Book Review: Beauty for Ashes by Dorothy Love

Christian romance is not usually my cup of tea, but I gave Beauty for Ashes a try anyways. To be fair, the book is part Christian romance, part historical romance, and the historical elements were the parts I enjoyed best.

The premise:

“She’s a beautiful young widow. He’s a Southern gentleman with a thirst for adventure. Both need a place to call home.”

To get “home” Carrie and Griff both have to deal with family issues — Carrie with her brother and his new hard-to-get-along-with wife, and Griff with his estranged brother and father who he felt disowned them long ago.

The spiritual issues with which the characters wrestle are mostly about searching for happiness and trusting God to take them there. The characters are challenged with hard economical times in the post-Civil War South and they’ve all suffered losses, whether it be losses of life, jobs or status.

Carrie keeps hoping things are going to turn around and get better, but that’s not what seems to be happening. The more she prays for blessing the more it seems that hard things are put on her. In the midst of this, her friend said something to her that resonated deeply with me:

“You want to please God. You want to be happy. You’re not sure whether one precludes the other.”

Ever been there? I have.

I didn’t know when I started reading Beauty for Ashes that this was the second book in author Dorothy Love’s Hickory Ridge romance series, which is a testament to how well Love inter-weaved the backstory of the first book Beyond All Measure into the pages of this one.

While I don’t usually read romances, Christian or otherwise, I like historical fiction and enjoyed the historical parts of this book. Twenty years ago, teen-aged Heather loved reading Janette Oke books, which were set in the 1840s expansion into the West. Beauty for Ashes reminded me of Oke’s books, for it’s focus on true historical times, the struggles of the people, and their reliance on God to get them through tough times.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program.


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