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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Review: Prairie Fire (Book Two in "A Town Called Hope" series)

By guest reviewer Lianne Lopes

Prairie Fire
by Catherine Palmer

Jack Cornwall has lost everything he’s ever fought for, everything he’s ever loved.

He’s lost his home, the Confederacy and its goal of a new and vital nation, and now his little nephew, Chipper. Grasping at the only ray of light to enter his life in recent years, Jack settles in Hope to be near the feisty, red-haired Caitrin Murphy--a woman whose zealous approach to life mirrors his own blazing personality.

But will the good people of Hope allow Jack to make a fresh start? Will Caitrin defy her family in her desire to help Jack? And will the long-kept Cornwall family secret destroy the hopes and dreams they have begun to build together?

From the ashes of the refiner’s fire can emerge beauty both graceful and enduring. In Prairie Fire, the flames that threaten to consume the town called Hope are overcome by the flood of love and forgiveness in the hearts of Caitrin Murphy and Jack Cornwall.
Prairie Fire, a Holt Medallion finalist, brings back the cast from the first book, adding a few new characters that will take the reader on yet another fun adventure.

Caitrin Murphy, newly arrived from Ireland, had her heart broken when the man she loved married someone else. She’s come to the Kansas prairie to stay with her sister’s family until she can sort out her life. One night she goes to the barn and stumbles upon an injured man in need of help. The man is Jack Cornwall, hated brother-in-law of neighbor and family friend, Seth Hunter. Cornwall is suffering from injuries brought on by his past as an outlaw as well as those incurred after a fist fight with Seth over custody of Seth’s young son. Caitrin sees past Jack’s hard outer shell, to the loving but tortured soul within. But when they realize their love for each other, they must face the anger and prejudices of the townsfolk. Will old hurts and biases keep these two lovebirds apart?

Once again Catherine Palmer brings the historical prairie alive through true to life characters that are entertaining and endearing, yet exasperating in their humanness. At times I found myself wanting to throttle the townsfolk, but had to remind myself that human nature is just that way. It’s a powerful message of the change and acceptance that can only be achieved through the grace of God and bowing to His will. A pleasant read for women of all ages.