Be prepared for a dangerously sexy and heroic hero in Reece Lambert. He really got my heart beating. I thought the storyline was good and enjoyed the...moreBe prepared for a dangerously sexy and heroic hero in Reece Lambert. He really got my heart beating. I thought the storyline was good and enjoyed the strong-willed, independent heroine Catherine. But this books is all about Reece.(less)
I had heard really good things about this author and this book. I must say that all praise was well-deserved. If you like Scottish heroes, you have to...moreI had heard really good things about this author and this book. I must say that all praise was well-deserved. If you like Scottish heroes, you have to read this book. Iain has made an impression on me that will make it very hard for future Scottish heroes to live up to. He is fearless, honorable, capable, manly, beautiful and loving. He risks his life many times for his brothers and men, and for Annie, the woman he had no obligation to save, but did, even though it brought misfortune on him and his men. The adventure in this book is incredible. I am as much a fan of adventure as I am romance. If a book can wrap both up in an appetizing package, I am won over. I don't typically seek out books set in colonial America, but this book has gotten me interested in this period. I loved that although Iain and his brothers faithfully maintain their Scottish identities, they are also seasoned frontiersmen and adopted into the local Indian tribe that we would more easily recognize as the Mohicans. Anna is a compelling heroine who shows strength and honor. She has suffered greatly, but her heart is still huge and capable of love. After reading this book I would definitely call myself a fan of Pamela Clare's books, and find myself very happy that I have accumulated all of her historicals. I may also have to branch out to her contemporaries. Surrender is a must read.
--------------------- If you're already a Pamela Clare fan, or interested in learning more about her and her books, be sure to stop by our Pamela Clare Fan Group here on Goodreads! (less)
Nightsong has languished on my tbr pile for years. I started it but put it down because I wasn't been in a mood to finish it at the time. Yesterday, I...moreNightsong has languished on my tbr pile for years. I started it but put it down because I wasn't been in a mood to finish it at the time. Yesterday, I felt this strong urge to read a western. Those urges come on me, and I felt it best to indulge. My eyes fell on it tucked into the large bookshelf in my room, and I started reading it again. It was the right book for my present mood.
Nightsong has that feel that I enjoy in a historical western. Strong people living their lives, facing adversities, and adhering to their personal sense of honor. Debra is a woman of two worlds: her mother was Indian and her father was white. Both worlds have rejected her to some extent. As a result, Debra has found her own world to live in. When hard-eyed Ethan Tyler comes along, determined to live with her at her homestead, she doesn't like the idea, but she can't make him leave. Before she knows it, they are married. And she falls in love with her husband, a man with torment and dark memories in his eyes. Before they can found a future, Ethan has to face his past. He is a fugitive, having killed the man who killed his wife and young son, and a bounty hunter has come to take him back. Honor dictates that Ethan go back and prove he was right to kill that man. Will this man she has come to love as her husband return to her, or will she be forced go back to living alone, on the edge of two worlds?
I liked the steady narrative, which was light on dialogue and heavy on description. Admittedly, this doesn't always work for me, but it did for this book at this moment in time and space. It showed rather than told who Debra and Ethan were. They are characters in which actions speak louder than words, so it was fitting. Through their interaction in the world around them, with each other, and with other pivotal characters. (view spoiler)[ I especially liked Gray Wolf, Debra's brother who shows up. I wonder if he had a story. I'd read it. (hide spoiler)]
It's an interesting thing how much reading depends on mood, at least for me. At times, this sort of book wouldn't be what I wanted to read. Other times, like yesterday, it was what the doctor ordered. It satisfied my craving for a western, and left me wanting more. That's why I gave it four stars.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This book helped me to further appreciate frontier, mountain man books. I loved the hero. He was tough and hard, but he had the gentle heart to heal h...moreThis book helped me to further appreciate frontier, mountain man books. I loved the hero. He was tough and hard, but he had the gentle heart to heal his tortured heroine. I also enjoyed watching the heroine come into her own strength. This is an excellent book.(less)
Simple Jess is a simple love story. People tend to think of simple things as unworthy. Not the case at all. In a world where everything is complicated...moreSimple Jess is a simple love story. People tend to think of simple things as unworthy. Not the case at all. In a world where everything is complicated, murky, and it's hard to tell what is real and what isn't, the simple gets taken for granted. Kind of like Jesse Best.
Merriam-Webster lists these definitions of Simple, which I will hide in a spoiler if you don't care to read them...(view spoiler)[
I am a person who puts a lot of importance in education and in using your brain. I can blame that in part on my upbringing, but not completely. I have internalized that message way too much. I think that this book was therapeutic for me. In the rat race of life, I often forget to value what there is in my life that is free from elaboration, unconditional, without guile, fundamental. I put too much importance in achieving, only to feel bereft when those things fail to deliver. At the end of the day, I can still be loved, even if I am not the MVP at my job, don’t have millions of dollars in the bank, listed as a MENSA member, or on Maxim's Hot 100 or People's most beautiful list.
Jesse is the reminder of the steadfast things in life. The pure items of worth and beauty that seem diminished when we look in the horizon and see the greener grass that doesn’t belong to us. His heart is full of love. He’s a man who can be trusted to do what he promises. His ability to forgive is not based on his lack of intelligence but in the strength of his loving heart. When Althea needed help he gave it to her, asking for very little in return. And Althea saw that what Jesse lacked was much less than what he possessed.
Althea thought being alone and independent was better than relying on anyone else. She’d always felt like the unwanted addition since her father left her and went off to remarry another woman. She was the spare relative that had to prove she was worthy of being around. She didn’t want that feeling for her son, and she jealously guarded him, afraid to allow anyone else to influence him. But Jesse showed her that it was okay to trust in someone else, with her son and with everything that was truly of value. It took the kind words of Granny Piggott to get her to see that we need people, even those people who are the hardest to deal with.
I thought about the strange magic that is love. Our tendency to believe that our soulmate will come in a certain package or a specific way. That is if we even believe that love is possible for us. But God has other plans for us. I feel that in this story he was telling me that he gives beauty for ashes. Even though Jess was born diminished, and many folks took every opportunity to remind him of that, he had been given much in return for what he lacked. And that was more than enough to see him safe, loved, and content, and a blessing to others in his life. Another reminder to me that being content is the goal. Appreciating what seems merely adequate, when beneath or through a different set of glasses is pure riches.
I appreciate the simple beauty of this story. In the simplicity, I found true richness of storytelling and a resonance on an emotional level that makes me smile as I type the final words of this review. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I'd probably give this one 4.5 stars. I thought it really was an excellent book, but the whole confict between the Native Americans and the settlers i...moreI'd probably give this one 4.5 stars. I thought it really was an excellent book, but the whole confict between the Native Americans and the settlers is just heartwrenching. I think the characters in this book were driven to their brink in many ways. It was so well-written and I loved it, but because the tragic elements hit so close to home, and this affected my enjoyment factor, it's hard to give it five stars.
There are incidents that occur in this book that I found downright disturbing. Maybe I'm too sensitive, or I read it on a week where my life stress level was too high, but I found it hard to get past some of that.
I take the whole Native American situation deeply personal, partly because that is part of my heritage, but also because I hate persecution and unfairness. I can totally see what drove the Natives to fight back so hard against the settlers, but I can never condone the murder of innocent people on either side. History is brutal and tragic, and it shows that humanity does not have the best motivations. Again and again we see nations and civilizations conquered by cultures that are more powerful in an integral way that allows them to decimate the so-called "weaker culture." It is something that I do not like facing, but unescapable. It's one of the reasons I love historical romance, but at times it is hard to deal with in the scope of a book about a romantic relationship between a couple.
I do love that Clare always presented a balanced perspective. She didn't make the Natives always the good guy and she didn't make the settlers always the bad guys. There were atrocities committed on both sides, as she is unflinching in describing some of those acts in this book.
I found Nicholas and Bethie both to be characters I liked, admired, and wished well for. They were both strong survivors who had gone through hell and back. What they suffered in their lives was almost too much to deal with at times. I love angst, so don't get me wrong, but probably I just read this during the wrong few days where my angst tolerance level was lower. Nicholas was just a delicious hero. I couldn't get enough of him, but I like that he wasn't a perfect, plaster saint. He didn't always do the right thing, although he was deeply principled in his own way. Survival had motivated him for so long, but when it came down to it, his moral compass did not forsake him.
I am curious about Nicholas' parents and his young uncle Jamie, so I hope to read Sweet Release and Carnal Gift soon. Clare definitely is an author that I want to read more of.
--------------------- If you're already a Pamela Clare fan, or interested in learning more about her and her books, be sure to stop by our Pamela Clare Fan Group here on Goodreads! (less)
I loved this book so much. I wore out my copy (although I still have it at home on my keeper shelf). The story of Hank and Amanda will always touch my...moreI loved this book so much. I wore out my copy (although I still have it at home on my keeper shelf). The story of Hank and Amanda will always touch my heart. I loved the setting of the 1920s which is such a great time period, but so woefully underutilized in romances. Hank was such a cool character, one of my favorite Montgomerys, and I love the whole lot, except for Gavin, may he rot in Hades. Amanda is young and sheltered, living the life her parents want for her, but she really comes into her own when Hank comes to town. I liked the side story about Amanda's fiance and the wild girl in town. I was glad that Jude gave us this secondary romance with the girl that usually doesn't get the happy ending in romance novels. This book is and will always be in my top 100 of all time of favorite books. Check out the story of Amanda and Hank's son, JT in another all time favorite, The Princess.(less)
This is such a great book. Hester is a seemingly mild-mannered spinster with a peculiar habit of always wearing gloves up to her elbows. It turns out...moreThis is such a great book. Hester is a seemingly mild-mannered spinster with a peculiar habit of always wearing gloves up to her elbows. It turns out she was an escaped slave from a plantation where indigo was harvested, and has permanent dyeing of her arms and lower legs from working in the fields. She is one of my all time favorite heroines for her undying devotion to helping slaves escape their bondage. Her big house is an important stop on the Underground Railroad. She is uncaring of the danger she could face if it was found out that she is helping the slaves. I also love this book because of Galen the hero. He is a dandified man of property who also happens to be a masked raider that fights the slave-catchers. It was so cool to read a historical book that shows heroes of the African American disapora, and their fight against the abomination of slavery. It's also a beautiful romance. I loved the way that Galen cherishes Hester and gently introduces her to passion. If you love great historical romances that are full of adventure, passion, love, but also teach important history lessons, you should read this book.(less)
I enjoyed this, even though I don't care for Antebellum setting at all. I think a shovel was in order for the overbearing hero (to hit him over the he...moreI enjoyed this, even though I don't care for Antebellum setting at all. I think a shovel was in order for the overbearing hero (to hit him over the head with), though.(less)
The Hand-Me Down Family was my first foray into Christian romance in a long time. I was excited to read this one, because I've enjoyed books by Winnie...moreThe Hand-Me Down Family was my first foray into Christian romance in a long time. I was excited to read this one, because I've enjoyed books by Winnie Griggs in the past. In addition, I am a big enthusiast of marriage of convenience storylines.
All and all, this was a pleasant read. I did have some moments where I felt like things were moving at a sluggish pace. Also I had issues with how the spiritual messages seemed to be somewhat cut and pasted in. What I mean by this is, I felt like Ms. Griggs was motivated to stick in passages where the characters were praying or recalling Bible scriptures. This could be due to my time away from Christian romance, and being unused to this motive of including spiritual content into the message.
I am not a big fan of overt preachiness or what I call PSA's (Public Service Announcements) in a fictional story. I think that the moral and a message should be neatly integrated into the story, and spread throughout, much like one would put a small amount of salt in cookie dough to give it that piquancy to balance out the sugar. The reader can then ponder the story and delve through to get the message out as they enjoy the narrative.
In this story, I felt that the spiritual aspects might have been a little too blatant. Again, I have to admit that this is coming from a person who reads very little Christian fiction (although I would like to read more that is good and entertaining and has a good underlying message). Thus, I can't judge Ms. Griggs, and probably need to read more of the Love Inspired and other Christian romances in my tbr pile to get a feel for how this is done.
My disappointment with the lack of subtlety in the spiritual aspects was balanced out by my interest and attraction to the characters and the sense of inadequacy that they struggle with. Callie has a disfiguring mark on her cheek, a port-wine birthmark. She is very self-conscious about it, and wears bonnets all the time to keep it concealed. My heart went out to her. It is very difficult to be different, especially if your differences are overt and obvious. In my opinion, she seems to overcompensate by trying to be a good Christian and to be perfect in every other way. Her marrying Leland and taking on his young daughter is part of her do-good complex. At some points, it made her come off as being self-righteous. As a committed Christian, it is a tough road to walk, because you do have to hold yourself to a different standard, and your choices reflect your beliefs. Callie definitely showed a deep faith in God, but she seemed to spend time trying to get Jack to do things to express his faith for the benefit of the children they were raising together. I found this frustrating. Everyone's walk is different, and it bothered me on a personal level that she was somehow forcing her beliefs on how a Christian should act on Jack. I do agree that the parents serve as spiritual role models for kids, but it seemed kind of hypocritical to force Jack to act in a way that wasn't true to who he was. I think all of us believers have been in situations where we were the 'less spiritual' person and we've been nudged and lectured by the 'more spiritual' people in the church or group. It's not a good feeling, and it can cause people to stay away from the church or groups to avoid that feeling of pressure and inadequacy. Which brings me to Jack.
Jack has always lived in his older, 'better' brother's shadow. He got all of Leland's hand-me downs, and now it looks like he'll have to take on Leland's responsibilities by marrying his by-proxy wife and taking care of his young daughter, along with the two children of his sister and her husband, since all three adults perished in the same fire. He wants to do right by the children, but at the same time, he regrets having to leave behind the independent life he has made for himself, with his own business and a good name unassociated with his family. He is very insecure about his place in the world in comparision to his brother, and it manifests in his behavior. I had trouble with this part, but his feelings of coming short and his resentment about it, combined with his feelings that God didn't answer his prayers to help him to matter as much as his brother, cause him to turn his back on his faith. He doesn't stop believing, but he has a very separate relationship to God. He adopts a 'God helps those who help themselves philosophy' and doesn't pray or go to church. I struggled with this concept, but then I came to the realization that believers can tend to blame God for not coming through in ways that we may think He should, but with maturity, we realize that God was listening, but He just knew better than us, and that's why He didn't give us what we wanted. And eventually we come to thank Him for how He does answer our prayers.
I liked the aspect of this book in which Jack's feeling of not measuring up enables him to see and to understand Callie's insecurity about her birthmark. From the beginning, he shows that her birthmark doesn't bother him and encourages her to show her true face to the world. He was withdrawn in some ways, because of his fears of not measuring up and wanting to stay uninvolved, but at the same time, he was a very sensitive and caring person, and showed very good fatherly traits in how he interacted with the kids.
Some of the parts in which Callie is treated less than kindly because of her birthmark just about broke my heart. The intolerance that people can show is very sad. Even Simon, who is one of the orphaned children, says some pretty ugly things about her birthmark and makes Callie cry in a scene that is very heart-wrenching. I liked how Jack supported her and stood up for her and always made her feel beautiful and worthy.
There is also a retired schoolteacher, Mrs. Mayweather, who serves as a source of strength to the floundering couple. It is her suggestion that they marry to take care of the children, and she gives encouragement them to get past their issues in ways that are sometimes on the underhanded side. For instance, she makes Callie have to take her bonnet off in front of all the women to put on a strand of pearls that she gives the bride to wear on her wedding day. At first, I thought that was pretty mean, but I could see why she did that. She didn't want Callie to be ashamed for what she couldn't change about herself, and to hide it from the town so that they would accept and like her. That made a lot of sense to both Callie and myself after the fact. She also tells Jack some things he needs to hear and gives him nudges when necessary. She really ends up being a very important character in this story in the way she aids both Callie and Jack in their emotional growth and their coming together as a couple.
I feel that the romance part could have been a little more developed. As a Christian romance, I didn't expect any lovemaking or sensuality, but I was surprised that the only interaction that we get to see is a brief kiss that is barely described. I was thinking that more could be shown and not stray from being a sweet romance. I am a big believer that chemistry in a romance novel doesn't have to be tied to the bedroom. There can be a strong attraction shown in every interaction between the couple. I didn't really feel that big of an attraction between Jack and Callie, other than their respect and caring for each other. Although we do get to see Callie and Jack spending time together, more of the time is devoted to discussing the kids and issues with the family, and less getting to know each other on a personal level.
I was glad I got the opportunity to read this book, and it was a moving read for me. I had a few issues that I felt kept it from being a favorite of mine, but I would consider it a keeper for the good message, the well-drawn characters, and the poignancy of seeing Jack and Callie deal with their issues of lack of self-worth and worthiness in the world. It was definitely a worthwhile read.
Argh! I am sure I read this book, but it's all fuzzy. I read this back before something really traumatic happened to me that wiped out part of my long...moreArgh! I am sure I read this book, but it's all fuzzy. I read this back before something really traumatic happened to me that wiped out part of my long term memory.(less)
The Monstrumologist was an unforgettable read. I can't even imagine how Rick Yancey came up with this idea. I was completely horrified many times, as...moreThe Monstrumologist was an unforgettable read. I can't even imagine how Rick Yancey came up with this idea. I was completely horrified many times, as I read this book. This is a young adult book, but it's not one I'd recommend lightly to just any teen, or adult for that matter. Mr. Yancey doesn't hesitate to make this story gruesome and downright stomach-churning. Due to my biological/medical background, I have a strong stomach. It came in handy when I read this book. There were scenes that I would not want to watch in a movie. Sadly, I think this would be a fantastic movie, as it's very vivid and dynamic; but I would be afraid to watch it, and I think it would have to be R-rated for some of the scenes of extreme violence and gore, which is probably not ideal, since it's a young adult book.
Thankfully, there is a strong story with a compelling set of characters to balance out the unsettling, distasteful scenes. Our protagonist is young Will Henry, an orphan who works as the assistant to an eccentric scientist. His father worked for the doctor before him, and died with his mother in a horrible fire that Will survived. Will says to himself that he never loved the Monstrumologist, but he will never leave him. It's an interesting aspect to this story, Will's devotion to this man, who barely shows him kindness or regard. For the doctor is a cold man, completely devoted to his work as a scientist who studies monsters. His skills come in handy when a group of monsters from any person's worst nightmare begin to wreak havoc on the sleepy New England town of New Jerusalem (I wondered if there was a deliberate reference to Jerusalem's Lot when I read this book). The doctor and Will embark on a quest to seek and destroy these monsters that makes for harrowing reading.
I have to admit that this book had some moments that were hard to read. The anthropophagi are vicious predatory creatures, who view humans as a food source, and they are not sentimental in any way. What they did to the minister's family was just awful. I wanted these monsters found and destroyed, all the while fearing for the lives of Will, the doctor, and his companions.
Gross, gory parts aside, I loved the writing in this story. Mr. Yancey establishes himself very credibly in the historical narrative of this novel. I was immersed in this world, a dark one, set in the late 19th century. In the background, one can see the significant events that would have shaped the characters, such as Darwin's work in evolution, scientific studies in eugenics, and the aftermath of the War Between the States. This is all seen through the eyes of the twelve-year-old narrator, who witnesses things that would cause a grown man to lose sleep. I could not admire Will more. He made my hero to die shelf, because this was one heck of a young man. He goes into the lion's den and into the pit of Hell numerous times to face these horrifying monsters. I could only cheer him along, my heart racing, when he comes face to face with the incredibly vicious matriarch of the group of monsters who have made New Jerusalem their preying grounds.
In reading this book, one has to fortify herself. There are views of human nature that are just as unsettling as the monsters themselves. In fact, the man that the doctor summons to help to hunt and to kill the anthropophagi might be considered a human version of a monster himself. I admit that I found Kearns to be an interesting character. He was very lively, making me laugh a few times. However, he had absolutely no moral center, which made him a very dicey ally. He even has a line where he states that "the only morality is the morality of this moment." Yeah, that makes him a very dangerous man. Good to have against the anthropophage, but not so good if you happen to be standing in the way of his objective. Doctor Warthrop (Will's boss) was a flawed, complicated character. He came off as arrogant and uncaring in many moments, but deeply principled at his core. In fact, Kearns turns out to be a good foil to reveal the positive aspects of his character. I think the doctor cared very much for Will, but was unable to show it in the ways that we would consider most demonstrative of affection. He had so many issues with his own father, that it warped him emotionally. However, it was apparent that Will was very important to him--his companion, and the only person who cared for and about the doctor. This made their relationship very complex, and in my opinion, the core of this story.
The Monstrumologist is a book that is quite hard to categorize and to explain in a few words. There is so much to this story. Yet, it's not one that the casual reader will enjoy. It's too dark and gruesome for that. But for an intrepid reader, there is much to admire and to appreciate in this book. After this book gets started, it doesn't wind down until it's over. It was a fascinating, powerful read, one I won't forget. Even now, it is lurking in the back of my mind like a shadow.(less)
If I was to list the Grande Old Dames of Historical Romance, I'd definitely have LaVyrle Spencer on my list. It's a shame that she has retired from wr...moreIf I was to list the Grande Old Dames of Historical Romance, I'd definitely have LaVyrle Spencer on my list. It's a shame that she has retired from writing, but at least she leaves a legacy behind in her excellent books she has written.
The Endearment is one of her books I managed to overlook for some reason. Initially, I thought it was one of the many that I read growing up, and forgot the details about. But I'm pretty sure I haven't read this before. I will admit that I made a note to reread (or perhaps read for the first time) it when I saw that it was listed on the All About Romance Virgin Hero List, which is a theme I can't resist. Of course, I tend to obtain copies of books, and they languish in my tbr pile until I get the urge to read (or have the time to read). I pulled this one out of the pile and added it to my PRIMAVERA challenge, and that is why I have read this book and I am reviewing it now. After that lengthy segueway, I will actually write my thoughts on this book.
As far as frontier romance, you cannot go wrong here. In this book, Karl Lindstrom is an earnest, decent, hardworking Swede who has come to Minnesota to set up his own homestead. In the two years since he arrived, he has ached with loneliness (since he left his big family behind in Sweden and is unmarried), with only his goat Nanna and his team of Percheron horses, Bill and Belle, to keep him company (in the most innocent of ways, mind you). He decided to seek a mail order bride, and ends up corresponding with Anna Reardon, who tells him a never-ending stream of big fat ones that make her seem like the ideal bride candidate. He sends her money to come out to Minnesota from Boston to marry him and be his wife.
When Anna arrives, Karl is struck by her beauty, even if she is thin and much younger than she said (he wanted an older bride-twenty-five, and she's seventeen). It turns out she didn't come alone. She brought her thirteen-year-old brother James with her. Karl isn't very happy about that. He's worried about having another mouth to feed and not having time alone with his new bride. He agrees to marry her, but tells her ‘no more lies.’ Anna means it when she says she won’t lie to him, but there’s still a big whopper between them that she can’t put into words. He’ll find out the hard way. And until then, she can only hope for the best between them.
At first, Karl seems like the perfect hero. However, he’s rather rigid about his moral view of the world, and has trouble forgiving. My sympathies shifted as I read this story. At first, I was annoyed that Anna and her brother were pulling a whole bunch of fast ones on Karl. Then, I realized that the lies that Anna and James told were a matter of survival. Lying is wrong, but it’s a lot easier not to lie when you always have food on the table, have a loving family, and security in the world. Anna and James have never had any of those. And Anna’s chance at being Karl’s bride is the closest both of them will come.
That’s Ms. Spenser’s talent. To tell a story where there are many sides, and much growing for the characters to do. As I read this story, I hoped that Karl could get past the huge lie that Anna told, and understand why she did it. I wanted the burgeoning love between them to be enough to make their marriage bond unbreakable.
I loved the descriptions of the natural world, and the everyday life in the Minnesota wilderness. Karl was a tried and true woodsman, and a very skilled carpenter. There wasn’t a type of wood he didn’t know intimately. I learned about which wood makes the best type of furniture, what is suitable for building houses, or even making an axe handle. I loved his patience with greenhorns Anna and James. How he opened his house and his heart to them, and not without reservations or sacrifice. Even though Karl was a good man, he had his shares of flaws. That made him even the better as a hero, because he was accessible. And the joy was in seeing him come to realize that although Anna wasn’t quite the perfect wife he envisioned, she was the wife he treasured and loved, and she made his home truly a home. As for Anna, my heart went out to her and James for their troubled childhood, and for the sacrifice she made for her brother, that could have destroyed her future with Karl. She wanted to do the right thing, but always seemed to fall short. And it must have been tough being married to a ‘saint’ and failing to measure up to his perfect image of womanhood.
Karl and Anna have some first-married growing pains to get through, but love does conquer all, at least in the romantic world, which I am always happy about. With a little help along the way from sage friends like the priest who married them, and Kristen, the daughter of a Swedish family that establishes their homestead nearby. James is a great secondary character, an earnest young man who becomes like a son to Karl, and a loyal loving brother to his sister.
For me, The Endearment was a treasured reading experience. It warmed my heart, gave me a good story, and taught me a few lessons about forgiveness, understanding, and committing to what is important to you, even when it seems as though it isn’t exactly what you dreamed of. It can be even better in the end, because it’s real life, the best kind of dream come true.
Geraldine Jordan has been preparing herself for an arranged marriage contracted by her late aunt and the matriarch of the McKenna family, hopi...moreSynopsis
Geraldine Jordan has been preparing herself for an arranged marriage contracted by her late aunt and the matriarch of the McKenna family, hoping that she might end up the wife of Alistair McKenna, a man she has been in love with most of her life. With the congenital malformation of her foot and her subsequent limp, she knows she's not the best choice for a bride, but her trust is in God to work everything out. To her surprise, her Uncle Henry arrives with news that her intended has turned her down as a bride and instead wishes to hire her as a governess for his orphaned niece, Erin Elyse. When Alistair arrives, she makes it clear that she has no desire to marry him anyway, especially with the hurt of his rejection and the fact that his brothers made her life miserable with their teasing when she was younger. Although hurt about the rejection, Geraldine clings to her faith in God, and trusts that this was his plan for her to be there to help this young girl, and to cherish any time she can spend near Alistair.
Alistair feels profound regret for hurting Geraldine with his rejection, when the truth is, he's been in love with her as well for many years. His reluctance to marry is not because of her, but because he doesn't think he'd be a good husband. He wants to make amends for hurting her, and seeks to draw closer to the God he has distanced himself from lately. Forces inside the McKenna home are working together to unite the two sweethearts in marriage, while at the same time a veiled threat lurks in the household with other plans for Alistair McKenna's future.
That Impossible Dream is a historical romance with an intrinsic Christian faith message. Geraldine is a young woman who has faced some significant obstacles, but relies on her faith in God to keep her strong and to keep her moving in the face of heartbreaking circumstances. I liked her character a lot. I found her encouraging, and her anguish at life's disappointments and her faith in the Lord helped to draw me into the story. Unfortunately, she was the only character who had a noteworthy impact on me as I read this book. Alistair was introduced too late in the story to grow attached to him, and the romance wasn't sufficiently developed for me to find it credible. I needed to see Geraldine and Alistair spend more time together in this story to become emotionally engaged in the love story between them.
Another issue was the heavy reliance on narrative, which didn't serve to advance the story. More dialogue and character interactions, particularly between the two leads, would have given this story much more impact. I actually felt like some less important characters got more screen time than the most pivotal ones. And characters who play a crucial role seemed not to have enough dialogue.
Lastly, there was a major pacing issue. It was as though the last fifteen pages included most of the action and wrap-up in this story. The suspense element felt like an afterthought because there was no buildup or gradual progression over the course of the story. The resolution occurred so quickly that it wasn't believable.
Overall, I was disappointed with That Impossible Dream. Although I liked Geraldine's character and I rooted for her happiness, I didn't find much more appealing about this novel. With more dialogue, better pacing, and more focus on the interactions between Geraldine and Alistair, I think this would have been a more satisfactory read.