Book Review: Hope by Lori Copeland

BridesOfTheWest.LoriCopelandSynopsis: After the death of their father, three sisters decide to become mail-order brides so as not to be a burden to their only relation, an elderly aunt. Hope has accepted the suit of John Jacobs, a mercantile owner in Medford, Kentucky, but her stagecoach is held up by robbers. One of the robbers is a government agent tasked with infiltrating the gang and discovering who is leaking information to the outlaws, but soon finds himself trying to keep Hope out of danger and into the arms of her fiancé.

Plot: This was by far the most interesting storyline of the three sisters’ stories. Other than the knowledge that everything will go wrong, you never know just what was going to happen next! The lot is completely unbelievable, but an incredible adventure nevertheless.

Point of View: The story alternates between Hope’s journey towards her groom, and of John Jacobs waiting for his bride. The trip to Medford is mostly told from Hope’s perspective, but does occasionally include Dan Sullivan’s outlook.

Theme: The idea behind this novel seems to be that God has a plan for each of us. We might not like what happens and we might not understand why it must happen, but it will all come about to God’s will. It also shows that no matter what situation we may find ourselves in, there is always a way to spread the word of the Lord.

Character Development: Frog is one of the outlaws who kidnap Hope. We know that he rides with two other criminals robbing stagecoaches, and acquired his nickname from the damage he received to his throat during a brawl. As the story continues Frog begins to speak up for himself, and eventually for Hope. In the end he tries to atone for his sins and wants to follow God’s word.

Romance: From the beginning it is obvious to the reader that Hope is unsure of the man she picks to be her husband as she isn’t pleased with the idea of being a mail-order bride nor is she overly fond of her fiancé’s appearance in the picture he sent her. On the other hand, Hope immediately notices one of the outlaws –the masquerading government agent- and is attracted to him until, over time, she finally falls in love with Dan.

Quote: You are the only woman I know who could get herself kidnapped twice and consider it a blessing.

The Verdict: This is definitely my favourite of the three Lori Copeland novels. It is funny without being slapstick, serious without being heavy, and teaches about God without sermonizing.

Book Review: Patience by Lori Copeland

Synopsis: A mistaken identity has Patience kidnapped, but she managed to escape only to find herself lost in the Colorado Mountains. Searching for shelter, Patience finds safety in a mining dugout and an orphan boy, Wilson. The boy convinces Patience to claim the mine because it is rumoured to have gold. The only problem is that no one wants to work for a woman or in a “haunted” mine… no one except Jay Longer.

Setting: This novel takes place mostly in the Colorado Mountains at the Mule’s Head mine. Near the mine is a dugout, which passes as a home for Patience and Wilson.

Plot: The storyline was far more interesting than the previous two novels about these mail-order brides, but didn’t fulfil its full potential. All the correct elements are there, yet just miss out on captivating the reader.

Writing Style: For this book, Lori didn’t do her research… on her own work. The novel opens claiming a scene from Glory’s book but filling it with a character from Ruth’s book. From that point on, the reader looses faith in the rest of the novel.

Pacing: Similar to the other books in this series, Lori has a tendency to lead up to a moment and pass over the expected scene to a point later in time. For example, Jay is badly injured and the only scene between that and recovery is a couple moments with the local healer rather than any details about his recovery that had potential for character growth.

Character: Gamey O’Keefe is the man said to haunt the Mule’s Head mine for the past thirty-some years since his death.  He causes accidents with mining tools, cave-ins, and other hauntings. He managed to scare away most prospectors, but Jay suspects he’s a man trying to jump claim on the mine.

Romance: When the Denver Sheriff went looking for Patience, you knew it was he who would capture Patience’s heart rather than the kidnapper. Patience fell in love too easily and Jay should have realized he was in love sooner because it had already smacked him in the face, so the relationship felt a little convoluted for the sake of the plot line.

Character Development: There wasn’t much growth in the three main characters of this novel. Patience became more stubborn; Jay found renewed hope in life and God; Wilson learned about God and about family. There was potential for more, but the end result fell a little flat.

Quote: Wilson rounded the bush a third time, flinging his arms and screeching. The convict threw him a practical glance. “The boy has a rooster after him.”

The Verdict:  The second trilogy in the Brides of the West series falls short of the first set. This book was better than the previous, “Ruth”, but not quite matching “Glory.” If you start this mini-series, do read it, but if you don’t plan on reading the previous two, don’t bother.

Book Review: June by Lori Copeland

Synopsis: After the death of their father, three sisters decide to become mail-order brides so as not to be a burden to their only relation, an elderly aunt. June has accepted the suit of Eli Messenger, a young assistant pastor in Seattle, who feels God has led him to help build an elaborate tabernacle there. June takes up the cause, but soon feels more drawn to the neglected orphans. Torn between the two needs, June soon finds herself fighting with and fighting an attraction for Parker Sentell, Eli’s best friend who opposes the tabernacle in favour of the orphans.

Location: The novel takes place in Seattle, Washington, yet back in the 1800s. It isn’t a large city filled with towering buildings, but a highly forested area with fields and water bodies. It lends a bit of history to the story to be reminded that America wasn’t always the metropolis it seems to be now, but a still-growing nation.

Plot: Ironically, the story line I thought the previous novel in this series, Faith, would take occurs in this novel. The mail-order bride was brought to town to marry one man, but just may be there to marry another. The conclusion of this book also mimicked the other novel at first, but soon took its own –and more satisfying- ending.

Theme: This novel shows that we need to care about one another, help those in need in whatever way we can. This is revealed by June’s desire to lend a hand with the orphans and further illuminated when the pastor reads from Matthew 25.

Character: Samantha is a sixteen-year-old girl from England who came to Seattle to care for her aging aunt. Instead she finds herself running the orphanage as her aunt’s health deteriorates further. Sam and June met on the boat to Washington and become fast friends, and they work together to raise funds for the orphanage.

Romance: Eli and June become companionable immediately, but Parker seems to take an immediate dislike to the girl for reason that is never made clear. In Eli’s absence, Parker becomes progressively protective of June and eventually comes to care for her. The pair have a tendency to miscommunicate, not uncommon between genders, and thus realistically depicts that pride can cause you to loose what you love most.

Quote: God answers prayers. In his own time and in his own way –sometimes he says yes; sometimes he says no; sometimes he says wait. But always, always he answers us.

The Verdict: This novel was as well written as Lori Copeland’s first inspirational novel, but has a bit less predictable plot. I found I enjoyed the book as much as the previous in the series, and hope that each consecutive book continues to improve.

 Previous Reviews: Cassandra’s SongA Place Called HomeThe Doctor’s BlessingFound TreasureFaith

Book Review: Faith by Lori Copeland

Synopsis: After the death of their father, three sisters decide to become mail-order brides so as not to be a burden to their only relation, an elderly aunt. Faith has accepted the suit of Nicholas Shepherd who owns a ranch in Texas, but every time they go to get married something comes up to postpone the wedding. Obstacles and miscommunication make the pair believe that the marriage may not be meant to be, even as they begin to fall in love.

Author: Though she has now written over fifty books since she first started in 1982, this is Lori Copeland’s first inspirational novel. She has won awards for both her historical and contemporary novels, but Lori still feels that this book is her proudest achievement.

Product: The most inspiring thing about the cover art is the font of the title; even the back is more interesting in its appearance of old parchment paper. The pages within this trade paperback are occasionally skewed to a slight slant, but the wide margins prevented any words from being lost.

Writing Style: The story has what it takes to be a tale of hilarious hijinx, but instead manages to keep a level of seriousness throughout. While the tone may not be funny, it is still light-hearted and enjoyable without taking away from the gravity of how important the decision of marriage really is.

Plot: The tale of a mail-order bride having trouble getting to the ceremony is full of potential, added is the fact that the woman is a tomboy who would much rather be hammering a nail than threading a needle.  While I personally feel this combination could have been dealt with more comically without taking away from the solemnity of the topic of marriage, it still worked out nicely.

Point of View: While most of this novel is told from Faith’s perspective, it occasionally allows the reader to see into the minds of both Nicolas and his mother, Liza. Without these snippets of alternate perspectives, the reader would be less likely to sympathize with the mother and son, leading to a dislike of the pair.

Character: Adam Walters is a boy around five years old and was born blind. He will never be able to see, but doesn’t let that stop him from doing anything. He has to try harder than everyone else who takes vision for granted.

Theme: The relationship between the heroine and a motherless boy in this story is similar to a parable. Faith is a young mail-order bride who intends to teach Adam, a blind boy, how to use his imagination to picture things as well as how to read Braille.  Faith is teaching a blind boy how to see; belief allows unbelievers to recognize God’s love and turn to him.

Quotes: If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.

Her sister always said she hugged the life out of people, but she didn’t care.

The Verdict: Lori Copeland is a very talented writer who creates interesting plots. The character’s relationship with God was tightly woven into the story, never seeming unnatural or preachy. While she doesn’t surpass my current favourite Lori Wick, I will definitely continue to read the Brides of the West series

 Previous Reviews: Cassandra’s SongA Place Called HomeThe Doctor’s Blessing

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Books In My Mailbox (aug-3)

This meme is hosted by The Story Siren.

Sorry for not having any posts this past week, I’ve been on holiday! But even taking time off from everything doesn’t mean I haven’t acquired a few new books to read…

My grandmother graciously offered to loan me her Brides of the West series by Lori Copeland. I had been wanting to try out some new Christian writers, and Nana’s bookshelves are always the place to go. She only had five of the six books, but thank heavens for libraries!

Previous IMM: Cassandra’s SongA Place Called HomeThe Doctor’s Blessing