Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What I Read Wednesday: Summer of Promise by Amanda Cabot

Summer of Promise (Westward Winds Series #1)From the cover:
Though she had planned to spend the summer in Vermont, Abigail Harding cannot dismiss her concerns over her older sister.  Charlotte's letters have been uncharacteristically melancholy, and her claims the nothing is wrong ring false, so Abigail heads west to Fort Laramie, Wyoming. When her stagecoach is attacked, Wyoming promises to be anything but boring. Luckily, the heroics of another passenger, Lieutenant Ethan Bowles, save the day.

Abigail plans to marry when she returns to Vermont, just as soon as she attends to her sister. As the summer passes, she finds herself drawn to this rugged land and to a certain soldier determined to persuade her to stay. When summer ends, will she go back East, or will she find her heart's true home?

Andrea's Take: ****4 Stars
Once again, I'm reviewing a book by an author brand new to me.  I just love "meeting" new writers and their characters.

Summer of Promise is the first in a trilogy called Westward Winds that will follow three sisters in their adventures as they find love in the American West. Abigail is the first Harding sister to grace us with her story. Abigail is what I might call an adventurous homebody.  She thinks she wants to settle down in a pleasant marriage and live in the same house for the rest of her life.  She doesn't even know the adventurer is buried deep inside until instinct tells her that Charlotte needs her desperately.  This untamed side of Abigail is evident in her impulsiveness, but it is driven by her love for God and her desire to help others know and love Him too.

Ethan is on the receiving end of Abigail's impulsive, problem-solving bent...much to his benefit.  His past has left him little understanding of the truth about God's love and sacrifice for him.  Old wounds have left him blind to the love of those who should have been closest to him. With help from the Holy Spirit, along with Abigail, and a puppy named Puddles, Ethan discovers the truth about God's love, his family's love, and of course, Abigail's love.

Storylines for supporting characters give the book a full and satisfying feel. Characters to watch include Charlotte Crowley, Abigail's older sister (whose story we will have the pleasure of reading in 2013), and Puddles, the cutest little mutt ever, among others.

The one thing about Summer of Promise that I might have changed is that the resolution of the romance came later than I like it to.  The ending felt a bit abrupt to me. Faithful readers here have heard me say - so to speak - that I like for the couple to encounter the story's final conflict knowing they are committed to each other come what may. The resolution doesn't happen that way in this book.

This is a matter of taste for me, and I'm sure there are as many opinions on this as there are readers who enjoy the stories.  It will in no way prevent me from keeping a sharp eye open for Charlotte's story when it comes out in a year or more (a tragically long wait!).

Thanks to Amanda Cabot and her publisher Revell for a complementary copy of this book. I hope to get on their list again sometime (say, early in 2013?).

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