Saturday, February 1, 2014

Wishing on Buttercups by Miralee Ferrell

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Obtained from: Historical Novel Review/Netgalley
Read: December 28, 2013

Can Love Survive When Secrets Collide? She’d kept her secrets safely hidden—those from her past, and those in the present. Some things, Beth Roberts knows, a lady simply doesn’t share, even in the 1880’s West. The townspeople would never understand. No one ever has. Jeffery Tucker, a handsome young writer, has kept his own secrets. He doesn’t have a right to pry into Beth’s affairs but finds himself strangely drawn to her and intrigued by the whiff of mystery surrounding her. Beth knows that one day someone will unravel the threads of her past. And when two men from her past arrive, the truth might just hurt . . . Beth’s future and her heart. As shadowy memories surface, Beth sketches the scenes she sees and is shocked by what—and who—her illustrations reveal. Dare she risk her heart again?

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They say time heals all wounds, but the last seventeen years have done little to ease the pain of Beth Roberts’ past. Found alone and disfigured on the Oregon Trial, the injuries of her childhood have cast a shadow over the woman she’s become. Intrigued by the enigmatic young lady, writer Jeffrey Tucker longs to unravel the mystery that surrounds his fellow boarder, but discovering her secrets might cost him his heart. 

Written as a standalone, Miralee Ferrell’s Wishing on Buttercups takes up where Blowing on Dandelions left off, returning readers to Baker City Oregon and the familiar camaraderie of Katherine Jacobs’ boarding house. Like its predecessor, Wishing on Buttercups incorporates heavy religious themes to explore emotional conflict, but the context and premise of Beth’s quest for acceptance and her journey of self-discovery make this installment a much stronger historical.

A light-hearted inspirational, my only real criticism is that Ferrell habitually utilizes miscommunication as a means of creating romantic tension. Her characters often jump to the wrong conclusions and frequently withdrawal from one another after losing the nerve to admit their true feelings. The monotony is frustrating and, at times, made it difficult to remain engaged in the story. 

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Beth hesitated, drawn by the offer to accompany this man she knew so little about, but apprehensive at the expression he'd cast her way. Had he noticed her hand creeping to her neck, or did his curiosity go deeper? She couldn't risk her heart again, no matter how appealing the man.
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