Thursday, June 27, 2013

"The Quarryman's Bride" Review

Emmalyne Knox always knew that one day she would marry Tavin MacLachlan. But when tragedy strikes, Emmalyne’s father moves the family away from their small quarry village just outside St. Cloud, Minnesota. He insists that the wedding between Emmalyne and Tavin will not take place and that Emmalyne will do her duty as the youngest daughter to care for her parents in their old age.

After spending many long years tending to her grief-stricken mother while living in Minneapolis, Emmalyne is shocked to hear that her father has decided to move back to St. Cloud. Emmalyne is also stunned to discover that, after seeing Tavin again, she is still in love with him after all these years away. But Emmalyne’s father still stands in between them.

As tensions rise between the quarry owners and workers, Emmalyne and Tavin, along with their families, find themselves in the middle of the fray. Tavin is determined to find those responsible for the ‘accidents’ at his father’s quarry, and Emmalyne is equally determined to do all she can to help heal the deep wounds in her family.
Emmalyne and Tavin desire to have a future together, but the obstacles they face are seemingly impossible. Will they have the faith to submit to the plan God has for them?

I really enjoyed the previous novel in this collection by Tracie Peterson – The Icecutter’s Daughter – so I really had high hopes for this one. I enjoyed it, but not quite as much as I did the first one. I can’t exactly put my finger on what made this one a bit less enjoyable, but my best guess is that I didn’t relate to Emmalyne as well as I did to Merrill in The Icecutter’s Daughter. The events were a bit darker in this book, too.

Emmalyne’s character did experience some growth over the course of the novel as she realizes what her role could be in the possible healing of her fractured family. However, she seemed to be a little too perfect – the obedient daughter to a hateful father, the young woman who every eligible guy around falls for – and it didn’t always ring true. I will say, though, that her ability to forgive her family, especially her father, was a very touching aspect of the book.

I thought Tavin’s character and his struggles were genuine, and I really felt for him as he tried to figure out where his faith was coming from and where his life was going. As for the other characters in the book, I thought they were a bit over-the-top. Emmalyne’s father’s hatred and bitterness was extreme, as was her mother’s grief and illness for eleven years. Actually, now that I think about it, her mother’s grief was understandable, but the short time that it took for her mother to come out of that fog was rather quick, especially after being in that state for eleven years. There was another character, Tavin’s sister, who plays a crucial role at the end, but I actually thought that whole storyline was a bit out of place and seemed to only throw another wrench into some already tragic situations with these families.

Emmalyne and Tavin’s relationship was interesting because they had previously been engaged. But because it had been eleven years, there was no way they could just pick up where they left off. They each had to deal with their own issues before they could decide what they wanted and needed to do together, and that particular storyline was a unique way to explore a relationship.

Even though some things about this book felt somewhat contrived, the overall themes were actually very touching and portrayed really well. The forgiveness and grace that was extended throughout both of these families could only come from God. It was also really interesting to read about the quarry and the events that were going on there. The unions that were forming at this time in history (late 1800’s) were such a force in industry, and it was interesting to read about the different views from the workers and the owners.

I also thought it was interesting to explore the struggle that Emmalyne faced in honoring her parents but also having her own life. I read another book recently that dealt with this same topic, and while I didn’t necessarily agree with the stance that the characters took initially, it was still interesting to think things through in my own mind.

Tracie Peterson’s writing is so easy to read. It flows well, and faith in God is always at the forefront. Although not as captivating as the previous one by this author, The Quarryman’s Bride was still an interesting novel, one with an excellent message of forgiveness and reconciliation.

I will give The Quarryman’s Bride … 3 ½ BookWorms.

The Quarryman's Bride
by Tracie Peterson
Book #2 in the "Land of Shining Waters" series
Bethany House Publishers
Publication date: June 1, 2013

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. 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."

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