This one is a class act. Author Tracy Krauss constructs a tale tackling gossip, prejudice, sexual misconduct, dysfunctional family issues, alcoholism, the logistics of post-modern dating, and murder. Quite often as the author weaves her tale, she glides into passages of elegant prose. The settings are spectacular.
WIND OVER MARSHDALE won in the Grace Awards 2012 Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller category. The story opens in a somewhat eerie manner that is compelling and draws the reader in.
We meet Thomas Lone Wolf, a modern day Native American warrior-type, who comes to Marshdale with his two children planning to open a cultural center on what is considered sacred ground by the Cree nation, his people. As a committed Christian, he finds his belief in the Lord doesn’t easily coexist with the pagan beliefs of his ancestors, whose heritage he is striving to honor. It doesn’t help that he’s found the worst kind of prejudice within the walls of the church in town he and his children have chosen to attend. I have to admit, for more than half of the book, he was my favorite character. When he started having serious spirituality issues, my heart bled for him. He was that real to me.
Rachel Bosworth has taken a position as kindergarten teacher in the elementary school trying to escape betrayal and the emotional abuse of her toxic family. Having left a cheating boyfriend behind in the city, she’s not looking for emotional entanglements in backwater Marshdale. Her resolve seems to evaporate when meeting two strong men, Thomas Lone Wolf and rancher Con McKinley. She is not a believer and the two men are. I found it on point when she decides the best thing she can do is help Con get over his pre-marital sexual hang ups. This is how nonChristian singles think. And the somewhat ribald sexual banter the female teachers engage in over adult beverages at the local watering hole, expressing their desire to find the companionship of a good man, came across as authentic.
Con McKinley, a man strong in his faith whose family has deep roots in the community, falls hard for Rachel. Then he finds out she was seeing Thomas Lone Wolf at very time she began dating him. This however isn’t the most troubling issue as far as he is concerned. In his values-set, Rachel’s lack of faith is a far greater obstacle to an enduring relationship. When he backs away from her for that very reason, she becomes angry and resentful. The characters are real. They have real foibles, real pain. They don’t do what the reader will want them to do, or expect them to do.
This is quite a ride, an amazing romantic thriller with more twists and turns than are easily counted. There is suspense galore, though the murder, which is a sad state of affairs, isn’t the main thrust of this novel. Some might call it edgy Christian fiction. I think of it as an accurate portrayal in fiction of what’s really out there in America today.
Barnes and Noble/Nook. http://bit.ly/1eOmXxy