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Why, oh why, please tell me why I chose so many romance novels to review? Maybe I was in a sappy mood when I ordered them or something.
Well, anyway?as silly as I feel reviewing so many syrup-soup books?I have another one: Love?s First Bloom, by Delia Parker. When I got this one and spotted the little tag on the top that proudly proclaims that this book is a Romantic Times TOP PICK! (emphasis their own), I gave a little groan to myself.
Fortunately, this was not a hard book to get through. While, yes, it is a romance and an unabashed one at that, the driving plot is not how-the-two-depressingly-attractive-characters-will-get-together. With a murder in the background, an pair of assumed identities that could blow apart at any moment, and a cast of well-rounded and likable characters (or completely despicable ones in the case of the tale?s two villains); Love?s First Bloom is a satisfying read.
The story centers around young Ruth Livingstone, the daughter of a New York reverend who ministers to the ?fallen angels? of the city?those whom society would hold are irredeemable at worst and not worth the effort at best. When one of his flock is murdered and Rev. Livingstone falls under suspicion as the killer, he sends Ruth away with the illegitimate child of the murdered prostitute, for both their protection. She takes the name Ruth Malloy, and the identity of a fallen angel herself, with little Lilly as her own daughter.
Meanwhile, Jake Spenser, the estranged brother of a newspaper owner, is trying to regain his brother?s trust after a scandal from a few years before. His brother sends him to track down the whereabouts of the missing Ruth Livingstone, with the intent of bringing back proof of Rev. Livingstone?s guilt.
They meet, and almost at once, Jake knows who Ruth really is?but he needs more information before he reveals his own identity to her.
It?s really an intriguing story, and has enough double-crossing-double-crossers and hidden identities and nearly-caught-out deceptions to keep one interested for the entire length. The characters are very three-dimensional, realistic people that you come to care about through the course of the story. I was very satisfied.
On another note, Love?s First Bloom was also uncompromisingly Christian, with a hearty and pointed message about hope and trusting God. And?while this isn?t directly addressed within the story?it also gave me pause to think about those ?fallen angels? of our own day, and wonder who?s serving them in real life? Unfortunately, there is no real Reverend Livingstone, but are there others who are carrying God?s love to those most in need? We should remember to pray for them, that they may have the strength and resources to shine God?s light into the darkest places of our country and world.
The Brownie gives Love?s First Bloom a nice, solid four quills and heartily recommends it to any lover of historical fiction, romance, or mysterious turkeys.
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