Raina’s Choice (Western Justice Bk. 3) by Gilbert Morris
Raina’s Choice is a simple tale of two people caught up in circumstances outside their control. Both were seeking freedom from drudgery and imprisonment. Both found each other and sensed a rescuer in the rough, a potential savior of sorts. Both leaned on each other in their direst moments and in turn found a friend. Both searched for more out of life and eventually found purpose.
Tyler Kincaid was a rough and tumble man, a drifter who worked where he could to survive. He ended up working on the railroad in Mexico where he eventually got caught between two sides in a revolution. He was thrown in prison, along with his friend, Jim, and left to work in the mines until their death. Being a gringo did not stand in their favor. But his resourceful friend arranged escape for the two of them. Jim gave his life so that Ty would find his freedom, something Tyler never forgot. Ty eventually arrived in Texas and worked several jobs to earn his passage further to the northwest. He was unaware, however, that the Mexican government had put out a notice of arrest and reward on posters.
Raina Vernay grew up in the Silver Dollar Saloon, La Tete, Louisiana, that her mother owned. When her mother passed on, she left ownership of the saloon to both her daughters. Raina’s sister Roxie married a hard man whose only interest was to get his hands on the business. He made life miserable for both women, especially for Raina, who had grown to become a beauty. Her brother-in-law made it clear, as Raina approached adulthood, that he wanted her. She was desperate to get away, but had already been caught once trying to flee. So she waited for an opportunity to escape. One evening, she met a surprisingly thoughtful stranger whom she overheard talking about his journey northwest to the Oklahoma Territory–Indian Territory. But before he made it to bed that night the sheriff of La Tete arrested him when he recognized Ty from the wanted posters.
However, all this gave Raina an idea for a plan of escape. Even though Ty was in jail, she managed to get him out, sell her part of the deed for the saloon to the town’s lawyer, and escape that same night hiding under a pile of straw on a horse-drawn wagon. But that was only the beginning of Ty and Raina’s adventures.
What drew me most in this wild west tale was Ty Kincaid’s integrity of character. He was not a stranger of hardship, cruel circumstances and the unfairness of life. Yet in spite of all that, he would get back on his feet and try again to make the best of a situation without complaint. When he worked, he worked hard. He took care of Raina even after they reached their final destination, Fort Smith, in the Oklahoma Territory. He had a core of trustworthiness that made him a strong person. In much the same way, Raina was also a person with steel in her make-up. She was an intelligent woman who was not afraid of hard work or of serving others when she needed to. She was especially persistent in her efforts to find her father in this new land.
But sometimes a person’s greatest strengths can become one of their greatest weaknesses. This was true of Ty. His persistence, stubbornness and self-sufficiency were great qualities, especially once Ty took on the job of Marshall out in Indian Territory. But it also built a wall between him and God. There is no question in my mind that the author built into this story great moments where God was seeking Ty out to be His own. It is one of the things I admire most in this author’s writing. He doesn’t expend a lot of words about the spiritual side of this book. Instead, he demonstrates the tug-of-war through events and incidences. Ty was a bit too hard-headed, so God had to allow a few things to shake him up so he would listen to His voice. This is what makes the second half of the book so suspenseful, filled with anticipation, tension and tragedy.
While there was a lot to enjoy in Raina’s Choice, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of the disappointments I felt as I followed the story line. I was a bit disappointed in the rough writing style the author employed. Taking into account common speech patterns of the characters, I felt the remaining narrative faltered in grammar and immature sentence structure. Sometimes conversations fell flat, narratives were not as insightful as they could have been, and interpersonal relationships remained shallow when opportunities for more depth were passed over. In a some instances, I saw a few inconsistencies in the story line, although it wasn’t too noticeable. It did catch my attention. Overall, the book is a pleasant read, but does not hold a place among my favorite books.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Netgalley on behalf of Barbour Publishing Inc. 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, Part255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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