Thursday, August 19, 2010

‘Claim: A Novel of Colorado’ by Lisa T. Bergren – Book Review

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It is always satisfying to read a book series, and have it finish well. That is the case with the latest novel by Lisa T. Bergren, ‘Claim: A Novel of Colorado,’ the final book in the ‘Homeward Trilogy’ series.

Here is the synopsis of this book:

          He’s relinquished his fury – can he learn to love?
Sent West by their father to make a new life, the St. Clair siblings have done so – but hardly as he’d imagined. Moira, beautiful but severely burned, remains in Colorado, trying to pull together the pieces of her life…as well as fight for a chance at love. Odessa and her husband, Bryce, are rebuilding their ranch and negotiating me challenges. And Nic, the prodigal son, is slowly making his way home – dead broke and haunted by unmet promises.
Nic knows that before he can face his sisters, he must come to terms with the past as well as the present, but peace eludes him. Only as he mines an old claim deep in the Rocky Mountains and becomes intrigued by a local schoolteacher does he begin to understand how passionately God loves him and how long his God has pursued him. But even as he nears his goal, Nic discovers there is one last battle to fight…

Here is the book trailer for this wonderful novel:

Here is the biography of this author:

Lisa T. Bergren is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than thirty books, with more than 1.5 million copies sold. A former publishing executive, Lisa now splits her time between writing, working as a freelance editor, and parenting her three children with husband, Tim. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

This book focuses on Dominic (Nic) St. Clair, who has just arrived in Colorado after being out of the country. The secondary story focuses on his sister, Moira St. Clair, who had just been through a traumatic accident which left her scarred internally and externally. In Book Two of this series, ‘Sing,’ Moira met a gentleman named Daniel, who figures prominently in this book. They both have feelings for each other, but both are damaged by life. Here is an exchange between the two:

“Afraid? You think I am not? I come to you scarred in so many ways, when you, you, Daniel, deserve perfection…”
“No,” he said, shaking his head, too. “It is I who carry the scars. You don’t know me. You don’t know who I am. Who I once was. What I’ve done…”
“So tell me,” she pleaded. “Tell me.”
He stared at her a moment longer, as if wondering if she was ready, wondering if she could bear it, and Moira’s heart pounded again. Then,“No. I can’t,” he said with a small shake of his head. He sighed heavily and moved up the hill. “Not yet.” (p. 15)

Nic met a schoolteacher named Sabine LaCrosse upon his arrival in Colorado. Feelings for her grew, despite his attempts to talk himself out of them:

You have no business entertaining thoughts of Sabine LaCross, he told himself for the hundredth time. He was about to sell the mine and leave. There was no time for a romance to develop, even if he was interested and she happened to be interested too, which he hadn’t yet ascertained. It was an idle, foolish distraction, this idea of Everett and Sabine and him somehow being together forever. She had her life. He had his. Everett would find his way, too, in time. (p. 125)

Everett was the son of Peter, a gentleman who was killed by outlaws and left as an orphan; Nic took claim of Peter’s gold mine upon his death.

Moira made a decision to visit New York City and leave Daniel behind – but she did so reluctantly:

Her eyes moved to the window. Daniel. The thought of leaving him behind tore at her. But she steeled herself against it. He had left her. He had made no promises. Even if he came back to her today, she would still struggle over his decision to be sheriff. He could get shot. Die.
No, she’d had enough of death, from her brothers to her parents to Gavin. She wanted life. Dreams that she could capture, even if she couldn’t capture the man that she loved. Now that she’d decided to go, her heart pumped with excitement, the thrill of rediscovered freedom and choice. (p. 219)    

God had been doing a work in Nic’s heart throughout the storyline. He explains his feelings to Sabine:

…“God has been working on me, softening my heart. Healing me. Getting me ready for you. I was angry at Him for a long time, which made me angry at the world. But it was only when we were in danger, when you and Ev were in danger, that I wanted to fight again. I’m going to do my best to be a man of peace. The only thing that will move me to fight is defending you, Ev, myself. All right?” (p. 278)

At the same time, Moira was establishing a relationship with her Lord; He reassured her that she was beautiful in His sight:

Moira paced for a bit and then wearily sat down on her bed. I’ve been so foolish, Lord, she moaned in silent prayer, falling to her back in the soft, luxurious folds of the coverlet. She closed her eyes, wanting him to feel closer. Forgive me, Father. I’ve fallen prey to my own old sins. I desired so much, Lord. I wanted acceptance. And accolades again.
She reached up and pulled off her wig, letting it flop to the bed beside her. She rubber her head, feeling the short hairs as they ran through her fingers. I wanted to be seen as beautiful again. I wanted to be admired. Acknowledged .
You are beautiful, Moira. Nothing makes you more so than being one of My own.
She groaned. I have difficulty with accepting how You define beauty. I am scarred.
So was I. In your scars, you will find strength.
Moira frowned. I need strength, Father. I need an escape.
Trust in Me, child. Trust in Me. And wait. (p. 347)

In addition to a wonderful story, Mrs. Bergren does a terrific job in portraying the beautiful state of Colorado. I have only been there once; the way it’s portrayed in this book makes me want to return!   

I enjoy the feature in David C. Cook books called ‘After Words,’ in which there are discussion questions (terrific for a small group study) and author interviews. I especially liked this question and answer:

          Q: What motivated you to write about prodigals?
A: I think we’re all prodigals, in some fashion. After college, I had my own prodigal experience, during which I was actually bartending on Sundays instead of doing anything that my God would be proud of. I grew deeply depressed, had a come-to-Jesus experience, and left for the Holy Land. Literally. I went from bartending to Jerusalem, to visit my cousin who was studying the life journeys of Paul. After a few weeks in Israel and Egypt, I returned home – physically and spiritually. And went to work in an industry that has helped call me home – Christian music and books.

This is the final book in Mrs. Bergren’s ‘Homeward Trilogy’ series. I read the second book in the series, ‘Sing’ (you can read my review here) and enjoyed it just as much as I did this one. I love Lisa’s writing style, and look forward to reading more from her computer in the future. Truth be told, I was a little disappointed that Moira’s story was not ‘wrapped up’ in the same way that Nic’s story was (you will have to read it to see what happens at the end for him!).  Overall, I loved the two books (and I sure I would have loved Book One, ‘Breathe’ as well) – Lisa writes in an engaging style, and she magnifies the Lord, which is the most important thing to me!

You can order this book here.

This book was published by David C. Cook and provided by the B & B Media Group for review purposes. 


Lisa Tawn Bergren said...

Thanks, Andrea, for the thorough review! Glad you liked it...I did too. But then I always love #3! I resisted wrapping up Moira's story in TOTAL, but I think the reader gets a pretty good idea of where she's going, don't you?

Andrea Schultz said...

Hi Lisa -

You're right - the handwriting is on the wall (as the Bible says) regarding Moira's future. You let us finish writing the story in our minds, and that's a good thing!

Thanks for stopping by!

Blessings -


Carole said...

I enjoyed your review, Andrea. I recently finished the first book in this series and loved it. Lisa is an excellent writer and has created three very interesting characters in Odessa, Moira and Nic. I'm almost neurotic about reading series in order, and can't believe you haven't read Breathe yet! LOL

Andrea Schultz said...

Hi Carole -

I am definitely going to have to go backwards at some point in time to catch 'Breathe'! Have you read 'Sing' or 'Claim'?


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