my rating: 3 stars
Oh how I wish I had enjoyed this novel! I know I would have a few years ago, but since reading genres outside of historical Christian fiction, I’ve found it hard to be satisfied by many of these kinds of books. Often times the author seems to be trying to tie in so many different ropes into the bundle, that most of it falls flat. And as someone who once loved these kinds of books, I know I am only saying this because of my experience with broadening my literary horizon. But I know for a fact many people will enjoy this novel. Unfortunately, I was just not one of them.
let’s talk about it.
The plot had potential, being an expedition in a dangerous setting sounds intriguing; throw in a mystery, some romance, and spunky side characters? Sounds charming, and certainly was in a watered-down way. I felt like the plot was repetitive in many points and it seemed like the characters had the same conversations numerous times, which was quite irritating to me. But other than that, the plot was quite captivating.
The two main characters both had their own personal struggles, Meg’s being an aspiring career woman of her time period, which I found very interesting in a Christian historical novel.
“Just smile and look pretty, then show them you can do the job better than any of them.”
I found it hard to really sympathize with her since I didn’t notice much character development on her part; she entered the story a strong independent female and so there really was no more room to grow. Other than that, it was really cool to see her in her element as a photographer, and the descriptions of the landscape were very vivid.
“A pretty face isn’t any good for convincing gentlemen to take a lady seriously. Only being the best at what you do can achieve that goal. Be the best. Make them notice you.”
Most of the character development was done on Ben’s part, which I found very relatable and well executed. The other characters, the rest of the survey team, were actually more included and involved than I would have expected (especially with my impression of Meg), and I enjoyed the scenes where they would all converse as a group. I especially love Dot, she is so funny and brought so much life to the book. Also, the part where Meg is showing off her britches to Dot and is all like, “And it has pockets.” Ah. Girl things.
The romance felt very forced in the beginning. Meg and Ben have this super complicated relationship that has its ups and downs and what-not and I can definitely say it was probably my least favorite part of the book. I like to have negative feelings while trying to marry characters off, I enjoy the challenge and feeling frustrated, but this couple was more or less just annoying. I do love how Dot and Hank play matchmakers, they are the cutest little couple ever.
The setting is cool, Regina Scott captured very lovely images of the canyons and what comes with it, the good and bad, and I enjoyed the times where they were trekking and they just all took a moment to just revel in God’s creation, just seeing (or reading about) the awe that filled them.
The main faith note in this book is grace and mercy; God’s grace is enough, we are enough in his eyes, and that is enough for us to have peace. These parts were definitely muted in terms of potency, I felt like the characters never really pursued worshiping God in a way that transformed them entirely which was disappointing. But overall, the message was encouraging.
This book was not my favorite, but I did enjoy parts of it and I definitely would recommend it to someone who enjoys Christian historical fiction with a touch of romance and mystery. The adventure plot of this is engrossing but not too stressful.
Thanks for reading!