My eyes feel like sandpaper grains are in them, but what a way to spend the day! Curling up with this novel by Karen Barnett was pure ecstasy from beginning to end! The time frame is during the prohibition when alcohol could only be obtained for medicinal purposes. Ray Burke is given it via a prescription from his doctor for shoulder pain he battles. However, after losing his wife, Ray quickly loses control of his life from providing for his daughter Laurie to being abusive with his son.
Now Laurie's older brother Johnny has taken to rum running. Why does he do so when he has a steady job at the mill? The town's local pharmacist's grandson Daniel has returned to the area to help run the local store. Daniel though battled the demons of his past in Seattle privately. In time, Laurie and Daniel fall in love, but Laurie also has another man named Samuel who is pursuing her affections constantly.
A G-man, pharmacist, prohibition and then add seduction, scandal, romance plus faith and what comes out is a novel that will keep you turning pages like me! It would seem like I could envision the next scene, but then came twists and turns in a plot that heightened the suspense. It is really an enjoyable captivating book that will be a favorite of mine for years to come.
Laurie's man issue is that all the men in her life have failed, in her view, to take care of their issues. Ray has to come to terms with being a drunk and wanting to get better, but will he? Is Samuel the government agent here to bust up a small town operation or something more? Will Daniel ever find the courage to face his past with hope and courage?
The main theme is giving and receiving forgiveness because all have sinned before God. Characters in the writing reflect the truth that we all have the choice as to whether to trust the Lord or try and take care of life without Him. A part of the theme too is whether trusting God is the real answer or trusting in people as an anchor when the tumults of life hit us. I saw too where allowing our loved ones to make their own choices is so hard because of the pain we incur and our loved ones as well.
With winter coming on the heels of fall soon, this is a great tale to curl up with and get lost in when the snow flies. Of course, if you are anything like me, I wouldn't be able to wait. I would grab one to read now and then give one has a Christmas present! Okay, maybe more than one!
The year is 1926 and 21 year old Laurie Burke is trying to hold her family together. Since her mother died ten years previously, Laurie's father has found solace in whiskey. It doesn't matter that prohibition is in effect. There are ways to obtain alcohol that circumvent the law, and Laurie knows her brother is one of her father's suppliers. His reasoning is that their father will only look elsewhere if he doesn't provide it, and what he ends up with might not be all that safe to consume. Furthermore, her brother wants Laurie to stay out his business. Her failure to do so, however, could jeopardize everything she holds dear including her home and her job.
Mistaken is Barnett's excellent debut novel, which is partly based on stories her grandparents told about life in Washington during prohibition. It's an easy book in which to immerse yourself in American life before the depression. Prohibition often brings to mind the mobster world of Al Capone and his associates, and books on the 1920s can emphasize the glamorous flapper life. Mistaken focuses on neither of these elements, but instead looks at ordinary lives in a small town and how they were impacted by the Volstead Act. Many of these ordinary people turned a blind eye to the bootlegging and speakeasies in their towns. They were more concerned about other events in their lives. Laurie is upset about her brother's involvement in the rum-running, but her fears are that he'll be arrested. Even when pressed to give him up, she'll go to almost any length to not turn him in. There is a moralistic element to the story regarding the consumption of alcohol, but the lesson appears to be not so much about the perils of drinking alcohol but that people can change and turn their lives around. For the majority of characters, the main concern is when does doing the right thing cross the line between legally right and legally wrong? During the time of prohibition, that line definitely became blurred.
Thank you to Abingdon Press for an Advance Reader Copy of Mistaken, which I received in exchange for an honest review.
The men in Laurie Burke's life give her nothing but trouble. Her father is an alcoholic during Prohibition and her brother is a rumrunner, smuggling liquor into town beneath the very eyes of federal agent Samuel Brown. Knowing so few men on the right side of the law, Laurie is attracted to Samuel even though he could put her brother in prison. And then there's her brother's friend, Daniel Shepherd, whose involvement with the rumrunning means there's yet another man Laurie can't trust.
Karen Barnett gives readers a heroine who is surrounded by people making bad decisions. Through Laurie, Barnett shows us decisions we hope we'll never have to face...like how far do you go to protect a loved one from the law?
I really enjoyed this book. Laurie is noble and I cheered for her as she found romance in the midst of a delicate and dangerous situation. No mistake, I recommend this book.
Prohibition, Run Runners, Federal Agents & Romance
July 31, 2013
Karen Barnett in her new book, "Mistaken" published by Abingdon Press takes us into the life of Laurie Burke .
From the back cover: Laurie's judgment about men has never steered her wrong. Until now.
Since booze and prohibition have made criminals out of every man in her world, Laurie Burke resolves to find at least one honorable man to fill her life.
Convinced that handsome newcomer Daniel Shepherd is connected with her brother's rum-running gang, Laurie quickly scratches his name off her list. Daniel has mixed feelings about returning to the dirty mill town of his youth, but grudgingly agrees to manage his grandfather's drug store until a replacement can be found. The moment he meets Laurie on the windswept bluff overlooking the beach, he knows that if he can earn her love, he might have a reason to stay. But when Laurie pushes him away-for none other than Federal Agent Samuel Brown-Daniel wonders if Laurie really is the upstanding woman he thought her to be.
The Strait of Juan de Fuca, just off the beaches of Port Angeles, Washington, was treacherous water for reckless rum-runners--and the agents who tried to catch them. So when she realizes her brother is in danger, romance is the last thing on Laurie's mind. Yet the people she believes she can trust, may not be so honorable after all.
Prohibition, Rum Runners and Federal Agents are just some of the elements that Karen Barnett has added into her new historical romance. Laurie's world revolves around alcohol. Her father is an alcoholic, her brother rows illegal booze across the river from Canada and the druggist sells 100 proof "medicine" to her father which contributes to his alcoholism. Who can Laurie trust? Is it the druggist's grandson, Daniel, or the Federal Agent Samuel? Laurie has to learn that what you look like on the outside or titles are not the way you find out who a person really is. "Mistaken" is a wonderful, charming romance. The themes of alcoholism, a dysfunctional family, healing from emotional wounds and trusting again are explored with a deft hand by Ms. Barnett. Ms. Barnett does an outstanding job of bringing her characters to life and you really want their romance to succeed. I am already looking forward to more from this talented author.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Abingdon Press for this review. 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: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Somedays, Laurie Burke's life seems to be as shattered as the mirror
and the whiskey bottle that she found broken on the floor.
And whether it is the glass shards or her life, she seems to be the only one picking up the pieces.
The Burke family has not been well since Laurie's Mother died, and that was years ago.
Now Dad and Johnny both work at the mill, and only Dad comes home.
Johnny has moved out, stopped telling Laurie his secrets, and all but disappeared from the life of his almost-fiancee and Laurie's best friend Amelia.
When her father is home, he is drinking and then raging and then mourning all over again,
leaving Laurie powerless to help him.
When he surfaces into sobriety ever so briefly, he makes promises to quit...and then he forgets and locks her out to spend the night on the front porch in the cool Washington State air.
There is one thing responsible for all this havoc wreaked in Laurie's life: the liquor.
Johnny is a criminal rum-runner,
rowing the booze across from Canada to bypass America's temperance laws.
Her father is an alcoholic. That 100 proof "medicine" he buys from the drug store isn't for his shoulder pain anymore, if it ever was.
The druggist who sells it, Mr. Larson, and his grandson Daniel who came back from Seattle to work with him, are both culpable for feeding her father's addiction.
No matter how kind Daniel seems to be, he is probably just like all those other scoundrels
and miscreants that she has attracted over the years.
This time it will be different.
She knows she needs to keep her distance from Daniel Shepherd,
and he knows that there are good reasons why she is right.
Laurie Burke is an upright woman and she will not be brought down by the deadly fluid that rules her family's life. There is one way to stop her brother and her father
and yet protect them at the same time: befriend the prohibition agent who is here in town.
Surely a truthful, honorable man with the power to stop the flow of alcohol is a man she can trust, isn't he?
But what if she is Mistaken?
I would not have known that this was Karen Barnett's debut novel if you hadn't told me.
Mistaken grabs you and pulls you right into the lives of the characters, and each character has more than one side to his story. I wanted to throw Laurie's father out of the house when he was yelling at her to fetch the hidden bottle, then I wanted to cry with her when she said she felt like she didn't love him enough just the way he was.
I cheered when Laurie began to wonder if she had found someone who loved her, and then was grieved by her fear that this would be like all the other times some man had paid her attention.
Each time I thought I had these characters pegged, they turned around and let me see a different corner of their heart.
I also need to say that I really appreciated the fact that these characters had pasts... they were real people, fallen and redeemed. Like us.
Combine that sort of character with dark nights and whisky smuggling,
set in 1926, and you have a book that I really, really enjoyed reading.
I can't wait for more from Karen Barnett, and I hear she has another special project going on with Abingdon Press for a new series!, so after you place your order for Mistaken go check out her website or Facebook!