The description of The Hope of Azure Springs by debut author Rachel Fordham was appealing, so I decided to try it â and I'm so glad I did! The beginning pages quickly pulled me in, and I was immediately drawn to the heroine, Em. There's some suspense, but this is primarily a character-driven story, my favorite style to read. This is a heartwarming story of loss, love and resilience of spirit.
I confess to expecting this to be a typical prairie romance, but was pleasantly surprised to find it much more complex. The story combines elements of the orphan train project, going back to Em's experience seven years earlier, with life on the prairie. Em is a sympathetic character, realistically portrayed â resourceful and able to fend for herself; strong in one sense, yet vulnerable and caring.
Caleb, easily drawn by the outward beauty of ladies, wasn't my favorite character at first, but that soon changed. The best stories are about transformation, and I enjoyed seeing Caleb and Em steadily grow. I also loved how their romance grew from the solid foundation of friendship and mutual respect, rather than being filled with tension and misunderstandings.
The Hope of Azure Springs is a feel-good story that delivers on the hope promised in the title. I look forward to more stories by Rachel Fordham.
I received a copy of this book through Just Read Tours and Revell. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
First of all, I enjoyed this book. That being said, I had hoped to enjoy it more.
The plot was interesting and unique, and the characters were compelling. My main struggle with this book was its lack of historical voice. If it were not for the first line on the prologue stating the setting of the story was âIowa, 1881,â I would have had little clue that it was set in the American frontier over 135 years ago. The dialogue and narrative took on little of the vocabulary and tone of that era, and as a historian reading a work of historical fiction I found the historical background scant.
All in all, this was a worth first effort by a new author and I look forward to reading her next work, as she deepens and hones her literary skills.
I received a free advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers. April 21, 2018.