After losing her husband in the Civil War, Carrie Daly is scared she will never have the family she longs for. Eligible bachelors are scarce in Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, but Carrie has found love. Not the weak-in-the-knees kind, but something practical. Still, she isn't quite ready to set a wedding date with Nate Chastain.
Griff Rutledge is a former member of Charleston society, but has been estranged from his family for years. He's determined to remain unattached, never settling in one place for too long. But when asked to train a Thoroughbred for an upcoming race in Hickory Ridge, he decides to stay awhile.
Despite objections from the townsfolk, and her fear that true happiness has eluded her, Carrie is drawn to Griff's kindness and charm. It will take a leap of faith for them to open their hearts and claim God's promise to give beauty for ashes.
Carrie Daly is alone after the deaths of her parents, grandmother, and husband. When her brother marries and has an instant family, she feels even more alone than before. Not wanting to miss out on what may be her last chance at happiness she begins to feel pressure to marry her friend Nate Chastain. When Griff Rutledge, a horse trainer, arrives in town, Carrie feels a strong attraction to himâ€”despite the misgivings of the rest of the townspeople. She must decide if she will make a practical choice or follow her heart.
After reading Beyond All Measure last year, I knew that I had found a real treasure in Dorothy Love. It was great to return to the quaint town of Hickory Ridge, Tennessee in Beauty for Ashes.
I felt so sorry for Carrie. In the absence of family, she has made great friends in the dying town of Hickory Ridge. However, some friends have moved away and then some turn away from her when she needs them most. I was so frustrated with some of the townspeople! I suppose that's how life in a small town is (or used to be, anyway). Griff, on the other hand, was intriguing. It was obvious that he had secrets about his past, and I was curious to figure out what they were. The best part about the main charactersâ€”Carrie, Griff, and even Maryâ€”was that there was such growth and change and even redemption in each of them. While everything didn't turn out perfectly in the end, it was good to see that trials weren't wasted on them!
While Beauty for Ashes certainly stands alone, it could be helpful to read the series in order as there are a number of references to people and events that took place in the first book. At first, it was a little hard for me to remember what happened in the last book, but I was able to put the pieces together quickly. Overall, I truly enjoyed this book and look forward to seeing what will happen next in Hickory Ridge! [4 stars]
I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson and LitFuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.
Beauty for Ashes by Dorothy Love is the second book in the Hickory Ridge Romance series and the first book that I have read by Dorothy Love, although, it will not be the last. As I am already looking forward to the next book in this series, as well as, others from this author.
At first I was a little lost in the story because I hadn't read the first book in the series--Beyond All Measure--but I soon became familiar enough with the characters, and became engrossed in the story.
It had been Carrie and her brother, Henry, since their parents deaths. After her husband's death, Carrie had lived with her brother and helped with taking care of their farm. Things are changing though and Henry has married Mary, a women who can be mean-spirited and selfish, and she also has two young, undisciplined boys.
Carrie decides to move into town to make a new life for herself because she and Mary can't seem to get along. Carrie likes living in town, and the job that she has been given by Nate, the book-seller and the man she is courting. When she meets Griff Rutledge, after he saves her from being trampled by a runaway horse, she finds herself thinking about him, and enjoying the times they meet on the street.
Griff Rutledge is from North Carolina, and is in Hickory Ridge on personal business. He is also a horse trainer. After he saves Carrie from being trampled by Majestic, a spirited young Thoroughbred, he is asked by the towns banker to train Majestic, for the upcoming Race Week. Griff agrees, but he doesn't plan on staying in Hickory Ridge for long, as he has a wanderlust and wants to visit Australia, and maybe buy a horse farm there. Although Carrie has had warnings from her friends about spending time with Griff, she enjoys his company, and continues to see him.
When Mary has been put on bed rest, Carrie must return to the farm in order to help run the farm and to care for Mary and her boys while Henry is away working in Chicago for the railroad. It is hard for Carrie to return, but she does. During the time of Mary's confinement, Carrie begins to see Mary differently, and grows to love her boys, as well.
The story shows how people can grow and change when God is placed first in their lives. I found that some of the lessons Carrie was learning are some of the same that God is teaching me. Touching my heart even more.
I enjoyed Beauty of Ashes very much, and give it 5 out of 5 stars.
Beauty For Ashes was a beautifully and well crafted story. Not being accustomed to reading books during the post Civil War era, I was intrigued from the onset. Dorothy painted a very descriptive picture of Hickory Ridge, you could easily picture the town, old inn, and farms in this book. The author did a wonderful job in describing the scenarios and emotions in each passing scene.
The author's intimate portrayal of the characters made them real. You journeyed with Carrie and Griff as they fought to live under the shadow of their past and start afresh in the present. This story really captured the heart of man without God.
The plot was an emotional roller coaster. Many times you rejoiced with the characters and other times you understood their anger and sadness. The story line was seasoned with the right amount of romance, suspense, emotion, and humor to keep you guessing while making it an all together worthwhile story.
Despite its well-written plot and clean romance, there was one part I could have done without. Carrie's attraction to Griff was sometimes a little too much. There were times when the world could be going upside down, but with one glance at Griff she would just melt and everything was fine. However, this observation is not enough to make the reading any less enjoyable. This story was great. I would give a 4.5 out of 5.
BEAUTY FOR ASHES by Dorothy Love is a delightful novel, the first one I've read in at least 2 years. I was ready for some lighter, relaxing reading and was rewarded with this one. I will give it a 9 on a 10 scale.
This story based on post-Civil War times in Tennessee has Carrie as its main character. She is a young lady who has passed through difficult times and continues to do so throughout the book. She wonders what the Lord's purpose is in all of this for her. I love this line which describes how she felt at one point: "She tried to see the purpose in every bad thing that had happened in her life, but her eyes had grown weary with looking." In a series of disappointing and even strange (to not say mysterious) events, she comes to terms with herself, with others and, most importantly, with her Lord.
Although there is nothing unusual or outstanding and it has no "wow!" factor (which, by the way, is why I didn't give it a 10), Beauty For Ashes is an interesting story and the author manages to hold the reader's attention. At least she did mine and I'm pretty picky when it comes to authors holding my attention! I've been known to not even finish a book because the author didn't hold my attention...ok, enough of that. Well, in spite of my life being more-than-normal-busy during the past 3 weeks, I found...no, I MADE time!...to read this book. I'm looking forward to passing it on as a gift to someone else.
To the publisher/printer I would like to make the suggestion that it be proofread again so as to remove the typos before a second printing is done. There were several throughout the book.
(I received this e-book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.)