Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Review: The Desires of Her Heart by Lyn Cote

About the Book: A beautiful historical romance between a woman forced to make a new life on the Texas frontier with her overbearing stepfather, and the scout who leads their wagon train through the uncharted territory.

My Review: I have to say, for someone who generally doesn't actively seek out American historicals, I always seem to enjoy them when I do read them. I really enjoyed this unique time period of choice, and all of the excitement that Dorritt and Quinn faced as they traveled from New Orleans to Texas. The read was very addictive for me, I didn't want to put it down. That doesn't mean I thought it was perfect, though. My main problem was that the characters were very black or white..there wasn't a great deal of complexity in them, except for Quinn, who I loved. The stepfather was all evil and the half-sister was all evil. Meanwhile, Dorritt was wonderful and always very compassionate. In fact, except for a very small part where Dorritt's former maid spoke to her with confidence and Dorritt realized what a difference freedom made to her, she seemed to have no issues with race at all.

I guess it's possible that there were people like that during this time period, but I've noticed lately that it seems like in all of the Christian books that the Christians are the one exception to the rule..they pay their "slaves" or they are like Dorritt and befriend them. I'm sure there were some really amazing Christians who were indeed like this, but I have a hard time believing that the big lie of that society's time didn't affect their thinking at all. There must have been some ways in which they saw themselves as superior, conscious or not. So I guess that little part of the book did help to reveal that subtlety, but I would enjoy reading a book that was able to draw it out a bit more. It always make me wonder what we as a society think and feel that will later be regarded as wrong or discriminatory.

Overall, though, the book is packed with action, evil characters to hate and a fantastic hero! If you enjoy American historicals, particularly of the frontier age, than you might really enjoy this one. I certainly did. (minor rant aside, lol!) Oh and I just discovered that Becky had a rant of her own!

Rating: 3.5/5
Things You Might Want to Know: This is Christian fiction!



Michelle Sutton said...

Hey, loved that rant. I agree. I just think it's not PC for Christians to have real thoughts that are less than PC in many novels. I think people would actually appreciate the honesty, but it would make Doritt less likeable and that is always a struggle for authors. I believe in being honest and so do many African American authors (check out Illusions) and that's refreshing to me. The book is addicting though. Her writing style is clunky at times. Did you notice that?

Deborah said...

i haven't read the book yet (bad me) but i agree with you on the issue of slavery in Christian fiction. Those for slavery are usually portrayed as evil overseers or if a Christian HAS to have slaves they do it b/c it a financial necessity. and then they always treat their slaves good. and their slaves always love them. and never want to leave. and are happy. and even after freed still want to serve them.

oh and my favorite! a white Southerner will "save" a slave from the auction block and then attempts to free them. but the slave won't go! he wants to stay with the white guy b/c he owes him and follows him around and is pretty much a free servant for him. he is never once portrayed as even considering wanting to be free and leave the south. nope let's just stay with the white guy, in the south, and have everyone else think you're still a slave even though you're really free and have the "bad slave owners" try to force you back into slavery.

sorry for rant, but this was an actual plot in a Christian fiction book...

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

There are some really great American historical novels out there....just have to find them like you apparently have here! I've come to seek out American hf these days, especially Civil War/Western Expansion type stuff. (And I'm not even into Westerns). Good find, Amy!

Becky said...

Oh, I did think the characters were lacking a little humanity--it would have been nice to see some good in the "evil" step-family, and for our heroine to have at least a flaw or two. No one is that big a saint! For me, villains need to be developed enough that there are reasons they are the way they are...they need to have motivations and intentions...and it be more than just-to-introduce-conflict-into-the-heroine's life.

I did like Quinn though.

lilly said...

I am like you with not really seeking out historical fiction about America. But this one sounds really good and it is Chrictian fiction which i do like a lot.

Amy said...

Michelle--I haven't read Illusions..I'll look it up.

Deborah--wow! that's amazing! I'ts a tough issue to tackle I suppose.

Michele--I think I just got tired of pioneer books since that's all I consumed when I was young. (I overdosed on Janette Oke)

Becky--personally would find it hard not to like Quinn. ;)

Lilly--I think you'd enjoy this one!

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