Susanna Hanby was one of the most realistic characters I’ve come across in a long time. She was quick to judge and even quicker to get angry. But she was sweet, kind, and compassionate. She was the most flawed character in the book. I could find no flaws in her love interest, Johann Giere. In fact, Johann was nearly perfect. He always forgave Susanna, no matter what she did. He always understood her reasonings, even if he did not completely agree with her. Lovelier than Daylight is the last in a series. Though I did not read the other books beforehand, I understood this novel perfectly.
I was not enthralled with the story until I was about halfway through it, when I really got to know the characters. I really wanted to get to know Susanna’s nieces and nephews. But the way the book was set up, there was not enough time to get to know the children. I loved Susanna’s aunt and uncle, Ann and Will. Will, especially, was a distinguishable, memorable character. I think Lovelier than Daylight may have had more meaning to me if I had read Ann and Will’s story first, since theirs is the first in the series.
The plot of the novel was interesting. I learned by reading the author’s note at the end that the characters were based upon real people who lived in the late 1800’s. And the plot was inspired by a newspaper article that the author read. I really enjoyed knowing that. The history interwoven into the book is so much like fiction, that I had to read the note at the end to find out how much of the events actually happened, and how much was fictional.
(spoiler alert) My favorite part of the novel was right after something horrible had just happened to Susanna, Will, and Ann. Susanna walked in on her uncle right after the event, and found him with his eyes closed, tears streaming down his cheeks. In his hands he held a photo of he, his wife, and his family from years back. Since the time the picture was taken, he had lost some of his children, and lost most of his material wealth. Susanna said, “Anyone would mourn, Uncle. It’s no shame.”
In reply her uncle says, “I’m not weeping for what I’ve lost, Susanna…I’m just grateful to the Lord, grateful that he gave me so much…Praise the Almighty God for what he gave me…for such love and such joy.”
I found out at the end of the book that the actual Will Hanby said these words on his deathbed. It made me stop and think like few books have done before. Also, her wording was often so poetic that I had to go back just to enjoy reading it again. I will definitely be reading more of Rosslyn Elliott’s books in the future.
I give Fairer than Daylight 4 out of 5 stars.
*I received an e-book copy of this book from the publishers through Netgalley.