"A plate of apples, an open fire, and a 'jolly goode booke' are a fair substitute for heaven", vowed Barney. -L.M. Montgomery, 'The Blue Castle'
Saturday, February 28, 2009
The Inheritance by Tamera Alexander
publisher: Thomas Nelson
I initially wanted to write a scathing review of this book because it was certainly not my style and certainly not( as far as I could tell having read all of Alexander's other work) Alexander's style either. I almost want to go out on a limb and think that Alexander revised the initial form of this novel in order to have something to publish at Thomas Nelson for Women of Faith, but that is not a fair assessment since we cannot judge an author's intentions.
An author's note at the end of the book tells us that it was a revised story developed from one of her first attempts at writing. Oft rejected and having found success with her other series, Alexander shelved it... but the characters kept coming back to her.
I can easily say that the ingredients were there to make a escapist piece of romantic fiction, but they seemed to have been jumbled up somehow. So much so that I almost closed the book numerous times. It was, in my opinion, a step away from a Harlequin novel.
This, of course, was not appealing to me and I found some of the romantic strains woven into the narrative were less about love than physical lust.... not a bad thing, mind, if you are not working in the Christian field. So much was spent on the difficult passion ignited between Marshall Caradon and McKenna, that the characters did not express their views of the other's hearts.
As I thought more and more about this novel and how I found little enjoyment in it ( especially because I really liked Alexander's Remembered, Rekindled, etc., series and From A Distance--so much so I pre-ordered this month's ago), I realized that I am not the intended reader of this book.
This is a historical romance. I often tag Christian novels set in historical framework as "romances", merely because it always factors into the plot.... even if it is not the central theme. This book, however, is a romance novel..... a romance novel in the ilk of the Harlequin genre.
The more I thought about how it plays into its intended role, the more I found my initial distaste for the book mellowing.
If you are a romance reader you are going to love this novel. It has all of the formulaic elements needed to give you the satisfaction you search for. The characters are initially drawn to each other, have numerous obstacles to overcome and a bumpy ride toward happiness. Marshall Caradon is one-sexy-cop and if your pension for rugged terrain and men on horses informs your reading decisions then this is the book for you.
I thought Alexander could have followed up with her mention that McKenna's previous love had died in the line of duty....especially because widows and widowers and past loves and second chances are at the core of every one of her novels.
The theme of inheritance is interspersed throughout the novel ... in an unexpected way. It is not so much about the inheritance of money or property ( although that does factor ) as much as the inheritance of giftings and values.
I applaud Alexander for her knowledge of saddle-making. McKenna excels at it and this was a very "cool" job worthy of a tough woman!
For its intended audience, this is a sure-fire hit.
For those of you, like me, who like a little bit more quiet in your romance and passion, I highly recommend From a Distance: the first Alexander book I read and my favourite so far. The second in the series from which this book is derived will be published next month. I have pre-ordered it as well.
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