My Thoughts: New authors get me excited. A newcomer last year to the Christian fiction market after a series of successes in the secular, Dorothy Love tapped into her southern roots as a basis for her first series and wrote a set of novels in which three determined women find love and their purpose in life. Those of you who have read the other books will be delighted that a character from Beyond all Measure rises to meet the expectations of a worthy heroine in Sophie Caldwell. Sophie is desperate to find where she belongs. An orphan who was taken in by Wyatt and Ada Caldwell, Sophie feels a tugging to return to Hickory Ridge from Texas to follow her dreams of becoming a newspaper reporter. She re-opens the local office and sets about running a successful business hoping that time has changed citizens prejudices. Her first interviewee is Ethan Heyward, a man with scars of his own. Hired to oversee and design a new, high-class resort in Hickory Ridge, Ethan becomes intrigued with Sophie’s determination and the scars she so carefully protects from her past but being honest may be the one thing that could tear them apart.
Good old-fashioned southern fiction may not come much more polished or better expressed than Love’s story of heartbreak and mutual forgiveness. The story is well written compelling us to wish Sophie well in discovering the truth of her past even in the slower passages – some of which were written with a less skilled pen than the majority of the novel which stands up to any historical author. Detailing adds to the style – in subtle descriptions that don’t overwhelm the story, especially the scenes at the new resort which is described as “awash in gold” and lit by “crystal chandeliers.” Characters are fun even though my pet peeve of the leading couple “falling” for each other too quickly is what the story (in part) revolves around. There are always sudden revelations in the character’s minds as to their feelings and here it’s Sophie whose subconscious first admits it. She and Ethan aren’t bad together but their relationship isn’t all that interesting in comparison. I found Sophie’s adorable exclamations some of the sweetest quirks of the novel – it’s a small thing that helps endear the character more realistically.
Revolving around finding ones identity is a universal plot that is easy to write – and read about. Who among us hasn’t struggled with that? We’ve all wondered who we are at times, whether small or big. Every Perfect Gift tells that story beautifully. It’s poignant and ends happily.
In Summary: Not a ‘bad’ story, ‘Gift’ isn’t something I see myself reading a second time through – the cover tells a prettier story than the novel itself. Characters are endearing but the style didn’t suit my reading preferences.
Synopsis: Sophie Caldwell has returned to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, after years away. Despite the heartaches of her childhood, Sophie is determined to make a home, and a name, for herself in the growing town. A gifted writer, she plans to resurrect the local newspaper that so enchanted her as a girl. Ethan Heyward’s idyllic childhood was shattered by a tragedy he has spent years trying to forget. An accomplished businessman and architect, he has built a majestic resort in the mountains above Hickory Ridge, drawing wealthy tourists from all over the country. When Sophie interviews Ethan for the paper, he is impressed with her intelligence and astounded by her beauty. She’s equally intrigued but fears he will reject her if he learns about her shadowed past. Just as she summons the courage to tell him, Ethan’s own past unexpectedly and violently catches up with him, threatening not only his life but their budding romance.
With thanks to Litfuse and the publisher, Thomas Nelson for providing a copy of this book for reviewing purposes.