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I received Out of the Ashes: The Heart of Alaska-Book Two by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse from Bethany House in exchange for a review.

This book packs depth and weight of numerous issues while still possessing a strong hope. Though taking place nearly a hundred years ago, the issues resemble common issues today. Katherine becomes a widow and has to deal with the trauma of her husband’s physical and verbal abuse, and Jean-Michel grapples with lingering haunting memories of his time at war in Syria. These lovers find their way back to each other, unsure of how to move forward with their lives and how or who they can trust. During their stay in Alaska, they find new hope as they put their faith in the Lord.

I find it refreshing to see characters new in faith. It shows an honesty in wanting to learn the right way to navigate life, a quest that continues long after that initial decision to follow. I also appreciate that it shows the depth to the difficulties these characters experienced. Their minds have altered due to their trauma, and the reality revolves around a complex healing. While clearly their faith lead to healing, the book shows that their journey holds more complexity than a simple realization.

Not only did the protagonists at the heart of the story and the romance show realistic experiences through authentic characters, the secondary players all provide round out insight into progressing life skills and developing friendships. Katherine makes friends with pregnant Cassidy as she sits on bed rest and Jean-Michel’s sister Collette, and the girls make a nice trio of support. Cassidy’s boss in the hotel kitchen provides some humor as well. This story makes a well rounded and insightful book. I have enjoyed getting an extra dose of hope through these characters’ lives and relatable earnest desire to move forward as best they can despite difficulties.

 

This books marks the second I’ve read by Tracie Peterson, Beloved Hope the first.  Both books come from a series and aren’t the first but can make sense read alone. Now I will keep Peterson on my radar as she seems to write characters who deal with trauma and handles it with authenticity, insight and hope. I recommend her stories from what I’ve read so far.

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