24 August 2012

Review: A Path Toward Love by Cara Lynn James

Katherine Osborne inherited the Osborne Citrus Groves near Buena Vista, Florida from her husband two years ago, and is now struggling to keep the business from bankruptcy. Her father visits and offers to loan her money on the condition that she returns to the upscale family camp in New York for the summer of 1905. She is reluctant to agree, knowing her mother will try and manipulate her into another marriage - this time, to someone acceptable, someone like Randy, the son of her mother's childhood friend. But Charles's infidelity has left Katharine wary of marriage, especially a marriage arranged by her domineering mother.

We learn more and more about Katherine's marriage as the story progresses, none of it good, and we understand why she is reluctant to want to marry again. Yet as Katherine is forced into a relationship with Randy, she begins to realise that maybe she does still have the capacity to love and the desire to marry again. But will she choose love or obedience, financial risk or security? She turns to Andrew Townsend, Randy's cousin, a childhood friend and now her father's employee, for support.

Katherine was an independent and headstrong heroine, and very likeable. She faced her dilemma with good grace, making the best decisions she could with the information she had (unfortunately, she didn't always have all the information she needed). Her mother was domineering and very hard to stand up to, and her father was a strong businessman, but weak in the way he let his wife rule their marriage.

Andrew was another likeable character, with a strong Christian faith, and not at all bitter that he had to work for a living while his cousin Randy did not. Randy seemed to think he deserved his privileged and unproductive lifestyle (and perhaps he did), but the contrast between the characters showed how overcoming adversity produces character.

At one point, Katherine’s father says, “Doesn’t she understand I work from dawn to dusk so she won’t have to?”. This line seemed to epitomise the so-called 'American Dream', yet this directly contradicts the biblical injunction that if a man does not work, he does not eat. It got me thinking about trust fund children both in 1905 when this story is set, and now, and wondering if perhaps this attitude is pursing the wrong dream. Surely our spiritual wellbeing is so much more important than the physical...

I always enjoy a book that can both keep me entertained, yet also make me think, so well done to A Path Toward Love. It reminds me of novels like She Walks in Beauty and Making Waves, but I think it's better than both of them. A historical romance that is well worth reading.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and Booksneeze® for providing a free book for review.

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