Title: A Home in Drayton Valley by Kim Vogel Sawyer
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Historical, Inspirational, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B
Review Copy Obtained from Publisher
A Compelling Pioneer Story From Bestselling Author Kim Vogel Sawyer
Fed up with the poor quality of life in 1880 New York, Tarsie Raines encourages her friends Joss and Mary Brubacher to move with their two children to Drayton Valley, Kansas, a booming town hailed in the guidebook as the land of opportunity. She offers to help with expenses and to care for Mary and the children as they travel west by wagon train. But when tragedy strikes on the trip across the prairie, Tarsie is thrown into an arrangement with Joss that leaves both of them questioning God and their dreams for the future. As their funds dwindle and nothing goes as planned, will Tarsie and Joss give up and go their separate ways, or will God use their time in Drayton Valley to turn their hearts toward him?
A Home in Drayton Valley is an engrossing historical Christian romance that beautifully demonstrates unconditional love and unwavering faith. Kim Vogel Sawyer does not hesitate to tackle such difficult topics as alcoholism, gambling and racial prejudice in a forthright and thought-provoking manner. Along with a heartwarming romance, it is also a beautiful story of redemption as Joss Brubacher discovers the healing power of God’s love.
With no family of her own, Tarsie Raines has a close friendship with Mary and Joss Brubacher and their two young children Emmy and Nathaniel. Her concerns for Mary’s frail health and Joss’s drinking and gambling problems prompt Tarsie to convince the family that a move from New York to Kansas could be the way to a better life. Joining them on their trip west, Tarsie’s faith is tested as she and Joss try to keep the family together in the wake of an unexpected loss.
A Home in Drayton Valley is not a typical inspirational romance. While Tarsie’s character has an absolute faith in God and lives a Christian life, lead protagonist Joss Brubacher does not. Joss struggles with addictions to alcohol and gambling, low self worth and deep-seated prejudice. He grew up without a mother, and his father was harsh and uncaring. Joss loves his family very much, but he does not know how to express his emotions.
Joss’s transformation is not easy but it is realistic. It takes him most of the novel to overcome his learned behavior and the temptation to dull his feelings with alcohol. It is incredibly gratifying when he learns to judge a person based on their actions not their skin color. But the best part of A Home in Drayton Valley is when Joss finally opens his heart and lets God into his life. Once he finds his faith in God, the pieces of his life fall into place.
If you are looking for a Christian romance that has a great deal of depth and substance, then you should pick up a copy of A Home in Drayton Valley. Kim Vogel Sawyer’s characters are well-developed with all too human strengths and weaknesses. The novel is fast-paced and the plot is believable. It is a sweet love story, but it is the multi-faceted characters and their growth that makes it such an incredible read.