I recently read Beyond All Measure (A Hickory Ridge Romance) by Dorothy Love. This book had it all: a view into a specific period in history (in this case it was life in the South after the Civil War), romance, characters that changed in their view of the world/priorities/their relationship with God, and characters (both likable and not) with some substance to them. Also, the book delved into the delicate topic of prejudice and handled it extremely well.
The characterization surprised me. Several times I thought I had figured a character out, only to have Dorothy Love totally surprise me; the characters were not super-predictable. I really like that in an author. All of the main characters, however, did quickly earn a place in my heart. Even “Old Starch and Vinegar” Mrs. Willis showed her true loving character despite the cantankerous comments (and actions) she often made.
Additionally, the plot wasn’t all that predictable either. Some things I thought would happen did not, and some things I didn’t even think about did occur. I enjoyed that aspect of this book.
The only thing I would change is that I would have liked to have had more clarity on how the characters changed in their relationship with God. It’s alluded to, but it would have been nice to actually have more clarity. That’s one thing I thought could have been developed more. However, I will say that the characters did obviously change in many ways. Some readers may actually prefer that the author did not spend time discussing something that maybe seemed obvious.
Overall, this was a fantastic read; I highly recommend this book.
Unless she can trust God’s love to cast out her fears, Ada may lose the heart of a good man.
Ada Wentworth, a young Bostonian, journeys to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, in the years following the Civil War. Alone and nearly penniless following a broken engagement, Ada accepts a position as a lady’s companion to the elderly Lillian Willis, a pillar of the community and aunt to the local lumber mill owner, Wyatt Caldwell. Ada intends to use her millinery skills to establish a hat shop and secure her future.
Haunted by unanswered questions from her life in Boston, Ada is most drawn to two townsfolks: Wyatt, a Texan with big plans of his own, and Sophie, a mulatto girl who resides at the Hickory Ridge orphanage. Ada’s friendship with Sophia attracts the attention of a group of locals seeking to displace the residents of Two Creeks, a “colored” settlement on the edge of town. As tensions rise, Ada is threatened but refuses to abandon her plan to help the girl.
When Lillian dies, Ada is left without employment or a place to call home. And since Wyatt’s primary purpose for staying in Hickory Ridge was to watch over his aunt, he can now pursue his dream of owning Longhorns in his home state of Texas.
With their feelings for each other growing, Ada must decide whether she can trust God with her future and Wyatt with her heart.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”