Monday, April 25, 2011

‘Tomorrow’s Garden’ by Amanda Cabot – Book Review

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Tomorrow’s Garden’ is the third and final book in Amanda Cabot’s ‘Texas Dreams’ Trilogy.

Here is the synopsis of this novel:

As a seed awaits the spring sunshine, so one young woman hopes for a brighter tomorrow.
Harriet Kirk is certain that becoming the new schoolteacher in Ladreville, Texas, is just what she needs – a chance to put the past behind her and give her younger siblings a brighter tomorrow. What she didn’t count on was the presence of handsome former Texas Ranger Lawrence Wood – or the way he affects her fragile heart. But can Harriett and Lawrence ever truly conquer the past in order to find happiness?
Book 3 in the Texas Dreams series, Tomorrow’s Garden is a powerful story of overcoming the odds and grabbing hold of happiness.

Here is the biography of this author:

Dreams have always been an important part of Amanda Cabot’s life. For almost as long as she can remember, she dreamt of being an author. Fortunately for the world, her grade-school attempts as a playwright were not successful, and she turned her attention to writing novels. Her dream of selling a book before her thirtieth birthday came true, and she’s been spinning tales ever since. She now has more than twenty-five novels to her credit under a number of pseudonyms.
The author of Paper Roses and Scattered Petals, Amanda is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, a charter member of Romance Writers of America, and an avid traveler. She married her high school sweetheart, who shares her love of travel and who’s driven thousands of miles to help her research her books. A few years ago they fulfilled a longtime dream and are now living in the American West in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

This book was really captivating and well-written. The main character, Harriet Kirk, had been through a lot of trials in her life, and, as is the case with many people, those difficulties had hardened her heart; she built up a lot of walls and barriers to protect herself from further sadness and loss. Fortunately, she also had a relationship with Jesus, so there was hope that she would be restored and released from her bondage.

Several of the characters in this story were featured in the previous novel in this series, ‘Scattered Petals,’ including Priscilla, Clay, Lawrence and Sarah. It was nice to revisit these characters and see how they’d evolved over the last couple years (that book was set in 1856; this book was set in 1858/1859).
I am always interested in seeing how main characters meet each other. Here are Harriett’s impressions of Lawrence Wood, Ladreville’s mayor and sheriff:

“Good afternoon, Mr. Wood,” Harriet said, continuing her appraisal as she approached him. Her first impressions had not been wrong. He was tall – at least a foot taller than she – and the muscles of his arms and shoulders were scarcely hidden by his chambray shirt and loose-fitting jacket. From his freshly polished boots to the top of his hat, this was a man who demanded attention. It wasn’t anything he said or even his expression; it was simply the way he stood, the almost imperious angle of his head combined with the seemingly casual way his hand remained close to his hip, ready to draw the six-shooter at the slightest provocation. Every inch of this man announced that he was a formidable force. (pp. 30-31)

It sounds like she was impressed!

Mrs. Cabot’s writing is compelling in its plot and character development. She makes me interested enough in her characters and their lives that I want to keep reading – even when life’s busyness doesn’t lend itself to that task!

This book offered lots of life lessons, including hard work, love for your neighbor, and hearty worship to the Lord. It also shows the negative repercussions of going down the crooked roads of drunkenness and gambling.

As in the second book in the series (I hope to read the first, ‘Paper Roses’ soon), Christianity and a personal relationship with the Lord are prominently figured in the plot. Here is a conversation between Lawrence and Harriet wherein Lawrence becomes aware of a better way to live:

His eyes a deeper blue than she had ever seen, Lawrence met her gaze. “Can you forgive me for being so proud? I thought I knew better than everyone, even God. I was the big, strong Ranger. Even though you told me otherwise, I was sure I knew what Isabelle needed today.”….”Look what that got me. I was also sure about my life. Even when God pointed me in a different direction, I kept going my way.” Lawrence shook his head slowly. “I considered myself a good Christian, but – like you – I forgot who was in charge. I hope I never make that mistake again. God gave me a second chance today, and I don’t want to waste it.” (p. 382)

Revell, for a limited time, is offering the first book in this series, ‘Paper Roses,’ free as a Kindle download; here is the link. I haven’t read that one yet; I am grateful for the opportunity. I did read ‘Scattered Petals;’ it was one of my first reviews (you can read it here). I really enjoyed that one! Being that I enjoyed that one so well, it was a good bet that this one was also going to be a favorite – and it was!

You can order this book here.

Available April 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. This book was provided to me by Revell for review purposes.

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