Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dorothy Love - Beyond All Measure

Unless she can trust God's love to cast out her fears, Ada may lose the heart of a good man.
Ada Wentworth, a young Bostonian, journeys to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, in the years following the Civil War. Alone and nearly penniless following a broken engagement, Ada accepts a position as a lady's companion to the elderly Lillian Willis, a pillar of the community and aunt to the local lumber mill owner, Wyatt Caldwell. Ada intends to use her millinery skills to establish a hat shop and secure her future.
Haunted by unanswered questions from her life in Boston, Ada is most drawn to two townsfolks: Wyatt, a Texan with big plans of his own, and Sophie, a mulatto girl who resides at the Hickory Ridge orphanage. Ada's friendship with Sophia attracts the attention of a group of locals seeking to displace the residents of Two Creeks, a "colored" settlement on the edge of town. As tensions rise, Ada is threatened but refuses to abandon her plan to help the girl.
When Lillian dies, Ada is left without employment or a place to call home. And since Wyatt's primary purpose for staying in Hickory Ridge was to watch over his aunt, he can now pursue his dream of owning Longhorns in his home state of Texas.
With their feelings for each other growing, Ada must decide whether she can trust God with her future and Wyatt with her heart.

Comment: This is the first book I've read by this author. In my on line life I am registered in four or five message boards but only actively participate in two. In one of those, this author was suggested and I admit I was immediately curious over the covers, which I think are so beautiful. In fact, it got me thinking, if some art departments can do such amazing work, why are others that fail miserably? And this book's publisher isn't one of the biggest, I think. So..why do others stick to a more lazy job?

Anyway, I've read the blurbs and I was interested in reading. Cautious person that I am, I've purchased only the first book to see what I thought and now it was finally its time.

This is the story of Ada, a young lady that's penniless and comes from Boston to Tennessee because of a job offer. When she arrives she realizes the person who contacted her didn't say the whole truth about the duties lady Lillian, the old woman who'd be her employer, would expect of her. She thought she was going to be a lady's companion but in fact she also has to be cook, caretaker and maid.
With time she comes to do her job easily because she cares for Lillian and the other friends she meets in Hickory.
Lillian's nephew is also there and he feels attracted to Ada since he met her and during the story they slowly start seeing each other through different eyes until they finally accept the other.

There are several subjects in place here. The action takes place after the American civil war and there's still the prejudice between north and south and in some scenes we see exactly that.
There's also the subject of racism and the activities and some talk of the Klan's principles, which seem so faraway but that many people defended and still do. I think the author did a good job putting these two things in her novel and although it's not the main focus of this novel, it makes the story seem more realistic.
The romance was sweet and innocent. It was more about what they wanted for their lives than about intimacy. I think what it lacked in passion, it gained in true feelings and intelligence.
The cast of characters was quite big and each one had a special role to unite the story in a tight knot, it's like everything was in place, the author didn't put there characters just because.
 In the end some sad things happened and it quite the surprise to see who was the antagonist of the book, so to speak, I mean, there wasn't a bad villain, whose aim was to harm and kill for instance, but there was someone bent on achieving a goal and everyone in the way - namely Ada - would pay. I think this part was well done, it wasn't that unbelievable.
I liked how Ada wasn't stupid, she knew the rules of society, she didn't exactly defied them but she didn0t look aside when she didn't have to and I was glad the way she helped a child who lived in the orphanage and no one wanted around just because her parents weren't both white. I'd like to think everyone would do the same, but it's not so simple and obvious, even to people nowadays.
So, in the end I liked the book, I liked how several subjects were treated and discussed and I'm curious over the following two books in the series, I'll buy them eventually and hopefully, they will be as good as this one.

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