"Chasing the Sun" by Tracie Peterson is her first in the "Land of the Lonestar" series. Set in Civil War-era Texas, the story focuses on a young woman named Hannah Dandridge. Her widowed father's disappearance leaves her young siblings in her care along with a ranch to run. William Barnett is a soldier returning after being wounded to reclaim his ranch which had been seized due to his family's loyalties in the war. Her father's law partner, Herbert Lockhart, adds intriguing complications to the story.
Overall, the characters are likeable and flushed out. Hannah's strong will and determination made her a compelling character. The compassion that she sought to demonstrate was remarkable as well. In some instances, it really took a bit of courage but the payoffs were well worth it. The story flowed well and the plot had enough twists and turns to keep it engaging. Themes of forgiveness, redemption, compassion, and love run strong in this novel.
As a big fan of Peterson's work, I was excited to pick up this book and it did not disappoint. I felt it was significantly better that her previous couple of series. I'm definitely looking forward to the next two installments of this Texas trilogy!
(I've received this complimentary book from Bethany House Publishers through the Book Blogger program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)
Publicity Summary: When her father disappears in war-torn Mississippi, Hannah Dandridge finds herself responsible not only for her younger siblings but for the ranch her father recently acquired on the Texas plains. Though a marriage of convenience could ease her predicament, she determines to trust God for direction.
Wounded soldier William Barnett returns to his home only to discover that his family's ranch has been seized. Though angry and bitter at this turn of events, he's surprised to discover that it is a beautiful young woman with amazing fortitude who is struggling to keep the place running.
Hannah, desperate for help, and William, desperate to regain his family's land, form an uneasy truce. But nearby Comanche tribes, the arrival of Confederate soldiers, and a persistent suitor all threaten the growing attraction that builds between them. Will they be able to set aside their own dreams and embrace the promise of a future together?
Review: I enjoyed the characters and the basic story line. I was trouble by the business related to Hannah's father. It could not shake the gloom concerning this point. It was a constant topic and while the characters did not know what occurred, the reader did. I had such a difficult time with this. It hung over the story at times. The story worked its way through this and the evil evident one of the character was very believable. I really liked the gritty feel of living so far from a town and how they depended on each other due to this. The reality of a war decreasing supplies and therefore making them precious was realistic. Over all the book was enjoyable very believable.
I would like to thank Bethany House Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.
Chasing the Sun is a wonderful book. I couldn't put it down. I loved reading about Hannah and how she dealt with her life now that she was having to raise her brother and her sister. With her father missing it had to be so hard for her. She made everything work and trusted God to be with her and to lead her with all she had to do. It was interesting reading about how the war affected her family and the families around her. It was also very interesting to read about the Indians that were in the area and how Hannah interacted with them and used her faith to lead her to talk to them and help them even though her life could have been in danger. It was also wonderful to read as Hannah grew up even more while she learned about her feelings and was able to find love. This was a great book, that I will read over and over and definitely did recommend it to my friend.
When Hannah Dandridge's father lost his second wife he made Hannah break off her engagement and take care of Andy and Marty, her half-brother and sister. He made things worse for her by moving them to Texas where he became partners with Herbert Lockhart. In return for the work Hannah's father did he got ownership to the Barnett property. The Barnett's left Texas to fight with the north so the property was considered abandoned. William Barnett only went because his father ordered him to, he didn't believe in war and wanted to stay on the ranch but did as his father told him.
Hannah's father had to return to Mississippi because his mother was ill and there wasn't any family left in Mississippi since Hannah's grandfather and brother had been killed in the war. She was left to care for Andy and Marty at the ranch as they waited for his return. Herbert took it upon himself to watch over the Dandridge children, he really wanted to marry Hannah but didn't want the children underfoot when they married.
William Barnett made his way home after being shot in the leg and losing his father and brother in the war. It took a long time as he had to travel at night by foot and travel was slow due to his injury. He finally reaches his ranch to find it doesn't belong to him any longer. Hannah allows him to sleep in the bunkhouse with the help, how can she kick him off of the property that he used to own and thinks he still has a right to.
Herbert informs Hannah that he's had news that her grandmother passed on before her father even arrived and has been laid to rest. Hannah is confused as to why her father hasn't written her or returned home and finally Herbert tells her about a letter he received stating that her father has died and included is a will stating that she is to marry him. He also tells her that she doesn't own the property because due to money problems her father had signed the land over to him before he left for Mississippi.
What is going to happen now, she doesn't own the land, Herbert Lockhart does and he's insisting the she and the kids move to town when they marry. William Barnett insists that he's still the owner and has asked a judge to look into it. Either way, she no longer has a home for her and the children and she's not ready to get married.
I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the second one in the series. Andy has to learn to trust God after his father died and Hannah learns about forgiveness. This is the first book in the Land of the Lone Star series.
[As usual, when it comes to reviewing Christian Historical Romance novels, I defer to my darling wife, Ann.]
I'm not a writer, nor am I a critic. I read mostly for pleasure and enjoyment. Tracie Peterson's "Chasing the Sun" was a very enjoyable read. In fact, it was so enjoyable that I read it twice and went to the public library immediately afterward and found all the other books they had by Peterson and the series she's co-authored with Judith Pella. These also got devoured in a short period of time. Her books are very hard to put down.
History was not my strong suit in high school or college, so when I read a historical novel, I'm learning something at the same time as being entertained. However, Peterson does more than just write a pleasing love story set in historical reality--she weaves the very clear message of the gospel into her stories as well. Jesus Christ is clearly held up as the only way of salvation.
There was a character in this book that I had a great difficulty with--Herbert Lockhart. In fact, I found him so despicable and evil through and through, it came as no surprise that he'd go to any lengths to get just what he wanted. I viewed him as a total reprobate. He had no moral compass. There just seemed to be no redeeming qualities about this man. He is, perhaps, one of the most sinfully selfish characters I have ever read in a novel of this nature.
To the contrary, Hannah Dandridge is the so different. Hannah has her faith and trust clearly in Christ Jesus and uses God's Word to guide her in every decision she makes in life. She is completely unselfish, yet there are times when she makes hasty decisions without fully thinking through the consequences.
Juanita and Marietta are godly women, whom the Lord uses to speak truth into Hannah's life (and don't we all need these kind of people alongside us?). They are true friends to Hannah.
This was a compelling story and I look forward to the the sequels. I can highly commend this book to you.