Susan Anne Mason begins her Canadian Crossings series with The Best of Intentions, an inspirational romance between two grief-stricken people following the end of World War I.
Grace Abernathy is journeying to Canada from England, hoping to reunite with her sister, Rose, and young nephew. She aims to bring them back home since Rose lost her husband in the war. Grace also believes that reuniting their family in England will be the key to turning their ailing mother’s health around. By the time she arrives in Toronto three weeks later, Grace is dismayed to learn that her sister has passed away from the Spanish flu and her nephew, Christian, has been given over to Rose’s in-laws, the very same people who disowned their son for marrying Rose.
Panic sets in at the thought of her nephew in the hands of the Eastons. She aims to claim guardianship over Christian, but she hopes to watch over them a bit first. She discovers the Eastons are in need of a nanny and, assuming an alias, she takes the job.
Andrew Easton’s world has been turned upside down with the presence of this adorable baby. Since his brother died during the war, he feels personally responsible for the child, especially after his parents decided to disown his older brother. It’s the only way he can try to make it up to his late brother. He’s understandably overcome with guilt at the rift in their relationship, especially now that there’s no way to fix things. But Andrew is all too familiar with his parents’ sense of duty and the sacrifices they expect from him to maintain their stature within the community. They believe that Andrew’s sole focus should be on wooing Cecilia, the very fine woman his brother previously jilted.
Mason sets up a very complex web of relationships between the Easton and Abernathy families, but they are seamlessly woven into the story. Each character is distinct and memorable as Andrew and Grace try to fight against their forbidden attraction. Andrew is promised to another, after all, while Grace isn’t who she says she is. That both protagonists are managing grief plays a large part in this romance and especially how they deal with its suddenness. What do you do with things left unsaid? How do you process the regrets you may have? But grief can also be something that brings people together, and Andrew and Grace learn that they don’t have to deal with their heartbreak alone. And Grace’s faith propels her to keep Rose’s memory alive through her quest to gain guardianship over Christian. It grounds her, and those who find peace in spiritual connection or scripture will find Grace to be a kindred spirit.
The Best of Intentions is a moving examination of the emotions of mourning, complicated family dynamics and the way love can be a powerful, healing force.