So I’m a day late and a dollar short, but here is the post that was supposed to go live yesterday. A Life Once Dreamed was the August choice for our Online Christian Historical Romance Book Club. I’ve always enjoyed the sweet, simple romances of Rachel Fordham’s books. This one was a little bit more of a stretch for me. I really enjoyed the sweet rekindling of the romance between James and Aggie, as well as all the small-town life put on full display. However, I did struggle with a single conversation being the needed resolution for the conflict between the two. If you are like me, you may get really frustrated with it and want to set the book down. Even so, I urge you to read the story to its full conclusion. Aggie’s reason for keeping her secret does become believable and reasonable, even if I disagreed with her choice to continue to hold on to that secret even after James sought her out after six years. True to Miss Fordham’s style, the story is a sweet romance of the day-to-day life and struggles in a small town on the prairie.
I definitely recommend it to lovers of sweet, historical romance.
Genre: Historical Romance, Dakota Territory, 1880
Six years ago, a shocking secret sent Agnes Pratt running in search of a new start. She found it in Penance, a rugged town of miners and lumberjacks in the Dakota Territory, where she became Miss Aggie, respected schoolteacher and confirmed old maid. But the past has a way of catching up with people. When childhood friend and former sweetheart James Harris accepts a position as the town doctor, Aggie’s pleasantly predictable days suddenly become anything but. James wants to know why Agnes left behind the life they had dreamed of creating for themselves―but he is the one person who can never know.In the shadows of the Black Hills, can a healing light be shed on the past? Or will the secret Agnes can’t seem to outrun destroy her chance at happiness?
What I loved: Without any spoilers, I really loved the weaving in of foster care and adoption.
Favorite Character and Why: The child who becomes adopted. 😉 Again trying not to give any spoilers, but who wouldn’t love a sweet baby left alone in the world. It made me just want to go out and find friends who have babies so I can cuddle them.
Who would like this? Any reader who enjoys sweet romances and second chance love.
Rating and Why: Three and a half. The story was sweet, but I had several frustrations with the story and characters. Once I got to the end, I was mostly satisfied, but it wasn’t my favorite read from her.
Just like every Bibliophile, I have a TBR pile that can fill a library… and quite literally it does. My basement has no less than 10 bookcases packed tight. Of course I’ve read about a fourth… maybe more like a fifth of them. So there are plenty waiting to be read. These are the books currently at the top of my pile, (and some of them aren’t Historical Fiction –Eep! In fact, you’ll notice a lot of suspense. Partly due to the fact on road trips we read books aloud, and with three males in the car, suspense catches their interest.):
Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Davidson Politano – What seems like a Pygmalion dream come true turns into a nightmare for rag woman Raina Bretton. Ever since a handsome stranger brought her to Rothburne Abbey, she’s been uneasy. Amid the ruin and decay of the old mansion, one man stands between her and her true identity. Will he reveal her mysterious secret—or keep it hidden?
Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate – Natalie Groves is convinced that she was meant for great things. But after her fiance, Jeremy, leaves her, her grand dreams evaporate. Back in town seven years later with his infant son and troubled teenage niece, Jeremy asks Natalie for help. When they join forces, sparks fly—but will they get burned again along the way?
More Than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer – People consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Born with mismatched eyes and orphaned at a young age, she’s been rejected repeatedly. Logan Fowler arrives in Pecan Gap, Texas, seeking revenge against the gambler who stole his birthright—Evie’s “brother,” Zacharias. But as they fall in love, will Logan choose to avenge Zach’s past—or embrace the future with Evie?
Full Disclosure by Dee Henderson – Top FBI cop Paul Falcon knows Ann Silver is one of the most respected homicide investigators in the Midwest. So when a supsicious death causes their worlds to collide, he hopes she’ll be a useful colleague. He never expects to be smitten! Still, he wonders . . . Why does everybody trust her? What secrets is she keeping?
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell – When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the North of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction.
Under a Turquoise Sky by Lisa Carter – When federal agent Aaron Yazzie is assigned to protect the only witness to a drug cartel execution, he hides Kailyn in the safest place he knows . . . the vast, untamed wilderness of the Navajo Reservation.
Kailyn is a high-maintenance Southern belle who is determined to assert her independence at every step. Although Aaron’s job is to protect her from the dangers that could get them both killed, Kailyn is getting to him. As an undercover agent, Aaron has grown adept at playing many roles. But will he be able to embrace his true identity and God’s plan for his life in order to keep Kailyn alive?
A young woman working at the Dead Letter Office in 1883 opens a series of heartbreaking love letters. She’s determined to find their rightful owner and make things right. But a trip to Azure Springs, Iowa, may provide love and healing for more than just the letter writer.
The Cost of Betrayal – Three Romantic Suspense Novellas. Dee Henderson’s “Betrayed,” Dani Pettrey’s “Deadly Isle,” and Lynette Eason’s “Code of Ethics.”
Sins of the Past – Three blockbuster authors team up for a “triple threat” page-turner! In Missing, a Wyoming sheriff must travel to Chicago to rescue his elderly mother. In Shadowed, the McKennas come face-to-face with a possible Russian defector. And in Blackout, a woman falsely accused of theft must find the loot before the true criminal discovers her!
Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett – Nate Webber takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps, skirting the truth about certain “requirements.” Elsie Brookes was proud to grow up as a ranger’s daughter, but she longs for a future of her own. When Elsie discovers Nate’s secret, it puts his job as camp foreman in jeopardy. Tutoring leads to friendship and romance, until a string of suspicious fires casts a dark shadow over their relationship.