Books that convey a strong sense of the setting are an engaging way to experience life in another location. That’s especially true for historical fiction. I have to admit that I haven’t read much historical fiction over the years but I’m beginning to enjoy the genre as a way to connect more with historic time periods.
I recently had the opportunity to read a free copy of the Christian historical romance novel “A Sweet Misfortune” by Maggie Brendan. I received it complimentary from the publisher, Revell, to facilitate my honest review.
This is a sweet Christian romance set in the Montana Territory in 1862. Rachel found herself in unfortunate circumstances that led to taking a job at a dance hall out of desperation for a means to support herself. She initially does not appreciate the help that arrives in the form of John, a successful cattle rancher who is friends with her brother.
John is reluctant to get involved with the situation since he questions Rachel’s morals. He helps her solely in deference to his friendship with her brother. His grandmother, however, is happy to help Rachel get on her feet with a job and a place to stay.
The main characters are likeable. They deal with the realities of life and death as well as spiritual issues of faith, morality, pride, and forgiveness within the Old West culture of 1862.
My favorite part about the book was its ability to transport me back in time. I enjoyed getting to experience the Old West through this book set on a cattle ranch and the nearby town.
On one hand, the setting seemed a little too easy for the residents, considering the time period. For example, the description of John’s home seems more comfy and cozy than I would have pictured, even for a cattle baron. The western town seems to have plenty of amenities.
On the other hand, the book depicted many of the hardships of the time. There were the limitations of medical care and the realities of traveling by horse and buggy in unpredictable weather. And the cowboys were out of reach of family and friends for a long period during the cattle drive since there was no cell service!
“A Sweet Misfortune” is the second book in the Virtues and Vices of the Old West series by Maggie Brendan. I had not read the first book in the series, but I had no trouble picking up in the second book and diving right into the story. This is a standalone book, and there was no sense that I had missed any backstory.
Overall, this was a good, clean Christian historical romance. It was quick to read, with short chapters and a storyline that moved along at a nice pace. It’s not a book of high drama with remarkable page-turning plot twists, but is a pleasant look at the everyday lives of characters during a season in 1862 Montana.
Thank you to the publisher, Revell, for a complimentary copy of “A Sweet Misfortune”
by Maggie Brendan to facilitate my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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