Hope Rekindled is the third in Tracie Peterson's Striking A Match series. Part of me wished I could write a glowing review of this one, of all the books in the series. But. I'm honest as a reader and reviewer. And while I freely admit that it's all subjective, I can't pretend I liked this one. I just didn't. Why? I'm not exactly sure. And I think that is what frustrates me most. I find the characters in these books to be irritating and annoying. Like nails on a chalkboard. Reading this third book, to me, was anything but fun. I didn't like the characters. I didn't find them to be believable.
Deborah, our heroine, continued to annoy me. My first impression was that she was a little too independent. What do I mean? I think she was a little too proud of being so independent, so intellectual, so above-everyone-else. While being with Christopher has calmed her down some, I still found her selfish and annoying. How selfish? Well, she was all I must be a doctor no matter what. And my needs are more important than yours.
Never mind that the man she was going to marry has just lost his mother and father in a devastating fire. Never mind that he is now responsible for all of his brothers and sisters. No matter that he's barely making enough to survive--to provide for himself while he accepts charity for his brothers and sisters. No, she must throw a temper tantrum about how he doesn't understand her and her needs and wants. How insensitive of him to think that she would care enough about him and his family that she would stand by them all and be kind and compassionate and patient. No, she practically lectures him on how he's not paying enough attention to her desires to be a career woman.
Another thing that bothered me about Deborah was her unwillingness to compromise. Because she absolutely refuses to move, Christopher is being forced to stay in a town, in a community, that cannot support him. The town is dying. Every family that can move away, is moving away. The mill has been destroyed. The lumber business doesn't have enough money to pay anyone for working. There are no jobs to be had. And the people--even if sick and in need of a doctor--don't have money to pay him. Theoretically, they could marry, move someone new, and find a way to make ends meet. But, no. Deborah HAS to stay right there no matter what.
But Deborah wasn't the only annoying character. The villain made this one awful for me. Not in a threatening way. Not in a believable way. But in a silly, over-the-top, ridiculous way. At least we weren't tortured with a change-of-heart conversion scene where the bad-guy-accepts-Jesus-in-his-heart-and-apologizes-for-torturing-everyone-for-hundreds-of-pages-and-then-everyone-forgives-him-just-because. As a villain he was laughable. His motivations a bit ridiculous to believe.
While a few of the characters were enjoyable--in that they didn't annoy me and I didn't want to yell at them--I didn't find the novel as a whole to be enjoyable. I found Deborah's brothers--and their love interests--to be much more enjoyable as characters. I didn't dislike them. And Deborah's mother and stepfather? Well, I actually found myself liking them. So it's not that I hated every little thing in this novel.
© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews