Monday, May 17, 2010

Book Review - A Matter of Character by Robin Lee Hatcher

So you know, I received a free copy of Robin Lee Hatcher's newest release, A Matter of Character, from Zondervan Publishing.

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
A Matter of Character (Zondervan, May 25, 2010) by Robin Lee Hatcher


Here's my review:

Just finished reading this "faith-filled historical romance" set in 1918 Idaho. It's the third and final book of "The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs" series. You needn't be familiar with the first two novels, however, to enjoy this light and cozy, quick but competently written beach-or-bathtub read. Overall, I enjoyed the story, but to be honest, Christian chick lit isn't my favorite genre.

That being said, at about 250 pages, it's a little long and somewhat repetitive. I got tired of reading every few pages in the opening chapters why Joshua, the male protagonist, traveled to Bethlehem Springs on a mission to defend his grandfather's good name! I get it already. But because this was a fairly weak premise for an instigating crisis, I guess the author felt she needed to reiterate it half a dozen times or more. (Reminds me of the preacher joke/note to self: "Weak point, pound pulpit!") Still, the rising tension between Daphne (who has a secret about Joshua's grandfather) and the new man in town makes for a nice set up for the second half of the book, which covers their romantic troubles and resolution. If you enjoy clean reads with overtly Christian themes, this is a good representative of Christian historical fiction (the author's admitted "sweet spot").

Like the dime novels that Daphne writes, A Matter of Character reads a bit like the melodramatic fiction popular 100 years ago. It's fun, fast-paced, and transitions back and forth between Daphne and Joshua's POV fairly seamlessly. Although I'm not overly keen on meta-fiction (a writer writing a story about a writer writing a story - it's like a country singing star singing about becoming a country singing star), this wasn't too bad. My main challenge was that nothing extremely bad happened nor were there any nasty scoundrels to hate! I know, it's romance-lite with faith-triumphs themes, so again, if this is what you enjoy, Hatcher delivers. And there's a place for this type of lit. I just prefer something a bit more "adventurous."



My rating: 7 out of 10. But your mileage may vary. Here's the official blurb:
It's 1918, and Daphne McKinley, heiress to a small fortune, has found contentment in the town of Bethlehem Springs. But Daphne has a secret.

A series of dime novels loosely based on local lore and featuring a nefarious villain known as Rawhide Rick has enjoyed modest popularity among readers. Nobody in Bethlehem Springs knows the man behind the stories...except Daphne.

When newspaperman Joshua Crawford comes to town searching for the man who sullied the good name of his grandfather, Daphne finds herself at a crossroads, reassessing the power of her words, re-thinking how best to honor her gifts, and reconsidering what she wants out of life.
You can also view the book trailer here.
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