Monday, April 15, 2019

Beneath a Prairie Moon - Review

Beneath a Prairie Moon

By: Kim Vogel Sawyer

Publication: Published March 20th 2018 by Waterbrook Press

349 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction

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Goodreads description--Readers rabid for the sweet historical romances of Tracie Peterson and Tamara Alexander will flock to Kim Vogel Sawyer's prairie-set heartwarmer of a pair of opposites destined for love.

Estelle Brantley grew up in affluence and knows exactly how to behave in high society. But when she is cast from the social registers due to her father's illegal dealings, she finds herself forced into a role she never imagined: tutoring rough Kansas ranchers in the subjects of manners and morals so they can "marry up" with their mail-order brides. Mack Cleveland, whose father was swindled by a mail-order bride, wants no part of the scheme to bring Eastern women to Spiveyville, Kansas, and he's put off by the snooty airs and fastidious behavior of the "little city gal" in their midst. But as time goes by, his heart goes out to the teacher who tries so diligently to smooth the rough edges from the down-to-earth men. How can he teach her that perfection won't bring happiness?

Sigh. I wanted so much to love this book. I've really been exploring the historical fiction genre--specifically Christian historical fiction. My issues with Beneath a Prairie Moon are pretty simple. The pacing was really slow. The story wasn't romance driven. There's dialect used prominently throughout the book. And at times (more so in the beginning of the book), I felt like the characters were preaching at me.

The issues of pacing and the romance taking a backseat go hand and hand for me. While all stories don't need to be romance driven, this just happens to be my personal preference. I debated DNFing Beneath a Prairie Moon multiple times--not because it was bad, but just because the pacing dragged so much. Each time I decided to keep reading because the story was interesting enough.

Dialect is a pet peeve of mine. I can't stand it. It takes me out of the story, and I can't imagine how difficult it must be to actually write this way. I hate trying to make out the words being used by the characters. In this case, there was a purpose behind it--so Abigail could correct them as part of her lessons.

The preaching thing didn't really last beyond the beginning of the book. Although certainly the characters who narrated each had relationships with God which were prominent throughout the story. Lessons were learned by each. I always try to place myself in the shoes of a believer and non-believer when it comes to Christian fiction. Would a non-believer enjoy the story just as much as a believer? I'm not sure in this case. I don't remember there being any topics that anyone would find offensive (although these days it doesn't take much to offend some people).

Beneath a Prairie Moon wasn't bad by any means, but is that really how you want a book described that you're thinking about reading? I mean I feel harsh even saying that, but that's how I felt. Reiterating what I said in the first paragraph: Beneath a Prairie Moon was slow. The romance took a back seat to the rest of the story. And one of my biggest pet peeves, dialect, was used throughout the book. Beneath a Prairie Moon gets 3 Stars. Have you read Beneath the Prairie Moon? What did you think? Let me know!

*Side note: I don't remember the name Estelle Brantley being used at all in this book. Abigail Grant is what she goes by in the book, and perhaps she changed her name after her father's crimes, but I don't remember this being addressed at all.

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