Title: Dangerous Heart (Westward Hearts Book 3)
Author: Tracey Bateman
Publisher: Avon Inspire (October 14, 2008)
Genre: Christian fiction / Romance / Western
Edition: Uncorrected Proof - I received this book as part of the Harper Collins First Look program
Perfect for : Personal reading, Book Club reading (Discussion questions are included in the back of the book)
In a nutshell: I enjoyed this book a lot, it has a great mix of adventure, romance, danger and life in a wagon-train! Having very little female influence in her life growing up, Ginger Freeman is now a little rough around the edges, but it makes her very lovable and refreshing. Raised within a band of outlaws, her original intent when joining the wagon-train was to kill Grant, the man she believes had a hand in the death of her older brother. She finds that Grant is a skilled doctor with a willingness to help others, and a faith that runs deep. Now she is faced with a choice - go through with her plan, or return to the outlaws without having avenged her brother's death. As a reader, I got to see the slow transformation of Ginger as her faith grew. Once I got into the story, I couldn't put the book down. It was a very enjoyable read, and I'd like to feel that I learned a few things about prairie life and the west.
From the back cover:
For the past seven years, Ginger Freeman has had one goal: find Grant Kelley and make him pay for allowing her brother to die. Growing up motherless with a father who leads an outlaw gang, Ginger isn’t exactly peaches and cream. So when she finally tracks down Grant on a wagon train headed west, she figured providence had stepped in and given her the chance she’s been waiting for. On the wagon train, finally surrounded by a sense of family and under the nurturing eye of Toni Rodde, Ginger begins to lose her rough edges. She’s made friends for the first time and has become part of something bigger than revenge. Not only has her heart softened toward people in general, but God has become a reality she never understood before. And watching Grant doctor the pioneers, she’s realized she can’t just kill him and leave the train without medical care. Putting her anger aside, before long, Ginger’s a functioning part of the group.But when the outlaw gang, headed by her pa, shows up and infiltrates the wagon train, she is forced to question her decision. Only self-sacrifice and her new relationship with God can make things right. But it might also means she loses everything she’s begun to hold dear.
Gunfire in the middle of the night was never good.
The blast startled Ginger Freeman from the first sound sleep she'd had in a week. She bolted upright in the tent she shared with her friend and fellow traveler, Toni Rodden, and fumbled around in the dark for her moccasins.
I really did enjoy this book, but think I would have liked it even better if I had read the two previous books. The book is great as a stand-alone book, but I did see parts that referred to the earlier story in Ginger's life, that were most likely filled in with the previous books. That said, the book really was fine to read all by itself.
Characters: Tracey's book was filled with fascinating characters such as Lane (a despicable outlaw), Sam Two Feathers (religious leader/Native American within the wagon train), Ginger (main character, raised in a band of outlaws, bent on revenge), Web (Ginger's good-for-nothing "pa" and outlaw leader), Grant (the wagon-train doctor whose wife was killed during a raid by the outlaws led by Web), I could go on and on - there were a few more important characters, but in all they were very well-developed and it was great to see some of the characters have a change of heart and gain in faith. If you get a chance to pick up the book, please come back and let me know how you like Miss Sadie. She is possibly one of my favorite characters in quite a while!
Story-Line: It was a faith-filled (but not preachy) book, teaching forgiveness and instilling hope in both the characters and the reader. Taking place in the 1850's, a wagon-train headed for Oregon runs into a band of outlaws and has to face the odds when Cholera runs through the community. If that isn't enough to encourage a person to find faith, add in three scheming outlaws (at least), a wealthy man heading west to start a new life with his two kids, a doctor who lost his wife during a raid by those same outlaws, and a girl who was raised by outlaws, who is now surrounded by open, honest, faith-filled friends. It was very entertaining and enjoyable.
Readability: I found the book easy to read. The authors style and pace were both good.
Overall: A fun book that ends the Westward Hearts trilogy very well. If you are a fan of Christian fiction, prairie life, wagon-trains, etc, you will enjoy this book.
About the Author: (from the publisher)
Tracey Bateman is the award-winning author of many books, including Kansas Home. She lives in Missouri with her husband and their four children.
Visit her site here.
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