After a would-be-suitor turns out to be less than suitable, Adelaide Proctor heads to Texas following an advertisement for a governess. Both Gideon Westcott and his five-year-old ward, Isabella, immediately take a liking to the less than conventional young governess, who, despite seeming to be in a perpetual dreamland, is the only person who is able to make Isabella laugh and smile. Gideon is in awe that someone has managed to make Isabella open up and learn to enjoy life after the death of her mother, and his admiration for his governess causes him to entertain the idea that maybe, someday she may be more than an employee. However, fate conspires to bring them together far sooner than they'd both planned as they have to work together to protect Isabella from her uncle, who plans to claim the child in order to gain access to her inheritance.
The beautiful cover alone was enough to inspire me to read this book, and I'm so thankful that it enticed me into buying it. While I'll admit that the synopsis doesn't make this story particularly stand out from the myriad of Christian historical romances flooding the genre right now, Karen Witemeyer brings something new and refreshing with her characterisation. I loved the way that Adelaide used imagination and games to bring Isabella out of her shell, and her manner of continually comparing her situations to fairy tales made me smile. I also spend far too much of my time with my head in a book, romanticising and daydreaming about what adventures I may encounter, so Adelaide was the perfect heroine for me. She was a very relatable character, from her desire for a husband and family and her failed attempts at finding the right man to her endearing relationship with Isabella and her devotion to her.
This book had the perfect blend of romance and adventure, with neither overshadowing the other. As Gideon and Adelaide attempted to protect Isabella from her uncle, their relationship deepened and they realised how much they cared for each other. There was only one tiny moment in the scenes where Adelaide and Gideon were defending Isabella when I felt matters had got a little over-the-top, but overall I felt that the adventure was portrayed realistically. The tender romance between Adelaide and Gideon was so sweet to read about, yet flashes of passion were hinted at in a way that was entirely appropriate yet showed the depth of Adelaide and Gideon's love for each other. The final scene at the end of the novel where Gideon and his father return to the women on the ranch is one of my favourites, and truly showed how much Adelaide and Gideo had come to love each other over the course of the book. There was nothing really unusual or unique about the romance in this book, yet it was still one of the most beautiful and realistic stories I've read. I believed every moment of their blossoming relationship, and it made me smile at each milestone the couple passed. Nothing out of the ordinary, but just as a real love story should be.
Karen Witemeyer certainly knows how to create a compelling and enjoyable story. Full of adventure, romance, tender caresses, passion-filled glances, caring family members, cruel villains, secondary characters and plenty of imagination, Head in the Clouds had everything I look for in a good historical romance. Karen has made a well-worn plot entertaining through her skilled characterisation and story-telling and this definitely won't be the only one of her novels that I'll be reading. 10/10