Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Guest book review written by Sarah Salter:
From a Distance by Tamera Alexander (June, 2008)
Aspiring photojournalist, Elizabeth Westbrook, has only one chance to make her dreams come true. She needs to impress her editor with photos of the wild and dangerous, but beautiful frontier in the Colorado territory. She knows it won’t be easy, but she doesn’t expect to risk her life for it.
Daniel Ranslett is haunted by the death and ugliness that he’s seen in his tumultuous past. Now a recluse, he winds up being pulled into Elizabeth’s quest in spite of himself. Just when he begins to hope again for beauty and healing, death shows up again. To help Elizabeth, he must face truth and open old wounds that have the potential to either devastate or heal them all.
This is the first book that I’ve read by Tamera Alexander. I was both pleased and impressed! At times, I feel that “frontier fiction” has become formulaic. A delicate, pretty woman and a strong, handsome, protective man face the wild, untamed land. However, “From a Distance” takes that formula and gives it a whole new spin. Alexander’s heroine is a strong, independent, and determined woman. Finding a man is the last thing on Elizabeth’s mind. Similarly, Daniel simply wants to be left alone to lick his wounds and live his life. But when Daniel comes out of his shell, we find that he is a sensitive, vulnerable and understanding (but also strong, handsome, and protective) man.
I found Alexander’s story to be a fresh look at this period of history. As well-created as her characters are, her history (the frontier aspect and the Civil War aspect) and her setting (the beautiful Colorado territory) are skillfully handled. Altogether, this is one of the most engaging and enjoyable pieces of historical fiction that I have read recently. I highly recommend this book and I have high expectations of the other books in this series.