Sunday, December 22, 2013

Distant Dreams

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Distant Dreams (Ribbons of Steel, book 1)
Author:  Judith Pella and Tracie Peterson
419 pages

A lot of the books that I review I do in cooperation with a book review program administered by the book publisher. This book I downloaded to my Kindle and it is currently offered for free on Amazon.com. I am under no obligation to review this book and this is my honest review.

From the back cover:

The year is 1835 and Carolina Adams finds herself enchanted by an unlikely suitor...the railroad. Frustrated by society's expectations upon her gender, she longs to study more masculine subjects and is thrilled when her father grants her a tutor.

James Baldwin arrives to serve as Carolina's teacher, but of more importance, he is to court Carolina's beautiful older sister, Virginia. Will expectations--and Virginia's southern charm--elicit the hoped-for proposal? Or will James and Carolina dare to acknowledge the mutual interests and feelings growing between them?

My Review:

I really disliked this book. I will usually read a novel to completion, but I seriously considered closing this book before I reached the conclusion and never re-opening it. I stopped this book part was through and read two other books before coming back to this one and then I only completed it out of stubbornness.

First, I will discuss the positive aspects of the book. I enjoyed the characters. I felt like they were well-developed and each had their own individual personality. I did, obviously, enjoy some characters more than others, but considering that I relate better to some people than others this is to be expected. Each character got the reaction from me that was intended – I didn’t like Virginia, I loved Carolina, Margaret I found difficult to connect with until she became personable, James was kind and caring and I fell in love with him myself, Joseph was kind and fatherly, etc. Great care was taken to give each character a personality unique to them.

I enjoyed the historical parts of the book. I feel like I learned a lot about the railroad and politics of the time. A lot of information was given regarding these things.

Now for the negatives…

This book was boring, boring, boring. It took WAY TOO LONG to get interesting and when it finally did, it still wasn’t gripping. At any point in time I could have walked away from this book never caring what happened to the characters. I suppose that could be considered a positive since nothing in the book ever resolved. I realize that this is the first in a series; however, the book ended without really tying up any loose ends, but it also ended in such a way that it left me with no desire to read it’s sequels. A good book, especially one with a sequel must end in such a way that you feel that your time spent reading it was worth it and are satisfied and yet there are just enough loose ends to make you really really curious about what happened next. A book should leave you longing for more because it’s just that good, not longing for more just so the story will have had a point.

I’ve heard wonderful things about Judith Pella and Tracie Peterson and I think I have read books by both of them previously. In fact, in the middle of reading this book I read one co-authored by Tracie Peterson and loved it. I was very disappointed that this book turned out better. If the sequel is ever offered for free on Amazon I’ll probably download and at least start reading it, but I wouldn’t pay a dime for it.
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