Paper Roses (Texas Dreams, bk 1) was my first experience reading Amanda Cabot's writing, and I found it to be pretty boring, and it moved really slow. Scattered Petals turned out to be a lot better, in my opinion. It held my interest much more, and moved right along.
We meet Priscilla Morton as she is travelling with her parents to attend her brother-in-law, Clay Canfield's, wedding. An unfortunate tragedy, along the way, changes Priscilla's life forever, and also gives her a debilitating fear of men. She is completely terrified for any man touch her, or even get too close to her. Her new sister-in-law, Sarah, and Sarah's little sister, Thea, play an important role in helping Priscilla get her life back in order.
Zachary Webster was first introduced to us as a friend to Clay Canfield's father in Paper Roses. He has taken over as foreman at the Bar C, the Canfield ranch, and become like a brother to Clay. Once Priscilla arrives, and Zach realizes that she is absolutely terrified of him, he starts making plans to leave the ranch, and head back to his childhood home to try and make amends for mistakes he made in his past.
Through the grace of God, and the help of close friends and family, Zach and Priscilla slowly begin to form a lasting relationship. I really enjoyed getting to know Priscilla and Zach, and finding out how their story played out. My favorite character from both books is Thea, Sarah's five year old sister. She is a real hoot!
If you haven't read either of these books, I recommend that you read them in order, since Scattered Petals pretty much takes up where Paper Roses left off. Be sure to visit Amanda Cabot's website to find out more about her and her books.
Available March 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
*** Thank you to Donna @ Revell Publishing for providing my review copy. ***
Amanda Cabot certainly knows how to weave an incredible story. When I read her first book, Paper Roses, last year, I completely fell in love with her writing. The way she created the most beautiful love story between Sarah and Clay was so romantic, it gave me goose bumps. Because of that, it was a no-brainer that I would eventually read her second novel, Scattered Petals.
While I recommend that any series of books be read in order, Scattered Petals was a book that was easily read as a stand-alone novel. It shared the story of Priscilla, the sister-in-law of Clay, and Zach, a member of the local town and a friend to Clay and Sarah. Priscilla and her parents were on their way to share in the joy of Clay and Sarah's upcoming wedding when their stagecoach was attacked. In a matter of minutes, Priscilla watched as her parents were shot, and experienced the subsequent act of being raped. From that point on, she didn't want anything to do with men, regardless of their good intentions.
Meanwhile, Zach had a host of memories that he would rather forget. He made a stupid mistake in his teenage years, and he's never been able to forgive himself for it. When he met Priscilla, he thought there was no way in the world she would ever give him a second look...until circumstances forced them to make some crucial decisions about one another.
Being that it's been a year or so since I read book one, I struggled a little bit with remembering some of the characters in this story. Yes, the introduction of Priscilla and Zach was easy to follow as their story stood alone, but it was the other townsfolk that I had some trouble with. The town was settled by both German and French immigrants, and even after a few years of living amongst each other, there were prejudices that still existed. It wasn't until I was almost half-way through the book that I was able to better follow the story, and understand the direction it was heading.
There's one other thing that bothered me. I believe I noticed this in Paper Roses, but it wasn't as obvious as it was in Scattered Petals. Occasionally, there were sections of the story that appeared to be lumped together. For example, a character would mention an activity that they wanted to do that evening, and that event would appear in the very next paragraph. There was no break in the page. I really didn't understand the reasoning for this as all the chapters in the book were very long; a break here or there would have been very helpful.
In my opinion, Paper Roses was a book worthy of 5 whopping stars, but I can only give 4 stars to Scattered Petals. I feel bad that I am comparing these books against each other because I like to judge each book I read on it's own merits. I was literally glued to the pages of Paper Roses, but I didn't have that same urgency to find out what would happen in Scattered Petals. In spite of that, I am anxious to see how the series wraps up in book 3, Tomorrow's Garden, releasing in April 2011.
This was such an excellent story about how life leads us down different roads then we expected. Priscilla leaves home with her mom and dad to go to a wedding in Texas and ends up changing the whole course of her quiet Boston lifestyle. After the death of her parents she must make a new life for herself in this totally different environment. With the love of good friends she finally picks up the pieces of her shattered world and finds love and happiness. I highly recommend this book.
Such a touching, tender story. After the horrible tragedy at the beginning of her story, Priscilla doesn't think that she will ever be able to be touched by a man again. Zach is haunted by regrets in his past and doesn't think that he will ever deserve a woman again.
This is a beautiful touching story of forgiveness, love and redemption. I absolutely recommend it to anyone who enjoys tender romances. I was touched by the grace and love found in this story. It is a book that I won't soon forget.
Amanda Cabot may be a new author, but she definitely has what it takes to write heartfelt stories and in depth characters. I will continue to look for more books written by her in the future.