Thursday, April 24, 2014

Caught in the Middle, by Regina Jennings

 From the Publisher:

She Wants the Freedom of the Open Plains.
He Wants the Prestige of a Successful Career.
Neither is Ready for What Comes Instead.

The train to Garber, Texas, is supposed to bring life's next victory to Nicholas Lovelace. Instead, it gets held up by robbers who are thwarted by the last person Nick ever expected--Anne Tillerton from back home in Prairie Lea.

Anne's been hiding away as a buffalo hunter. She's only in town to find their runaway cook, but the woman flees--leaving Anne with her infant son. With Nick the only person Anne knows in town, the two form an unlikely team as they try to figure out what to do with the child.

But being in town means acting and dressing for polite society--and it's not going well for Anne. Meanwhile, Nick's work is bringing new pressures, and being seen with a rough-around-the-edges woman isn't helping his reputation. Caught between their own dreams, a deepening relationship, and others' expectations, can the pair find their way to love?

My Review:

A friend of mine recently read this book and said that it got off to a slow start for her. She was still in the process of reading it when we last spoke, so I wasn't sure what I would find when I read the book for myself.

I had only read a few pages but fell asleep... this has nothing to do with the quality of a book for me. I just have a problem with reading in bed at night. LOL Anyway, a few days later, I finally had time to pick it back up and once I did, I could not put it down! I read until I finished, which happened to be 1:30 AM.

I really liked Nick's character... eventually. He annoyed me at first with his single-mindedness toward success. Nick has little bits of faith, but his faith in God is based on the fact that he and God have a "deal" worked out that if Nick obeys, God blesses. Nick comes from a great family and has had a great life without his faith ever really being tested. Circumstances change and he reaches a point where his faith is tested and he chooses to trust God rather than go his own way. Nick is kind and thoughtful, but struggles with peer pressure.

I didn't connect with Anne at first, but she won me over as she started to soften around the edges. I feel like her character wasn't entirely believable or realistic. Her stubborn refusal to bend to polite society's rules was a little forced. Overall, I really enjoyed her and watching her grow and change. Anne has had a rough life and is angry at God, but she comes around and learns to surrender and give up control which is very difficult for her.

The story was really good. Some of the railroad details were a little boring to me, but it wasn't bad enough to make me skim through those parts. I really like how things played out and how the characters struggled when their faith was tested and had to work out their faith.

The author tied up loose ends nicely. The story sort of ended, and then skipped ahead a little bit to show how things turned out. I like that. It could have ended a chapter before it did, but the last chapter gave you that little "extra" to satisfy curiosity.

I would love to read more books by Regina Jennings and I highly recommend Caught in the Middle.

I received this book for free from Bethany House through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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