Saturday, June 20, 2015

Steadfast Heart by Tracie Peterson

        Despite her spoiled upbringing, twenty-year-old Lenore Fulcher isn’t pretentious. She simply believes a marriage should be built on true love. Her father, however, thinks she’s wasted enough time searching for the perfect husband. He wants to marry her off to one of his business partners—who is seventeen years her senior—an idea that is out of the question for Lenore.
        Kolbein Booth, a young lawyer from Chicago, arrives in Seattle looking for his headstrong sister, who he believes may have answered an advertisement for mail-order brides. Sick with worry, he storms into the Madison Bridal School, demanding to see his sister, only to learn she isn’t there. But Lenore Fulcher is, and something about her captures his attention.
        Is this the man Lenore has been searching for? She may not have long to find out…

        I am writing this review a little bit differently than I usually do; you'll see why in a moment. Let me start of by saying that I have read many of Tracie Peterson’s novels and, up to this point, have thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. She usually has a wonderful writing style that draws you into the setting, the story, and makes you love the characters. Clearly you can see why I would be disappointed when this book fell flat for me. Now, I hate writing bad reviews, but some things just have to be said, so I’m going to try to explain this in the nicest way possible. And, hopefully, you won’t find any of the information I relate contains spoilers.
        Based on the synopsis, you would think this novel—the first book in Tracie’s Brides of Seattle series—focuses on Lenore and Kolbein, correct? Wrong. I expected it to as well, and was extremely disappointed when I found that at least one-third of the book—if not more—was actually about Lenore’s best friend Abrianna, whose own book is supposed to be the third in the series (releasing in October). With so much of the book being devoted to another character—and the six point of views this novel bounced between—I had a hard time really getting to know Lenore and Kolbein. What little I did learn about the two of them was not necessarily very good, with Lenore being a bit shallow and whiny, and Kolbein being somewhat judgmental and very wishy-washy.
        On another note, the romantic aspect of this novel was very difficult to find believable. Lenore and Kolbein ‘fell in love’, and got engaged, rather quickly, had a fight, practically broke off the engagement, and then all of a sudden, with hardly any mention to their struggle with the subject, made up and started planning their wedding once more. As well as that, Kolbein’s search for his sister is picked up and dropped and then picked up again so many times it almost seemed like he didn’t really care enough about it, but then he would be in so much pain over it a few minutes later. And his sudden realization that she had ‘grown up’ once things were resolved didn’t help matters either. Also, for a man who was madly in love with Lenore, he spent a good amount of time trying to convince Abrianna that she was a beautiful woman.
        On that subject, let me speak a little about Lenore’s friend. Abrianna is portrayed as a heart-of-gold, fearless do-gooder who has no worries for her own safety, and has serious self-worth issues. Without regard for the dangers of the world, she constantly escapes the confines of the bridal school she lives in to help the poor and needy in the worst areas of town, completely and utterly alone. And we are assured—more than twenty times to be exact—that her friend Wade Ackerman is like a brother to her and is VERY concerned for her welfare. So, it appears someone is attempting to look after her, although apparently not enough because she sneaks out anyway, despite the fact that three men are murdered right outside their home. That is another issue I have with this book, as the murders are never resolved. I am curious to see if that is part of a lead-in for the next book, which releases July 7th, so I will most likely be reading that one as well. I am hoping that—as has been the case before with other authors—the second book will turn out better than the first.
        All-in-all, I did find a few things I liked about this novel. I do love the idea of a Bridal School, as it makes for some very interesting stories, and the three ladies who ran it did give me a few laughs. I also fell in love with Abrianna’s friend Wade, and am hoping to hear more about him in the following books, although Abrianna is a little to chatty and flighty for my tastes. Unfortunately, I have to limit this novel to only three bookshelves but, if fluffy, somewhat disconnected stories are something you like to read, you might very well enjoy this novel more than I did.
        Happy reading!

If you want to try this book for yourself or pick up the next one in the series, you can find both here.

All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Tracie Peterson and her publishers.

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