Every historical fiction reader has heard this name, and quite frankly, I just figured she couldn’t really be that good. I don’t know why I had that prejudice, but I did. Anyway, last time I was at the library, I picked up a couple of her books to see if she could change my mind. The two books I got were: Treasured Grace, and: Beloved Hope from Mrs. Peterson’s Heart of the Frontier series. Here are their back covers, and what I thought about them and the writing.
Grace Martindale has known more than her share of hardship. After her parents died, raising her two younger sisters became her responsibility. A hasty marriage to a minister who is heading to the untamed West seemed like an opportunity for a fresh start, but a cholera outbreak along the wagon trail has left Grace a widow in a very precarious position.
Having learned natural remedies and midwifery from her mother, Grace seeks an opportunity to use her skills for the benefit of others. So when she and her sisters arrive at the Whitman mission in “Oregon Country,” she decides to stay rather than push on.
With the help of Alex Armistead, a French-American fur trapper, Grace begins to provide care for her neighbors, including some of the native populace. But not everyone welcomes her skills–or her presence–and soon Grace finds herself and those she loves in more danger than she imagined possible.
What I Thought: It was okay. I thought it drug a little throughout the book: it seemed like there was a lot of explaining instead of walking me through it, and I generally like a lot of action, but there were many good characters that I felt were lifelike. I’m not a big fan of how many points of view there were, I tend to like just two, and this book had three or four. That said, Grace had my sympathy and I wanted her to succeed from the time I read the teaser inside of the front cover flap. I liked that she was a healer, or what we might call an herbalist these days. I was sad that so many people died, and horrified for Grace’s sister Hope. Alex was a good man, and I would have preferred him and Grace to spend more time understanding each other than they actually did. And a little more romance wouldn’t be a bad thing. All in all, I probably won’t read this book again for a while, but it was a clean, quick read, and I did want to see what happened to everybody, which kept me turning the pages.
Hope Flanagan survived the massacre at the Whitman Mission, but at terrible personal cost. Safe now in Oregon City, she lives with her sisters, Grace and Mercy, and Grace’s new husband, Alex. As she spends her days tending their flock of sheep, Hope’s mind and soul are slowly healing. Yet, though she was once surrounded by suitors, she has no interest in giving her heart again after the man she loved died in her arms.
Hope’s precarious new peace is shattered when those responsible for the massacre are captured and put on trial. She is asked to testify against them, but she’s not sure she can bear to relive the events of those horrific days.
As Hope struggles to free herself from the pain of her past, Lance Kenner, an Army lieutenant, brings an unexpected ray of light into her life. But what will Lance think of her if he learns the truth behind her anguish? And what secrets lie in his past?
What I Thought: I actually liked this book better than the first one since I like female characters with secrets and men who gently ferret them out. I felt like my attention was being drawn more toward the characters in this story, and not so much toward a historical event. I loved Lance. I mean, his name is cool, he’s pretty easy-going, but smart as a whip…except for that one time that you’ll understand if you read the book. I don’t really have anything negative to say about this book, I liked it very much, and I look forward to reading the next one.
Conclusion: The faith vain running through the stories are strong, and while I may disagree on a few points of doctrine, I was happy the characters were honorable and pure. I do want to read Mercy’s story (the other sister), and may look into more of this author’s books in the future. It was quite the first foray into the works of a well-known author, and she left a favorable impression on me.