Irene Hartley, a five-year-old student desperately in love with her new teacher, persuades her parents to offer Mabel a position as governess to their growing brood. Her father is Theodore Hartley, the obscenely wealthy and renowned railroad tycoon. Theodore sees how his daughter has grown attached to Mabel, and after his wife dies in childbirth, he makes Mabel an offer of a permanent nature to make his eldest daughter happy. Still madly in love with Charlie, Mabel returns home to find out whether he has carried the same love in his heart in the years they’ve been apart. She finds him boarding a train, in uniform, ready to serve his country in World War I. Will she act once again on impulse, or will she make her decision based on hope for her future?
*May Contain Spoilers*
E.H. Nolan begins an epic tale of love and sacrifice with Mabel Crowley: Book One. Finding one's first love is always a life changing experience, but when it's true, that love never ends. Mabel and Charlie grew close as children and fell in love shortly thereafter. The differences in their social stations stopped them from joining their lives and each of them regret that decision every day.
Mabel Crowley is an emotional young girl at the beginning of the book. She has fanciful whims that often lead to passionate focus. She falls in love with Charlie and fears it is unreciprocated while her parents push her to understand that he's beneath her in social status. Readers will witness Mabel's growth into an intelligent young woman in this first book. Through heartbreak, Mabel finds that teaching is a respectable and fulfilling position. Readers will enjoy her love for children and understand her decision to remain unmarried, though we all hope she'll end up with Charlie in the end. As Mabel turns from teacher to governess, readers see her blossom into a loving and deeply caring woman. This lays a strong foundation that book two will surely build upon.
Since Charlie fell in love with Mabel, he's had eyes for no one else. Charlie is the heir of Archer and Sons, a business that boards horses and offers riding lessons. Charlie is a down to earth gentleman, focused and level-headed. Mabel is the only woman he has ever wanted but he's convinced himself that she's married and happy and has forgotten all about him. Readers will understand this line of thinking as it offers Charlie a chance to move on, but we know the truth. It seems that Mabel and Charlie are meant to be but will Nolan write them together or are the next installments filled with more heartache?
The love story of Mabel and Charlie seems doomed at the end of book one, but readers will be hoping for a miracle. After tragedy strikes, Mabel is offered a position to inherit a fortune and three children. It seems perfect but it comes with heavy stipulations. Meanwhile, Charlie is off to war to defend his country. Surely if there are four more books then Charlie doesn't meet death like everyone believes he will. The cliffhanger ending certainly adds an air of mystery and nervousness to the novel. The only thing I didn't like about the story is that I felt like it was being told to me instead of making me feel like I was part of it. The writing style is clear and concise, without a lot of flair or dramatics. Readers who enjoy easy reads with simple semantics will like Mabel Crowley as it has just enough action to keep readers engaged and a love story that resonates with many.
Rating: 3/5 Cups