Book Review: ‘A Home in Drayton Valley’ by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Synopsis: Hoping to escape the poor conditions of 1880 New York, Tarsie Raines and her friends Joss and Mary Brubacher and their two children set off for Kansas aboard an unusual wagon train. But when tragedy strikes on the trip across the prairie, Tarsie is thrown into a partnership with Joss that leaves them both questioning God and their plans for the future.

As their funds dwindle and nothing goes as planned, will they give up and go their separate ways? Or will God use their time in Drayton Valley in a way they never expected?

My review: 
After reading ‘A Hopeful Heart’ by Kim Vogel Sawyer (review here), I was keen to check out another of her books. While overall I enjoyed ‘A Home in Drayton Valley’, there were a few things that I had mixed feelings about.
  • The book is based in Drayton Valley, Kansas, during a time when there was a divide between black and white communities. I felt the author dealt with the issues sensitively, although I found the way the dialect was depicted in the text got a bit tiresome after a while, eg ‘Lawd’ instead of ‘Lord’.
  • I also felt that the characters in the story were a little predictable, which made it harder to connect with them emotionally – Tarsie as the sweet but feisty seamstress and Joss with his gruff exterior, who on the inside bears the scars of his rough childhood.
  • Towards the middle of the book there were a few chapters that seemed to drag a little, where the main characters were struggling with their own internal conflicts. Fortunately an interesting twist at the end made me eager to keep reading to see how things were resolved between Tarsie and Joss.
Despite these things, I think that Kim Vogel Sawyer is a wonderful writer – I find her style similar to Janette Oke. She includes references from the Bible and her books feature characters with a strong faith, who are an example of God’s love to those around them.
I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy sweet historical romance stories with a strong Christian message.

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