as she owns him - bossing him around, corraling him in

    own house-, he knows something about the entire situation is absurd. Especially since he has to remind himself now and then that the house is actually

    , not hers. Thus, his dream of a secluded country life might just be unfulfilled if he doesn't get rid of her. Soon.

    We've known Daphne for a while, we know her story, we know she's not touched in the head but loves fiercely. We also know part of her life has been shadowed by lies. Despite good intentions and the blessings that have come from hers and Kit's endeavors, the thick layer of lies is undeniable. She hopes the new owner of the house might ignore a few scratches on the wall and not raise too many questions about the number of goats and chickens in his property, enough to feed an entire band of soldiers (or children). But, she didn't expect that one person could bring all she's built in the past fourteen years crashing down and take her back to where she found herself in that fateful day fourteen years ago: alone to deal with the consequences.

    Funny how meeting someone can change our lives. Practicality might not be the answer anymore when feelings and personal stories start to interplay. But, most important of all, through this equation, refinement comes, and who you are and want to be in the end takes the biggest toll.

    In a Return of Devotion, Kristi Ann Hunter brings a book filled with her usual humor, but also timeless truth delineating the characters' stories and tugging your heart big time. I love how through this series we're reminded that we never "overgrow" the process of learning and maturing. As life happens and our lives intertwine, we're always impacting and sharing stories with one another, consequently expanding each other's worldview. It's our choice to let this be for the best or to turn a blind eye to what we now know.

    I've said it before and I repeat, this is one of the smartest series I've ever read, and Jess's book couldn't come soon enough :)

    ** I received a review copy from the publisher. This is my honest opinion.

  • Sarah Monzon

    I really love how Kristi Hunter is tackling the subject of physical relations (come one, its a historical. I can’t just say sex 😜)in this series. Yes, premarital sex is wrong, but it isn’t an unpardonable sin. God’s amazing grace is sufficient and His forgiveness boundless. As sinners, no matter what the sin, we need to come to the point of forgiving ourselves. And, let’s face it, sometimes that’s hard.

    Daphne was an interesting character. I related to her social awkwardness and not wanting to b

    I really love how Kristi Hunter is tackling the subject of physical relations (come one, its a historical. I can’t just say sex 😜)in this series. Yes, premarital sex is wrong, but it isn’t an unpardonable sin. God’s amazing grace is sufficient and His forgiveness boundless. As sinners, no matter what the sin, we need to come to the point of forgiving ourselves. And, let’s face it, sometimes that’s hard.

    Daphne was an interesting character. I related to her social awkwardness and not wanting to be around people but her escapism from reality had its dangers...and consequences. I loved the characters arc Daphne went through—the growth she experienced. And whenever william said he saw her, the real her, and then helped her to see herself as well...swoon.

  • Beth

    In the first Haven Manor novel, we meet Daphne, and she is a lovely character. In A Return to Devotion, we get to see the Haven Manor story continue through her eyes, and she is absolutely charming and endearing. I loved getting to know her better in this story. I appreciate the Hunter continues to tackle a subject not done often in this historical setting, the consequences of having an illegitimate child in a time when it was considered to be a terrible scandal and not mentioned in "polite" soc

    In the first Haven Manor novel, we meet Daphne, and she is a lovely character. In A Return to Devotion, we get to see the Haven Manor story continue through her eyes, and she is absolutely charming and endearing. I loved getting to know her better in this story. I appreciate the Hunter continues to tackle a subject not done often in this historical setting, the consequences of having an illegitimate child in a time when it was considered to be a terrible scandal and not mentioned in "polite" society.

    What is not really evident about Daphne in the first book is that she is fierce – she loves fiercely, and she protects fiercely. In essence she loses part of herself to protect the ones that she loves. Now, all these years later, she is not sure exactly who she is, nor what she wants. William is a man who thinks he knows what he wants, but his bewildering housekeeper has him questioning things. For an arrogant aristocrat, William is a complex character. Normally, I wouldn’t really care for his type, but his character development is superb. The interactions between the two of them are sometimes hilarious, sometimes poignant, and also tender and romantic. They are both loners in the sense that they really only rely on themselves, and perhaps one other person, and even with that small dependency, their inner worlds are very much hidden from others. Moreover, Daphne often hides her own true feelings from herself, so as to continue to put others before herself. A good quality, of course, but no one can pour from an empty cup.

    This beautiful truth and more are woven quite seamlessly throughout the narrative. Growth comes at every stage of life, and the idea of “arriving” is a false, no matter how smooth of a ride it’s been. Though there is a lot of depth to this story, Hunter’s trademark wit is still present. One scene in particular made me chuckle several times. I wasn’t expecting, and it caught me happily off guard. The secondary characters are lovely – their inclusion and the interactions between them all really ground the story in reality, and I loved that.

    Jess’s story comes next, and for those who have followed all of Hunter’s books, her story has been a long time coming for sure. Happily, we only have to wait until November for Jess’s book!

    I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a review; this review is my honest opinion.

  • Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)

    What stood out to me most about this book was the daydreaming and fantasizing of Daphne! It's something I've done, more at some times in my life than others. It was interesting to see how her fantasies faded as she became more present and invested in a real relationship and her own life beyond her son and the other children. I love the premise of this series, how the characters provide aid to women in desperate circumstances, even raising their children. Their haven came to an end, and it was fu

    What stood out to me most about this book was the daydreaming and fantasizing of Daphne! It's something I've done, more at some times in my life than others. It was interesting to see how her fantasies faded as she became more present and invested in a real relationship and her own life beyond her son and the other children. I love the premise of this series, how the characters provide aid to women in desperate circumstances, even raising their children. Their haven came to an end, and it was fun to see them try to keep the secret from William, who kept discovering curiosities about his estate and the people who remained there. I also enjoyed Daphne and William's early perceptions of each other and the way they slowly became more comfortable... until the secrets rising to the surface could no longer be avoided. I was happy with the way the story ended, with a new future and direction for their humanitarian efforts. Looking forward to the next in the Haven Manor series!

    (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

  • Alysha (For The Love of Christian Fiction)

    I KNEW I shouldn't have started this book at 8 p.m on a work night!

    Did I listen to myself?

    No.

    The consequence of this was staying up until 3 a.m, then having to be the perkiest zombie in the Subway industry! (Do not ask me how I made it through that shift)

    Am I sorry?

    No.

    I know Kristi Ann Hunter will ALWAYS grab my eyeballs and my heart within the first few words, and this book did not disappoint! I was instantly swept back to Haven Manor and I disappeared into the s

    I KNEW I shouldn't have started this book at 8 p.m on a work night!

    Did I listen to myself?

    No.

    The consequence of this was staying up until 3 a.m, then having to be the perkiest zombie in the Subway industry! (Do not ask me how I made it through that shift)

    Am I sorry?

    No.

    I know Kristi Ann Hunter will ALWAYS grab my eyeballs and my heart within the first few words, and this book did not disappoint! I was instantly swept back to Haven Manor and I disappeared into the story within minutes.

    If you've read book 1 "Defense of Honor" then you know we technically got Daphne's story then, however we got it from Kit's perspective then. We finally got to see Daphne's pain, Daphne's scars in this book.

    There were some very powerful scenes when she REALIZED she lost her self when Benedict was born. Though she was not my favorite character I really admire how she fought to find herself after she realized how lost she really was.

    William. I liked him. Why?

    Because he was arrogant. Weird I know, but hear me out!

    In this time period aristocrats were supposed to have this mentality. He was a marquis and he KNEW it, and he knew how to use the power the title gave him. Yet he was a gentle and slightly unconventional aristocrat. He was very complex, and I liked him...

    Both Daphne and William were very solitary individuals, but in different ways. And they had a chasm worth of differences between those reasons. They still balanced each other out super well.

    Their love story was not what one normally sees, a normal happily ever after did not happen. They MADE their own, they made it work for their quirks because love overcomes all those little things.

    The author did an amazing job crafting a hopeful story out of a hopeless situation.

    This series is definitely deeper than her other one, but she still finds a way to bring humor, wit and unwavering love to her stories. Not only does she do a FABULOUS job writing romances, she always shows GOD'S love too!

    I did enjoy this story, but I'm chomping at the bit to get Jess' story. She's a mystery and it should be a fun ride. 😏

    I rated this 4/5 stars.

    *I received this from the author**All opinions are my own

  • Cara Putman

    For those of you who love Jane Austen Regency England, you must read Kristi Ann Hunter. You know how there are characters who crawl under you skin and won't let you walk away? Daphne is one of those for me. She was a sweet character in the prior book, but now she steps to the foreground. Daphne's story is poignant and one that needs to be told. William, the hero, grows personally as Daphne works her way beneath his defenses. His journey beneath hers is much more challenging, but her story is tol

    For those of you who love Jane Austen Regency England, you must read Kristi Ann Hunter. You know how there are characters who crawl under you skin and won't let you walk away? Daphne is one of those for me. She was a sweet character in the prior book, but now she steps to the foreground. Daphne's story is poignant and one that needs to be told. William, the hero, grows personally as Daphne works her way beneath his defenses. His journey beneath hers is much more challenging, but her story is told so well. Loved every page. You will inhale it if you read the first, but will thoroughly enjoy this novel on its own. But be prepared to feel. Deeply.

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