01 October 2011

Deeply Devoted, Book review

Book description:

When Catharine Olsen leaves Holland for America as a mail-order bride, she brings along some extra baggage: two sisters, her mother's set of Blue Willow china, and a tragic past. When she arrives in Cheyenne, Wyoming, she promptly marries Peter Andersen and dreams of starting life over in this rugged land. Peter is kind and patient with Catharine and accommodating to her sisters. His mother, however, is not. When she begins a campaign to sabotage Peter's marriage, Catharine is distraught, worried that her secret past will be discovered. Will her life end up as nothing but broken pieces? Or will these trials make her stronger?

My review:

I love reading and it is also essential for me to balance fiction and non fiction, this way I never get bored. 
I seek hordes of treasures betwixt the pages of a new book and I enjoy particularly reading about the research involved in setting up the new plot. A good book like a good movie, is certain to make you wonder about the who, what, where, when, how and whys. 
I make a point to read the back cover, dedication and prologue if any. Special features such as notes and acknowledgements, I check ONLY afterward just as I NEVER peek at the ending. That is not to say I do not read a book after seeing a movie based on it. In fact it is often another enticement.
I will add it is startling to see some people reading books from the back to the front page. Why bother reading it in the first place?

'Deeply Devoted' is Book # 1 in the series 'The Blue Willow Brides' and written by Maggie Brendan. Historical Romances have always held a special attraction for me. Well researched, it allows readers to discover a world our romantic souls yearns for whilst learning something of a past we would hardly know otherwise. 
With the stroke of a pen (most likely a laptop key these days), authors have the opportunity to open for readers a small window on history, unfold the often brutal Wild West era, the intrigues of a seedy London infamous neighbourhood for i.e., feel the stifling heat of a Wyoming summer, the cold of a harsh Montana snowstorm or perhaps a whiff of the unforgettable odour of spices and herbs in a souk. 
A few well written lines will let a reader feel the Eros and pathos of characters, their fears, their hopes and even their despair. Additionally, inspirational historical fiction allows us to witness their faith and share  messages of hope.

'Deeply Devoted' is the light and gentle tale of a mail order bride who arrives in the Spring of 1887 from Holland, to make a new life for herself in Wyoming. Accompanied by her two younger sisters, she carries a secret, a few pieces of a Blue Willow China set, and is eager to learn to please her young bridegroom.

I found myself loosing interest in the plot unfortunately quickly and felt somewhat relieved to see the ending. 
There is little in this fiction work that struck me as inspirational. Neither rich in historical setting nor intriguing characters, it lacks conviction and brings little entertainment. Yet the ideas are there: mail order bride, in laws friction, past secret and the locust plague. 
Catherine's description however was far more American than European and not even the few Dutch phrases exchanged by the three sisters helps to reinforce their origin. Peter Andersen was not very convincing as a 1800's wheat farmer either. Perhaps the best described character happens to be Peter's mother, Clara as her emotions have a real ring of truth. 
I will let you discover for yourselves 'Deeply devoted'.

A worthy note: the author's notes page 327 through 330 were by far the most interesting! It would appear Maggie Brendan is surprisingly a good researcher. I only wish she had used more of her notes to develop her characters. 
I also applaud her heartfelt dedication! Too often we forget the many men and women whom in the service of their country, gives us our Freedom!

I give it 3 stars.

I received this book free from BAKER REVELL as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not asked to write a positive review and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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