Gwen, Beth, and Lacy Gallatin fashion a life for themselves in the Montana wilds, operating a roadhouse that is located at the crossroads of two major stage lines. When their father is accidentally killed, the oldest sister, Gwen, reasons that she's cursed. After all, death seems to haunt her: her mother, now her father...and she was married for a mere ten days before her husband died from a bout of measles.
As Gwen and her sisters struggle to maintain the inn on their own, an unexpected visitor adds to the mayhem. Hank Bishop claims to be searching for something in the possession of Gwen's late husband. But mayhem of another sort builds in Gwen's heart as she finds a growing attraction to this man. Can she dare to hope that love might again be hers?
Every time Tracie Peterson announces she has a new book coming out, I immediately go and put it on my wish list. She is one of those authors whom I have read every book and is pretty much a standard in Christian fiction. Everything I always like about Tracie's books is included in this one as well. From the detailed historical research to wonderful character development to that comfort feeling you get while reading her books, it's all here. The sisters run a boarding house/restaurant/coach stop that is very similar to the Fred Harvey system used out west. It's a very well run operation and the women are highly respected in town which is unusual for the time period. I liked all three sisters and found them very similar to the way my own family acts. I found the laudanum scene very funny although I can't believe that it didn't enter any one's head that it might have been dangerous! The situation between Harvey and Gwen's late husband was really interesting and I kept going back on forth on whether I believed him or not. Although I felt that a lot of that drama could have been avoided if he had just told her that one thing she had been looking for.
My only qualm with this book was that the storyline seemed a little slow at times. It wasn't that it was boring. I just felt that certain scenes tended to drag at times, and there was a lot of dialogue that could have been taken out. Also Hank and Gwen, while they had good chemistry, just seemed to magically fall in together. It was like banter one minute, lovey-dovey the next. I would have liked some more development than the cliched falling in love with a stranger story. Overall though, I greatly enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the other Gallatin sisters' adventures. It's a fun read that will take you back to the romantic West.
A Promise to Believe In by Tracie Peterson is published by Bethany House (2008)