Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Book Review: A Hopeful Heart

A Hopeful Heart. Kim Vogel Sawyer. 2010. June 2010. Bethany House. 352 pages.

Curling her fingers around the leather handle of the battered carpetbag that held her carefully selected belongings, Tressa Neill fell in line behind the tittering row of young women disembarking the train. She didn't mind being last. In the homespun dress and outdated straw hat acquired by Aunt Gretchen, she felt dowdy and conspicuous. No matter that her attire closely matched that of her traveling companions--with the exception of Evelyn. She still harbored an intense desire to hide.

Mrs Wyatt (aka "Aunt Hattie") has decided to open up a small school to teach eligible young women (from the East) the skills they'd need to be a proper help-meet to their potential rancher husbands. The skills include milking cows, branding calves, cooking, etc. She thinks these young women need to learn how to manage a ranch before they start socializing with all the young ranchers. That way they know what to expect before they fall in love, before they say I do.

This historical fiction novel is set in Kansas in the 1880s. It's narrated by Tressa, one of the young women who have come to the school for a "second best" chance at life, and Abel Samms, one of the ranchers who is determined not to take a wife. (How long do you think that resolution will last once he meets Tressa?) What Tressa finds is anything but second-best. For she finds some of the best friends she could ever have. Aunt Hattie also introduces her to Jesus. Tressa realizes that it is part of God's plan for her to be in Kansas, but is that oh-so-handsome Abel part of the good Lord's plan? She hopes so!

There are a handful of conflicts in A Hopeful Heart--some a bit predictable for the genre--but all in all, A Hopeful Heart is more than enjoyable. It is a good, clean, romantic read just right for historical fiction fans.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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