Through the Bethany House Blogger Review program, a few weeks ago I downloaded an e-version of Tracie Peterson's new novel, A Beauty Refined. It's the second novel in her Sapphire Brides series, and the first I have read by her. Ms. Peterson is a prolific inspirational novel writer, with many series in her collection.
Quick synopsis: Set in 1890s, Phoebe von Bergen is a lovely, young German woman traveling alongside her father as he searches for sapphires for a sapphire-obsessed Duchess. We join them on their journey in Helena, Montana, where an unexpected informant shocks Phoebe with truth about her family that will turn her life completely upside down and inside out. Along the way, she falls in love with a handsome man who is a lapidary* dealing with his own past relationship issues, where lies and untruth have committed him to living a life of nothing less than pure honesty. While Phoebe falls in love, she faces great danger as she attempts to confront the dishonesty surrounding her own family.
My thoughts: This is one of those fascinating to read stories, where a mystery begins almost immediately and is resolved somewhat quickly, revealing one of the main conflicts of the novel. Add a "love at first sight" relationship (or at the very least a "very interested at first sight" relationship), and I was hooked. Phoebe von Bergen is a true treasure, and I could not help but cheer at how very explicitly Ms. Peterson shared the Gospel. In the book, we see Phoebe begin to walk with God. Love!
This was an interesting story wrapped in a setting and topic that was completely unfamiliar to me. I knew nothing of the mining or refining of sapphires before reading it. This is one of the things we love about books--going somewhere we've never gone before, yes?
I enjoyed this one. If you're looking for a light read and enjoy American West historical fiction (that's what I'd classify this as), check it out.
*New vocabulary word for me. A lapidary is a person who cuts, polishes, and engraves gem stones.