Title: A Beauty Refined
Series: Sapphire Brides #2
Author: Tracie Peterson
No. of Pages: 320
Published: July 5, 2016
Source: Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B & N
Ian Harper, a lapidary working in Helena, finds the young woman staying at the Broadwater Hotel more than a little intriguing. Yet the more he gets to know her, the more he realizes that her family story is based on a lie–a lie she has no knowledge of. And Ian believes he knows the only path that will lead her to freedom.Meeting Ian has changed everything. Phoebe is determined to stay in America, regardless of her father’s plans. But she may not be prepared for the unexpected danger as the deception begins to unravel. – Publisher
WHAT I LIKED
A Beauty Refined takes place during a time when industrial and mining capitalism was on the rise in America; hence, the name for the series Sapphire Brides. Through this lens, Tracie Peterson gives the reader a glimpse into the unrelenting greed and deception in the heart of man and I suppose this is where the book held its merit. That is to say, for a Christian fiction, this book added a surprising amount of weight and depth. It questions the nature of divorce, it challenges the reader’s morality and vantage point, and it reminds us that whilst our past may look grim and hopeless, God is able to restore those who call upon His name into a beauty refined.
A Beauty Refined prides itself with an incredible amount of character development for such a short story. Most of this development focuses on our tragic protagonist, Phoebe who sadly endured a lot of heartache and calamity. Truly, I was stricken with so much grief given her dire circumstances and how they each affected her character arc. It goes without saying that, most of the plot’s climax is rooted in this deep internal conflict. It’s a story that touches on truly frightening issues and the book does a great job at depicting these real life motifs.
The other main character who stole the spotlight was Phoebe’s egocentric father, Graf Von Bergen; ugh! I’ve read a good handful of books penned by Tracie Peterson and I have to say, this antagonist goes down as the worst! This brute imbued all the radical traits of a misogynist cynic which made him more than an archetype ― he is condescending, ambitious, narcissistic, erratically violent with a severe inferiority complex View Spoiler »which manifests in his physical abuse towards women and those around him « Hide Spoiler. I was truly skeptical about the way Tracie Peterson was going to resolve the conflicts surrounding Graf Von Bergen’s character arc. I won’t reveal the end, but let’s just say, it was undeniably intense, nail-biting and well-drawn out; I was left agape, to say the least, and we’ll leave it at that.
Tracie Peterson is one of my favorite writers in the historical fiction genre; thus, it comes as no surprise to say that I loved the writing in A Beauty Refined; particularly how it feels very much like a Colonial novel and imbues a clever yet dark tone to the narration; dark in light of its thematic scope. Even more, the book that is riddled with German culture, even the dialogue!
THINGS THAT MADE ME GO HMMM. . .
The only quibble I had with A Beauty Refined was with its otherwise torpid pacing; specifically with the scenes where we are told how sapphires are graded and formed. I don’t mean to disprove the author’s extensive research and study, however, these factors just didn’t seem to pique my interest. Nevertheless, I commend Tracie Peterson for her thorough attention to detail with these beautiful gems and while these scenes did stump the flow of the plotline they do manage to ease the reader into Phoebe’s world while introducing the supporting characters and the climax at a pace that one is able to keep up with.
In light of the themes addressed in A Beauty Refined, this book may not appeal to everyone. Be that as it may, while the story may have some dark overtones, there is a degree of believability that makes the premise far more palatable. It’s certainly worth the read if you are following the series.
SPECIAL BITS & PIECES
Her pain had become his own – especially the internal pain of suffering betrayal.
|Drugs & Alcohol||Minor||Mild||Moderate||Heavy||Extreme|
|RECOMMENDED FOR||OT 16+|
Loss of a loved one, domestic violence, physical and verbal abuse, murder, attempted murder, suicide, abuse of alcohol
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