Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Wildflower Road by Janine Rosche

Wildflower Road by Janine Rosche

Madison River Romance series; book two I recommend you read book one first, but you won’t be lost if you don’t. Book one is called This Wandering Heart. You can read my review for book one here.

Let’s begin with the summary for Wildflower Road:

A young widow is tempted to love again after her heartbreaking loss in this new Madison River Romance.

After her husband's tragic death, Ryann Marie Ashcroft's only remaining dream is to save her family's struggling mountain resort. And the last person she wants to rely on is a brooding stranger with secrets of his own.

Nicknamed America's rock-and-roll pastor, Shane Olson arrives in Montana after a viral video destroys his marriage, his ministry, and his reputation. Working side by side on the banks of the Madison River, he and Ryann get a second chance at love. But not everyone wants to see their happily ever after.

And now, my review:

After reading This Wandering Heart, I was curious about this character. She was the hero’s sister, and she made interesting choices in book one. So, getting to read her story and learn more about her motives helped satisfy my curiosity.

Ryann is a complex character. She’s a young widow (see summary) and has suffered a lot. We saw a bit of that in book one. But here we learn the whole story. I appreciated the author’s note explaining that this book deals with “sensitive issues including harassment, depression, and suicide.” As a reader who is sensitive to content, this was fair warning that I would likely be skimming some scenes, and I did. I felt the author handled these subjects well, and again, the author letter at the beginning of the story helped prepare me. I’d say the story is well worth reading, but only if those issues will not cause more harm for the reader.

Shane, the story’s hero, is also complex. He’s a former pastor who is hiding from his past. But he’s honorable and noble, gentle and kind. I loved this pastoring aspect to his character every time we got to explore it on the page with other characters. In fact, there wasn’t quite enough of this aspect for me.

After reading book one, I delighted to find Janine’s trademark prose and description style in book two. She writes insightfully, using her descriptions to take us into the character’s experience in profound ways. Like this excerpt from page 147 when the hero finally opens up to the heroine:

“She wouldn’t dare move. Not even breathe. This moment had the fragility of winter’s first blanket of ice atop the lake. One misstep and they’d both fall through.”

Grace is one of the book’s themes. I loved exploring this. A pastor should understand grace, and yet Shane struggles with this. He’s in agreement with shame and condemnation at the beginning of the story. It was enjoyable watching God woo Shane back to Himself and into freedom. The author again includes God speaking within the narrative. Yay!

Another positive ingredient is the friendships in this story and how Ryann’s community surrounds her, and eventually Shane as well. Ryann’s fiercely protective and hasn’t learned to trust God to protect her family and friends. She has a martyr’s mentality, but without wisdom it’s a messiah complex that is detrimental and even dangerous.

Another of Janine’s skills is dropping breadcrumbs without leaving readers feeling too lost or worse, frustrated. She also includes humor, so readers won’t feel the story line is too heavy.

Overall, a very good read. I can’t wait to dive into book three.

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