on 19 November 2013
Christina Willems is the director of a poor farm, the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor in Kansas, having inherited the role from her father. She has dedicated herself to Christian services on behalf of the poor and needy, but finds her world rocked when the farmhouse is badly damaged in a fire. The need to find temporary homes for the twelve residents brings her into contact with local mill owner Levi Johnson.
I have only read one other book by Kim Vogel Sawyer, and this reminded me why I should seek out more of her titles. Her novels are plainly US Western historical romance, but they have more depth than many of the titles available on the market (not that I have anything against those titles--I enjoy the more lighthearted novels by authors such as Carol Cox, Jen Turano and Karen Wittemeyer. But it's nice to find something a little different).
Christina is a well-written character. She is strong-willed and wants to take responsibility for all `her' people--the only family she has. But in serving others, she sometimes forgets what she wants, and that what she wants might not be what God wants for her. That's something many of us can relate to.
I also liked Levi. He's not a Christian, yet still takes in Tommy, the blind boy no one else wants. He has his own emotional journey throughout the novel, as caring for Tommy forces Levi step outside his solitary existence to interact with Tommy and Christina. He's also attracted to Christina, and I thought the romantic element of the plot was particularly poignant.
I especially liked one quote from Tommy:
Seems to me that folks with scars [are] the ones who really need someone to treat them like there's nothing wrong with them. Hard enough to be different without everybody treating you different.
There's a lesson there. We all have scars, but some are more visible than others. It reminds me that sometimes it's okay to not mention the elephant in the room.
Recommended for those who enjoy US Western historical romance.
Thanks to WaterBrook Press and Blogging for Books for providing a free ebook for review.