Sometimes I’m just in the mood for a good tearjerker – a romance that is touching and emotional and shows how powerfully love can change someone’s life. Redemption is that kind of book. The plot has its rough spots, but the romance is ultimately very sweet and well worth the time spent reading.
Since the death of his wife, disabled Civil War veteran Jake McPherson has withdrawn completely from public life. He spends his days sitting in his wheelchair at home, never venturing outside. This withdrawal has taken a toll on his young son, Jason, and local schoolteacher Alicia Merriwether pays a visit to the McPherson house to express her concerns about him.
Needless to say, Alicia is not met with any form of welcome. However, she is determined to get her message through to Jake and she persists in trying to reach him. Upon meeting Jake, it is obvious to her that this father and son could use her help. Though Jake argues often with Alicia, he admits that his son needs someone like her to take an interest in him. For Jason’s sake, Jake allows Alicia to continue coming to the house to help out.
Things between Jake and Alicia are not always smooth by any stretch of the imagination. They argue often, but their sparring is realistic and far from the contrived petty bickering found all too often in Romance-land. Somewhere along the way, Jake starts to realize that perhaps his son is not the only one who benefits from having Alicia around. Alicia, too, finds herself facing the fact that Jake and Jason are starting to mean a lot to her.
The romance that grows between Alicia and Jake is made all the sweeter because of the barriers to be overcome. Each of these characters has been wounded – though Jake shows his wounds more openly. After losing his legs and then losing his wife, Jake is a prisoner of his own grief and fear. Alicia, on the other hand, appears determined and strong, but she hides deep wounds beneath the surface. All her life, she’s been reminded that she is too heavy, too tall, too far outside the accepted standard of beauty to be wanted. Her life as a spinster scholteacher of thirty seems in some ways to confirm these opinions to her and her poor self-image leaves her more fragile than she initially appears. Davidson does a good job of creating a strong hero and heroine and readers will want to see them end happily.
Seeing two people who so obviously need each other fall in love makes for a beautiful story. My one major quibble with the book is that the author seems to pull back at crucial moments and flinch from exploring the emotional side of her characters too deeply. This story is a deeply emotional one, but at times I felt like the reader was not drawn into the character’s heads and hearts deeply enough. As a result, some of the characters’ decisions and personal changes throughout the story can seem a little abrupt. The story is still a lovely and even moving one, but it could have been more.
Still, Redemption is an enjoyable read and, even though I wanted more from it than I got, the story still moved me. The main focus here is on the emotional healing of the characters and Davidson wisely keeps the plotting fairly low-key in order to make the relationship and internal changes of the characters the focus of the novel. Alicia and Jake are both likable and their strength is admirable. Those who like American historicals or who – like me – are suckers for a love and redemption story may want to give this a try.
|Review Date:||January 1, 2006|
|Book Type:||American Historical Romance | Frontier/Western Hist Romance|
|Review Tags:||disability | Frontier Romance | frontier/western romance | Teacher | tearjerker | Western romance|