Embers of Love by Tracie Peterson

“Lookin’ for a wedding?” he asked in a lazy drawl. When G.W. Vandermark first meets beautiful Lizzy Decker, his world is turned upside down. At the busy train station in Philadelphia, Lizzy, a stunning, blue-eyed petite blonde, is accompanied by G.W.’s level-headed sister, Deborah Vandermark.

Lizzy and Deborah have just finished college and are returning to Deborah’s hometown in Eastern Texas.

For G.W, the most unusual thing about his sister’s companion is a long bridal gown she chooses to wear for the arduous trip. Lizzy has barely escaped a wedding and an overbearing groom she does not love. She now depends on Deborah and Deborah’s “backwoods bumpkin” brother to provide a safe refuge for her.

Embers of Love is the first of the three novels by Tracie Peterson in her latest historical inspirational series, Striking a Match (Embers of Love, Hearts Aglow, Hope Rekindled). Set in a small logging community of Perkinsville in June 1885, this novel portrays lives of two intelligent, educated young women whose thinking are ahead of their time.

Deborah has interests in reading, science, and medicine. Lizzy excels in art and music. With a degree in bookkeeping, Deborah comes home from the East to help manage her family’s thriving logging company. Her medical knowledge is put to use when the new doctor in town, Dr. Christopher Clayton, needs urgent assistance in his clinic. Together, they encounter opposition from a superstitious midwife and an uneducated community that still has qualms about women having professions instead of performing household chores and raising a family.

This novel gets mysterious when Lizzy’s jilted fiancé and her mother, who is one of the female activists rallying for the cause of women’s suffrage, show up at the Vandermarks’ door. They demand that Lizzy return home with them immediately. At this point, I was asking myself why would a women’s rights supporter force her own daughter to marry a selfish man who does not love her? What kind of motives and personal gains does she have in mind? Lizzy has just settled into a world totally different than her upscale upbringing as she begins to pay attention to the awkward but sincere G.W. Will Lizzy and G.W.’s blossoming relationship survive this intrusion?

Embers of Love has well-drawn, likable characters and engaging dialog. The lively conversation at the dining table between Deborah and Dr. Clayton reminds me of that of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It’s inspiring to see a courageous heroine with a pioneering spirit, who speaks and stands up for the truth.

I truly enjoyed the southern hospitality and warm friendships described in this book. Deborah’s mother, Mrs. Vandermark, treats her neighbors and employees with kindness and integrity. The Vandermarks often help the poor, the sick, and those in need.

The only drawback about this book is the romance between G.W. and Lizzy, which seems a little rushed. While it is clear why G.W. would fall in love with a kind-hearted, and intelligent Lizzy, who takes time to comfort him about his problematic past, the author does not give enough circumstances that convince me why Lizzy would fall for G.W. when the two are given little time together to overcome their differences. This might be because there are so many events happening at the same time in the story.

Peterson’s smooth, entertaining writing and exciting plots, however, make up for the lack of details that could add depth to the book.

A sweet tender love story, Embers of Love is a light, wholesome read you should not miss. Enjoy this book with a glass of sweet iced tea and a piece of blueberry pie at your favorite café on a bright, sunny day, and you will be surprised that you have lost half a day or even a whole day with no other work done, and pretty soon you will be looking for the series’ second and third book at the Library.


About the Author

Sukalaya Kenworthy is a senior library assistant at the Westport Branch. To join the Inspirational Book Group, e-mail her at sukalayakenworthy@kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3488 for more information. The group meets the third Wednesday of the month at 4:30 p.m.