In the high desert town of Frenchman's Bluff, Idaho, Felicia Kristoffersen has set out to create a future for herself that is better than her painful past. Alone in the world with only her faith to sustain her, she must prove herself as this tiny community's new school teacher. She cannot, must not, fail. But, there are those who never wanted her there to begin with.
Five years after the death of his wife, local merchant Colin Murphy cares about just one thing: raising his daughter, Charity. Colin wants to give her the educational advantages he never had. The new schoolmarm's inexperience doesn't sit well with him, and if this teacher up and marries like the last one did, Charity's heart will be broken once again.
A woman who hasn't known love. A man who lost the love he had.
In the midst of the wide, sage-covered plains, each is about to discover that life's bitterest circumstances truly can work together for good.My review:
I really enjoyed this story and read it quickly. There were a lot of things to like about it. First, there were Scriptures quoted by the heroine, Felicia, and her random thoughts about the Bible. This fit her personality so well that it seemed like a natural way for her to think. Sometimes in Christian novels the faith element feels a bit contrived or forced, but not so in this book. I loved the scene where the hero caught her praying. I could feel her joy and his wonder at the sight of her communing with God. I also felt his indignation when the town's busybody tried to insinuate things were less than pure in their relationship.
The hero, Colin, was amazing and hard not to fall for. I felt his pride when he was learning to read through his daughter's lessons. Also, the fact that the secondary character, Kathleen, had an occasional point of view helped me understand the other perspectives. I wanted to give Kathleen a high-five every time she stood up to her mother-in-law, and the same for Colin. It was hard not to root for Felicia's friendships because she'd finally found people who truly cared for the first time since she was orphaned.
Felicia was a very sympathetic character and precious in the way she interacted with people and the way she saw the world. Having met the author before, in some ways Felicia's personality reminds me of Robin's. She is genuine, caring, and sweet-spirited. It's hard not to admire someone like that. Felicia wanted to belong and she wanted to love the children in the town and teach them. It was impossible not to want that for her as a reader. I feel like we became friends as I read the story and I can't wait to read the next book in the series.
This was a sweet romance, but I felt the love developing between them and it was beautiful and emotionally moving to see the love slowly blossoming in their hearts for each other. When he finally kissed her...well, it left me a bit breathless. That was the most romantic scene in the book, and one of the most romantic scenes I've read in a long time. Sigh. Very emotionally satisfying story and I was sad when it ended. But there is another book coming out in the series in a few months, and I'm excited about it! Woot!
Belonging was published by Zondervan and released in August 2011.