Book Review: ‘A Hopeful Heart’ by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Synopsis: Dowryless and desperate, Tressa Neill applies to the inaugural class of Wyatt Herdsman School in Barnett, Kansas, in 1888. The school’s one-of-a-kind program teaches young women from the East the skills needed to become a rancher-or the wife of one. Shy and small for her twenty-two years, Tressa is convinced she’ll never have what it takes to survive Hattie Wyatt’s hands-on instruction in skills such as milking a cow, branding a calf, riding a horse, and cooking up a mess of grub for hungry ranch hands. But what other options does she have?
Abel Samms wants nothing to do with the group of potential brides his neighbor brought to town. He was smitten with an eastern girl once-and he got his heart broken. But there’s something about quiet Tressa and her bumbling ways that makes him take notice. When Tressa’s life is endangered, will Abel risk his own life-and his heart-to help this eastern girl?

My review: I picked this book up from my local library. It is rare to find Christian fiction books, and I was excited when I read the back cover. The premise of this book was great, a twist on the typical ‘mail order bride’ story, and I enjoyed watching the women as they learned how to become rancher’s wives. The book had strong Christian content, which was woven into the story very well. The story had plenty of twists and turns that kept me turning the pages well past midnight. The only downer for me was that the romance between the two main characters fell a little flat. There was not much conversation between them until the end – the attraction seemed to be based more on looks and ‘watching from afar’. Despite this, it was a sweet story and I’ll definitely read more books by Kim Vogel Sawyer.

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