Review: Whispers in the Wind

I received Whispers in the Wind by Lauraine Snelling as part of my review gig for Bethany House Publishers.

I have never read any of Ms. Snelling’s works before and I was presently surprised.  Even though I have not read the first in this series, Wild West Wind, this second installment stands on its own.

Whispers in the Wind is the continuation of Cassie Lockwood’s story.  She grew up in a traveling Wild West Show and was one of the main attractions.  She is a trick rider, crack shot and owner of several buffalo that she’s raised since they were babes.  Along with Cassie are three Native Americans, Chief, Micah and Runs Like a Deer.  (I simply cannot wait to get my hands on the first book so I can read how they came upon her and what her story is!)

Cassie discovers that her father (deceased) owns half of a ranch in South Dakota.  This is where we find her at the beginning of this book.  There is another family already living on the ranch, the Engstrom’s.  The Engstrom’s consist of Mavis, the matriarch, and her children Ransom, Lucas, Jesse and Gretchen.

Ransom is the brooding hero.  You know, the still waters run deep sort of man.  He’s interested in keeping his ranch in his family…plus there’s a vein of gold running through the ranch that his father and Cassie’s panned out and almost died for.  Ransom is angry at his mother for not telling him that half the ranch belonged to someone else.  He’s also a man of deep faith and he’s trying to listen to his mother that God know’s best.

Lucas is the free spirit.  He falls in love every other day, but he is instantly smitten with Cassie.  This creates tension not just for the brother’s but also for some of the townsfolk since Lucas was stepping out with another girl from a prominent family.

Jesse is the unknown at this point for me.  He’s off at medical school and while he may have been a part of the former book…all I know of him is that he usually has his head in medical books.

Gretchen is a sweet girl who is a bit high-spirited but she has a very good heart and is the apple of her families eye.

Cassie is trying valiantly to get her “family” settled before winter comes.  They are logging, taking care of their neighbors, hunting and trying to survive off the land.  I love that sort of thing!  And, f you live in the Upper Midwest you can totally relate to getting everything ready for winter.  Winters, even with our modern conveniences, are tough!  She hardly has any money…and has the weight of the world on her shoulders.  The Engstrom’s are supportive and kind, helping her out and creating a home life for her that she never had with the Wild West Show.  But, not everyone in their community is so welcoming of Cassie and her “family”.  There is trouble brewing and it comes to a head at the end of the book.

Cassie is both sweet, gentle and strong.  She wants a deeper relationship with God, but with a few mishaps, that faith has been shaken.  It’s nice to see her question her status and relationship with Him.  It’s also nice to see that Cassie is not swayed by Lucas’ pursuit of her…in fact she is a bit oblivious to the whole thing until later on in the book.

Personally, I enjoyed this book.  The writing was excellent and well put together.  The character development, even though this is a second in a trilogy, is very defined and I did not have to question why this person does what they do.  It gets explained in a reasonable amount of time.  I appreciate that.  I simply cannot wait for the third segment so I can know how the story ends.  I hope Cassie and Ransom end up together!  🙂

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“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”.