Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"Beloved" Review

When Diana travelled west as a child on an orphan train from Chicago, she was fortunate to be adopted by two loving parents who raised her in a modest but comfortable home. At the tender age of 17, Diana was swept off her feet by the dashing and wealthy Tyson Applegate, but their marriage turned out to be nothing at all like she thought it would be. Lured by adventure and a need to get out from under his father’s thumb, Tyson left Diana and his home in Idaho to see the world.

After seven years, Tyson has not returned, and he is even believed to be dead – a victim of the fighting in Cuba. But on the eve of the day when Diana will be going through legal proceedings to declare her husband dead, Tyson shows up.
Diana is shocked to find that her husband is still alive, especially since she is planning to become engaged to Brook Calhoun as soon as the court declares her husband to be deceased. She is even more surprised to find out that Tyson wants to renew their relationship, that he claims to be a changed man, and that we wants her to stand by him as he makes a run for a Senate seat.

Diana agrees to these conditions as long as it takes for Tyson to campaign for the Senate. After that, she wants to be free from their marriage. Diana gave her heart to Tyson once, and she will not give it to him a second time just to have him break it again. Tyson agrees to Diana’s terms with one additional request – that she give him the chance to win her back.

Set in Idaho in 1900, Beloved is the third book in the “Where the Heart Is” series.

This book starts off with the startling revelation that Diana’s husband is in fact very much alive, which definitely was an interesting beginning. After that it sort of slows down a bit and settles into exploring the relationship (or lack thereof) between Diana and Tyson.

Most of the story is told from the perspective of Diana and Tyson, but occasionally the point of view shifts to another character in the story – Diana’s mom, Tyson’s dad, or Diana’s former beau, Brook. This way of telling the story was good, since the reader was able to know what was going on from every perspective. The scenes in this book seemed to be extremely short, however, which was a bit jarring at times.

One of the things that I liked so much about the first two books in this series was how the characters turned to Scripture and to prayer in all aspects of their lives. It might have been a bit preachy, but I really like how their faith permeated everything in their lives. This was also true in Beloved, but it didn’t come across as clearly as it did in the first two novels. The growth of the main characters is there, but it wasn’t related to Scripture or to prayer as much as in the previous books.

Even though it might not have come across as clearly in comparison to the other books in the series, the growth of the two main characters was still an integral part of the plot. Although the reader does not completely get to see Tyson’s salvation decision firsthand, it was so interesting to see the obvious differences between how he was before and how he was trying to live his life now. It was also neat to see how even though he was now following Christ and trying to live as a husband should, he still had areas in which he discovered he needed to grow. Diana’s growth over the course of the novel was inspiring as well, and I loved her compassion toward others.

Since the main characters in this novel were already married, the romance was a bit different than in other novels. However, I like this sort of storyline. It’s interesting when a husband is basically trying to court his wife, and it lends itself to many areas being explored in their relationship.

Even though this novel is the final of a series, and it does have a couple of tie-ins with the previous novels, it can still be read as a standalone. My favorite of the three novels is still the second one in the series – Betrayal – since it had so much depth, but Beloved is also an interesting and enjoyable read that is a satisfying conclusion to the series.

I will give Beloved ... 3½ BookWorms.

"Where the Hearts Is" #3
by Robin Lee Hatcher
Zondervan Publishers
Publication date: September 24, 2013

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan 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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