Hearts Aglow is the second novel in the “Striking a Match” series by Tracie Peterson. You can read my review of the first book in this series, Embers of Love, here.
In Hearts Aglow, Deborah Vandermark and Dr. Christopher Clayton continue their working relationship—he is teaching her to be a doctor—as well as their courtship. But most people in the town of Perkinsville, Texas, in the 1880’s do not take kindly to the idea of a female physician, especially one who is courting her teacher.
The prejudices in town also come to the forefront when an African-American man and his son are killed in cold blood by the self-proclaimed “White Hand of God.” Deborah’s family is especially shaken by this event, since the ones killed were the husband and son of Sissy, the family’s long-time employee and friend.
When Christopher receives startling news about a family member and must leave Perkinsville for an indefinite period of time, Deborah is left to deal with a world that feels as if it couldn’t get more turned upside-down.
This second book in the “Striking a Match” series took all of the social aspects of the first book up a notch by starting off with the controversial murders of two African Americans. While it is hard for me to understand the hatred of some of the characters in this book, I feel the author does a correct portrayal of the emotions of some people of this time period. I just hope that there really were true Christian people in history who were like the Vandermark characters—those who loved people regardless of their skin color or heritage. Also, the sermon illustration of Joseph that the pastor uses in this novel makes the whole book worthwhile.
Through this series I have been very interested in the inner workings of the lumber mill town of Perkinsville. In true Tracie Peterson fashion, there is an adversary who threatens the livelihood of the town and its inhabitants. This part of the story kept this second book interesting when I felt it lagged a bit in some of the other storylines.
I also thought that the characters in this book sometimes went in the wrong direction when it came to spiritual matters. I am not going to debate theology over a fiction novel, but I will say that it seemed as if they relied a lot on their feelings about what God wanted them to do with their lives rather than always looking to God’s Word.
I have been a fan of Tracie Peterson for a while, and this series appealed to me because of the setting, time period, and the medical storyline. While the first book, Embers of Love, wrapped up rather well (it was eight months until I read the second book), this one left so many cliff-hangers that I would recommend reading the second and third books back-to-back.
Hearts Aglow is a thoroughly-researched historical fiction novel that will have fans of Tracie Peterson looking forward to reading the conclusion in the final book of the series.
I will give Hearts Aglow by Tracie Peterson … 3 ½ BookWorms.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, Bethany House (Baker Publishing Group). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”