Book Review & Giveaway ~ The Cautious Maiden, by Dawn Crandall



The Cautious Maiden is the first book I’ve read by author Dawn Crandall, and it will certainly not be my last. I loved this tender, romantic story. This is inspirational historical romance at its *sigh* finest.

A little more about Dawn

71xnmguh8yl-_ux250_1A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education, and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010, when her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming traditionally published, he encouraged her to quit working in order to focus on writing The Hesitant Heiress. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary.

Apart from writing books, Dawn is mom to two precious little boys. She also serves with her husband in a pre-marriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter.

The Everstone Chronicles  is Dawn’s first series with Whitaker House. All three books composing the series were semi-finalists in ACFW’s prestigious Genesis Contest, the third book going on to become a finalist in 2013.

About the book

Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother Ezra turns their deceased parents’ New England country inn into a brothel to accommodate the nearby lumberjacks, but when Violet’s own reputation is compromised, the inn becomes the least of her worries. In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance, Vance Everstone.

As she prepares for a society wedding, Violet learns that her brother had staked her hand in marriage in a heated poker game with the unsavory Rowen Steele, and Ezra had lost. Now Rowen is determined to cash in on his IOU.

With danger stalking her and a new fiancé who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust, and who to leave behind.

My Review

The story opens with a surprising and perfectly sweet scene between hero and heroine. Hero Vance, a reformed rake whose actions must speak louder than his words to win over careful, tender-hearted Violet, is both swoon-worthy and realistic.

A glowing mix of tender romance and mysterious intrigue, The Cautious Maiden swept me away immediately with skilled first person point of view and plenty of unique story twists and turns. Lovely, shy Violet and reformed rake Vance have a sweet chemistry that intensified with each page.

The Cautious Maiden is a true gem of a story, reminding readers that grace and forgiveness go hand in hand, and loving someone requires a step of faith. I loved how the characters’ faith was woven so thoroughly into each scene, without bogging down the story.

Bravo Dawn, for a thrilling and touching story I thoroughly enjoyed. Now to get the first three in this series!


In honor of the release of The Cautious Maiden, Dawn is offering a print copy of the story to one commenter! Please leave a comment with your name, let us know if you’ve read any of Dawn’s stories, and leave your email so I can contact you if your name is drawn.

The drawing begins Saturday, October 15th and ends Saturday, October 22. Please, for continental U.S. residents only. Thank you!

Dawn’s Website

Author Page on Facebook

Green Grass & Early Goodbyes



The backyard stretches out, glimmering emerald from summer’s endless rain and sun. A lone oak tree, once so petite and spindly, towers full and grand above the sagging trampoline, shading part of our fenced yard.

I clench my eyes shut, then open them.

There are no flashes of white, no bounding speckled legs. The squirrels run rampant, blue jays and doves pecking at the bird feeder unhindered.

Everything is empty and quiet, the kind of quiet that echoes so loudly it stretches the soul.

I’m filled with the ache of missing, of early goodbyes.

I flip on the hose until the spray gushes, aiming at Mango’s cage tray and trying to focus on the green, green grass, not the colorful memories that blur my eyes.

Oh, Jedi.

We had to say goodbye so suddenly, with little warning. I can barely go there, barely think of that awful day. But instead of focusing on the empty yard swallowing me and the early goodbye I didn’t expect or want to say, I’ll focus on the 6 1/2 years we had with you.


We prayed for a medium-sized, non-shedding, kid-loving dog, and we got you.❤IMG_0375.JPG


We also got a great guard dog.

I’ll never forget that summer day, when the boys were no taller than my waist and you were still gangly, one-year old puppy, yet you alerted me to the troublesome teenager breaking into our neighbor’s house. Your ferocious barking scared him right back over the neighborhood wall.  10387044_10204211572428881_5248687302605487912_o[1].jpg

We also got a lively and energetic companion, an active dog that in the wrong hands, could’ve been destructive. But you were such an eager-to-please boy. Your job was keeping squirrels, birds, raccoons, and possums out of our yard, and you did it faithfully.

I’m so glad you loved walking as much as I did. I wonder how many miles we walked together in 6 1/2 years? So many, but not enough.


Cole misses you licking his chin each morning when he puts on his shoes before school. Chase misses you running around the yard while he bounces on the trampoline and when you joined us each night in the boys’ bedroom for back scratching while I read to them.

What do I miss? So much.❤

I miss your face in the kitchen window when I leave and come home; the slap of the dog door as you run in and out; your toothy doggy grin when we came home; your safe, alert presence when I walked in the evenings; even your hearty barking when the UPS guy drops off a package at the door then scurries away.

We even miss your drool.


Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. ~ Roger Caras


I turn off the hose and gaze around, the quiet smothering. The boys are inside, finishing homework and growing taller, and my heart tugs and pulls at the memories in this space, on this green, green grass.

I remember all the little boy and puppy growing up that happened in this yard, the many hours of playtime with dear neighbor kids, and the tears fall.❤




But then, I look down and see it.

A leaf beside Mango’s tray. All by itself, a single straggler amidst a sea of green. Where had it come from?

Fall doesn’t hit Florida until December or January, and this was clearly not an oak leaf.


More tears come, from missing you puppy, and from a God who cares about all of His creation and shows it in ways He knows I’ll see and cherish.❤


We miss you, Stinky Pete. And our home isn’t home without you. We’re praying for another good boy, but he or she won’t be you, Jedi.

We love and miss you, crazy spotted puppy.❤

Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished. ~ Dean Koontz