by Fran Shaff

January 2006
ISBN: 1-58749-537-6
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After Jared Sterling’s good friend Shamus and his wife Darlene died of scarlet fever he was left temporary guardian of their eight year-old daughter Loreena. Jared was more than a little upset that Shamus left Loreena in the care of Darlene’s stepsister the beautiful Amanda Fairchild. He, being a devout Christian, came to accept this but was still concerned about Loreena’s future with the surprising lovely, but not very religious, Miss Fairchild.

Amanda Fairchild had never forgiven her stepsister Darlene for leaving her two years ago to become a mail-order bride to Shamus O’Fallon. The only reason she accepted responsibility for Loreena was to ensure a better life for herself off the inheritance left to the little girl. She found the wilds of untamed, uncultured Riverside, Missouri distasteful and planned to uproot Loreena and start a life for them back in St. Louis. The only thing that threatened her plans was her near instant infatuation with Jared Sterling. She was intrigued by his intellect and strong character and found herself drawn to him.

Fran Shaff has written a simple tale strongly founded on human spirituality and what it means to truly place your life in the hands of God. Amanda was a stray sheep only in need of a little encouragement to find her way back onto the righteous path. Jared Sterling was a big contributor to her self discovery and as they grew closer through shared interests their love for each other blossomed.

Amanda’s character is easy to identify with. Never giving too much thought to her Christian beliefs and relying primarily on herself for survival. The story, at times, lacked certain warmth and did not focus on actual romance as much as it did Christian faith.

In the end it seemed that if it were not for an obvious sign from God the pair would have simply gone their separate ways even though they both admitted deep love for each other. It’s simplicity at times was a tad refreshing with no other major obstacles standing in the way of their true love. For some of these reasons I would recommend the book as more of an inspirational novel rather than a basic romance.

Reviewed in December 2005 by Kelly-Anne.

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