Review: Touching the Sky

I recently finished Touching the Sky by Tracie Peterson.  This is the second book in the “Land of the Lone Star Trilogy.”

I have to say, I have become something of a Tracie Peterson fan.  I love her stories and the characters.  I love their struggles and their relationships with God.  I love how faith is an integral part of every single story.

Touching the Sky is about Laura Marquardt of Corpus Christi, Texas.  Her family supported the Union through the Civil War and has seen both ups and downs.  As the war winds down, her family is trying to re-establish itself as one of the more prominent families in her town.  And lest it be thought of otherwise, they are not trying to throw their money or prowess around.  They are hard working people who are rebuilding their lives after the war.

Laura meets Captain Brandon Reid and there is a connection.  I won’t say it’s an instant connection because their first meeting is somewhat, shall I say, a bad encounter.  But after that, their camaraderie and easy time with one another make it clear that they are meant to be.  Brandon finishes out his military career in Corpus Christi but has other clandestine missions going on that involves Laura and her family.  This presents a problem for his relationship with Laura later on in the book.

Laura has a very childish and selfish (sometimes they go hand in hand) younger sister named Carissa.  Carissa has a Confederate suitor who is not quite what he seems.  But, against Laura’s better judgment and warnings, Carissa is determined to have her man and her wedding.  We soon find out that Carissa should have listened to Laura and hard times follow.

I really liked Brandon Reid’s character.  He is solid in his relationship with God and knows what he doing and where he is going.  There is a definite steadfastness about his character that is refreshing in a male character.  Sometimes, it is a bit disconcerting when the hero of a story broods too much.  I suppose for me that is a turn-off since in real life, if that was my fella, I would tell him to suck it up and quit being such a wuss.  Make a decision, already! (You feel sorry for my husband, now, don’tcha??)

Laura Marquardt was a very good heroine and her emotions were easy to understand.  She was a solid foil for Brandon…both are strong characters.  They are sure in their faith, understand one another and as the bible mentions they are “equally yoked”

The pace of the story is also very good.  It moves along at a quick clip but not so fast that you lose where you were or what happened before.

The one challenge I had with this story is that the main protagonist, Malcolm, seems a bit underdeveloped and almost had a cookie-cutter bad-guy stamp to him.  I would have appreciated more character development with him.  I guess I like my bad-guys down-and-dirty.  Or possibly…I would appreciate a more subtle and menacing bad-guy.  Too many British crime dramas for me!

All in all I really enjoyed Tracie Peterson’s Touching the Sky.  It was a great read and I cannot wait for the next installment!

“Chasing the Sun” by Tracie Peterson

A while ago I was introduced to Bethany House Publishing and their great book review program.  I signed up at www.bethanyhouse.com and so far have not regretted it at all!  I am fairly new to Christian Romance and the book I chose to review was “Chasing the Sun” by Tracie Peterson.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a book from Bethany House Publishing in my mailbox a few weeks after I signed up to review their books.  And even better than that,  I found I really liked Tracie Peterson’s characters.

I am a romance novel buff.  I have been reading them (scandalously!) since I was thirteen years old.  In retrospect, I should not have been reading such adult material at such an early age, and honestly, I would not let my own 12-year-old daughter read such material.  That being said, I would readily agree to let her read “Chasing the Sun” by Tracie Peterson.

We are introduced to the main character, Hannah Dandridgre.  She is a strong woman, full of faith and even stronger convictions.  I like how Peterson quickly gets the reader involved in the struggle Hannah faces with her father missing, taking care of her two younger siblings and the ever-present worry of a Comanche attack, as well as the return of the prior owner of the ranch she lives on.

Hannah is faced with many obstacles throughout the story.  She is a believable character who has plenty of common sense and smarts.  She is brave but not brash.  She is pretty but not ostentatious.

The Texas and Civil War backdrop is ever-present in the story and helps to really bring out the quality of some of the characters.  Hannah’s love interest in the story is William Barnett.  He returns home from the war after losing his father and brother.  His leg is badly damaged and his ranch belongs to another.

There are plenty of twists and turns in this novel which I appreciated.  I like how the author intertwined historical facts and data into the story, making it a richer and more enjoyable experience for me since I like history to factual and pertinent to a story.

I was pleasantly surprised at the references to Christianity and Christ, as well as the Bible passages that were used to reiterate what the main characters were going through.  It helped to make these characters more relatable since we, as humans, often have the same questions, desires and concerns…and how as people of faith are we to deal with them.

All in all, I was very pleased with this book.  Mrs. Peterson definitely has a new fan of her work…so much so that I went to my local library and picked up three more of her books.  I look forward to reading the other two books that will accompany this one in her “Land of the Lone Star” Trilogy”.