Touching the Sky, Land of the Lone Star Series #2
"Touching the Sky" by Tracie Peterson is the second book in the "Land of the Lone Star" series. This book features the story of Laura Marquardt, a strong and independent Southern woman, and Brandon Reid, a captain in the Union army. The Civil War is over and the nation is slowly being reunified. However, there are plenty of Confederate supporters for whom the war is not yet over.
Despite the Marquardt family's support of the Union, Laura's younger sister, Carissa, makes a hasty decision to marry a Confederate soldier, Malcolm Lowe, which results is disastrous consequences for all involved. Malcolm is being investigated by the army for murder and conspiracy, spearheaded by Brandon Reid. A chance meeting leads to courtship with Laura, who assists him with his investigation.
A side storyline is Laura's desire to help freed blacks learn to read. She longs to help them gain an education to help better themselves in their newfound freedom. Laura begins by teaching an employee in their home and then progresses to several adult women and a couple of children. She is supported in her endeavor by both her father and Brandon.
This was a very enjoyable novel. Peterson really delivered with this second book. The characters are well flushed out and the plot flows smoothly. There are even a couple cameo appearances from two characters from the first book in the series, which made for a nice tie-in. Overall, this book was well done. I'm very much looking forward to the final book in the series!
(IÃ¢ÂÂve received this complimentary book from Bethany House Publishers through the Book Blogger program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)
January 11, 2014
A Sequel Worth Reading
Touching the Sky (Land of the Lone Star Book #2)
Book Summary: Her heart is caught between the man she loves and the sister she's desperate to protect. Though their first encounter is hardly auspicious, Laura Marquardt soon discovers herself drawn to the dashing Captain Brandon Reid. As an officer over the colored troops, he eagerly supports her desire to educate blacks and seek harmony in a town where the defeat of the South is a bitter reality. When Laura's sister marries her Confederate beau, Laura finds herself in a difficult situation after overhearing a discussion with frightening consequences. In her heart she feels she should confide in Brandon, but Laura fears to do so may endanger her sister's life. Yet as the stakes continue to rise and Brandon's motives for pursuing her come into doubt, Laura questions where to turn...and wonders if her own dreams of love may be forsaken.
Book Review: I really enjoyed this story the best. The female lead was most enjoyable for me. The younger sister and the dilemma with her husband. The entry of the confederate officer was fun to watch knowing that he was the good guy. The drama with Laura's sister was realistic and intense. You could taste the dust of Texas and the challenges of the west in 1860's. From the opening intensity to all the drama with Laura's sister it was a page turner. I really enjoy the crafting of the story by Tracie Peterson. The development of characters, even secondary characters and the entire plot are pure enjoyment. I am always anticipating the next book before I finish the one I am in.
March 15, 2013
This book didn't meet my expectations
I signed up for book reviewing for Bethany House Publishers, and the first free book I received in the mail was Touching the Sky by Tracie Peterson. I've always been a huge fan of hers, so I was looking forward to this read. I thought it would be a breeze, I'd finish the book in two to three days, and WHAM! I'd have an amazing, glowing review. Wrong! I found myself disappointed with it. It was really lacking in character depth and originality. The characters' dialogue was very stilted and unnatural too. The storyline was a bit too predictable. (Might have some spoilers here!) A young woman, Laura Marquardt, is raised in the South in the late 19th Century. She lived through the War, and is now watching the aftermath play out. She wants to help the recently-freed slaves to better themselves by teaching them how to read, so she does this without asking her father's permission. A mistake that doesn't have the repercussions that I was expecting (okay, so it's not completely predictable). The romance part of the story was sweet, and I did enjoy that.
Her sister marries an ogre (I would say literally, but we're not talking about Shrek), so she wants to save her from the abusive marriage. Laura seemed a little too heroic and daring. I would have like to see more of her flaws. Because of this, I couldn't relate to her very well.
There was also the problem of over-using the phrase, "She couldn't have been more shocked if he had punched her in the face." I especially thought it in poor taste since the villain of the story is an abusive husband.
What I really liked about the book was near the end. Peterson writes that fear isn't taken away once we know Christ as our Savior, but the fear is outweighed by our trust in Him, and He helps us through it.
September 17, 2012
It's June of 1865 in Corpus Christi, Texas, the war is over and life here would forever be changed. Laura Marquardt and her family were Union supporters during a war that pit family against family and neighbor against neighbor. Now that the war is over they would like to put their differences behind them and get on with life. The Union military had a unit of black soldiers to try to help keep the peace because there's a group of former Confederate soldiers who have a vendetta against the Union and their supporters.
Captain Brandon Reid finds Laura in an alley and accuses her of being up to no good and tells her to be on her way. He is in for a surprise when he attends a party at the Marquardt home and who should the angel be that is playing the piano and singing beautifully but Laura Marquardt, a strong Union supporter.
Laura has a sister, Carissa, who is the real social butterfly of the family and has drawn the attention of Malcolm Lowe. Malcolm has a secret reason for courting Carissa, he's the leader of the group trying to restart the war because he's mad that they lost. Laura is concerned about Carissa when she announces that they will be married and soon, she doesn't think Malcolm is the man that he pretends to be. Carissa refuses to be talked into waiting until she knows him better so they get married with her parents blessing.
Events cause Laura to wonder what Malcolm is up to so she watches and listens closely when he's around.
After the wedding Malcolm seems to keep Carissa hidden, there are no visits, they don't go to church, etc.
When Laura and her Mother finally see Carissa after a couple of weeks, Laura notices bruises on her arm. Carissa claims it's from moving furniture. Several weeks later, after not seeing Carissa again and being told to leave them, the newleyweds, alone by Malcolm, Laura takes her Mother and goes to visit Carissa. There is no answer and the front door won't budge, they go to the back door where there is still no answer to the knocking but the door is unlocked so they enter. As they are walking through the house calling to Carissa Laura notices there is a steel bar bolted on the inside of the front door. When they get no answer from Carissa, they threaten to come upstairs looking for her. Carissa comes out and her whole body is covered with bruises. She says she fell down the stairs, Laura doesn't fall for that story, so they take her home to recover.
Captain Reid officially retires from the military but silently continues to work with them to try and find out who's behind the murders of the black soldiers and Union officers. As he's doing this he starts seeing Laura, without telling her about the army's suspicions of Malcolm Lowe and his role in the investigation.
Just what is going on in the Lowe marriage and how will it involve Laura? Will Captain Reid ever confide in Laura what he suspects and what he is doing? What will happen to the Lowe's, will their marriage survive?
This is a view of what life was like for one family after the war and how it affected people living in the same town that shared two different views. Tracie really held my interest and did a great job with this story. It's about sister helping sister and finding faith in God when you think he won't help you because you did too much wrong in your past.
Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
September 1, 2012