Colleen Coble is quickly becoming one of my favorite Christian fiction authors. She writes in a few different genres; mainly historical fiction, mystery, contemporary fiction and romance. Historical fiction is my favorite genre so that’s what I’ve been reading from her. I picked up her book Wyoming which is a collection of four Christian historical fiction and romance novellas that follow the same main group of characters but told from different perspectives. I’ll give you the synopsis and my thoughts for each story separately and then my thoughts on the collection as a whole. There will be spoilers.
Where Leads the Heart
The Civil War has taken the one thing Sarah Montgomery values most, her fiancé, Rand Campbell. Only after she agrees to marry another man does she realize Rand is not dead after all. Set against the backdrop of Fort Laramie, this exciting story of love lost and gained will take you to that dangerous time of the Sioux Indian Wars.
I liked this book the least of the four. It is told from Sarah’s point of view and while I really did like Sarah overall I felt the story kind of dragged. I also really didn’t like Rand. When Sarah thought he was dead she became engaged to man named Ben. This story takes place in the 1800s so the main way a woman could survive was to get married. Sarah didn’t really want to marry Ben but she didn’t see any other options. However, when Rand finally returns home he’s livid at Sarah for “forgetting” about him and moving on. Sarah tries to convince him that she still loves him but he ends up going out west to Fort Laramie and quickly getting engaged to a woman named Jessica. Sarah follows him and is devastated when she learns that he’s engaged to another woman and basically she has to “prove” how much she loves Rand by being meek and complacent. Rand finally realizes he loves her and breaks up with Jessica and then they live happily ever after. Rand is basically extremely selfish with no regard to Sarah’s feelings or what she was going through. Ben and Jessica also play a pretty big role in this book. Ben ends up being evil and a super stereotypical villain. Jessica is a majorly spoiled and selfish young woman who does some pretty terrible things to Sarah but we learn more about Jessica in book three and I do end up liking her. Overall, this book is necessary to the story as a whole but it’s not a favorite.
Plains of Promise
When Emma Croftner’s “husband” is killed, she realizes he was already married to someone else. The house and life she thought she had belongs to someone else. She joins the Campbells at Fort Laramie and must learn to trust God with her security. And only kind Lt. Isaac Liddle can break through the wall she’s erected against ever loving again.
I really liked this book. Emmie’s point of view is very interesting. It would have been devastating for a woman in the 1800s to be pregnant by a man that ended up not being her husband so I really enjoyed that story arc. I also loved Isaac and he’s by far the best love interest of the first three books; Jasper in the fourth book is also great but we’ll get to that in a moment. This book was much more enjoyable than the first.
The Heart Answers
With her beautiful face and glorious red hair, Jessica never met a single man she couldn’t wrap around her little finger. To her amazement, however, Clay Cole seems immune to her charms. In fact, he sees straight through them, and Jessica is furious.
But when Jessica and Clay both want to adopt an orphan child, Jessica assumes the obvious solution is for them to marry. Clay, however, makes it clear that he would never dream of marrying someone as selfish as Jessica.
To Jessica’s surprise, she finds that she is suddenly willing to change…if only God can forgive her for all that she’s done.
Now if only God can change Clay’s heart…
Jessica is by far the most entertaining point of view of the four books. She’s stubborn, selfish and really spoiled. The other three women we read about are pretty perfect Christians so it was interesting to read from another perspective. Jessica does end up getting saved and she’s still a great character even then. However, I really didn’t like the love interest in this book, Clay. He is sanctimonious and extremely judgemental. I think that we, the reader, are supposed to see him as this super holy and perfect man (he’s a preacher) but in my opinion, he’s just a jerk. Jessica would literally be trying to be the best Christian women she could be and he would still find something wrong with her. Of course, they do end up falling in love and living happily ever after but he just really annoyed me. I liked this book because of Jessica’s storyline and it was an overall good story.
To Love a Stranger
Bessie Randall is shocked to discover that, thanks to her sister’s meddling, she is now married by proxy to Jasper Mendenhall, a man she’s never met. Since her plain looks have attracted no other suitor, Bessie travels to Fort Bridger to take up life with this stranger and discover what surprises God has in store for them both.
Jasper is Jessica’s brother and the only man of the four books to have a reason to be a jerk. He feels like he’s been tricked by not just Bessie’s sister, but by Bessie herself. It takes time for him to realize that Bessie really is a good woman and played no part in duping him. I really love their story and Bessie’s point of view.
I really enjoyed reading Wyoming as a whole even though the first book wasn’t my favorite. I like the way Coble writes Christian fiction/romance because it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There’s sickness, death and just general things to overcome like there is in real life. I don’t mind a good “fluff” story every now and then but for the most part I prefer realism. If you like historical fiction, romance or Westerns I think you would really enjoy this collection of stories. Let me know what you think about this book! Thanks for reading and have a great day!