If possible, I think Dorothy Love's sophomore novel is better than her first! It's been a long time since I stayed up past midnight to finish a book to it's very last page. :o) Another bonus? That cover...isn't it gorgeous?! The covers for all three books in this series really deserve a hand of applause for their beauty. I could stare at them for the longest time... *sigh* And yet another bonus? It's set in my home state of Tennessee, and I couldn't help but appreciate all the references to cities, towns, and landmarks that I'm familiar with.
I think I related more to the heroine in Beauty for Ashes than I did the heroine in Beyond All Measure (Dorothy's debut novel). I've been in that place before where if something could go wrong, it did go wrong, and like Carrie, I've hoped that I could run away from those problems so someone else could sort them out. Unfortunately, life has other ideas, both in the real and fictitious worlds, and Carrie's world was pretty much turned upside down more than once. It was a cross between heartbreak and frustration as I read about her relationships with Nate and Mary, but those feeling were soon replaced with admiration because of her strength of character. No matter what, she wasn't going to quit. No matter what, her irritation at the lot she'd been given in life was not going to overwhelm her. She was going to make it through this storm God had sent her through (first the loss of a husband, then being the third wheel in her brother's new marriage), and come out stronger on the other side.
Griff's character was a good addition to the story, but I didn't connect with him as much as I would've liked. It always seemed like he was hiding something, even until the very end. Most likely, it was the drifter in him that made me wary. However, I did enjoy the portions where he worked as a horse trainer, and the references to the newly-created Kentucky Derby.
When I connect with books on a personal level, it's always easy to recommend them. It's extra-easy in this case because this book is a winner. :o) I can't wait to journey back to Hickory Ridge one final time when Dorothy's final book in this series, Every Perfect Gift, releases later this year.
Carrie Daly and her brother Henry lost their parents at young age. Bonding together, family was the tie that brought them strength.. Carrie had been living with Henry after loosing her husband to the Civil war years ago. When Henry weds Mary, accompanied by her two young sons, everything is thrown into turmoil. Carrie soon finds herself leaving the family home, heart broken and discouraged.
Dorothy has woven a tale of disappointments, struggles and testing of the human spirit. Life gets more complicated each day as Carrie seeks for answers but the path is not always clear. The story reads smoothly, the characters are well developed, vivid and memorable. A wonderful story the will bestow hope to the wounded heart.
Beauty for Ashes was a charming historical. It wasn't as romantic as I would have liked, but I enjoyed the mystery regarding Griff's past and the issue of Carrie feeling stuck taking care of people she never asked to be responsible for. She was a great heroine and I could see how Griff fell in love with her.
I love stories where the adventurous hero is tamed into desiring a domestic life because of the sweetness of a good woman. Carrie was definitely that. Griff was a great hero, too. He probably helped her keep her sanity after all of the mini-messes that needed fixing. I wish Carrie and Griff had shared a bit more affection, though. Carrie sure did get a lot of hard knocks from those kids she ended up responsible for during Mary's confinement. She was a strong and good-hearted lady. All in all it was a good story.
I enjoyed this second book by Dorthy Love. Loved that some of the Characters from the first book Beyond All Measure, made a return visit!
This books has many chuckles, and some ohhhhhs, and some very sad happenings. We are focusing at a time just after the Civil War and there is a Depression happening. Carrie Daly is now required to welcome a new woman into her home she shares with her brother Henry. His new bride, Mary, comes with two...not adorable sons.
Carrie has been keeping company with Nate for quite awhile, and everyone expects them to marry. She is rescued from an uncertain death by Griff Rutledge, he is going to be in town for awhile training a horse. Now we will wonder for awhile who will win her hand or neither?
Love that the Lord seems to have a hand in the lives of these Characters, and as in real life not always as we wish.
I recommend this for a fast enjoyable read!
I received this book from the Publisher Thomas Nelson, and was not required to give a positive review.
Beauty For Ashes, the second installment in the Hickory Ridge series, is a charming novel for the southern heart! Dorothy Love's writing is pure southern, through and through.
I loved the characters in this novel. Dorothy Love has such a talent in creating characters who are likable, yet very flawed. In this novel, no one is considered flawless. It's amazing how she exposes vulnerabilities inside characters that adds another dimension to them, yet at the same time it never once justifies their flaws. Pure genius, if you ask me.
Something I really appreciate in this novel is how the main female character has it out with God. She is honest with Him when it comes to her hurts, her doubts, her pain, and her questions. Too many Christian novels surround us with fluffy conversations with God. Not this one!
The elements in this novel brought be back to my own ashes and reminded me of the beauty God has made from them. Any novel that causes us to reflect on our own life, is probably doing exactly what the author set out to do--touch the reader.
One of the things I sincerely appreciate is Griff Rutledge. As a Charleston native, Dorothy Love's character is a pure and true Charleston gentlemen (yes, to us there is Charleston, then the rest of the world). I love how she even used a prominent Charleston last name--and many more were mentioned in the novel. Her knowledge of the Charleston area astounded and impressed me immensely. For someone who doesn't live in the area, but visited it many times, she has done an awesome job in absorbing and understanding our historical culture.
I love how she has skillfully meshed together Tennessee and Charleston in this novel. Bravo!
I highly recommend Beauty For Ashes to anyone who loves southern, historical, and romance!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers and Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.