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Monday, February 21, 2011

Wounded Spirits by April Gardner

Wounded Spirits by April Gardner
Publisher: Vinspire Romance
Genre: American historical, inspirational
Length: Full Length (256 pgs)
Heat level: sweet
Rated: 5 Books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

On the frontier, Adela McGirth’s life is simple, rugged, and exactly to her liking. Her greatest concern is whether to marry the settlement’s most eligible young officer. When a distant war spills over into a nearby skirmish, life takes a perilous turn. Deep in enemy territory Adela must choose between the man she loves and a baby that has yet to be born; will she be strong enough to wait on God's provision?

A peaceful yet loyal Creek Warrior, Nokos is dragged into the inevitable war against the settlers whom he has grown to respect. No matter which path he follows, someone he loves will die. Forced into aligning with the extremist Red Stick faction, Nokos must ready his bow to eradicate his neighbors from Creek soil. Inside, rages a battle of another sort. The struggle against the Spirit.

Having lived a life plagued with death and loss, Zachariah McGirth is a man on a mission - he'll have his revenge or die trying. Blinded by grief, he can't see his way clear of yet another tragedy. Why has God taken everything from him...or has He?

Their lives molded by the course of history, can these Wounded Spirits learn to rely on God's grace during one of the bloodiest conflicts in the South?

The American south of 1813 is far from the fancy plantations this reader expected. In fact, a certain down-home folksy sense pervades these pages. Characters are ‘regular folks’ not the wealthy… and the countryside is depicted in a wonderfully visual way.

Adela is an amazing, engaging, and incredibly appealing main character. She worries about causing other people concern, she is conflicted about which is the most-right thing to do. Throughout we find her torn loyalty, sorrowing over the war. In short, she’s a really nice person who is guided by kindness and concern for others. She’s never selfish, or caught in irrational rage – she worries about proprieties, but also about feelings, and about how certain actions might hurt others. It’s easy to admire her – and to find yourself worrying about the choices that confront her.

Second Lieutenant Phillip Bailey is her sweetheart, and right off, we’re struck by his self-assurance and determination. He so earnestly proclaims his love. Still, he’s dropped one sister abruptly in favor of Adela; secretly too. Can he actually be as good as he seems? And – will another take her heart – will she find true love with someone not a part of her community?

Running parallel to Adela’s life, is the story of a Native Creek family, whose lives will also be entangled by conflict. Their lives are portrayed with great attention to detail. We see and understand the concerns of the Natives, and sympathize with them. It’s as if we see both sides of the conflict, from that side, wholly. It’s a little alarming. From the first, we have this sense of people going toward a future they think they can see and predict, full of hope. The conflict, both between people individually and between the different ethnic groups, builds tension throughout. And they will bring the main characters abruptly together, as well.

Adela – difficult choices or not – remains the person we meet at the start, utterly admirable and rising to challenges. Perhaps, a failing might have made her somewhat more human, but honestly, I thought of that point far later. At the first reading, all one thinks is ‘what happens next?”

This historic romance and adventure novel brings home a spirit of kindness, and a belief not only in God but in good, and simple goodness, that is sweet and charming, and so much more. You don’t need to be a fan of the inspirational to be left feeling a fuzzy glow from this one – do read.