Synopsis: When baby Sunny washed up on Arabian shores after a storm, the Emir of Darharbar decided to keep her. But by the time the now-dubbed Shani was thirteen, she was so curious about her British past that the Emir arranged her passage overseas to the family she never knew she had. A friend of the Gallagher family, Brandon, was charged with Shani’s care and tries to help her adjust to her new life in England.
Plot: This is of course a fish-out-of-water tale, but crossed with a lost-and-found theme. It is far more interesting for Sunny to be loved and lost before her returning to England, rather than being purposefully raised in another country and for the first time seeing her parents’ birthplace.
Format: This novel is separated into sections, each representing a different time in Sunny’s life. It begins with the prologue of being lost at sea, moving into her childhood as Shani, being sent to England and becoming Sunny once again, and later growing into adulthood and finding faith in God.
Setting: This book takes place in various locations all over the world. It starts on the Arabian shores of Darhabar in the Emir’s palace, moving onto a ship at sea on its way to England, making residence in London town and later to various estates in the countryside, back to sea again, and then finally ending once again in England.
Point of View: The majority of the novel is from Sunny’s perspective, but often the standpoint shifts to various friends and family members, mostly in respect as to how their life is affected by Sunny.
Theme: The main point of this story is that you will always feel as though something is missing in your life until you fill it with faith. Sunny was always restlessly searching for happiness, but was unable to find peace until she accepted God into her life.
Character: The Duke of Hawkesberry is the grandfather of Brandon. He is quite old and often ill, but very smart and always trying his hand at matchmaking for he wants to see his great-grandchildren before he dies. He is also of strong faith and prays for his family’s happiness in all things.
Romance: Holly loves Jordan who thinks he is in love Sunny who doesn’t realize she is in love with Brandon who is engaged to Dinah. It is an intriguing confuffle made all the more interesting as these characters try to find a way to deal with unrequited or unwanted love.
Point of Interest: I never could get the order of lineage straight when it comes to the titles of nobility (possibly because we don’t exactly have them here in Canada), even though I love historical novels. Brandon lists them for Sunny as: Duke and Dutchess, Marquess/Marquis and Marchioness, Earl and Countess, Viscount and Viscountess, Baron and Baroness.
Quote: …warned her that she might not always be excited to read her Bible and pray. “But whenever you feel that way, those are the first things you should do. If you don’t feel like praying, pray. If you don’t feel like studying your Bible, get reading.”
The Verdict: This novel combines two of my favourite genres, historical and inspirational. I have not yet found any Steeple Hill historicals that quite match the quality that Lori Wick is able to reach, and would advise picking up the “Kensington Chronicles” series of which this book is the first.
How would you feel to find out that the man who raised you lied about how you came to be in his care? What would you do if you found yourself unceremoniously shipped of to your rightful family –strangers to you- without your knowledge or consent?