After having read Under the Midnight Sun by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse, I looked for other works in our library by Peterson. I discovered the Brides of Seattle series and started reading.
Steadfast Heart: Book One
In Steadfast Heart, readers will find the tale of several ladies and the men in their lives. The two main characters are Lenore Fulcher and Abrianna Cunningham who are lifelong friends but live in different circumstances. This work of Christian fiction (one could argue historical fiction) is set in Seattle, Washington, in 1888 and primarily takes place at and around the Madison Bridal School.
There is a tale of love at first site within the pages of this fast-paced book. At first, I was credulous. How does someone fall in love and know whom they want to marry so quickly? Even with praying to God for assistance in such a lofty matter, how can one be sure? Then I was reminded of the fact that even though I had corresponded with my husband for a while prior to dating, some felt we became engaged and married too quickly. So perhaps, with the assistance of God, things can happen in a manner that would appear to be too quick for the rest of the world.
There is murder, intrigue, ill health, a missing sister, and illegal trading—among other nefarious goings-on in the city of Seattle. But the story of Lenore and Abrianna is not just one of sorrow. We see how Abrianna is able to help the less fortunate by providing food, clothing, and spiritual guidance. We also observe how Lenore and Kolbein Booth find a closer relationship with God over the course of Steadfast Heart.
Refining Heart: Book Two
We first met Militane Scott towards the end of Steadfast Heart as a new resident of the Madison Bridal school. In this story, we explore her story further—why she came to Seattle, why she is not seeking marriage, and why she is shy around men. In Refining Heart, readers gain insight into her view of God as well as that of Thane Patton's view. Both seem to have difficulty understanding how God can love them unconditionally.
Tracie Peterson also explores the lives of Abrianna Cunningham and her calling to help the poor. I highly enjoyed reading about Abrianna's opening of a food kitchen to serve lunch to her "friendless" people in Seattle. And I liked reading about the arrival of an unexpected but important figure in Abrianna's life.
In addition to reading about Militane and Thane, Abrianna and Wade, I also liked reading about the new Pastor—Pastor Walker from Texas—and his opinion of Abrianna, her aunts, and Wade's Bible Study at the food kitchen. The potential resolution of the interaction with Pastor Walker was also of great interest. It is also during Refining Heart that a fire sweeps through Seattle, destroying much of the city.
Love Everlasting: Book Three
The third book in the Brides of Seattle series tells of Abrianna and Wade and their engagement and all the obstacles that lead up to their wedding day. I was eagerly awaiting my chance to read this book as it was checked out when I returned Refining Heart to the library. In order to address why I did not really like Love Everlasting, I will have to share what could spoil your reading of the book.
At the beginning of the book, Abrianna turns 21 and learns that she has come into an inheritance set aside by her three aunts. She wishes to use this money to rebuild her food kitchen (making it bigger and better than before the Seattle fire). Abrianna's money causes conflict between her and Wade as he does not want to use any of her money for their future life together. (This irked me to no end. Maybe I am too much of a 21st-century woman.)
After attempting to purchase property and being met by a very rude real estate agent, Abrianna's father, Jay, beats up the man who impugned his daughter's honor. This leads to Jay's arrest and his own pummeling by the police at the request of Priam Welby.
Priam Welby is back from the earlier books and even more evil than before. He continues to practice dubious business and hurts others through his actions. He threatens death to everyone that Abrianna holds dear to push her into a marriage with him. I understand that books need conflict to make a good story but I really would have liked to just see Abrianna and Wade get married and deal with the conflict of rebuilding his shop and their starting a life together.
I enjoyed the first two books of the series much more than the last but I would still recommend—if you enjoyed the first two—that you read the third. Love Everlasting will provide closure (and finally a happy ending) to the Brides of Seattle series.
If you enjoyed reading my review of the Brides of Seattle series, please check out my reviews of some other works of historical fiction and Christian fiction.