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I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.
After having read the previous book in the series A Borrowed Dream (REVIEW HERE), I was highly anticipating how my time at Cimarron Creek was going to come to an end. Needless to say, I was not disappointed, as A Tender Hope was incredibly heartwarming even when at times it introduced tragically heartwrenching situations. Yet it was through this heartbreak that its inspiring message of hope, faith, and love shone brightly.
Readers are transported back to Texas in 1881 as Thea arrives in the town to begin working as the midwife in an attempt to heal following the sudden death of her husband and stillbirth of her child. At the same time, Jackson, a Texas Ranger, arrives on the hunt for a group of bandits who are responsible for the death of his younger brother and injury to his partner. When he comes across an abandoned newborn next to a cactus, Jackson must work to figure out this mystery as well. Given their respective duties, Jackson and Thea find themselves thrust together to not only to care for and protect the baby but ultimately how Thea may hold the key to catching the Gang of Four.
Being privy to the inner thoughts of Thea and Jackson allows such a fascinating exploration into the range of emotions each character feels as they each make these physical and personal journeys. They are so intriguing and well developed that they truly come alive on the page. The steady pacing and smooth transitions showcased their captivating presence, taking readers in and out of their individual introspections and into another dramatic situation or into the path of an additional character. In Cabot’s deft hands, none of that becomes overwhelming or confusing. Her beautiful yet casual writing style is completely engaging. She is able to effortlessly weave the plot and subplots together so that everything becomes integral to the story and builds these interwoven relationships into a rich and multilayered story that kept me turning the pages!
“Family was important for children, but love was even more critical to their happiness.”
Family dynamics and structure were such a crucial message that is so beautifully examined within this story. Families are created in so many different ways and I have truly appreciated the author’s exploration of this throughout the series. Children are completely embraced and welcomed into the loving arms of strangers who have been called upon to seek a higher purpose. Characters live beyond themselves and strive to make a difference in the community around them, and it is through them, that the ideals of acceptance, forgiveness, tenderness, and grace are embodied.
I said it before and I’ll say it again: Don’t let the romance genre fool you! Amanda Cabot has crafted an absolutely amazing love story that is filled with elements of suspense, mystery, and history with a gentle sprinkling of Christian messages to guide us along the way.
Totally unrelated to my review and just a happy little accident is the fact that Jackson’s horse is named Blaze, and I couldn’t help smiling to myself throughout my reading because my three-year-old son is named Jackson and he is obsessed with a children’s program on Nickelodeon about a monster truck named Blaze. There was no way for me not to see my Jackson riding around in his Blaze! Also, we used to reside in Leander, a city north of Austin, and that was the name of Jackson’s partner.