What are God’s plans for your life? What if the plans you have for your life is not what God has planned for you? That seemed to have been one of the themes in Vying for the Viscount by Kristi Ann Hunter.
Does God Always Have a Plan for Us?
One of the verses many Christians like to quote is Jeremiah 29:11,
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope (ESV).
We love this verse so much we have taken it out of its historical concept and applied it broadly to our lives. God has a plan for us. And it’s a great thought, but is everything already determined by God?
Yes and no.
God knows everything that is going to happen but we still have free will. I guess the best way to think about it would be to compare life to one of those choose your own adventure stories. The author knows all the possible endings but doesn’t know which option every reader will take.
Except it’s God–so He knows all the answers but He still allows us the ability to choose which road we want to go down even if He had a better plan for us.
This theme was prevalent in Vying for the Viscount. Hudson was hyperaware of the plans his father and grandfather had for his life. He had invested in it and their plans became his plan. Until that moment when the plan was finally enacted and he found himself having to go through the plan on his own.
It was much harder than he, his father, or grandfather thought it would be, and for the first time, Hudson questioned the plan. Was it the right thing for him? Was it in keeping with God’s plans for his life?
What Does God Say About Plans?
Does God always have a plan? Does He have a plan for your life? Does He have one for mine? I believe He does. The Bible talks about seasons (Ecclesiastes 3) and everything working together for a purpose.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28 ESV).
You can trust that God has plans for your life…it just may not look the way you think it would. This was what Hudson and Bianca had to learn. They were each working towards a particular purpose until they realized what God had planned for them wasn’t quite what they had on mind for themselves.
My Review of Vying for the Viscount
Vying for the Viscount is the first in the Hearts on the Heath series and features on the relationship between Hudson and Bianca.
Hudson was born and raised in India on tales of England. He had always known he would inherit his grandfather’s title and horse racing empire and then his life would begin. But when it finally happens, he realizes he’s not as prepared for England as he always thought he was.
Enter Bianca. The eldest daughter of a neighboring estate, Bianca had always found refuge at Hawksworth among the horses. She and Hudson become friends and decide to help each other secure a spouse.
The characters in Vying for the Viscount
In a lot of ways, it was easy to bond with the characters. Who doesn’t feel an affinity with people who had been neglected by people who should love them? Felt alone in a crowd? Or wondered if the people around you had your best interest at heart?
Hudson and Bianca both had a cloak of loneliness around them–at least until they met each other. Then they became part of an ever-increasing group of people (some of whom may have been considered outcasts among their peers).
The secondary characters were good supports to the leads but in many cases, you get the impression that Kristi Ann Hunter is just scratching the surface. It makes you curious to know what happens next and how the characters will develop in later books.
I especially want to learn more about Aaron and his half-brother, Lord Rigsby. Will they reconcile? Become friends? How will their relationship change the dynamics of the close-knit group Hudson and Bianca are being drawn into?
The writing style of Vying for the Viscount
Kristi Ann Hunter’s characters feel like friends, or at least, people you would like to get to know. I like the way she took lonely solitary people and gave them a support system of friends and people they can trust.
I’ve read several Kristi Ann Hunter’s books and I enjoy her writing style. She builds her story slowly allowing the reader to feel as though they’re truly meeting and learning to understand the characters.
She takes you into the thoughts and feelings of her main characters without overwhelming you with their every thought.
The faith element of Vying for the Viscount
There was a strong theme that God’s plans for our lives are far superior to the plans we have for ourselves. Both Bianca and Hudson had to realize that they had to trust God to work out His will for their lives.
I liked that the characters were honest about their faith even as they struggled to figure out what it meant to walk with God. They read their Bibles, prayed, attended church, and thought about the lessons God wanted to impart to them.
I enjoyed reading this story, but I wish there had been more of a confrontation between Bianca and her stepmother. Also, I wasn’t happy by how the villain was dispatched but suspect that has more to do with the fact that this is the first book in the series and the author is setting him up to pop up in later books. I look forward to seeing what happens in the rest of the series as I’m curious to learn what happens to some of the minor characters.
I received an advanced reader’s copy from the publishers through Just Read Tours and NetGalley; a positive review was not required.
About Vying for the Viscount
Series: Hearts on the Heath
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Print Length: 352 pages
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
For Hudson, the newly titled Viscount Stildon, moving to England from India where he was born and raised was already an arduous enough endeavor. When he learns the fate of the racing empire he inherited along with his title depends upon him getting in the good graces of another stable owner, he’s even more at a loss.
The stable at the neighboring estate has been Miss Bianca Snowley’s refuge for years, and when a strange man appears to be stealing the horses, she jumps to their protection without a second thought. Upon learning Hudson is actually the new owner, she can’t help but be intrigued by the area’s newest eligible bachelor.
Any thought of romance is quickly set aside, however, when Hudson proposes they work together to secure suitable spouses for each other. As their friendship grows, Hudson and Bianca begin to reconsider what they truly want in life. But will societal expectations and the weight of their responsibilities keep them from pursuing their true desires?
About Kristi Ann Hunter
Kristi Ann Hunter is the author of the Hawthorne House and Haven Manor series and a 2016 RITA Award winner and Christy Award finalist.
Kristi graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in computer science but always knew she wanted to write. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia.
Find her online at www.kristiannhunter.com.
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