Love Finds Faith: The Homeward Journey Book 2 by Martha Rogers
Love Finds Faith is the second novel in the Homeward Journey series, in which a family in the post Civil War years is featured. Book one is Manfred and Sallie’s story. You can find my review for that book here. Love Finds Faith is about Sallie’s younger sister, Hannah, who has come to the frontier town of Stoney Creek, Texas to assist as a nurse in her brother-in-law’s medical practice. Both books can be read independently of each other. The third book in the series will be released in the Fall of 2014.
Hannah Dyer was a talented, caring young woman who had grown up in proper Mississippi society. Her one challenge to living the life of her dreams, one with a family of her own, was a physical disfigurement. One of her legs was shorter than the other. To keep from being thrown off balance as she walked, she needed to wear a special elevated shoe which was unfortunately heavy and awkward. Yet Hannah’s faith in God was strong and she was not afraid to lean on Him for strength and wisdom. She had decided years ago to accept the fate of remaining single and prepared to support herself by studying to become a nurse. The story opens at her arrival in Stoney Creek by train.
Arriving on the same train in the same town was Micah Gordon, returning home after a five year absence. His was not the joyous homecoming you would expect. He had left his parents’ ranch under a cloud, angry at the world, at his brother Levi, his father, and at God. While he wasn’t the same reckless, brash young man he was when he’d left, he was still angry at God, if he even believed there was one at all. Circumstances seemed to reinforce this lack of faith when things started to go all wrong at the ranch.
Levi wouldn’t speak to him the moment he walked into the door. Micah argued with his Pa over his responsibilities at the ranch. When perusing the financial ledgers in his father’s office one day, he realized the ranch was barely solvent. Drought and losses had taken their toll on the herd. They were in debt to the bank. Costly mistakes had been made. When he offered to help with the financial end, his father stubbornly refused to talk about the problems. And he noticed his father’s health was failing. A sense of boreboding hit him. All of this was hurting his mother and sisters.
Barely a month after his arrival, Micah’s father was fatally shot during a bank robbery. The entire ranch’s fortunes were turned on its head. Levi had gone to live and work at a neighbor’s ranch, leaving Micah in charge of the home spread; he was not handling it very well.
The author, Martha Rogers, has written a flowing historical fiction that’s filled with the angst of family conflict fueled by gnawing human stubbornness, pride, sibling jealousy, self-centeredness, faulty perceptions and misunderstandings, overly zealous self-reliance, and vanity. As I grew to care about many of these family members amidst daily conflicts, I despaired they would ever reach resolution.
Underlying all the drama was Hannah’s steadfast faith in the Lord. As she was making friends in her new community, it became clear to her sister that Hannah had become attracted to Micah when they had met at the train station. In spite of their warnings against developing feelings for him, together the Whitefield family watched his family’s pain first through the brothers’ estrangement and then in Mr. Gordon’s death and prayed for them. But Hannah wanted to do more.
The author skillfully contrasts Hannah’s peaceful, quiet and calm demeanor with Micah’s impatient, obstinate and self-centered behavior. It didn’t seem even possible the two could ever become a couple in spite of Hannah’s yearnings. It was this interesting type of suspense that kept me on the edge, waiting for some kind of resolution, right up to the final pages of the book. For this reason, I enjoyed this second book of the series even more than the first book. There was a good balance of character development and action to keep the story line moving along briskly.
My only disagreement about the way this book was written is that, to me, the Gordon family’s emotional trauma took up a disproportionate amount of book space compared to the other elements of the story including the romance between Micah and Hannah. It seemed a bit too drawn out. The budding romance was insufficiently developed and ended too quickly in my opinion. In that light, the overall atmosphere of the book felt more like a historical fiction piece than a historical romance.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from The Booketeria on behalf of Charisma Media/Realms. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”