An Abbreviated Peek into Post-Civil War Love Trouble
A Heart’s Obsession
by Colleen Coble
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Will Sarah’s journey west lead her back into the arms of the one man she can trust?
When her father succumbs to a long illness, Sarah Montgomery is freed from duty to family. At last she can be with the love of her life, Rand Campbell, who has gone out west to Fort Laramie, Wyoming. Sarah and her younger brother Joel make the arduous journey filled with hope.
But at Fort Laramie, the reception Sarah meets isn’t what she had hoped for. Her friend Amelia is thrilled to have her, but Rand seems to be in the clutches of Jessica DuBois, the scheming daughter of the post commander.
Sarah resolves to remain at Fort Laramie and try to win Rand back. But things will get tougher before they get easier . . . especially when her ex-fiancé Ben Croftner arrives in Wyoming, obsessed with having her back in his arms.
A Heart’s Obsession continues the story started in A Heart’s Disguise. If you haven’t read the first book, I wouldn’t recommend jumping straight into book two. That said, unavoidably, much of what follows may be a spoiler. Consider yourself warned!
When Sarah Montgomery’s father dies, she is freed from her familial duty and may go after the man who ‘got away’ — Rand Campbell. Bolstered by her father’s death-bed blessing, Sarah leaves Indiana and heads west to Fort Laramie in pursuit of Rand.
As I said in my review of book one, this series is a six-part serialized publishing of Colleen Coble’s previously out-of-print early works. I’ve read novellas before, but honestly, none as brief as these. It’s hard to comment on a fragmented piece of a novel. When reviewing complete works, I like to reserve judgment until I’ve read the whole thing. Here, unfortunately, I don’t have that luxury. So take that into consideration.
My initial impressions gathered in part one are so far confirmed by part two — the narrative conflict continues to be soap opera-like melodrama. New characters are introduced and drawn in similar fashion to the familiar faces, without considerable depth. The good folks are virtuous and the bad guys are villainous. There is no moral ambiguity. Motivations, if shared, tend to be told rather than shown.
Once again, you won’t find any closure, only a continuation of the drama with another abrupt break in the story. Whether readers will be inspired to continue the story, I can’t guess. Sadly, I was not motivated to pick up the next volume. From what I can gather — and I’m no Coble expert — this series is not Coble’s best work, so it’s probably not the best place to start if you’re unfamiliar with her work. Still, if you like Christian historical fiction ‘lite’, and you happen to find these stories at a low price-point in digital format (which I suspect would be more suitable than print distribution for this series), I’d say pick one up, give it a go, and see for yourself.
— Dawn Teresa
3 of 5 Hearts. An Abbreviated Peek into Post-Civil War Love Trouble.
I had hoped that the preceding piece, A Heart’s Disguise, would be a good set-up for the longer story to come. However, reading a second fragmented segment of a whole left me less than inspired. While these stories are likely to find favor among devoted Coble fans who may read them for the sake of completeness, this new printing and format is not likely to gain the author a new audience.
(That said, this is a long-time, beloved author, and I wouldn’t make assumptions about her current work based on her early work. Nor would I assume that the remainder of Journey of the Heart doesn’t improve upon its first two parts.)
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. 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.”