Saturday, January 6, 2018

Reviews of the Cliff Walk Courtship Series by the RW Team

Hello, fellow Rebels!!

It is the start of a new year, and we are beyond excited!!

And, we're starting it off with a bang - a team book review collaboration!!

Last November, we were approached by Cecily Wolfe to review two of her books from the Cliff Walk Courtship series. Three of our RW writers took up these books to review: Catherine Hawthorn, Gray Marie Cox, and Clare A.  

Without further ado, let's get started! 

Catherine's Reviews: 

Throne of Grace 
Throne of Grace (Cliff Walk Courtships, #1)
Source: Goodreads


A maid and a man of high society. 

Arthur Davenport has returned to Newport, RI after a life-changing trip abroad. He makes a friend in Josette Warren, who is a domestic in the Davenport house. Much to the disapproval of Arthur's socialite mother.  

Undaunted by social convention, Arthur seeks Josie out and an unusual courtship takes place as they make plans to found a shelter for the poor and unfortunate in Newport. But the disapproving Mrs. Davenport still hovers in the background. Will Josie be able to win her over? 


Language: ✩✩✩✩✩. There was two mentions of the word "hell" but they were in the middle of a proverb ("The road to hell is paved with good intentions.")  
Abuse: ✩✩✩✩✩. No instances of abuse in the work. 
Lust: ✩✩✩✩✩. There were a few mild kisses as to be expected, but the romance was handled with a lot of caution to make sure that nothing impure was done. 
Review of the Book: ✩✩✩✩. 

What I Liked: 
  1. I loved the heroine's proper name, Josette.
  2. Wolfe really captured the inner motives behind class struggle, and strikes at the personhood of servants, which is unusual for a historical work. 
  3. Turning point for Arthur was very well done. 
  4. I liked Dr. Colt and Josie's meeting, that was well written. 
  5. Wolfe captured a mother's inner dilemma about what to do when a daughter is on the verge of entering a questionable match. 
  6. There was a nice balance between caution and emotion. 
  7. This was a light read, very similar to Grace Livingston Hill.  

What I Disliked:

  1. It started off feeling like a contemporary novel, instead of a historical novel. 
  2. Josie's hairstyle throughout the entire book is described as a ponytail. Which was unheard of in 1893. For someone who has been involved with living history from that time period, it was a little jarring to see that.  
  3. Sense of timing was inconsistent, and the romance felt rushed. 
  4. Other tenets of world-building could have used a little work. 
  5. Some of the lines of wit I didn't get (glass houses line especially) 
  6. I think the "gossip" storyline didn't get resolved very well. 
  7. The section breaks - especially between POV's - weren't differentiated very well. 

Crown of Beauty

Crown of Beauty (Cliff Walk Courtships #2)
Source: Goodreads


Two people from the same class. But are they really deserving of each other?

Catherine Davenport, after her brother Arthur's marriage to their former maid Josie, is sick of her mother's plots and schemes to get her married off to a Vanderbilt. As a compromise, her father orders her to work at Arthur's shelter, First Steps. Under the influence of Arthur, Josie and a baker by the name of Grace, Catherine begins to blossom into a young woman.

Then she meets Will - a young man who comes into First Steps looking like a drowned rat with no clue how he got there. As Will is rehabilitated, an attraction forms.

But when the truth about Will finally comes out, will Catherine trust him again? 

Language: ✩✩✩✩✩. No language present. 
Abuse: ✩✩✩✩✩. Will is a recovering alcoholic, so alcohol use is mentioned, but it's handled well.  
Lust: ✩✩✩✩🟉 (4 1/2 stars). There is some desire mentioned, shown in a realistic way, but it is mastered over.  
Review of the Book: ✩✩✩✩

What I Liked: 

  1. I felt that this book was closer to the 1893 time that it was listed as than the first one. 
  2. I really liked the overall plot of this work. 
  3. Will's past life is shrouded in secrecy, and not many details are revealed. But enough was revealed to give that impression and not ruin the lightness of the work. 
  4. The heroine's name matches one of mine :)
  5. I liked how Will tried his darndest to put his courtship on the "up and up" in spite of his past and current circumstances. 

What I Disliked: 
  1. Catherine's fault of day-dreaming was present in nearly every scene. Even coming from a chronic daydreamer as myself, I felt it was too much. 
  2. Sarah acted more like a 15 year old than a 17 year old. Maybe that was the point, but it just didn't fit in my mind. 
  3. Conversations, especially between Catherine and her mother, sometimes changed rather abruptly for my tastes. 
  4. In some places, there was some info-dumping about characters. 
  5. Annie was a very mysterious character, I had trouble with her reaction to some of the things that happened in the book. 
  6. How did Will's mother know about a baking trick as a wealthy woman? 

Overall, I enjoyed reading both of these books, and I'm excited to read the third book about Sarah!

Gray's Reviews: 
Throne of Grace (Cliff Walk Courtships, #1)
Source: Goodreads

I'm going to be very honest, these books weren't exactly my cup of tea. The genre and writing style weren't my most favorite, but I know many girls who would adore these series, and I will probably be recommending them to some of my friends. As Catherine said before, this is a very light and sweet read, but because of my non-existent love for fiction set in the 1800s, it failed to enthrall me. However, I still intend to review these two books without that bias in mind.

The Throne of Grace:

Language: ✩✩✩✩✩. There were two uses of the word "hell" but that was used in biblical terms
Abuse: ✩✩✩✩✩. Perfectly clean!
Lust: ✩✩✩✩✩. Mild kissing, but no more
Review of the Book: ✩✩✩✩

What I did like:
  1. The emotions felt real, that was refreshing.
  2. The romance was sweet, it was something you could honestly root for.
  3. Beautiful writing.

What I disliked:

  1. The pacing was a little slow.
  2. The beginning didn't quite grab me.
  3. The characters were a little too perfect.
  4. It wasn't always Historically correct, as Catherine also pointed out.

Crown of Beauty: 

Crown of Beauty (Cliff Walk Courtships #2)
Source: Goodreads

Language: ✩✩✩✩✩ Perfectly clean!
Abuse: ✩✩✩✩✩ There is a recovering alcoholic, but that lifestyle is not glorified in any way
Lust: ✩✩✩✩✩ There is mild attraction, but to have characters not find each other somewhat attractive seems silly and unrealistic though, so no stars off.
Review of the Book: ✩✩✩✩ (the one star off is because I didn't really like these books for myself)

What I liked:
  1. It felt more Historically accurate than the last one.
  2. Will was pretty awesome, not going to lie!
  3. Will's character development.
  4. Will's backstory.
  5. Will.

What I disliked:
  1. Catherine is an airhead 24/7, it got a little tedious in some parts.
  2. It felt a it rushed in some places.
  3. Sarah acts like a little kid a lot, but she's seventeen, and it didn't seem to work for her character as a whole.
  4. A few plot holes and things that never made a lot of sense and were never really explained.

Although I didn't love these books, they were really good. If you like contemporary and Historical fiction reads that are relatively lighthearted and clean, check out these books!

Clare's Reviews:

Throne of Grace
Throne of Grace (Cliff Walk Courtships, #1)
Source: Goodreads
Like Gray, these are not my types of books. But I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed reading them.

Language: ✩✩✩✩✩, there was the reference to "the road to hell" but it was with biblical terms.

"A pretty face doesn’t last, but a pretty action does." 

Abuse: ✩✩✩✩✩, very clean!
Lust: ✩✩✩✩🟉 (4 1/2 stars). Some of the characters are warned of it, and Mr. and Mrs. Davenport suggest things about Arthur, but it is all untrue and viewed as negitave.
Review of the Book: ✩✩✩✩🟉 (4 1/2 stars). 

"I think if we meet someone we feel comfortable with, we should be able to be friends with them regardless of money, station, situation, whatever you choose to call it."

'She was thinking too much; she always did. Then again, some had to.'

“The opportunity to help. I like the way that sounds . . . not as if you felt required to do it, or pressured in any way, but as if you’ve been waiting."

What I liked:
  1. Dr. Colt. He is great.
  2. Josie's worry about others before herself.
  3. The part where Josie felt discouraged. I know this sounds weird, but I actually did like it! We all get down some days and I think she handled it beautifully.
  4. First Steps.
  5. Lucy.
  6. The romance was sweet, and I liked that it could range from a word to a smile, to a squeeze of the hand.
  7. The faith level. "There is great power in prayer, as you must know. God listens.”
  8. The writing! Ms. Wolfe has a beautiful way of writing. (I hope you don't mind my popping my favorite bits in!) "And those gulls, I saw you watching them just now. Your face was like a mirror of their happiness"
What I didn't like:
  1. Though I liked the writing, a few things were repeated a little too much.
  2. The romance moved a little too quickly. I mean, they just met.
  3. As Catherine said, I don't think the gossip was fully resolved. It could have been handled a bit bettter. 
Crown of Beauty
Crown of Beauty (Cliff Walk Courtships, #2)
Source: Goodreads
Language: ✩✩✩✩🟉 (4 3/4 stars), there was some exclamations.

'A poof of flour had flown into her face and mouth, and she began to laugh, blinking away the white dust from her eyes.'

Abuse: ✩✩✩✩✩, there was drinking, but it was shown as a bad thing and the character improved.

'Those sort of storms were the most frightening, as the sun strove through fluffy clouds just as thunder roared from above, the heavens dropping bucketsful of warm rain over the city.'

Lust: ✩✩✩✩🟉 (4 1/2 stars), there was a little bit of it, and vague mention of a few things.

Review of the Book: ✩✩✩✩, even through this I do think I like the storyline of this one, better than the first one. After finishing the first one I thought, "That was nice, but I would have liked to see more of Arthur's sisters." Then here they are! I definitely can't wait to read Treasure of Hope when it comes out next year!

“And no books. You’ll never find a husband if you’re wasting time reading books.”

What I liked:

  1. Catherine! I love that she loves to read! 'She could never regret the time she spent reading, though. That meant everything to her, the ability to travel far and wide through stories and reporting, until she was able to do so herself .'
  2. Will. Who doesn't like him? I like his character arc.
  3. The storyline.
  4. While in the first one Arthur and Josie have amazing faith, this was so interesting to see it grow in Will and Catherine.
  5. Grace. I am very surprised we didn't see her in the first book! 'An older woman who looked like someone soft and sweet from a children’s book was at her elbow.'
  6. Arthur's love and protection of Catherine. And how Sarah and Catherine comfort each other and Josie!
  7. The writing...

What I didn't like:

  1. I daydream a lot myself, but this seemed a little over done. And your mind thinks things so quickly that it doesn't seem likely that she/he would miss so much!
  2. That Dr. Colt wasn't in it that much!
  3. That we didn't hear much more of Joseph.

These books were a delightful read!
Yours &c.
Clare A.

There you have it! Three different thoughts of Cecily Wolfe's books, Throne of Grace and Crown of Beauty! 

This year, we're planning on expanding our number of posts each month, bringing more reading suggestions, and continue to support clean YA writers towards publication. We thank all of our readers and contributors for your continued support of RW! 2018 is going to be an exciting year!! 


  1. These sound interesting! They probably aren't my cup of tea either--I've never been huge into his-fic--but I love that I now have a clean his-fic series to recommend to my little sister in a couple of years. She's always loved books of that genre.

    1. They are interesting! I didn't think they would be, but your little sister would probably love them. It's always nice to have a stash of reccomendable books, even if you don't necessarily like them your self! :)

    2. 100% true! I'm kind of making a list of good books to recommend to my little sisters when they're slightly older. <3 We'll see how that goes.

  2. Not a hi-fi reader, either, so I don't know if I would go pick these up, but since I know they're clean, I might recommend them to some people. And I'm just guessing that Gray likes Will. I don't know, she didn't make it obvious or anything. XD

    I'm glad y'all are back for 2018. I can't wait to see what the year and God brings for y'all. <3


    1. *gasps* How ever did you guess?!

    2. I don't know. It was hard. I guess I'm just good at reading between the lines. XD

  3. I really wish that the bullet points had been able to come through...*glares at naughty post*

    Here's to a successful 2018, team!!

  4. Hmm, I may have to look around for these. I mean, I should totally be thanking you guys for adding MORE books to my TBR pile, right? :D I don't mind historical fiction, but I find most romances annoying, so we'll see. How prominent was the romance, exactly? Great review, by the way - I loved the three different viewpoints!

    Brianna |

    1. Our pleasure! ;D

      The romance was one of the main plots for sure, since it's contemporary.

      Thank you!

    2. You're welcome, Brianna!!

      The romance is very prominent in both books - it's the main plotline for sure. Both romances were done well in my opinion - like I said, the historic world-building definitely could have used work though.

  5. I don't read much in the way of romance novels, tbh. But I'm glad there are clean ones out there for folks who do. Thanks for taking the time to read and review, y'all!!

  6. I enjoyed seeing a book reviewed by three RW members in one post - that's an interesting format, and helps give a wider picture of the books! It's nice to hear about clean books (and it sounds like Will's a strong point of Crown of Beauty... ;)
    - Jem Jones

    1. It was fun!

      And why on earth would you think that?!? ;D