Newly widowed Lydia Sellers discovers that through an unforeseen fluke, she is the sole recipient of her husband's fortune. But instead of granting her security, it only causes strife as her adult stepchildren battle to regain the inheritance for themselves. Lydia, longing to put the memories of her painful marriage behind her, determines to travel to Alaska to join her aunt. Lydia's arrival in Sitka, however, brings two things she didn't expect. One is the acquaintance of Kjell Bjorklund, the handsome owner of the sawmill. Second is the discovery that she is pregnant with her dead husband's child. What will this mean for her budding relationship with Kjell? And what lengths will her stepchildren go to reclaim their father's fortune? Lydia soon finds her life--and that of her child's--on the line.
This latest offering from Tracie Peterson was deeply satisfying. This was a relief as I had felt her last output, The Brides of Gallatin series, to be a bit predictable and boring. Luckily the problems I had with that series seems to have disappeared so far in the first book. I have always enjoyed Tracie's books that take place in Alaska. I believe this is her 3rd series set in our northern most state. This book shows a lot of promise for the upcoming books in the series.
I was immediately drawn into the story of a young widow who's at the mercy of her conniving step children. What I found interesting is the different take on the older man marries younger woman story. We usually think that wives who are much younger than their husbands only marry them for their money. However in this case, Lydia was forced into this marriage and is all to ready to escape and forget that it ever existed. Her stepchildren, who are almost all at least her age or older, cannot seem to see her point of view and and have been condescending of her from the beginning. It's actually quite frustrating that they can't seem to realize she wants to get away from them forever. Once Lydia gets to Alaska, she's met with many challenges and obstacles, that threaten her life and her sanity.
While this book is set in a historical time period (the gold rush), there's not really that much history involved. The story isn't also as much about Alaska and the gold rush as it is about Lydia's struggle with her husband's family. There were some tidbits about the Tlingit people which I did find very interesting as I don't think I've read a book that talks about them. The only little qualm I have is the presence of the violin on the cover. While the violin is mentioned several times in the story, it does not really play a major role as one would think from it's prominence on the cover. Also there were some scenes that I felt were taken out of a soap opera and a little over dramatic. Still though it's an enjoyable book and it's comfort reading since I've been a fan of Tracie's works for years. I'll be looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
Dawn's Prelude by Tracie Peterson is published by Bethany House (2009)