Sunday, August 9, 2020

A Life Once Dreamed by Rachel Fordham

Book Summary

A Life Once Dreamed by Rachel Fordham takes us to Penance, Dakota Territory in 1880.  Agnes Pratt has been living in Penance for the last six years since she fled Buffalo, New York.  As the local schoolteacher, Agnes is a respected member of the community.  It is known that Agnes has no wish to marry which has some people calling her picky and others independent.  The new doctor arrives in town and it turns out to be Agnes’ childhood friend, James Harris.  James wants to know why Agnes left.  They had plans for their future and he does not understand why she disappeared from his life.  Agnes has made a life for herself in Penance and does not appreciate James disrupting her peace.  She has not told anyone why she left Buffalo and had hoped to never have this discussion with James.  Agnes never wanted James to have to make a choice.  Agnes needs to make a decision.  Is it time for her to reveal the truth and for Agnes’ penance to end?
The Red School House (1873). Winslow Homer (American, 1836-1910). Oil on canvas…
My Thoughts 

A Life Once Dreamed by Rachel Fordham is a heartwarming Christian story.  I thought this tale was well-written with developed characters.  We get to travel back to 1880 where Agnes Pratt works as the schoolteacher in Penance, Dakota Territory.  After learning a secret, Agnes made plans to give up her comfortable life in Buffalo, New York.  Agnes answered the ad for a teacher in Penance and discovered she had a knack for teaching.  Agnes and James had been friends’ all their lives and had planned to wed.  When Agnes departed without a word to James, he is left with unanswered questions.  James arrival in Penance upheaves Agnes’ life.  She has never stopped loving James, but it is best if they do not marry.  Sam Landon is a logger and carpenter.  Agnes hired Sam to make repairs to the schoolhouse over the summer.  Sam is ready to settle down and he believes Agnes might be the right woman for him.  Sam is a kind, good man.  I admit that I was rooting for Sam, and I hope the author provides his story in another book.  A Life Once Dreamed is a lovely story.  I thought the author captured the time-period with the language, clothing, and attitudes of people.  Values and attitudes were different then.  There are some great secondary characters which include Minnie who loves to play matchmaker, Mayor Paul Clint, Tommy, Ruby, and Hannah.  There is humor in the story from Tommy with his endless and sometimes embarrassing questions as well as Minnie who loves romance.  There are great people in the town of Penance.  The author captured the rugged setting of Dakota Territory with the loggers, miners, saloons, and the mountains.  The life is not easy, but the people are friendly and help each other out.  There are some heartbreaking scenes as well as action and tense moments.  I had no trouble figuring out Agnes’ secret and the story played out in an expected manner.  However, that did not diminish my enjoyment of this heartfelt story, and I look forward to Rachel Fordham next novel.  A Life Once Dreamed is a charming historical novel with matchmaking Minnie, the committed mayor, a fatal fire, a severe sickness, immeasurable inquiries, and a startling secret.
Old Fargo school house in 1878.
A Life Once Dreamed is available from Amazon*.  Rachel Fordham also wrote Yours Truly, Thomas and The Hope of Azure Springs (this title available through Kindle Unlimited).  Thank you for reading my review today.  I will return tomorrow with The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis.  I do hope that you have an uplifting day.  Take care, stay safe, and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
A Quiet Read - Cross stitch pattern pdf format
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