The Captain’s Confidant
by Ashtyn Newbold
While I typically only read Christian Fiction, at the recommendation of some readers here and elsewhere, I have begun looking into some clean historical romance when the ebooks are free to download. The Captain’s Confidant is one of those I downloaded for free and picked up off my Kindle when stuck at an extra-long doctor’s appointment. For complete transparency, this book is completely clean but lacks a spiritual growth element, so if that is a non-negotiable for you, there are tons of other Regency-era Christian Fiction you can read.
I was pleasantly surprised by The Captain’s Confidant. There were a significant number of flashbacks, something I don’t usually care for, but they were managed well and felt crucial to the story. It especially helped me to understand why the heroine, Bridget Northcott, refused to fall in love with anyone else other than the hero, even though he’d only been the childhood companion of her brothers and had gone off to sea years ago. Initially, her reason for turning down suitors felt childish to me, but I quickly came to see how the idolization of the man led her to make those decisions. And while there wasn’t a specific spiritual thread, I did appreciate Newbold’s showing Bridget’s growth of overcoming her idolization and growing to appreciate the hero (Colin Foster) for the man he was and not the man she made him out to be in her head. Actually, both characters’ growth arcs were realistic and VERY well done.
As far as the romance goes, the forbidden love line was well managed and had unexpected twists that I really enjoyed. I loved the interaction between Colin and Bridget, the secret exchange of letters, the protective brother stepping in when necessary, and just how it all played out. The Captain’s Confidant was a sweet romance that has stuck with me, even weeks after having read it in a one-night binge. Sweet romances aren’t typically my preference. I tend to lean toward danger and suspense mixed in with my romance, but this book was exactly what I needed and could appreciate during a particularly stressful time. I will definitely be reading more stories from this author and series.
I recommend this book for fans of Regency romance, secret romances, forbidden love, clean reads, characters with strong growth arcs and believable challenges, and those who especially like love letters.
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency Era, England
An accidental letter, a long-lost love, and a slew of secrets.
For as long as Bridget Northcott can remember, she has loved her brother’s closest friend, Colin Foster. She loved him long before he grew up, became Captain Foster, and long before he left her behind for a life at sea. Although she knows her feelings will never be returned, Bridget cannot help but turn away every suitor in the hopes that one day Colin will come back to Larkhall and see her for what she has grown up to be—refined, elegant, and the precise opposite of the silly girl he once knew.
When family circumstances bring Colin’s unexpected return, he too has changed. Once carefree, he is now cold, hard, and distant. Determined to unravel the mysteries of Captain Foster, Bridget writes her thoughts in a note, one she never meant to send. As a hesitant friendship grows between them through their letters, Bridget determines to keep her heart uninvolved. But when her facade begins to break, she realizes the childhood silliness she abandoned might just be precisely what is needed to pull him back to shore.
Faced with a choice between loyalty and selfishness, love and letting go, Bridget must find the strength to confide her own feelings in Captain Foster before the man she loved is lost forever. But there is only so much she can do when she discovers a match between them is what she has always feared—forbidden.
The Captain’s Confidant is a sweet and clean standalone regency romance novel, book two in the Larkhall Letters series.
What I loved: The characters struggles and their growth through trials. The romance they developed and the struggle to remain only as friends out of respect to family and other commitments really made it an interesting read.
Favorite Character and Why: While I loved both Bridget and Colin, I actually grew to love Tabitha–the villain of the story. I can’t explain why without exposing the story, but just know it has to do with how we come to know and understand her throughout the story.
Who would like this? I recommend this book for fans of Regency romance, secret romances, forbidden love, clean reads, characters with strong growth arcs and believable challenges, and those who especially like love letters.
Rating and Why: Five stars. I was truly impressed with the handling of the characters and their struggles. The struggles felt realistic even if at times I was skeptical–like how a childhood crush could cause a woman to decline suitors out of love to a man she hadn’t seen since her youth. Newbold did a fantastic job and I will be reading her other stories as well.
What about you? Do you read clean romance? What other titles would you recommend that are clean, but possibly not categorized as Christian Fiction specifically?