The Miner’s Lady by Tracie Peterson

As the third book of Tracie Peterson’s Land of Shining Water series, The Miner’s Lady introduces us to the Italian population that immigrated to Minnesota.  Peterson introduces the Italian culture through the Calarco and Panetta families who emigrated from the same area of Italy. While they have a motherland in common, they stoke an old feud between their families.  Peterson adeptly show us how cultural ties traveled with the people who settled Minnesota. She shows how they brought their strength and resolve, and often how they brought their passions that both help and interfere with their new lives in America.

As a main protagonist, the young woman Chantel Panetta has returned from a long trip to Italy to discover that her younger sister has fallen for Orlando Calarco. Still influenced by the old feud, Chantel is reluctant to support Isabella in her new romance. Slowly though, sisterly affection overrides old traditions and Chantel sees that Isabella and Orlando are right to put the hard feelings of their families behind them.  But resolve, however well meant, does not seem enough to help their parents see the futility of the feud.

Once again it didn’t take long for Peterson to draw me into another intense historical drama, where she shows us the strength the immigrants brought to Minnesota as they labored in the iron mines and their families who worked hard to adapt to a new life in America. She captured well the harshness of God fearing people struggling to choose right while living in the midst of hardened mining towns that encourage vice. With romance mixed with adventure Peterson takes us into the dangers of the iron mines and into the hearts that struggle with harmful traditions.

In my opinion, Chantel embodies well the promise that America gave to many immigrants who found more freedom to think for themselves and embrace a new life that included the best of their old cultures. Bethany House Publishing sent me a complimentary copy of The Miner’s Lady by Tracie Peterson to review.

The Quarryman’s Bride by Tracie Peterson

As the second book in the Land of Shining Water series by Tracie Peterson, The Quarryman’s Bride caught my attention immediately in chapter 1. It was one of those books that I wish I could sit down and read from start to finish.  The Land of Shining water series focuses on settlers in Minnesota during the late 1800’s just before the turn of the century.

The first book in the series, The Icecutter’s Daughter, was full of action and intrigue. In contrast, The Quarryman’s Bride, focuses on main character Emmalyne Knox’s internal struggles to be a good daughter despite her hard family circumstances, and shattered disappointments. But, don’t anticipate a boring read because Peterson is a gifted storyteller that shows us the hearts’ of her characters while cleverly introducing us to Minnesota’s spirited pioneers.

At age seventeen, Emmalyne Knox was almost a bride to her childhood sweetheart Tavin. When disaster kills her two sisters, Emmalyne’s mother retreats into depression to deal with her loss, while her father, already a harden man, becomes bitterly angry. In his anger Luthias severs his daughter’s engagement and leaves the area with his family. But fate and a good job cause the Know family to return to St. Cloud a decade later.

Although older now, Emmalyne returns to her place of disappointed hopes, to learn that Tavin has also returned, but he is not the same loveable Tavin she knew. Instead, he is embittered and angry, much like her father. In her despair, and with the help of a caring friend, Emmalyne turns to God and finds hope for herself and her family, despite her hard life.

Once again Tracie Peterson deftly shares the struggles of the human heart through her characters and shows us how hope in God can change our hearts and maybe even our lives. The Quarryman’s Bride is a poignant story of love and loss and healing.

Bethany House Publishing sent me a complimentary copy of The Quarryman’s Bride by Tracie Peterson to review.

Bethany House Publishers

Bethany House Publishers is a Christian division of Baker House Publishing Group. I was first introduced to Bethany House when I read found Beverly Lewis’s Amish novels while browsing library shelves about a decade ago. I enjoy reading adult fiction, hands down, but I have learned to be wary of less than savory content mixed into some of the best fiction stories. That’s why I’m recommending Bethany Publishers for entertaining and uplifting fiction without the detracting material.

In the time that I’ve dabbled with new authors published under the Bethany label, I have not encountered any books I regret reading. Enough of my personal promotion. Here are some of my favorite authors and books published by Bethany House. Just so you know, I am partial to historical fiction so most the books I introduce come from that genre.

These days I read any of Lewis’s fiction but the Abram’s Daughters 5 book series remains my favorite, followed closely by The Rose Trilogy which is a recent series. After reading all of Lewis’s works, I moved on to Lynn Austin’s Hidden Places, after watching the Hallmark movie a few years ago. Some of my Austin favorites include:

While We’re Far Apart: A WWII love story with a touching plot.

Until We Reach Home: A tale of Swedish Immigrant sisters immigrating to America.

Wonderland Creek: A take-off of Christy by Catherine Marshall. In the woods of rural Kentucky, a young librarian wants to change the town.

A Proper Pursuit: Introduces us the golden period of the World Fair exhibitions and Chicago that hosted it.

Recently I discovered Tracie Peterson, a prolific writer with an endless stream of stories to share. Her best novels explore the development of the American frontiers and the courageous women who settled there. Some of my Peterson favorites include:

Brides of Gallatin County series: Each book in the trilogy focuses on 1 of 3 sisters who settled in Gallatin County, Montana

Song of Alaska series: Introduces us to an Alaskan frontier town of at the beginning of the 20th century.