Book Review: "Hope Rekindled" by Tracie Peterson

Summary from At long last, Deborah Vandermark is preparing for her own wedding...but the groom suddenly goes absent. Tragedy has befallen Christopher's family in Kansas City, upsetting the doctor's future with Deborah. With five siblings now under his care, can he return to Texas and impose a ready-made family on Deborah?

Deborah herself finds her resolve faltering as her fears about marriage and career start to overwhelm her. How can she marry and be a mother to Christopher's siblings, and still be able to pursue her work and training as a physician? When an old adversary reveals a contract that may spell ruin for Vandermark Logging, Deborah's life seems to be spiraling out of control. How can God possibly work this for good? And can Christopher and Deborah find a way to claim the future they long to share when so much stands in their way?

This book is pretty much what you expect when you read a Tracie Peterson book. That's good if you like her previous books. It's not so good if you were hoping for something new. I noticed while reading that the entire story of Deborah and Christopher could have easily been told in one volume. It just seems stretched out by putting it in a three book series and the couple gets a lot of drama happening to them for such a small amount of time.

In this book, yet another incident happens to make Deborah and Christopher almost rethink that maybe this marriage isn't the best idea for them. His parents end up getting killed in a fire and Christopher decides that it's his duty to take care of his brothers and sisters by bringing them home....without telling Deborah first. I don't blame her for getting annoyed with him throughout the book for decisions such as this. Yes I understand that he pretty much had no choice but at the very least he needed to discuss things with her instead of giving her two choices: you accept or you don't.

I did find it interesting that this book tackles the subject of divorce because it seems to be popping up a lot lately in the Christian fiction books that I've been reading. A character threatens her husband with a divorce for the way he's been treating her. He refuses and pretty much says he will kill her friend if she doesn't drop it. Disappointingly she gives up on this idea and instead comes to the conclusions that she'll stay married with him but separately so he can keep having his mistresses. Nothing is ever fully resolved between the couple so it's disappointing to see that this is how she will continue to live unhappily ever after.

I felt that the ending was a bit abrupt. I would have liked people to have gotten their due and to turn around even just a little bit. That being said, it didn't end all cookie cutter happy-ish so I was a bit pleased with that. The story leaves a few plot lines open for future sequels. The story feels very much like it's written strictly for the Christian reader. There is a LOT of talk about God and his will and doing what he wants. If you enjoyed the other books in the series you'll want to pick up this one to find out what happens to everyone. However if you are looking for a Peterson series to start with, I would recommend her Ladies of Liberty series over this one.

Hope Rekindled by Tracie Peterson is published by Bethany House (2011)

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

Other books in the Striking a Match series that I've reviewed:

Embers of Love (Book 1)
Hearts Aglow (Book 2)


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