Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2010
Author: Tamera Alexander
Series: “Timber Ridge Reflections” (book 3 of 3)
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical
Synopsis: growing up as a Southern belle, she had enjoyed and lived a happy life with her beloved husband and their two young sons… but that was before the Boyd’s moved out West to give their sons a better life – to escape the horrors of a post-era Civil war. That was before her husband was mauled to death by a bear in the rugged Colorado wilderness. It was before anger and bitterness took root in her life...
My Thoughts: first off, let me just say up front, I really do like Tamera’s writing – really, I do. But I think she lingers too long at certain points in the book, which then translates into a repetitive situation that lasts far too long – and maybe even causes the reader to start losing interest in the plot. Or forget. That was my first thought during the reading of this particular novel and I think it is true on ones first impressions of Tamera’s style. I thought of the three, this novel was her best, but that may have just been because I read about these two characters in each book leading up to this, the third and final novel. One such example comes when the heroine hurts herself and is then forgotten for a chapter and a page or two. (Additionally, the parallel event to one character’s past which climaxes the novel was an unoriginal way to end the novel in my inexperienced opinion.) I know that the author wants to keep a reader interested and desires to keep us engrossed in the book, but sometimes things can be forgotten – or maybe it just has something to do with the fact that I have been reading through my shelf full of books slower than molasses.
You might think it unusual that I am sharing my thoughts on just this, the third novel of Tamera’s Timber Ridge series, but I started this series much earlier in the summer and wouldn’t feel like I was giving it a fair assessment to go back and organize my thoughts on From a Distance and Beyond this Moment. Instead I’ll just encompass my conclusions here with a focus on Within my Heart. The trilogy is best read in the proper order because Rachel and Rand appear in all three novels, and therefore their characters and eventual attraction is subtly built up little by little, creating the very foundation of this novel and their own stories. Plus the first novel (From a Distance) sets up a large portion of Rachel’s back-story and her bitterness over the loss of her husband – she blames the hero, Daniel for Thomas’ death. That terrible feeling that she carries like a burden in her life is a big part of her story and the principal acts that lead up to her story which, of course takes place in this novel. Then the middle title (Beyond this Moment) is about Rachel’s elder brother, James. Rachel’s story is almost obtrusively tied up in heartbreak and resentment which leaves us – the reader with somewhat of a sour taste considering she is a Christian. On the one hand, it isn’t bothersome because Tamera is a skilled author and she always manages to write a good yarn taking us always on a journey of sorts but on the other end of the spectrum, and from purely a reader’s perspective, her style of writing can prove mildly annoying.
Despite my griping, every character is richly developed and Tamera creates a great amount of detail in each of her settings. I liked how steadfast the majority of the characters are and yet, many are not without flaws. One such character is a known drunk but he isn’t a “bad” person, and he has positive influences both on the story outline and in the people urging him to become a better, clear-headed more productive man. If anyone would ask me for book recommendations in historical settings, I would recommend this series… but let’s just say I am more curious about Tamera’s newest series than what I’ve read by her thus far. Knowing that the series somewhat of a different setting makes me all the more curious.