Unfulfilled dreams have left Grace Thomas vowing not to let her imagination roam wild again. Resigning herself to the goal of owning a dress shop, she accepts a position as a housekeeper at Monaghan Lumber Camp in order to earn funds. The plan is simple, easy, and safe. But Torin Monaghan is not. The reclusive brother who seems indifferent to her presence is ironically the one stirring up her imagination.
Torin Monaghan will not be deterred from his passion to preserve the beauty of nature. Even if it appears as if he’s going against his family. Even if the quirky and wistful seamstress invading his space is proving a distraction. To his frustration, Grace Thomas is not easily dismissed, and neither are the ways she’s opening his eyes to a different sort of beauty.
When past threats bring new trouble to Pine Creek, Torin and Grace must become vulnerable—to each other and their community—and through risk, discover that reality is more fulfilling than their dreams.
Why This Book:
I have been a fan of Sondra Kraak’s writing since I first read One Plus One Equals Trouble, the first book in this series. (If you haven’t read it, it is now available for FREE to anyone who joins Sondra’s newsletter list.)
Connecticut, April 1893
Failure meant death. Death meant judgment. And judgment meant facing his broken promises.
Washington State, two weeks later
Yesterday, Grace Thomas had made the worst mistake of her life. This morning, she had one hour to reverse it.
As you can tell from those first lines, the prologue is full of suspense that keeps the pages turning and the first scene of Chapter One is no slow read either. From the first introduction, I cared about these characters and wanted to see them succeed.
Grace Thomas– If you’ve read the previous books in this series, you’ll remember Grace and be happy to see her finally take center stage. She is beautiful, kind, intelligent, and incredibly gifted as a fabric artist–but she doesn’t see any of that. For many reasons, Grace’s self-image has been twisted to the point it doesn’t resemble her true self and this affects every decision she makes.
Torin Monaghan – A character new to the series, Torin is physically fit, highly intelligent, ambitious, determined (to a fault?), and noble. He’s a bit rough around the edges, though, when it comes to face-to-face human interaction. So, while he has generally good intentions, his choices often lead him in the opposite direction of his desired destination. Haunted by his past, he struggles with the idea of which path is right for him: leading his family or leading the nation.
Secondary Characters: There are a host of other interesting characters who add layers and depth to the story. Among these are: Torin’s three younger brothers, his sister-in law, his younger sister, and Grace’s family and friends. All are well-developed characters fully worthy of their places in the story.
Emotional Engagement & Pacing of the Story:
From the first page, this story had my attention and it kept hold of it through the very end. I lost no small amount of sleep trying to find out what would happen next.
The issues Grace and Torin struggle with throughout the book are issues I think most of us can relate to on some level. Combine this with Kraak’s incredible wordsmithing and this makes for a read that not only engages our hearts but also our minds.
Elements I especially liked/disliked:
It was fun getting a behind-the-scenes look at how a logging company was run in this era. There were also several tidbits of real history which were unique and a fun addition.
The theme can best be summarised in this quote from the book:
The path to joy goes through sorrow, not around it.
The ending included some fun surprises, a few chuckles, and lots of satisfied grinning.
5 out of 5 stars
P.S. Today is release day!!! Don’t forget to grab your copy! Amazon
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Have you read either The Story Peddler or The Story Raider? Do you enjoy fantasy fiction? How do you feel about cliff-hanger endings?
Note: Although I did receive a free ARC of the digital version of this book, I was under no obligation to write a positive review. You may read my full disclosure of materials HERE.
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