Are you waiting for your true love to arrive, but the years keep passing with no sign of him on the horizon? What if he came, but with a heavy price tag attached?
As I anticipate soon holding my published book—compliments of Jerry Jenkins’ Operation First Novel contest—I wanted to look back at the previous year’s winner, Brandy Vallance.
In The Covered Deep, Vallance takes us on a thrilling adventure from post-Civil War Ohio to London and, eventually, Palestine.
Unlike many girls in her small Appalachian town, Bianca Marshall dreams of something—and someone—more. In addition to being brilliant, devastatingly handsome, and a “more than capable kisser,” her soul mate must adore her, quote both Shakespeare and the Bible, and be “a foreigner, possibly a disgruntled duke.” After reading through her list, Bianca deems it “perfectly reasonable.”
Later that day, her father, a fellow dreamer, comes home with a newspaper advertisement about an essay contest. Sir Adrian Hartwith, a distinguished member of the British aristocracy, is offering four winners a tour of the Holy Land. Applicants need only complete an acronym and share their goals, hobbies, and spiritual beliefs as well as a regret from their past.
Much to her surprise, Bianca is chosen and embarks on an all-expenses-paid trip across the ocean. At the British museum, she meets Sir Adrian and the other three winners. She immediately starts falling for Paul Emerson, a historian who seems to satisfy every longing on her list.
Then the fourth member of their party is introduced—a stunningly beautiful widow who makes Paul’s face turn white. Secrets are slowly revealed as they journey from Europe through Palestine, exposing the sinister motives of their host.
This beautifully-written romance addresses a common issue in an uncommon—even ingenious—way, all the while managing to engage not only my heart, mind, and senses, but my funny bone as well.
Though the beginning is wonderfully-reminiscent of Pride & Prejudice, the theme goes much deeper than the beloved classic. With poetic prose, memorable characters, and a unique plot, The Covered Deep will resonate long after you turn the last page.
I would recommend this novel to historical fiction fans, women awaiting their knights in shining armor, and readers who enjoy edgy inspirational romances like Francine Rivers’s Redeeming Love.
Want to learn more about The Covered Deep and its author? Check out my interview with Brandy Vallance!