Friday, December 11, 2009

The Brides of Gallatin County

Titles: A Promise to Believe In, A Love to Last Forever, & A Dream to Call My Own
Author: Tracie Peterson

The first thing you notice about these books are their covers. All of them are works of art, pure and simple. They are gorgeous. I think a lot about the characters are reflected in them as well, at least the way they start off their particular story. The first book centers primarily on Gwen. She feels cursed and lets that isolate her and almost drive her away from everyone she loves. She's even tempted to leave her sisters in an effort to protect them. All because someone told her she was, and then when bad things happened, she imagined herself the cause. Her trust in God and belief that He was in control was threatened by a fortune teller and her circumstances. So often we lose sight of what we know to be true because of what is going on around us. I thought the way the author dealt with this situation was so honest and it's one of the things many Christians struggle with.

The second book focuses more on Beth. I thought it was kind of ironic because Beth is shown as one who devours romance novels and longs for the adventure she finds in the pages of her books. Sometimes she even envies the leading ladies their witty comebacks and ability to woo all the handsome young men. She then find herself caught between two men who want to court her. One she's known for years. He's trustworthy, helpful, handsome and wants to stay put ~ which is so important to her, but she doesn't know where he stands with God. The other is a fine-looking stranger who claims a relationship to God, but he's just passing through, loves to travel and won't be spending much time with her at all. He also has no qualms about kissing her despite her objections. How will she know who to choose?

The third book is centered on Lacy. Of the three girls, Lacy is the tomboy. I think that may be why shes facing us on the cover while the other two look down. All three harbor guilt about the past, but Lacy believes she can do no right and has always let her family down. After her father died, that guilt turned to anger. She has made it her personal mission to find his murderer, no matter the cost to her personal safety. Lacy can't forgive herself, so unlike her sisters she cannot move on from his death and even consider that it might be an accident. This also causes problems between her and the local deputy, who seems to always find fault with everything she does.

I loved this series. Unlike most books that start a story centered on one set of characters, finish their story and then move on to the next with the same setting and maybe a "walk on" by the characters from the old book, this one followed all of the main characters (with a few additions along the way) through all three books. You watch the Lacy's storyline progress from the first book until the very end. It doesn't just barely touch on her until the last book. I think it was a brilliant move by the author and really endeared you to the characters. I truly enjoyed learning more about the maturing love of Gwen & Beth in their marriages, and I thought Lacy's story was so much better for all the build-up getting to it. Her romance with her beau was out of this world intense. She also learned one of the most important lessons of all of them. For all her bluffing, she didn't love or forgive herself. She couldn't really love anyone else until she learned to do that.

In the middle of their personal struggles, there is plenty of action inherent to the setting. Cold Montana winters cause problems, a criminal element makes things not just unpleasant but dangerous for them, and then the railroad deciding where to come through will change their existence one way or the other. Lots of secondary characters make their own personal journeys and how everyone reacts to surprises is very human and realistic. These are not perfect caricatures of people. The people of Gallatin County lived and breathed thanks to Tracie Peterson.

I need to thank Lori at Some of My Favorite Things for Book Two, A Love to Last Forever. I won it on her blog. I bought the other two so I could have the whole series. If you haven't read these, I think they would make a great Christmas gift to yourself or another book lover.

What's the best series you've read lately?


  1. Sounds like a good series...will have to put it on my ever growing wish list. :)

  2. Excellent review, Lee! I'm so glad to know that you enjoyed this series. It sounds a lot like Julie's "Passion" books, in that you get to read about all of the characters throughout all of the books...I really liked that about Julie's books.

    All 3 of these are in my TBR piles, but have no idea when I'll get to read them though. :)

    Thank you for sharing. Have a Merry Christmas!
    ~ Lori

  3. Angie ~ You and me both with the wish list. I swear I'd need 4 jobs to keep up with books alone... lol

    Lori ~ You're right! I didn't connect the two, but Julie's series did the same kind of thing. I really like it and I think it helps you kind of "bond" with the characters more.