It’s June 1885 and Abigail Harding is concerned about her sister, Charlotte. Charlotte’s letters have grown increasingly downhearted and Abigail is sure there’s something wrong – though Charlotte never mentions anything. Not that she would.
Since Abigail has the summer off from the girl’s school she teaches at in her beloved Vermont, she decides to travel to Fort Laramie, Wyoming where her sister lives with her enlisted husband to spend some time with her and get to the bottom of whatever’s going on.
On the monotonous travel by stagecoach to the fort, their stagecoach is attacked by armed robbers – which is how Abigail meets Lieutenant Ethan Bowles, a fellow passenger. He quite easily diffuses the situation with a well-placed bullet and back to traveling they go.
Despite being rattled by the incident, Abigail is even more disturbed when she reaches her sister and finds her thinner and in ill health. She knows she made the right decision visiting.
Yet Abigail knows she won’t stay forever – Vermont is her home, and she plans to marry a fellow teacher when she returns – though nothing has been set in stone yet. But as the summer continues she begins to see the beauty of Wyoming, with the help of Lieutenant Bowles who quickly becomes a good friend.
She begins to wonder… will she return to Vermont? Or is her heart finding a home elsewhere?
That might sound a tad cheesy, but stay with me here. :)
Summer of Promise is actually a very good novel – especially for an inspirational historical romance fan. It has a lovely, visual Wyoming landscape and a likable, independent heroine in Abigail who is dealing with an unhappy, worrisomely pregnant sister and her not-so-welcoming, possibly secretive husband, giving lots of good family drama which is both interesting and tender.
Ethan, as our male lead, also has a good chunk of character development and investment potential. The subplot dealing with his profession of finding the numerous deserters and traitors is actually quite absorbing and twisty, creating a novel long mystery that I enjoyed.
Though I wasn’t head over heels with Summer of Promise, I was pleasantly and gently swept away by the time period detail and burgeoning feelings between the leads. The biggest moment for me, though, was when Ethan had his epiphany about God (no details here!) and all the circumstances surrounding it. It was truly touching and emotionally beautiful – gave me chills!
I did correctly guess who the sought-after traitor amongst them was quite a bit earlier than the characters, but that only bothered me mildly. The outcome did end up being surprising, despite my seeing clues all along. It ended up being a great reveal. I only wish the end of the book hadn’t felt so hasty and rushed. Of course, that’s just how it felt to me.
Summer of Promise was easy to read, fast-paced, and very charming – though I’m not jumping up and down over it personally, I am definitely interested in continuing with the series (of which it looks like there’ll be two more books) as I did have fun reading it and found it to have many merits.
Don’t know if this is necessarily a novel for non-fans of the genre though. From my point of view, I’d recommend it to all y’all who are already interested in some good historical romance with a Christian heroine.
*Available January 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
*I received a copy of Summer of Promise from the Baker Publishing Group. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.