By Stephanie Grace Whitson
Published by Bethany House
ISBN #” 978-0-7642-0881-2
An unlikely attraction occurs between two passengers on a steamboat journey up the Missouri River to Montana...
She is a self-centered young woman from a privileged family who fears the outdoors and avoids anything rustic. He is a preacher living under a sense of duty and obligation to love the unlovable people in the world. She isn't letting anything deter her from solving a family mystery that surfaced after her mother's death. He is on a mission to reach the rejects of society in the remote wilderness regions of Montana. Miss Fannie Rousseau and Reverend Samuel Beck are opposites in every way... except in how they both keep wondering if their paths will ever cross again.
Miss Fannie Rousseau’s world crumbles after her mother dies suddenly. Hannah, her loyal hand maiden whose been more of a mother to her than her real mom, tries to comfort Fannie. Minnitte, her dearest friend, is blind, engaged to be married, and is busy planning a wedding. Fannie didn’t know where to turn.
Miss Fannie seeks the council of Mr. Van de Kamp, who has run their family finances for years; only thing he can tell her is to get married. She needed help trying to navigate the financial mess her dad’s company was in and what to do from here. He offered no help at all. Getting married wasn’t an option.
Although Fannie was raised in privilege she would only marry for love. She desperately longed to be loved and accepted for Fannie the person - not the daughter of a wealthy man. Fannie discovers a box of old letters - her mother saved. She devours them all. Hannah learns of her find and is surprised. Even more so when Fannie tells her she is going to search for the person who wrote those letters. Fannie and Hannah embark on a dangerous and wild adventure. They encounter things they never dreamed possible! Neither had been on a steamboat or far from home for that matter. They meet Samuel who’s earning his way to Montana. Surprising to learn that Samuel is in search of a person as well. They both hoped to find answers on their journey. Little did they know their search would make them realize they needed each other more than they knew.
Fannie is headstrong and determined to accomplish her mission and so is Samuel. Others realize her lack of manual skills and fiestiness. Valey the innkeeper says, “I had to ask her if she even knew how to sweep a floor.” I think it made her a little mad....but then she said she thought she was smart enough to learn. He laughed “Tell her...she’s due for her broom lesson with Ave.”
I loved the natural spiritual thread and the way the author represented it, Fannie says to herself, “What if she actually sought out the words in the bible and let them rule her life? The idea was at once fascinating...and terrifying.... Did the bible really contain words of Life? For the first time. Fannie wished she had her own bible!” Love this.
I enjoyed Fanny and the authors well timed humor. I enjoyed this historical fiction novel. Also loved the cover - it was intriguing - I would never suspect the author could put together such a fascinating story with so many twists, turns and surprises. I enjoyed the minor characters as much as the main ones.
I enjoyed this authors' style, her endearing characters, and the many surmountable challenges they faced. They discovered that in their weakness God is strong. God will help us grow. He knows what we’re created to do. We just have to trust him and take the first step in the direction He’s called us to. The author talks about heart issues through a blind boy who says, “When you cannot see faces you listen better. Sometimes listening lets a person see in a better way.”
Stephanie mentions, “While working on this book, I've came to the end of myself yet again, and found Jesus waiting with outstretched arms and mine until we had the strength to take up the journey on our own two feet once again. And so... I offer you another story forged in the fires of my own life.” Loved this! I highly recommend this delightful novel!
Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent