The older I get, the more I want to read about older heroines. We're not talking old old here, but a 21-year-old falling in love isn't really my thing anymore (with some notable exceptions). So when I learned that Hope Reborn was about a 40-something woman who had never before been married, well, I knew I wanted to read it! Historical Christian 'Western Adventure' Romance Novel Hope Reborn is Book 3 in Caryl McAdoo's Texas Romance series scheduled to debut Jaunary 9th, 2015. Set in 1850, it tells the story of May Meriwether, a successful New York dime novelist thinking life is slipping away unfulfilled. She's bored with the same old heroes and heroines and stories and Uptown social circles. Then she spots an interesting article in the Tribune. Texas Ranger Levi Baylor and his Captain Wallace Rusk have captured the Comanche War Chief Bold Eagle. The wheels start turning. Throwing caution to the wind, she charges her companion Chester to arrange passage to Texas for the both of them. The Rangers will be wonderful hero models for some fresh stories wrought with adventure and intrigue. May couldn't know the troubles she'd find in Texas and what she could lose there in the new wild west state. Hope Reborn tells the story of May, a romance novelist, and Henry, a widower with quite the brood of children. The plot itself is simple and sweet: May is an independent woman who longs to be loved, and she finds that love with Henry. What complicates the situation is May's atheism, as Henry knows he can't marry a woman who isn't a Christian.
I enjoyed the slow unpacking of May's story and especially her connection to Chester, her companion. Actually, Chester was probably my favorite character in the novel—he wasn't afraid to "tell it like it was" to May, and he clearly loved her in a non-romantic way. Also, Henry's children (particularly the young ones) were completely adorable.
As for May and Henry, I struggled to get behind their romance. Perhaps I'm just a cynic, but "love at first sight" plots can be hard for me to swallow. Like or lust at first sight? Sure. But love? Not so much. Yet May and Henry were clearly in love just a couple of days after meeting, after spending only a small amount of time together. I also didn't particularly like May, and that made it hard to cheer for her happiness.
Also, though the book is written well, it never held my attention. I just couldn't muster up much interest in the story, and I struggled to get through the pages. I also had a hard time telling all the characters apart—there's a very large cast of characters—but I think that, had I read the previous two books in the series first, I would have been able to keep everyone straight.
When I was about 90% finished with the novel, something did grab my attention: the emerging story line involving Henry's daughter Mary Rachel. I do think that the novel featuring her story, which releases in May, could be fascinating.
Sometimes, a reviewer will have a completely different reaction to a book than virtually everyone else. This doesn't happen to me too often, but in this case, it has. I've seen the Amazon reviews for Hope Reborn, and I realize that my opinions are in the minority. While McAdoo's romance wasn't the book for me, I suspect many historical romance lovers will greatly enjoy it. 2-1/2 stars. See what others are saying. Buy the book. In April 2012, Caryl met Mary Sue Seymour at NETWO’s Spring Conference and wrote her first historical Christian romance set in the 1800s especially for the agent. (Whose maiden name was remarkably ‘McAdoo’!) Mary Sue offered representation in August, and VOW UNBROKEN sold in October to Howard Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. It debuted on March 4, 2014.
Six months later, book two in the Texas Romance series debuted, HEARTS STOLEN set in 1839-1844. Then two months later a new Biblical fiction series The Generations was born with volume one A LITTLE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS, the story of Adam and Eve, Cain and Sheriah, and Abel in Paradise with a kindly old cherub named Namrel!
Caryl, also known as Grami, has fourteen grandsugars (one more than she has books now) and enjoys painting and gardening. A proclaimed psalmist, she’s dedicated to serving God, loving praise and worship and that He frequently gives her new songs. Caryl believes all good things are from Him and prays her new books will minister His love, mercy, and grace to her readers.
To learn more about Caryl and her writing, visit her website: http://carylmcadoo.com/. Subscribe to The Caryler while you're there and receive a FREE e-book every quarter!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links on this page are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase a product, I will receive a commission. 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.” I am part of the CWA Review Crew.
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