I love to request free books to review. In fact I subscribe to three review sites: Book Crash, Book Rooster and The Bookplex, but sometimes I have the privilege to review a book by an author I know or one who is brave enough to contact me for a review.
Jacalyn Wilson emailed me recently asking if I’d would review her Christian romance/mystery book Mountain Girl (Heaven’s Mountain Trilogy), book 2 of a trilogy she has self-published through KDP. I was glad to find a mystery in this book as intriguing as in Heaven’s Mountain, though I’m not fond of romances. Still, as with In The Aerie of the Wolf by Leonora Pruner, I do my best to read the book in light of what a romance reader might enjoy.
Here is the description of Mountain Girl:
In the valley below Heaven’s Mountain lies the quiet town of Providence, where life and love and friends and mysteries continue to grow and flourish.
Pardoned and released from prison after almost thirty years, James MacEwen is now a free man. But his freedom is not complete, for the years of incarceration still bind him, in ways he has yet to understand. Until he deals with the past he cannot fully live – or love – in the present.
Clare Morgan, the playful, gutsy owner of the boarding house, has been hoping for more than friendship from James, but her wait so far has been futile. And now, the arrival of a new boarder, the handsome Mr. English, has made her reconsider her options. She may choose not to wait any longer.
While Grace and Ethan anticipate the arrival of their first child, there’s a growing tension between them over Ethan’s new job offer and Grace’s insistence on continuing her career in journalism. With neither of them wanting to compromise and with communication at a standstill, they must seek the truth behind their attitudes and be willing to submit – to each other and to God.
If you don’t want to know about anything specific that happens in the book, please skip to The Overall… section.
Jackie’s message of learning to let go of guilt was refreshing. I found myself often pausing and considering the questions posed in the book on the reasons behind why we allow ourselves to suffer those burdens when we should let them go and move forward in our lives.
The writing has greatly improved in this book with very little head hopping, as well as deeper character development. Grace and Ethan’s arguments over whether Grace will go back to work after the baby is born seem very much in keeping with the time period the story is set in.
The overall romance story between James and Clare is also nicely tied up at the end without any long, drawn-out scenes. In fact, I absolutely adored the scene where James discovers Tom isn’t involved with Clare. Priceless.
The biggest drawbacks in Mountain Girl, and this may sound odd coming from a former minister, were the number of prayer scenes. While it does show that prayer is an important part of our lives and gives some good examples of the simplicity of prayer, not one of them really helps move the story along.
My other disappointment was that the mystery was easily solved and didn’t appear until several chapters into the book. But, again, I’m not fond of romances so it was the mystery that held my interest more than the actual genre.
All in all, this is an excellent romance with just a hint of mystery. I would recommend Mountain Girl (Heaven’s Mountain Trilogy) by Jacalyn Wilson to anyone who wants a comforting read.