Sunday, May 15, 2011

Beyond All Measure by Dorothy Love

Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis: In the post-Civil War town of Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, battle scars are still raw and festering prejudice threatens love and friendship. Ada Wentworth, a young Bostonian woman, moves to Hickory Ridge to become a lady’s companion to the feisty Lillian Willis.  Nursing a broken heart and healing from devastating losses, Ada strives to reclaim her life among the hills of Tennessee and achieve her dream of becoming a successful milliner. 

As she settles into life in Hickory Ridge, Ada is troubled by the activities of the Klan and the mistreatment of African Americans.  She soon discovers that her Northern heritage and perspectives are not entirely welcome in this quaint Southern town, and her Yankee blood may place her in danger.  But love also resides in Hickory Ridge, and Ada forms unexpected bonds with her fellow townspeople, Lillian, and Lillian’s nephew, Wyatt.  Can Ada and the town of Hickory Ridge overcome their past losses and embrace a future defined by faith and love?

Review: Beyond All Measure is a pleasant and fairly quick read. The historical setting and imagery reminded me somewhat of Tamera Alexander’s novels.  I enjoyed the overall plot of the novel as well as the introduction to secondary characters who will likely play more dominant roles in upcoming novels.  At times, I felt that the plot skimmed the surface of certain topics and events.  The novel would have been enhanced by a deeper examination of the problems faced by the main characters and the town as a whole.

Ada’s relationship with Wyatt is one of the primary focuses of Beyond All Measure. She struggles throughout the novel with her fear of opening her heart and finding the faith to embrace the future.  The ultimate resolution is rather swift at the end of the novel, though the epilogue does provide some closure.  Fortunately, readers have the prospect of seeing Ada and Wyatt again in the next novel.

Dorothy Love makes a definitive impression in the realm of Christian fiction with Beyond All Measure.  The first novel in the Hickory Ridge Romance series sets the tone for what readers can expect from Love’s future novels.  Beyond All Measure is set in a tumultuous time in the South, and it touches on some of the serious issues, such as racism, that defined the region for years.  If future novels delve deeper into the triumphs and flaws of Hickory Ridge, the Hickory Ridge Romance series promises to be an inspiring series.

I  received a complimentary copy of this book from BookSneeze (Thomas Nelson Publishers) through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above 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.”

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