Thursday, March 19, 2020

Secrets of My Heart by Tracie Peterson

Secrets of My Heart (Willamette Brides, #1)
Good Day!  This is a good time to read and scour Amazon for upcoming books to pre-order (not much else to do).  The Stolen Letter by Paige Shelton, Deep Fried Revenge by Lynn Cahoon and Dead on the Vine by Elle Brooke White (A Finn Family Farm Mystery) are three new cozies that release on April 7.  Laurie Stroup Smith has her debut novel coming out on April 30.  Pockets of Promise is the first story in The Pocket Quilt series.  The Mockingbird's Song by Wanda E. Brunstetter comes out August 4.  It is the second novel in an Amish Greenhouse Mystery series (The Crow's Call was the first book in series).  The Farm Stand by Amy Clipston comes out May 5.  It is the second novel in An Amish Marketplace series.  I am eager to read The Grim Reader by Kate Carlisle which is available on June 2, Murder in the Storybook Cottage by Ellery Adams out on April 28, and Witches and Wedding Cake by Bailey Cates publishes on July 28. Do one (or more) of these books appeal to you?
DIY giant map on engineering print // Birdseye view of Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon 1879
Secrets of My Heart by Tracie Peterson has Nancy Pritchard a widow in 1879 Portland, Oregon.  Nancy hires John Lincoln, a local attorney, to handle her husband’s will and business affairs.  When Nancy cleared out Albert’s safe at the hardware store, she found ledgers with coded entries.  Then a man comes to the door claiming he had paid Albert Pritchard for guns and whiskey, but he did not receive his goods.  Nancy is baffled as she was unaware that Albert dealt in these items.  Seth Carpenter, a friend of Nancy’s family, arrives in Portland and begins working with John Lincoln.  He is going to help John with Nancy’s business dealings, but there is another reason for his appearance in Portland.  Nancy soon learns that she knew very little about Albert.  Nancy goes to church, but she has her doubts about God.  He failed to answer her prayers on an important matter when she was young, and Nancy feels He failed her.  She is wrestling with this issue while starting a boardinghouse and dealing with her deceased husband’s unusual business practices.  The more time Sean spends with Nancy, the more he falls in love.  What happens, though, when Nancy discovers what he failed to disclose?
Oregon City, Oregon (Nancy's hometown)
Secrets of My Heart by Tracie Peterson is the first book in Willamette Brides series.  In a way, it is a continuation of Heart of the Frontier series featuring Grace Armistead, Nancy Pritchard’s mother along with Hope and Mercy.  All three ladies appear in Secrets of My Heart.   Secrets of My Heart, though, can be read on its own for those who have not indulged in Heart of the Frontier novels.  I thought Secrets of My Heart was well-written and it captured the time period.  Indians were living on reservations in Oregon and certain people want that land.  Other issues addressed in Secrets of My Heart is the education of black children and women’s suffrage.  The arguments were realistic and prevalent. I like how the author showed both sides of the issues.  We can see that attitudes of people in the 1870s is very similar to those of some people today (which is shocking and upsetting).  Nancy is wrestling with God.  There are many discussions on the matter along with prevalent scripture verses.  I did find it a little much for me.  I would have preferred a lighter touch.  The mystery of Albert Pritchard was intriguing.  It turns out that Nancy knew very little about her husband who was a private man. Unfortunately, the mystery is not fully resolved in Secrets of My Heart. There is a great villain in the story.  It is one of those that you love to hate (and cannot wait to see him get his comeuppance).  I liked that Nancy established a female boarding house.  She had some diverse tenants from the reclusive Mrs. Weaver to the pious and proper Clifton sisters.  The romance between Sean and Nancy is sweet and representative of the time.  Nancy is naturally reluctant to marry again (her first marriage was not ideal).  Sean falls for Nancy, but he is naturally worried about her reaction to the information he withheld from her.  I found Nancy a conundrum.  At time she claims she is too weak and tired to deal with an issue.  Then she gets upset when she feels excluded.  I would have liked her to have been take charge with regard to her deceased husband’s business affairs.  I thought the book ended abruptly.  I would have liked an epilogue that could have been an introduction or lead in for the next book in the series.  The Willamette Brides series continues with The Way of Love which features Hope’s daughter, Faith Kenner who is attending medical school.  Secrets of My Heart is a complex novel with vile villain, secreted stores, a bounty of boarders, palpable pressure, soul searching, and a tender romantic relationship.
Portland waterfront looking northwest In 1870, Portland is a bustling city of more than 8,000 people, with a  growing center of commerce and industry on the west side of the  Willamette River.  Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Secrets of My Heart is available from Amazon* (also available at Barnes & Noble, CBD, Kobo, iBooks and other major booksellers).  The next novel in the Willamette Brides series is The Way of Love which releases on June 2, 2020.  Tracie Peterson also has A Flood of Love coming out on March 31.  It is the fourth A Harvey House Brides Novella.  Thank you for visiting today.  Tomorrow I am reviewing Berried in the Past by Peg Cochran.  It is fifth tale in A Cranberry Cove Mystery series.  I hope you have a blissful day. What did the book write on his Valentine's Day card?  Thank you for opening me up! Take care, stay safe and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Circa 1865:  A Victorian girl reads a book, her skirts hitched up to show her thick, knee length sto
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