Saturday, June 23, 2012

Chasing the Sun - A Book Review

From the Back:  When her father disappears in war-torn Mississippi, Hannah Dandridge finds herself responsible not only for her younger siblings but also for the Texas ranch her father recently acquired.  A marriage of convenience could ease her predicament...but is it the true desire of her heart?  Wounded soldier William Barnett returns home only to find out that his family's ranch has been seized.  Though angered 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.  Despite these circumstances, Hannah and William form and uneasy truce...and an undeniable attraction builds between them.  In a land where loyalties are divided in a country ravaged by war, is there any home that the first blush of love can survive?

Synopsis:  Hannah has moved with her family to Texas to escape the Civil War hardships of Mississippi.  Her dad has supposedly gone back to Mississippi and left Hannah alone to maintain the ranch.  According to her father's business partner, Mr. Lockhart, Hannah's dad has been taken prisoner by the Yankee army.  Unbeknownst to Hannah, Mr. Lockhart has had Hannah's father killed so he could move in on the ranch land and marry Hannah.  At the same time, William Blake, the son of the ranch's original owner returns to Texas after being injured in the war.  William is angered to know that the ranch has been seized and given to Hannah's father as a reward for helping the Confederacy.  Hannah is overwhelmed trying to maintain the ranch, take care of her younger siblings, fend off Mr. Lockhart's advances, and deal with William Blake.  She agrees to let Mr. Blake live on the ranch to help out.  As the story builds, Hannah discovers she has feelings for William but forces herself to hide those feelings.  The tension continues to build to the final climax when all the secrets are revealed.

Review:  I wasn't familiar with Tracie Peterson before but I'm glad I took the chance on this book.  While this is probably billed as a historical romance, there is much more to this book that the relationship between Hannah and William.  There is a mystery (Mr. Lockhart's scheming) and an adventure (problems with Indians) that weave into the plot.  You definitely won't get bored reading this book.  I also appreciate the development Peterson did with her characters.  I loved the independent streak in Hannah.  She knows what she wants and goes after it.  I also loved her heart.  She truly cares for those she encounters, going so far as to share with gospel with the so-called savage Indians.  On the other side, I quickly came to despise Mr. Lockhart.  He is an evil, smarmy character that you will despise within the first couple of chapters.  I found myself hoping something bad would happen to him.  I don't usually have that kind of reaction to "bad" characters in novels so I'm chalking it up to Peterson's character development.  Overall, this was a really good book.  It kept my interest very easily and eventually got to the "keep me up at night to finish" point.  You won't regret picking this one up!

Score:  4.0 bookmarks out of 5.

Note:  Bethany House Publishing gave me a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review.

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