Thursday, May 8, 2014

Caught in the Middle by Regina Jennings

The train to Garber, Texas, is supposed to bring life's next victory to Nicholas Lovelace. Instead, it gets held up by robbers who are thwarted by the last person Nick ever expected--Anne Tillerton from back home in Prairie Lea.

Anne's been hiding away as a buffalo hunter. She's only in town to find their runaway cook, but the woman flees--leaving Anne with her infant son. With Nick the only person Anne knows in town, the two form an unlikely team as they try to figure out what to do with the child.

But being in town means acting and dressing for polite society--and it's not going well for Anne. Meanwhile, Nick's work is bringing new pressures, and being seen with a rough-around-the-edges woman isn't helping his reputation. Caught between their own dreams, a deepening relationship, and others' expectations, can the pair find their way to love?

While Caught in the Middle is the third novel of Regina Jennings' Ladies of Caldwell County series, it is not necessary to read the first two novels to fall in love with Nick and Anne. While both were present in the previous books, they were only minor characters until this novel when their characters became more developed and gained a real air to them. This novel does contain mentions of past characters, such as Rosa and Molly, so it allows continuing readers to keep up with previous story-lines. The plot line of this novel was well-written and contained unexpected developments that added to the suspense and romance of the novel. The novel was told from the third person narrative, but the storyline alternated between the perspective of Nick and Anne so that the reader could identify with the thoughts and feelings of both main characters.

The characters in Caught in the Middle were definitely my favorite part of the novel. The secondary characters, while minor, still had unique personalities and added to the depth of the story. The main characters, Nick and Anne, were both well developed and realistic. Each had their own flaws and strengths, and this novel did an excellent job revealing their weaknesses and showing how they had to learn to trust God to overcome the areas were they struggled. Anne went from being neglected as a child to being abused as a wife, and as a result, she is hesitant to trust God or Nick. It was only through the love of those around her and as she realized what true Christianity looked like that she began to have a change of heart. Nick believed in God, but he did not understand that God's plan is not always the same as man's plan. Nick had to learn to trust and rely on God and pursue the truth in all areas even if it damaged his personal goals. Both characters grew significantly as individuals, but they also experienced change as they began to love and trust one another as well.

Overall, I highly enjoyed this novel, and I look forward to reading more of Regina Jennings' novels, particularly the other novels in the Ladies of Caldwell series. I received this novel from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

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