Publication Date: January 1, 2012
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Genre: Christian fiction, Inspirational
Pages: Paperback, 410pp
(Received for an honest review from Revell Books)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, ChristianBook, IndieBound
Amanda Cabot on the WEB: website, facebook
Excerpt from Summer of Promise
Though she had planned to spend the summer in Vermont, Abigail Harding cannot dismiss her concerns over her older sister. Charlotte's letters have been uncharacteristically melancholy, and her claims that nothing is wrong ring false, so Abigail heads west to Fort Laramie, Wyoming. When her stagecoach is attacked, Wyoming promises to be anything but boring. Luckily, the heroics of another passenger, Lieutenant Ethan Bowles, save the day.
Abigail plans to marry when she returns to Vermont, just as soon as she attends to her sister. As the summer passes, she finds herself drawn to this rugged land and to a certain soldier determined to persuade her to stay. When summer ends, will she go back East, or will she find her heart's true home?
Amanda Cabot brings readers the first book in the new Westward Winds, Christian historical fiction series. In Summer of Promise the author has a way of bringing the setting alive with rich period detail and compelling characters. Her laid back writing style is sure to delight fans and intrigue new readers. Cabot weaves suspense and mystery effortlessly with romance and history to create a novel that will be hard to put down and even harder to forget.
Amanda Cabot's Texas Dreams series made me a fan of her work. But the debut novel in her new series made an even bigger impression on me. I have been a reader of Christian fiction, especially historicals for a long time and often have issues with how inspirational authors tend to repeat or rehash the same old story lines. This was certainly not the case with Summer of Promise. Though some of the ideas were essentially typical Christian fiction themes, Cabot breathes new life into them with amazing characters.
Abagail is a real gem. She is gracious and refined, yet able to appreciate the ruggedness of Wyoming and the people who called it home. Abagail left Vermont to visit her sister in Wyoming but never imagined she would develop such a love for the country and for one particular Fort Laramie soldier. I always enjoy a book where the hero or heroine finds themselves longing for something they didn't even know was possible before they met that special someone. They think they have it all figured out, but Abagail quickly finds that she had no idea what love and marriage was all about until she met Ethan. They were a fantastic couple.
Ethan is what every woman wants in a hero. He's handsome and strong. He has ambition and drive in his career and he's loyal, and understands what sacrifice is all about. But he isn't perfect and I think that's what makes his character so compelling. His childhood left a lot of scars that he has tried to gloss over and forget about, but when he finds himself face to face with the woman of his dreams he isn't quite sure what to do with her and I liked that. He was a great hero.
One of the things that really stood out to me in this novel was the use of setting. Cabot obviously knew her way around Wyoming and more importantly Fort Laramie. I could see the amazing amount of research that had to go into making the landscape and the terrain come alive. Cabot is extremely descriptive and readers won't be able to help feeling the wind on their cheeks and the dust in their throats. The images are just that vivid.
The mystery mixes well with the history in this novel and readers are treated to suspense and romance. Cabot introduces a lot of twists and turns to keep the reader off balance. Just when you think you got it figured out... the bottom drops out and Cabot leads you somewhere else. I loved the way she adeptly worked the reader and brought them to the right place at the right time to figure it all out.
The Christian side of things was subtle but not completely in the background. Both lead characters had to come to terms with what they thought God wanted for their lives. It was easy to see that Cabot's intention was to show the reader that a Christian life, isn't boring or hum drum. Change is the spice of life and figuring out where you fit into that change is an amazing journey.
Cabot gives readers an intriguing first book. She doesn't answer every question. It isn't tied up in a neat package, which gives a lot of interest for book two. I can't wait to read it... in the mean time... If you're a Christian fiction fan... you gotta read this one!
Available February 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Amanda Cabot is a popular speaker and the author of Paper Rose, Scattered Petals, and Tomorrow's Garden as well as a number of novels under various pen names. She's an avid traveler who finds inspiration for new stories in her travels and enjoys sharing new parts of the country with her readers. A former Easterner, she now lives in Wyoming.