Friday, 13 April 2012

Book Review: Beyond All Measure by Dorothy Love

From the publisher:
Ada has loved deeply and lost dearly. But protecting her heart could mean missing the love of a lifetime.
christian historical fiction
Ada Wentworth may be young, but she's seen enough of life to know she can only rely on herself. Everyone including God it seems, has let her down. Having lost her family, her fiance, and her fortune, Ada journeys from Boston to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, to take a position as a lady's companion. Though initially charmed by the pretty little Southern town tucked into the foothills of the great Smokies, Ada plans to stay only until she can earn enough to establish a millinery shop.
Her employer, Wyatt Caldwell, the local lumber mill owner, is easily the kindest, most attractive man Ada has met in Hickory Ridge. He believes Providence has brought her to town and into his life. But how, after so many betrayals, can she ever trust again? Besides, Wyatt has a dream of his own. A dream that will one day take him far from Hickory Ridge.
As the South struggles to heal in the aftermath of the Civil War, one woman must let go of her painful past in order to embrace God's plans for her. Can she trust Him, and Wyatt, with her future and her heart?

I was pleasantly surprised when this book arrived in my mailbox from the publisher.  I actually had won it on another blog (although I forget which one--my apologies!!!).  And as much as I was surprised at its arrival, I was more surprised once I started to read.

Ada, alone in this world after losing everything, takes a job as a lady's companion.  This job takes her from Boston, Massachusetts to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee.  The year is 1871, and the divide between the north and the south is still living and breathing (as it is today.  I never realized it until this Yankee went down south for awhile).  While her employer, Wyatt Caldwell, is happy that he has someone to take care of his aging, ailing aunt, other members of the community are not so welcoming.  They also are not afraid to let her know.

Ada had plans to make enough money to move on, and open her own millinery shop.  Yet, once she and Wyatt meet, we realize it is only a matter of time before love blossoms.  However, Ada is not so intent on having a new love in her life, especially after her fiance leaves her high and dry.

Throughout this story, the characters grow and evolve.  Ada seems to lock her heart from any sort of love due to the hurt from her past, but we find her softening up to not only to Wyatt, but his cankerous aunt and fellow townspeople, also.  Wyatt, ever the hero, is believable and not over-the-top.  I feel that Ms. Love's character development was great, especially considering this is a Christian historical romance. I typically find characters can easily be very flat in this genre.  Along with great characterization, it is apparent that the author knows her history and/or did her research.  This was seen over and over again in various scenes.  From the southern Yankee sympathizers vs. the true-blooded southerners, to aspects of the KKK, I really felt like I was transported back in time.

The only issue I have with the novel is when
Ada's former fiance comes back into the picture.
I felt that it was hurried and thrown in there to tie up all loose ends. This could have been the cause of publisher's guidelines rather than the idea that Ms. Love's writing is somewhat lacking.

Overall, I was really impressed with this novel and looking forward to reading the next novels in the Hickory Ridge series.

Title: Beyond All Measure
Author: Dorothy Love
Publication Year: 2011
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Source: Won via another book blog/Personal copy.
Rating: 4/5
Recommend?  Yes.

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