Love's First Bloom by Delia Parr
Bethany House Publishers
Ruth Livingstone is on a mission, but not one she's chosen. Her father, Reverend Gersham Livingstone, is accused of murdering a prostitute in New York City. He sends Ruth to Toms River, New Jersey with a small package. The package is eighteen month old Lily, the prostitute's daughter. Few people know that the child exists; the Reverend wishes to keep her out of harm's way. Ruth is the solution.
Phanaby and Elias Garner take Ruth and Lily in, assuming that Ruth is a reformed prostitute in need of shelter. Ruth hates staying with them under false pretenses, especially ones that cast a shadow on her character. Lily is an unruly child, and it takes every ounce of stamina Ruth has to keep up with her. In addition, Ruth anxiously awaits news of her father's trial, fearing the worst but hoping for the best. Even in 1838, the media has all but convicted the Reverend prior to his trial.
Ashton "Jake" Tripp returns to New York City to make amends with his brother Clifford. Prior to their separation, Jake and Clifford worked together at their father's newspaper. Ego and bad judgement placed Jake in a scandalous situation and he fled the city, leaving Clifford to pick up the pieces and salvage the business. In an effort to win Clifford's trust and a position at the paper, Jake agrees to locate the daughter of Reverend Livingstone. Local papers report her disappearance and speculate that the Reverend murdered her as well.
Ruth and Jake's paths intersect in an interesting manner. Does Jake know who she really is? Ruth is wary of this reporter; can she trust him? How long will she deny her growing feelings for him? Will the good Reverend be acquitted and restore his reputation? Assorted events, interesting twists, and action provide the answers; you must read the book if you want to know what happens!
I wanted to read this book because I enjoyed Ms. Parr's Hearts Awakening. (To read my review of that book, click here.) It struck a chord with me, partly because the setting was near my birthplace in Pennsylvania. Beyond that though, her characters were real and engaging, and I expected the same with Love's First Bloom. I was not disappointed. Ms. Parr writes a lovely story that enables the reader to share Ruth's journey. If you like historical fiction of any sort, I think you might like this one.
*This book was provided for review purposes from Bethany House Publishers. No compensation was received.
What intriguing characters have you read about lately?
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