Yes, it’s that time again! Blog touuuuur!!! Courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications, as always. Don’t you just love it when publishers give their authors chances like this, to have their books read by people in the blogosphere and spread the news of their work by word of mouth? I honestly wish I’d gotten into reviewing books a long time ago… I’ve always been a voracious reader, but it’s just so satisfying to share the excitement of a great book with others, or even just discuss the likes/dislikes in a respectful, informed manner…
But, enough reminiscing! You’re here for the blog tour, so we’ll get right to it. There are two books this month, and I’ll start with the one I liked least first, and save the best for last (that’s tomorrow!).
Without further ado, I give you…
Sixteen Brides – Stephanie Grace Whitson
Summary (from the publisher):
In 1872, sixteen Civil War widows living in St. Louis respond to a series of meetings conducted by a land speculator who lures them west by promising “prime homesteads” in a “booming community.” Unbeknownst to them, the speculator’s true motive is to find an excuse to bring women to the fledging community of Plum Grove, Nebraska, in hopes they will accept marriage proposals shortly after their arrival!
Sparks fly when these unsuspecting widows meet the men who are waiting for them. These women are going to need all the courage and faith they can muster to survive these unwanted circumstances–especially when they begin to discover that none of them is exactly who she appears to be.
Well! I thought this certainly sounded like an intriguing premise… and I looked forward to a lot of strong-willed women trying to duke it out amongst themselves in the wild West. And for the most part, that’s what happened, so I was rather pleased: the women were strong, emotional, capable, but flawed. Yes, that’s right — they were realistically portrayed, and for the amount of women that Whitson had to focus on over the course of the story, it was extremely well done!
From a writer’s perspective, telling the story from the perspective of FIVE main characters is an extremely risky and difficult move, but Whitson pulled it off with skill. They each had their own very strong but distinct voice, and if I ever meet Whitson in person, I’d love to congratulate her on handling it so well.
However… and I hate to say this because the author managed her material so well… the story really did seem to drag during the final third of the book. After several hundred pages of getting the women there, having the love stories get set up and the problems progress, I was ready to resolve everything and be done with it. I think several of the sub-plots simply dragged on too long, and she could have ended the book about a hundred pages earlier without losing anything.
That said, this is the kind of historical fiction that you’ll enjoy if you like this kind of historical — a bit predictable, but entertaining along the journey. For me, I found the inclusion of flaws for each woman to be very refreshing — especially since so many women in the Christian fiction I’ve read recently have been so nearly perfect that I’ve wanted to scream (as you know if you’ve read my previous reviews).
Again, this is one for the church library — but you might as well read it first! You may not love it, and you may find the story drags a bit, but you have to at least admire the skill with which Whitson follows FIVE main characters through the whole novel. Why not give it a try?
Available now at your favorite bookseller from Bethany House,
a division of Baker Publishing Group