A broken man. A fiery young woman. Neither one’s heart will come away unscathed.
Juliet Graham fervently counts the days until her twenty-first birthday, when she can claim the inheritance that will grant her the freedom she has always craved and the guardianship of her younger brother. Until then, she is trapped under her aunt Agnes’s domineering will. When forced to accompany the family to a house party at Shaldorn Castle, Juliet’s only objective is to keep to herself. That is, until a chance encounter with a boorish stranger stirs up an unexpected whirlwind of emotions in her. Thrown off-balance, Juliet does the unthinkable: loses her temper and insults the man—who turns out to be her unwilling host, the Duke of Halstead. Fully expecting to be sent away, Juliet is surprised when the brusque and callous duke instead takes an interest in her.
Drawn to the duke in unguarded moments, Juliet finds herself more and more intrigued by the man who shuns Society’s rules as completely as she does, and over the next few weeks, their unlikely friendship deepens into a connection neither expected.
But even as Juliet comes to recognize her true feelings, her scheming aunt issues an ultimatum that threatens the future she was just beginning to hope for. Juliet must choose: either break the promise she made to herself years ago, or lose the man who has captured her heart and soul.Goodreads Overview
Sweet, Fast Paced, and Solid
Every once in a while, I like to pick up and read Regency-style romance novels. I’m no Austenite by any means, but I do enjoy clearer love stories without confusing ideals and ambiguous morals. Thankfully, many like-minded individuals in this world also think this way.
This particular novel is one of many Regency themed books by Heidi Kimball. I enjoy revisiting this book every once in awhile partially because of the setting and pacing. It isn’t the best romance I’ve ever read, but it has a great setup and happy ending.
Where the Stars Meet the Sea develops really fast. The one criticism I have against Kimball’s writing style is she tells before she shows. Anthony Elhers described visual storytellng this way.
If you can show the world of your characters, the story becomes relatable and you create empathy in the reader.
The story world that you have created becomes realistic and believable to the reader. Similes, metaphors, and other imagery can make the story less complex and more fascinating.Anthony Ehlers, 10 Powerful Visual Storytelling Techniques for Writers
Many times throughout her book, Kimball struggled to portray pivotal emotional moments because her narrative lacked imagery in her writing. There are so many ways to show emotions in a story other than having the characters simply talk about them.
Other than this, I found this story very sweet and the romance emotionally mature.
The heroine Juliet Graham’s story arc is a fairly familiar one. She is fiery, opinionated, and values honesty. There were times I didn’t quite understand her reasoning or reactions. Oftentimes, she expected too much of the Duke of Halstead emotionally, especially considering they had only known each other maybe two weeks. Her temper also got the better of her a few times and created unnecessary drama between her and the Duke. Then again, this just means she was human. Other than that, I think she is an interesting character.
I liked how Kimball also illustrated Juliet didn’t have to choose her cousin Robert just because he had romantic feelings for her. It didn’t mean he wasn’t important to her or he was a bad person. He was just not right for her. That is how it turns out in everyday life. Sometimes we fall in love with someone who doesn’t reciprocate. Other times others have feelings for us, but we don’t feel the same.
The Duke was your typical male lead, physically and emotionally hurt in need of a strong push in the right direction. I did like how Kimball pointed out what physical pain and trauma are like. Sometimes needed healing doesn’t come for characters like Halstead. Several times he pointed out he was in constant emotional or physical pain in varying degrees. Because of this, he did not want to marry and burden another person with that kind of pain.
I am not a man, but I can understand why this must have been hard for Halstead. Opening up emotionally is especially hard for men sometimes because our culture promotes stoicism over sensitivity.
Who is this book for?
If you love Jane Austen classics like Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion, Sarah Eden‘s Regency Romances like Seeking Persephone and As You Are or Julianne Donaldson‘s books like Edenbrooke and Blackmore you will like this book! Its a nice, clean romance and easy to read.
Juliet Graham: ‘Your Grandmother is right. The accident has taken enough from you. Why have you resigned yourself to being alone?’ A slight tremor shook my voice.
He gave me a hard look. ‘What woman would want to marry a man with such an injury? And why would I subject her to a life full of my pain, my limitations?’
. . . I swallowed against the ache forming in my throat. ‘Perhaps if the burden of pain were shared, it might ease.’Heidi Kimball, Where the Stars Meet the Sea
Thinking about it, if I name any of my favorite quotes I’ll ruin the story. So that is it for today! See you tomorrow!