Monday, April 04, 2011
Ann Shorey's The Dawn of a Dream ~ Reviewed
The Dawn of a Dream (At Home in Beldon Grove)
Revell (April 1, 2011)
Luellen O'Connell is stunned and confused when her husband of just one month tells her he is leaving--and that he has another wife. Deeply wounded by this betrayal, Luellen decides to follow the dream she had set aside of obtaining a teaching degree. But her wayward husband left something behind when he abandoned her. Can Luellen overcome the odds and achieve her dream? Can she hide her secret, or will it destroy her dreams forever?
Heroine Luellen O’Connell captured my heart instantly. This strong, determined, independent woman wasn’t interested in marriage. It was the last thing on her mind. In fact, marriage would only hinder her dreams of becoming a school teacher. But then she met the handsome and charmingly-deceptive Brendan O’Connell and suddenly, she’s head over heels in love—and hitched. But just as the honey-moon stage of their marriage is about to begin, Brendan breaks her heart and pulls a Hudini on her. Which would be hard enough for any woman to swallow, but add the social stigma divorce carried in the mid-1800’s and it’s easy to why this devastated Luellen. How can she ever raise her head again?
Picking up the shattered pieces of her life and pride, she musters the strength to carry on. But one scornful glance after another makes it abundantly clear: she’ll never be able to move beyond her past if she remains in Beldon Grove.
Gathering together every ounce of determination and courage she has, she heads to Allenwood Normal School to pursue her dreams. She soon finds herself on what feels to be an endless climb up a very steep hill. Can she stand strong when one obstacle after another thwarts her plans and drains her energy?
This novel is a well-written, multi-layered tale of a woman’s fight for dependence in pursuit of a dream. It has the capacity to touch the deepest recesses of the reader’s heart, while encouraging them to chase those dreams they’ve hidden within. Luellen has the perfect blend of feminine vulnerability, tenderness, and inner strength, creating a dynamic character that resonates deeply. Ann Shorey is a strong, vibrant writer and I look forward to reading her future novels.
Reviewed by: Jennifer Slattery
The third book in Ann Shorey's At Home in Beldon Grove series, The Dawn of a Dream, is my favourite of the trilogy. I enjoyed Luellen's tenacity in her efforts to become a teacher at a time when it was difficult to say the least, even without the additional pressures she faces following her husband's desertion. She is far from perfect and her decision making isn't always well considered. Such a character stands out in an historical novel, a genre where angelic, passive women are over represented! Luellen's brother Franklin and his friend, Ward Calder, both Army men, provide interesting insight in to the life of soldier during the time period and offer a contrast to the community of Beldon Grove and Luellen's student lifestyle. The Dawn of a Dream has all the elements historical romance readers enjoy with a uniqueness of character I thoroughly enjoyed.
Reviewed by: Rel Mollet