Monday, March 22, 2010

Book Review: "Scattered Petals" by Amanda Cabot

Longing for adventure, Priscilla Morton leaves Boston and heads for Texas, never dreaming that the adventure she seeks will leave her badly injured and her parents dead. Priscilla is determined to rebuild her life and make a home for herself in the beautiful Hill Country. But the bandits who took her parents' lives also destroyed her hope for the future.

Ranch foreman Zachary Webster knows what the future holds for him, and it's not a woman like Priscilla. She deserves a cultured East Coast gentleman, not a cowboy who's haunted by memories of his mistakes. The best thing he can do is leave her alone.

When necessity draws them together, Priscilla and Zach begin to forge a life that, like the scattered petals of her childhood, is filled with promise. But then the past intrudes, threatening their very existence.

Oh historical romances tend to be hit or miss with me. While I love historical books, most of them tend to be modern day romances set in historical settings. Pretty much it's a romance of today with long dresses, horse and wagons, and no electricity. Therefore I'm pretty picky and while the story need not be completely historical, the story has to grab my attention. Luckily this series has done that. I really enjoyed reading about the adventures of the townsfolk of Ladreville.

Priscilla had a horrible way to enter the story and I felt really bad for her. I really liked how Cabot doesn't allow her to wallow in misery nor does she become too happy too fast. Rather her reactions are quite normal for someone who has gone through her situation. The same with Zach. He doesn't overplay the hero nor does try to force Priscilla into doing anything she isn't comfortable with. Everything happened naturally which was very refreshing to read. I was quite surprised with the ending because it was a situation that normally doesn't happen in Christian fiction. Let's just say, people would normally die in order to create a big happy family instead of letting them stay as they are.

I was a bit worried at first that this book would fall into the cliches of all other historical Christian novels I read. The signs pointed there. Getting pregnant after being raped (somehow this ALWAYS happens in Christian fiction), a marriage of convenience to save face, another man who's in love with the female lead who is also a good guy. Luckily even though these are all there the story still manages to give fresh insight.

One thing I really find interesting about the story is the continuing rivalry between the French and German settlers of the town. Even though they have left their native land behind, both groups are still sticking to the old ways and are very bent on keeping their lives in that way. While they are fine with just living together in the same town, they don't really want to blend together. Intermarriage is pretty much out of the question, even sending all the children to the same school is hard to manage. The fact that there are two different nationalities trying to fit in to their new country while still maintaining their native roots was very interesting.

The only qualm I had was with the villains, their story (for all 3 of them) weren't really fleshed out. They seemed to be a bit cardboard in their actions and as such, everything the scenes were switched over to their POV, I found myself wanting to go back to Priscilla and Zach. Even though this book is the second in a series, it can be read as a stand alone. So far I have been enjoying this series. While a bit predictable at times, it's sweet and I like the setting and characters. Overall if you like historical romance set during the American west, you will enjoy this book. I know I will be looking forward to the next book in the series.

Scattered Petals by Amanda Cabot is published by Revell (2010)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

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