Blessing

BlessingBlessing by Lyn Cote
Series: Quaker Brides
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Tyndale on July 1, 2015
Pages: 384
Also in this series: Faith
Also by this author: Faith

 

After being wooed by a high-ranking member of Cincinnati society, Blessing Brightman leaves her family and beliefs behind to marry. Widowed young and determine to never to give up herself in such a way again, Blessing reclaims her faith and vows to use her wealth and influence for women’s rights and abolition. Gerard Ramsey, son of a wealthy Boston family, comes to Cincinnati to escape his father’s schemes of marriage. Moreover, he wants to break with his father, in a way that will anger him, while providing himself with his own independence. His planning is soon complicated by Widow Brightman and her tendency for speaking to him as his equal and her challenge to consider the lives of others over his own for once. As racial tensions rise in Cincinnati, Blessing and Gerard struggle to find common ground as violence escalates to harm not only them, but their loved ones as well.

Lyn highlights the injustices and perils that women faced during that time and how anyone opposing them was often scrutinized and targeted by society as well.

I always appreciate when an author doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of history. Lyn doesn’t gloss over anything – this story is full of hurting people, whether they are orphans, prostitutes, free blacks, escaped slaves or a young woman fighting for her life and her distraught husband. Lyn highlights the injustices and perils that women faced during that time and how anyone opposing them was often scrutinized and targeted by society as well. She also includes several historical figures within the story – Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass to name a few. I loved the impact that they had on Gerard, as I’m sure they had in history at the time. Because they add a lot of historical significance and depth to the story, these were the aspects of the story that I appreciated most.

I often felt that the characters feelings and some of the tense scenes in the story were told to me, rather than shown.

While I did enjoy Blessing more than the first book in the series, there was just something that didn’t click with the writing style. I didn’t find the details that I typically crave when reading historical fiction. I often felt that the characters feelings and some of the tense scenes in the story were told to me, rather than shown. I know this is not every reader’s preference, which is obvious because Lyn has a lot of fans of this book and its predecessor. The story itself is very entertaining and Blessing is an engaging character. Gerard is not as easy to root for, but he makes a compelling transition from selfish to selfless, and I ended up liking him in the last half of the story. I also love when authors let readers know what has become of characters from previous books – it was great to see what happened to Honor and Sam and the rest of their family.

Blessing possesses a lot of spunk and tenacity, and because of her position in society as both a widow and a Quaker, it rings true throughout the story.

While there were some aspects of the story that I didn’t love, I still found a lot to appreciate about Blessing. Blessing possesses a lot of spunk and tenacity, and because of her position in society as both a widow and a Quaker, it rings true throughout the story. Blessing is committed to helping those in need in Cincinnati, and while Gerard Ramsey seems at odds with everything she stands for, she can’t help but feel he is simply masking a greater hurt. The contrast that their personalities created within the story is very compelling. Their verbal debates are entertaining, but also provoked me to think more deeply about injustices and how my actions might affect others.

That is ultimately what I came away from after reading this story – your choices have consequences, whether just coming back at you or another person, and even if today most of our actions are not as grand and sweeping as Blessing’s, you can still make a difference in the lives of those around you – choosing to act even in simple ways can make a difference.

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