Friday, September 09, 2011

Book Review: "To Have and to Hold" by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

Summary from BN.com: When Audrey Cunningham's father proposes that they move to Bridal Veil Island, where he grew up, she agrees, thinking this will help keep him sober and close to God. But they arrive to find wealthy investors buying up land to build a grand resort on the secluded island—and they want the Cunninghams' acreage.

Contractor Marshall Graham can't imagine why the former drinking buddy of his deceased father would beckon him to Bridal Veil Island. And when Boyd Cunningham asks him to watch over Audrey, Marshall is even more confused. He has no desire to be saddled with caring for this fiery young woman who is openly hostile toward him. But when Audrey seems to be falling for another man—one who has two little girls Audrey adores—Marshall realizes she holds more of his heart than he realized. Which man will Audrey choose? And can she hold on to her ancestral property in the face of overwhelming odds?

Who know that there were so many islands in this country? I honestly didn't realize that states down the Eastern side of the US often had islands that were being used by the rich society. This series follows what life was like in those islands in the south, when after the Civil War tensions between North and South were still tender.

I could totally relate to Audrey's fears about her father and his alcoholism. I have experience the same fears she's had and her actions (at least to me) were not unexpected nor irrational. When you worry very much about someone you love who has an addiction, you live in fear constantly about them having relapses. Her accusations at Marshall was more out of fear than anything. Before my experience, I might have scoffed at her but now I empathize wholeheartedly.

I was downright annoyed with Aunt Thora. I'm sorry if anyone liked her or tells me that she's just a silly old woman. I do not view her as comic relief at all. She was a mean, annoying woman who was rude, judgmental and very prejudiced. I seriously wanted to put her in her place for her close minded opinions. Interestingly, even though the story takes place in the South we never learn what her views on African Americans were. I applauded Audrey for getting annoyed with her and putting her foot down at times though I wish she had taken a more stricter approach.

The ending was a bit of a surprise to me. I wasn't expecting that character to act that way at all and it came completely out of the blue. It was a nice twist because I was thinking that the story was just going to end rather bland and boring. The romance happened a bit fast for me but I guess during those times one couldn't have long courtships. Overall, while I don't think the series breaks new ground, it is comfort reading. I enjoy both of the authors and their writing. The story is geared more toward the Christian reader as evidence by the phrases the characters use throughout the story. Still, I look forward to returning to the island for more stories.

To Have and To Hold by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller is published by Bethany House (2011)

This review copy was provided for a blog tour with the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

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