“Treasured Grace” by Tracie Peterson

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Grace Martindale has known more than her share of hardship. After her parents died, raising her two younger sisters became her responsibility. A hasty marriage to a minister who is heading to the untamed West seemed like an opportunity for a fresh start, but a cholera outbreak along the wagon trail has left Grace a widow in a very precarious position.

Having learned natural remedies and midwifery from her mother, Grace seeks an opportunity to use her skills for the benefit of others. So when she and her sisters arrive at the Whitman mission in “Oregon Country,” she decides to stay rather than push on.

With the help of Alex Armistead, a French-American fur trapper, Grace begins to provide care for her neighbors, including some of the native populace. But not everyone welcomes her skills–or her presence–and soon Grace finds herself and those she loves in more danger than she imagined possible.

Tracie Peterson

Wow.  That’s the best way to describe Peterson’s hard-hitting new historical Western.

This is not your run-of-the-mill Oregon Trail novel.  In no way does Peterson romanticize the difficulties of the trail or of life for single women during the 1840s.  I love that she keeps history real during her stories, but she takes it many steps further during this one.

Death is not unknown on the Trail or in the West, but Peterson doesn’t hesitate to include both death and the violence of the time.  It’s actually so clearly depicted that I’m glad I didn’t share this book with My Big Helper before reading it, as I think she needs a few more years before tackling this type of hardcore violence.

It’s not gratuitous violence, though.  The scenes included put the story into perspective and added a layer of depth and wisdom to Treasured Grace that could not exist otherwise.  Peterson’s attention to historical detail is amazing, and it’s obvious that she’s both a lover of the West and an admirer of the fierce, independent spirit which was necessary to survive.

I found Grace’s knowledge of herbs and natural medicine fascinating.  As someone who is only beginning to learn about these things, I love that she was written as an expert, and I would have loved to read more details about her remedies.  Her conflicts with Dr. Whitman and other educated, trained doctors made a fascinating subplot.

Treasured Grace is a heartbreakingly raw tale of survival and love.  If you’re a fan of historical fiction, put it on your TBR pile immediately.

I received a free copy of Treasured Grace from Bethany House Publishers.  All opinions are my own.


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