“A Life Once Dreamed”

I loved this book! And knowing the author, Rachel, as a person and that she’s so kind and encouraging doesn’t sway my opinion at all. She’s a talented author that beautifully blends in real characters, wisdom and a sweet romance.
At the beginning of the book, Agnes has grown up in Buffalo and loves her best friend and playmate James. He asks her to marry and him and it’s everything she’s ever wanted until she tells her parents the happy news. Quickly she changes the course for her life and finds herself in the Dakota Territory answering the advertisement for a schoolteacher.
Six years later, the small down of Penance (we’ll come back to that later) has a new doctor arriving and it’s causing everyone to wag their tongues. Aggie’s friends tell her that the doctor is so handsome and that she should marry him. She’s vowed to never marry plus its in her teaching contract but the new doctor is the one and only James.

Aggie’s feelings are conflicted about James and then certain things happen in the town that bring them closer and apart and gives Aggie a new calling in life. She needs to marry quickly but she can’t hurt James. That’s why she ran away all along. But Sam the logger is kind and helpful.
I thought this book would be similar to ‘When Calls the Heart’ (I’ve read the books and seen the tv show) and the emotion that Fordham brings into her works is incredible and you’re right there feeling it too. From Hannah’s grief (trigger she lost a child) to Aggie and James. There’s heartwarming moments and funny lines thanks to an inquisitive child named Tommy. Plus I love know James wasn’t afraid to say he’d cry. We need more tender-hearted men who aren’t afraid to show their real feelings.
In the book, the founding town members named it Penance saying that living there in the harsh conditions was their penance and that good things were bound to come from their hard work. The word also applies to Agnes and James. Agnes’ time there toughened her up and gave her confidence. James’ time away from Agnes and going to medical school then going out there changed his perspective of what really matters. They went through their own penance. Even Sam.
Fordham creates wonderful small towns where someone is always looking to belong somewhere – they say they won’t be there long but they end up staying. I love how the main characters are misfits in their own ways – it gives them room to grow and trust others. Fordham even tackles a hard issue at the time of illegitimate children and the shame they carry their lives. As stated, it’s not the children’s fault but the society that continues to see where they came from. But how they can change what their future will look like.

This book is completely satisfying and I loved it! I received a copy from the publisher Revell but these are my own opinions and thoughts.

By Leslie_G

I love books and anything bookish!

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