Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Beauty for Ashes by Dorothy Love

Beauty for Ashes
by Dorothy Love
A Hickory Ridge Romance, Book 2
Historical Christian Fiction / Romance
Published February 2012
Thomas Nelson
336 pages

About the Book
She’s a beautiful young widow. He’s a Southern gentleman with a thirst for adventure. Both need a place to call home.

After losing her husband in the Civil War, Carrie Daly is scared she will never have the family she longs for. Eligible bachelors are scarce in Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, but Carrie has found love. Not the weak-in-the-knees kind, but something practical. Still, she isn't quite ready to set a wedding date with Nate Chastain.

Griff Rutledge is a former member of Charleston society, but has been estranged from his family for years. He’s determined to remain unattached, never settling in one place for too long. But when asked to train a Thoroughbred for an upcoming race in Hickory Ridge, he decides to stay awhile.

Despite objections from the townsfolk, and her fear that true happiness has eluded her, Carrie is drawn to Griff's kindness and charm. It will take a leap of faith for them to open their hearts and claim God's promise to give beauty for ashes.

My Thoughts
Carrie Daly is alone after the deaths of her parents, grandmother, and husband. When her brother marries and has an instant family, she feels even more alone than before. Not wanting to miss out on what may be her last chance at happiness she begins to feel pressure to marry her friend Nate Chastain. When Griff Rutledge, a horse trainer, arrives in town, Carrie feels a strong attraction to him—despite the misgivings of the rest of the townspeople. She must decide if she will make a practical choice or follow her heart.

After reading Beyond All Measure last year, I knew that I had found a real treasure in Dorothy Love. It was great to return to the quaint town of Hickory Ridge, Tennessee in Beauty for Ashes.

I felt so sorry for Carrie. In the absence of family, she has made great friends in the dying town of Hickory Ridge. However, some friends have moved away and then some turn away from her when she needs them most. I was so frustrated with some of the townspeople! I suppose that's how life in a small town is (or used to be, anyway). Griff, on the other hand, was intriguing. It was obvious that he had secrets about his past, and I was curious to figure out what they were. The best part about the main characters—Carrie, Griff, and even Mary—was that there was such growth and change and even redemption in each of them. While everything didn't turn out perfectly in the end, it was good to see that trials weren't wasted on them!

While Beauty for Ashes certainly stands alone, it could be helpful to read the series in order as there are a number of references to people and events that took place in the first book. At first, it was a little hard for me to remember what happened in the last book, but I was able to put the pieces together quickly. Overall, I truly enjoyed this book and look forward to seeing what will happen next in Hickory Ridge! [4 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson and LitFuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Before returning to her writing roots in historical fiction, Dorothy Love published twelve novels for young adults. Her work has garnered numerous honors from the American Library Association, the Friends of American Writers, the International Reading Association, the New York Public Library, and many others. The Hickory Ridge novels mark her Christian fiction debut.

Dorothy Love Online
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