A Cinderella-style romance set in the Regency era, Romancing the Dustman’s Daughter by Ruth J. Hartman, follows young Anne Balfour from her common position of being the dustman’s daughter to being a debutante from a wealthy London family.
When Anne Balfour’s dustman father returns home with yet another get-rich-quick scheme, she is annoyed. But when he forces her to join him in blackmail, with the hopes of getting her married to a wealthy man, she is frightened and fearful that they will be caught and imprisoned at Newgate.
As her father’s idea turns from scheme to reality, Anne struggles with her conscience, her position, and her new ‘family’. After she falls in love with her new cousin’s former fiancé, she begins to wonder if a new life really is possible. But would Augustus Sinclair still love her if he knew her past? Will her new family reveal her true identity? Will the dustman’s daughter be able to find a place in London society?
Between the physical abuse Anne suffers from her father and her biting sarcasm towards him, it is obvious that although they love one another, their relationship is strained. Featuring several Biblical themes, Romancing the Dustman’s Daughter reminds us that a physically beautiful woman does not always have a beautiful heart (Proverbs 11:22), that inward beauty is more valuable than physical beauty (1 Samuel 16:7, Proverbs 31:30, 1 Peter 3:3-4), that true beauty is not affected by what you wear or have (John 7:24), and we see Biblical imagery in Anne’s rise from dustman’s daughter to London socialite (1 Samuel 2:8, Psalm 113:7).
However, we also see a strong emphasis on trusting our hearts, which is contrary to what Scripture commands (Proverbs 3:5, Jeremiah 17:9). We also see Anne and Augustus continually wondering what it would be like to kiss the other, but rather than taking such thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5), they simply blush.
Overall, many of the themes in Romancing the Dustman’s Daughter are drawn from Scripture, yet it is not perfect. In addition to the obsession with kissing on the main characters’ part, there were several typographical errors throughout the book that I found to be annoying. I would give Romancing the Dustman’s Daughter a “C”.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Eskape Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 .