Friday, June 17, 2016

Book Review - No Other Will Do

No Other Will Do by Karen Witemeyer
Bethany House Publishers

Twenty something Emma Chandler, founder of the women’s colony in Harper’s Station, TX, is as spunky as they come. She is a champion of women, the sometimes battered, suffering casualties of society in 1894. Emma and her aunts created a safe haven for abused and homeless women, and the town is home to a bank, general store, cafĂ©, and boarding house, to name a few. Harper’s Station boasts no male residents. Just yet anyway.

Malachi Shaw is an explosives specialist working for the railroad in southern Montana. He had the privilege of living with Emma’s aunts when he was orphaned in his early teens.  He credits a young Emma with saving his life, and consequently they became fast friends. After he left Texas, he and Emma kept in touch through letters. Malachi promised Emma and the aunts he’d come if they ever needed anything.

There’s trouble brewing in Harper’s Station in the form of a masked man leaving threatening notes that say “Leave or die”. When he opens fire on the women during a meeting, Emma wires Malachi for help. Malachi drops everything and heads to Texas intent on helping the town’s residents.

The situation continues to heat up, literally, as the mysterious perpetrator continues to wreak havoc, setting fire to Harper’s Station’s church.  Folks in the nearby town of Seymour aren’t anxious to help, and the sheriff is occupied with cattle rustlers in the surrounding area.  So it’s up to Malachi, Emma, and the ladies to solve this life threatening puzzle.

In the meantime, Emma and Malachi get to know each other as adults, in person versus through letters, and find themselves increasingly attracted to each other. Malachi will do anything to keep Emma and those she cares about safe, and Emma is staunchly supportive of him as well. Not only are their crime fighting skills tested, but their convictions and faith in God are as well. To further complicate matters, Emma and Malachi believe that there is a traitor among the women. Someone is supplying the masked man with information and carrying out his tasks around town, including killing livestock.

Many secrets come to light as Emma and Malachi formulate a plan to meet the deadline the perpetrator has imposed. Tension mounts as precious hours tick away and lives hang in the balance. Will they catch the man responsible for the upheaval in Harper’s Station? I’ll give you a hint: this book has a happy ending in more ways than one, but it’s not without a wonderfully tense and action packed conclusion.

Ms. Witemeyer is a master at bringing the reader into the heart of the characters. I was engaged from the start, drawn to Emma and Malachi through their backstory and present challenges. Her characters are multifaceted individuals, real people to whom we can relate. The plot and setting are perfect complements to the characters, and she weaves rich historical detail throughout, further layering the story. It’s a wonderful balance of action, mystery, hope, despair, love, and faith that entertains and inspires.

I came away with not only the satisfaction of having read a wonderful story, but challenged to examine my own heart and faith as well. I hope Ms. Witemeyer continues this series of strong and inspiring women (and men!). This one gets two thumbs up!

Please note: I received this complimentary copy of No Other Will Do from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

What are you reading this summer?

Happy reading and writing, 

Karen

7 comments :

  1. Amigo, fabulous review. These days my heart needs examined. After studying the verses you gave me, I knew that. Not that I had lost my faith. But I realized I had taken it for granted. I will pop over to Amazon and add this to my cart. I especially love the many secrets factor. (I'm a sucker for books like this.) Thank you for such a great and thoughtful review. Hugs and loves. XOXOXOXOXOXO

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  2. Emma and Malachi seem like great characters embedded in a great storyline.

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  3. This sounds like a great book and the cover caught my attention right away. I do like books with strong female characters and this sounds like it has many of them! I am intrigued by what I read. Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

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  4. Thanks for this review, Karen--this book looks like one I'd enjoy. This summer I'm reading the New Tesatament--what I call a "dash," where I read straight through as fast as possible to get the whole picture. It's really fun! I'm also reading a series by Tamara Leigh set in North Carolina called the "Southern Discomfort" series. Excellent writing packed with humor and spiritual insight.

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  5. Thanks for this review, Karen--this book looks like one I'd enjoy. This summer I'm reading the New Tesatament--what I call a "dash," where I read straight through as fast as possible to get the whole picture. It's really fun! I'm also reading a series by Tamara Leigh set in North Carolina called the "Southern Discomfort" series. Excellent writing packed with humor and spiritual insight.

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  6. I love stories that take place in the 1800s, and this one sounds especially interesting with a young heroine of strong convictions.

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  7. Robyn,
    Thank you so much, amigo. I enjoyed this one so much. And yes, it really made me think about a lot of things. Cheering you on for your next journey - you know that, right? Love you bunches. xo :)

    Medeia,
    That's a great way to put it, and it's so true! :)

    Jess,
    I loved the cover too! It's vibrant and really fits the story. Glad you enjoyed the review. :)

    Jen,
    You are welcome! :) I think you might enjoy this story. That sounds like a great idea with the New Testament. I should do it too. :)

    Lee,
    I too, love historicals set it that period. There's so much potential for a good story! :)

    Happy reading and writng,
    Karen

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!