Monday, July 9, 2012

Book Review: Chasing the Sun

Chasing the Sun (Land of the Lone Star)
Author Tracie Peterson is well-known for writing historical Christian fiction, and I've enjoyed several of her other books. So I was excited to get to read "Chasing the Sun" because the story-line is based in my home state, Texas, shortly after the Civil War.

The two main characters, Hannah and William, come from two different backgrounds... Hannah's family moved west to Texas during the War to get away from the conflict. William and his brothers & father left their ranch in Texas to join the fighting on the Union side. Being viewed at traitors, William's ranch is given to Hannah's father as a reward for Confederacy loyalty. When Hannah's father leaves to visit a sick relative back in Mississippi, she is left with her younger siblings in charge of the ranch. William returns home as the only survivor of the family after the fighting, he finds that the ranch no longer belongs to him and wants to do everything he can to regain it. A variety of situations (deceptive business partner, indians, sickness, etc...) throw together the main two characters, and following very predictable romance fiction, they fight falling in love and don't have real conversations until the end. Two minutes of talking could have solved a lot of problems. But both characters fight pride and independence.

The various situations in this book honestly made it hard to swallow all in one story. Yes, a lot of those things happened back in that time period, but for them to all happen in just a few months, and to the same young woman (she's only 19), and everything to always turn out in her favor, just wasn't realistic. I also felt like the author was trying to impose current viewpoints on slavery, prejudices, male-female roles, etc... all into one character that didn't give the story an authentic fit to be 1860's Texas. Basically, too much history and flavor was packed into one story, and it would have been more enjoyable if it was kept simpler.

I think this is the first book I've read by Tracie Peterson that I would honestly say to a friend, "Skip it. Don't bother." I had a hard time sticking to the story, and often thought to myself "Seriously? That's where this is going? She just said this? She did what?" and I finished it only because I needed to as part of the book review program by Bethany House. Check out some of her other books, because she is a skilled historical fiction author, but this book didn't meet my expectations.

* I received a copy of this book from Bethany House publishers in exchange for an honest review. This review is completely my own, and all the opinions expressed in it are mine and not Bethany House!

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