Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Book Review: Beyond All Measure

Beyond All Measure (A Hickory Ridge Romance)
Beyond All Measure: A Hickory Ridge Romance
By Dorothy Love
Thomas Nelson, 2011
English, 320 pgs

Ada Wentworth, a young Bostonian, journeys to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, in the years following the Civil War. Alone and nearly penniless following a broken engagement, Ada accepts a position as a lady's companion to the elderly Lillian Willis, a pillar of the community and aunt to the local lumber mill owner, Wyatt Caldwell. Ada intends to use her millinery skills to establish a hat shop and secure her future.

Haunted by unanswered questions from her life in Boston, Ada is most drawn to two townsfolks: Wyatt, a Texan with big plans of his own, and Sophie, a mulatto girl who resides at the Hickory Ridge orphanage. Ada's friendship with Sophia attracts the attention of a group of locals seeking to displace the residents of Two Creeks, a "colored" settlement on the edge of town. As tensions rise, Ada is threatened but refuses to abandon her plan to help the girl.

When Lillian dies, Ada is left without employment or a place to call home. And since Wyatt's primary purpose for staying in Hickory Ridge was to watch over his aunt, he can now pursue his dream of owning Longhorns in his home state of Texas.

With their feelings for each other growing, Ada must decide whether she can trust God with her future and Wyatt with her heart.

I'm starting to see a formula in the Christian historical romance genre:
1. Woman has something tragic happen and has to move
2. Woman gets in over her head with what she thought she'd be doing
3. Woman meets Guy and isn't sure if she likes him or not or if she can trust him or not
4. Guy has something not quite tragic but still a hurdle to overcome
5. Guy finds out about Woman's tragedy and isn't sure if he wants to take the risk
6. Woman and Guy make it work anyway
7. Throw in a dash of Christian truth in a lesson

It's getting a little old. All that is not to say that the story isn't good. It is. It tugs at your heart in just the right way. It's just entirely predictable. There are little side plots that are nice and do add to the story.

I think this may be my last attempt at Christian historical fiction for a while. Maybe something new will be added to the formula in the near future and I'll be back.

I received a copy of the book from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation has been received and all opinions are my own.

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