Catherine’s Pursuit by Lena Nelson Dooley
This book is the third part of a three part series and newly published. I have not read any of the other books of this series, but it seems that this book easily stands by itself. I’m sure if this was read before books one and two, it would change the perception the reader would have of the main characters in these books a little bit. Reading this first did make me want to read the other books to understand the broader story involved.
Catherine Lenora McKenna had just turned 18 when she was confronted with a startling revelation. She was one of a set of triplets. Sisters…she had sisters and hadn’t been told about them. At first, she thought they had died when her mother had; she was filled with grief at her loss…at what could have been. But then she learned that her sisters had been adopted by two other couples on the westward bound wagon train her mother and father were traveling with. So why had all this been kept a secret? Where were her sisters now? Feeling cheated of something precious in life, Catherine was determined to find them.
She and her father had been a happy little family that included her Aunt Kirstin, her mother’s widowed sister. She had been given much and denied very little. Still, from time to time she had felt as if something was missing, as if there was an inner emptiness. She had assumed it was because she missed having a mother. But now she understood this secret longing. When she asked her father to accompany her on a journey to find her sisters, he regrettably had to deny her this one request. He showed her a contract which promised the adoptive families he would not seek out his daughters or rip them from their families. He lived with regret over that promise, but even nearly 20 years later, he would not break it. So Catherine had no options left to her but to leave on her own without permission. She took her maid Julie into her confidence and the two of them embarked on a journey of a lifetime.
Captain Collin Elliot was still recovering from his ship’s loss and the damage to his leg that left him limping and in pain. It may be true that he had saved the lives of all his shipmates in the storm, but he certainly didn’t feel like a hero. In fact, he felt the full weight of the loss of Mr. McKenna’s cargo and ship on his young shoulders. So when given the opportunity to work in his employer’s warehouses, he gladly accepted the job. Hard work gave him a way to keep occupied while he healed and an outlet for his frustration. What would he do with the rest of his life? Would he ever captain a ship again? Life had ground to a halt. Then an unusual request from Mr. McKenna sent Collin in an entirely different direction. How could he turn down his generous boss’s request to tail his daughter in her westward journey and offer protection whenever necessary?
Collin was not very impressed with Catherine. The few times he had seen her she appeared distant, pampered, and haughty. To himself, he referred to her as the Ice Princess. All too soon for his liking, their paths crossed and Catherine recognized her father’s employee. She was annoyed at his overbearing interference but eventually accepted his stubborn presence and protection. Her only concern was to continue her search for her sisters.
The adventures that Catherine, Julie, and Collin encountered fleshed out their characters very nicely. I felt a kinship with Catherine as she struggled with her impatience to find her sisters. I could tell she wasn’t used to the seamier side of life and found humor in her capacity to get herself into trouble. Fortunately Collin was more experienced and usually stepped in just in time. It was gratifying to see that Catherine was humble enough to accept help when she needed it and return Collin’s faithfulness and persistence. By the end of the story, I was engaged in all the characters involved and cared to see that conflicts were resolved.
While Catherine learned numerous life lessons in her search, Collin’s character deepened as he explored the spiritual side of life. It was heart-warming to see him grow closer in his relationship with God. His search felt genuine and earnest. The romance involved in the story was only lightly touched upon, enough for me to think this was more of a historical fiction than a romance. However, the resolution in the book in the final two chapters is still satisfying for everyone, including Catherine and Collin.
I also enjoyed the author’s attention to historical detail. It added greatly to the authenticity of the plot-line to include details of geography, clothing, food, speech patterns and mannerisms, social customs, history, and family traditions. The beginning of the story began in a leisurely manner befitting that of a historical fiction while the setting, history and characters were established, but the action and suspense moved along quickly enough by the end of the first third of the book that I was reluctant to put the book down for very long. I’m looking forward to reading the first two books in the series and other books by this author.
A complimentary review copy was provided to me by Charisma House Publishing/Realms through the website, the Booketeria. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.