Within My Heart (Timber Ridge Reflections Series #3)

( 40 )

Overview

Widow Rachel Boyd struggles to keep her ranch afloat and provide for her two young sons, though some days it feels as though her efforts are sabotaged at every turn. When her cattle come down with disease and her sons' lives are endangered, she must turn to Rand Brookston, Timber Ridge's physician and reluctant veterinarian. While Rachel appreciates his help, she squelches any feelings she might have for Rand--her own father was a doctor and his patients always took priority over his family. Rachel refuses to ...
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Within My Heart (Timber Ridge Reflections Series #3)

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Overview

Widow Rachel Boyd struggles to keep her ranch afloat and provide for her two young sons, though some days it feels as though her efforts are sabotaged at every turn. When her cattle come down with disease and her sons' lives are endangered, she must turn to Rand Brookston, Timber Ridge's physician and reluctant veterinarian. While Rachel appreciates his help, she squelches any feelings she might have for Rand--her own father was a doctor and his patients always took priority over his family. Rachel refuses to repeat the mistakes her mother made. But when she's courted by a wealthy client of the local resort, she faces a choice: self-sufficiency and security or the risk inherent in the deepest of loves.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the third volume of the Timber Ridge Reflections series, a young widow juggles hardship, family, and romance. In this page-turning faith-based romantic novel, Rachel Boyd is kept busy from dusk to dawn caring for her ranch and her two young boys. Reluctant to find new love after the loss of her husband, she avoids situations that she thinks will only lead to heartbreak. But when she begins to spend time with the local doctor, she soon realizes that she cannot keep guarding her heart. Alexander (The Inheritance) crafts a pleasing and well-written romance that is filled with adventure and intrigue. Subtly weaving in the main character's steadfast faith in God, the book is full of faith and full of life. Readers who enjoy romantic novels but also want to feel inspired will definitely enjoy this satisfying read.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764203916
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Series: Timber Ridge Reflections Series , #3
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 382,513
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.06 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose resonate with readers. Having lived in Colorado for seventeen years, she and her husband now make their home in Franklin, Tennessee, where they enjoy life with their two college-age children and a silky terrier named Jack.
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Read an Excerpt

Within My Heart

TIMBER RIDGE REFLECTIONS
By Tamera Alexander

Bethany House Publishers

Copyright © 2010 Tamera Alexander
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7642-0391-6


Chapter One

Timber Ridge, Colorado, Rocky Mountains April 12, 1877

Rachel Boyd stood motionless in the main aisle of the general store, knowing she shouldn't eavesdrop. But heaven help her, she couldn't bring herself to move! Half afraid that Ben and Lyda Mullins would hear her if she did try to make a stealthy exit, she gripped the jar of molasses in her hand, unable to stifle a giggle. The only patron in the store, she was grateful for the lull in afternoon traffic and was more than a little amused—and surprised— by the affectionate whispers coming from beyond the curtained doorway.

A soft chuckle. "Ben Mullins, what's gotten into you? Someone could walk in on us."

A deeper laugh. "Who's going to come back here into the storeroom? All I want is a little kiss. Come here, woman, and let me ..."

Rachel couldn't make out the low murmurs that followed, and didn't need to. Her imagination filled in the blanks just fine. Warmth rose to her face. Unbidden, her memory skimmed the past two years, and emotions long buried since Thomas's death, yet never forgotten, slowly reawakened inside her.

With them came bittersweet memories of the tender way her husband used to love her, and desires long dormant began to unfurl. She closed her eyes, recalling what it had felt like to be loved by a man. A shiver stole through her, though not an altogether pleasurable one. Her smile slowly faded.

While this wasn't the first time she'd remembered the intimacy she and Thomas had enjoyed in marriage, it was her first time to feel those intimate stirrings again. The desire for a man's touch, for that relationship. But the desire wasn't welcome. She would not—could not—ever again love a man the way she'd loved Thomas.

Following his passing, there had been moments when she'd questioned whether she would survive. It had taken so long to find her way out of that fog, that deep, dark place where she'd known she needed to start living again, if only for her boys, but couldn't. With the double-edged gift of time's passing, and the persistent encouragement of family and friends, she'd finally found her way back into the sunlight.

But loving someone so completely, giving herself to a man the way she'd done with her husband, it gave them the power to hurt you in a way no one else could, even when it wasn't their intention.

And she never wanted to hurt like that again. Ever.

More than once, she'd been told she needed to consider remarrying, if only for her boys' sake. But just as she wouldn't risk her heart a second time, neither would she risk her sons having to endure the same hurt they'd gone through with their father's passing. Besides, she and Mitchell and Kurt were getting along fine, just the three of them.

A not-so-gentle check tugged at her flagging confidence. She fingered the jar of molasses in her hand. Perhaps fine wasn't the best choice of a word, but the three of them were managing as best they could. She smoothed a hand down the front panel of her skirt and forced down a recurring tide of emotion. With effort, she refocused her thoughts.

School would dismiss within the hour, and she planned on dropping by to visit with the schoolteacher about Kurt. She didn't have an appointment—and it wasn't her first "meeting" with Miss Stafford over her younger son. She just wanted to make sure things were going smoothly and that Kurt hadn't done something else foolish. Again. Like the shenanigan he'd pulled two weeks prior involving the school's outhouse.

He hadn't been the only boy involved, she'd learned, but she had a feeling he'd been the instigator. And she cringed again just thinking about it, putting herself in Miss Stafford's place. Young and inexperienced, Judith Stafford was, from all accounts, being more than patient with Kurt. How embarrassing that must have been. Kurt had written a note of apology, and she'd written Judith Stafford a note too, offering her own expression of regret and thanking the teacher for her understanding. Hopefully a quick visit today would keep things moving in the right direction.

After dealing with that issue, endless chores awaited on the ranch, not to mention the meeting about the overdue loan payment. Mr. Fossey, the bank manager, had been more than lenient, but she sensed his patience waning.

She returned the jar of molasses to the shelf, considering it a luxury these days with funds on the scarce side. In the midst of everything, she was still determined to keep Thomas's dream alive for their two sons. It was what pushed her from bed each morning and what carried her through each day until she fell exhausted back into bed long after dark. That, and the pledge they'd made as a couple to give Mitchell and Kurt a heritage, a better life than the boys would have had if she and Thomas had stayed in Tennessee following the war.

She fingered a callus on her palm. Losing the ranch Thomas had worked so diligently to build wasn't an option, and it hardly defined giving their boys a "better life." She'd stood over her husband's grave and had given her solemn oath that she would see his dream—their dream—come to fruition. And that was a promise she intended to keep. If Mr. Fossey still considered her a worthwhile risk.

The intimate exchange behind the blue-and-yellow gingham curtain grew more ardent, and Rachel felt a blush, regretting not having left at the outset. She made her way to the door, hoping Ben had remembered to oil the squeaky hinge. Guilty as she felt, it was nice to know that after twenty-something years of marriage, Ben and Lyda's feelings for each other were still—

"Ben?"

Hearing the name, and catching the unmistakable alarm in Lyda's tone, Rachel paused, hand on the latch.

"Ben, what's—" A muted gasp sounded from the back storeroom. "Honey, what's wrong? Ben ... are you all—"

A dull thud.

"Ben!"

Rachel raced to the curtain that separated the store from the back part of the building but stopped shy of continuing on. "Lyda, it's Rachel. Is everything all right?" She waited, impatient. "Lyda?"

"No, we're— Ben, can you hear me?" Anxiety constricted Lyda's voice. "Rachel! Something's wrong. I ... I don't think he's breathing!"

Rachel whipped past the curtain and hurried down the hallway, and came to a stilting halt by the storage closet.

Ben lay crumpled on the floor, motionless, his complexion drained of color. Lyda knelt close beside him. Panic lined her features.

Instinct kicked in and Rachel squeezed in beside them into the cramped space. "What happened?" She checked Ben's pulse, first on the underside of his wrist, then on his neck.

Tears rimmed Lyda's eyes. Her hands shook. "We were ..." She looked away and Rachel felt a pinch of guilt. "We were ... kissing, and the next thing I knew Ben was clutching at his arm." Panic thinned her tone. "He acted like he couldn't catch his breath, and then he ..." She bit her lower lip as tears spilled over. "He just went down."

Rachel closed her eyes and concentrated on finding a pulse, wishing she had her father's old stethoscope. "Has anything like this happened to Ben before?"

Lyda shook her head and nudged her husband's shoulder with a trembling hand. "Ben," she whispered, "can you hear me?"

Fingertips pressed against the underside of his wrist, Rachel stilled. There—finally, she felt something. A pulse. Thready and shallow. Too much so. "He needs Dr. Brookston," she whispered, touching Ben's brow to find it cool and clammy. "I'll go find him. You stay here."

Lyda reached for her hand. "You know what's happening ..."

It wasn't a question and Rachel didn't answer. Before Timber Ridge boasted a physician of its own, she'd served as midwife to women in town. She'd also treated wounds and sewn up her share of cuts and gashes. People rarely called on her since the doctor arrived—maybe an expectant mother every now and then—but she had a fairly good idea of what was happening to Ben. Yet she wasn't about to state it aloud. It would only add to Lyda's worry, and her assumption could well be wrong. She wasn't a trained physician, after all. Medical schools were for men, not women.

"The important thing, Lyda, is that Ben is breathing and I can feel a pulse. Whatever you do, don't move him. If he comes to while I'm gone, make sure he doesn't try to get up. That's very important." She reached for a towel on a shelf, rolled it up, and gently slid it beneath Ben's head. "And keep his head elevated until I get back with the doctor." She stood.

Lyda stared up, fresh tears rising. "Is he ... going to be all right?"

Rachel knelt again, on the verge of tears herself. At forty-nine, Ben Mullins was almost twenty years her senior—Lyda was half that. Yet in recent years the older couple had become almost like parents to her. Ben treated her much like a father would and was like an uncle to her sons. Lyda was a trusted friend and filled the role of an indulgent aunt to the boys, which included sneaking them candy in church when they were younger, and occasionally even now. Yet Rachel still couldn't bring herself to answer Lyda's question.

She forced a smile she didn't feel. "Did you hear what I said? About making sure Ben stays still and about keeping his head elevated?"

Shadows of realization darkened Lyda's eyes. "Yes," she choked out, nodding. "I heard. It's just that—" She drew in a ragged breath. "Rachel ... he's all I have now. I can't lose him too."

A horrible, suffocating wave of grief hit Rachel all over again. Only it wasn't from memories of Thomas. She knew that pain only too well. This was different, and it tore at her heart. She reached for Lyda's hand and gripped it tight, remembering a bitter wintry night eight years ago. A night she and Lyda had spoken of only a handful of times since.

Filling her lungs, she worked to steady her voice, the image of Ben and Lyda's children, their expressions so peaceful, so precious, even in death, making that nearly impossible. She squeezed her eyes shut, but the haunting images remained. "I'm going to go find the doctor—he'll know what to do. I won't be long, I promise."

Lyda nodded, her expression communicating what words could not. "Thank you, Rachel. And please ... hurry."

* * *

Rachel ran the short distance to the doctor's clinic and entered without knocking. Angelo Giordano stood at a worktable inside, pestle in hand. "Angelo—" She paused to catch her breath, the chilled mountain air still burning her lungs. "Is Dr. Brookston here?"

The young man shook his head. "The doctor ... he is at—" He lowered his head. "He is away, Mrs. Boyd." Though his Italian accent was thick and his word choices careful, Angelo Giordano's diction was flawless. "But if maybe ... I could be of help—"

"I need Dr. Brookston, Angelo! I think Ben Mullins is having heart failure."

The boy's dark eyes went wide.

Rachel hurried to a bookcase crammed with bottles and metal tins, each neatly labeled. But the shelves were cramped, and numerous tins sat stacked on the plank-wood floor gathering dust. She scanned the labels, finding them a challenge to read in the poor light and with the containers stuffed in as they were. She exhaled. Could Dr. Brookston not afford a proper cabinet for his medicine? "Do you know if the doctor has any foxglove? It's a plant—an herb. It's used with patients who have heart ailments."

"I do not know, ma'am," Angelo said, joining her in the search.

Rachel shoved a tin aside to view another behind it, and a bottle of laudanum slipped off the shelf. She tried to catch it, but the bottle hit the floor with a crack and shattered, splattering laudanum and sending glass shards in all directions. She bit back a harsh word. "I'm sorry, Angelo. I didn't mean to break—"

"Dr. Brookston will not be angry." The boy reached for a rag. "I will clean it."

Her panic mounting, Rachel spotted two wooden crates in the corner, but they held only bottles of lamp oil. Enough to last for an entire year! What did anyone need with that much oil? An unopened box on the examination table drew her attention.

Angelo gestured. "It is new medicine. It came today. That is why I am here. Maybe I should—"

She nodded, anticipating what he might say next. "Yes. Go through that box—quickly please, Angelo—and look for anything that has either of these words on it." She grabbed the fountain pen and a piece of paper from Dr. Brookston's desk and scribbled a note. She already knew firsthand from having assisted Dr. Rand Brookston last fall that he was an exemplary surgeon—she only hoped he was as conscientious about keeping medications ordered and in stock.

She pressed the paper into Angelo's hand. "Now, do you have any idea where the doctor might be? Who he was going to see?"

Angelo blinked, glancing downward.

"Angelo, please! There's little time."

Wincing, the young man reluctantly met her gaze. "He spoke of going to ... to Miss Bailey's."

Rachel frowned, confused. "Miss Bailey's ..."

He nodded once. "The woman, she has a house over on—"

"I know where Miss Bailey's house is."

Angelo swallowed and the sound was audible. "The doctor ... sometimes he sees to the ... boarders who live there."

Rachel felt the furrows in her brow. Boarders wasn't exactly the word she would have chosen to describe the women who lived under Miss Bailey's roof. Regardless, she needed the doctor, and if that's where he was, for whatever reason, then that's where she would go. "As soon as you find either of the items listed on that sheet of paper, bring them as quickly as you can to the mercantile, to the back storeroom. Will you do that, please?"

Angelo nodded, his chest puffing out. "Yes, Mrs. Boyd. If what is on this paper is in this box, I will find it. I will bring it."

She thanked him and took off down the boardwalk at a run.

The April air was brisk, burning her lungs. It held the promise of more snow, and Rachel pulled her winter shawl tighter around her shoulders, wishing she hadn't left her coat at the store. A gust of wind disturbed the layer of fresh-fallen snow lining the rooftops and sent it swirling downward.

Winter wouldn't leave the Rockies for at least another month, maybe two, and she prayed the cold wouldn't cost her more cattle than it already had, or the calves due to drop any day. But especially the calf belonging to Lady. She'd bought Lady a year ago, her first major investment for the ranch, and a good one, for a change.

She turned at the next street. Thankfully, foot traffic on the boardwalk was scarce.

School hadn't dismissed yet but soon would—and she wouldn't be there to meet the boys, or to have that visit with their teacher. When she didn't show, she knew Mitchell and Kurt would walk to James's office and wait there until she arrived. The boys loved their uncle James and never complained about visiting the sheriff 's office, but she worried about what they saw and overheard there. Still, some days it couldn't be helped.

Only last fall had she begun to allow Mitch and Kurt to walk to school on their own again. She still accompanied them in the wagon as far as Ben and Lyda's store each morning, unable to stomach the thought of them walking the distance from the ranch like they once had. Not after what had happened to Thomas, and with the recent reports of cougar sightings.

Winded, she struggled to maintain the hurried pace, her breath puffing white. Winter-shrouded peaks towered high above Timber Ridge and drew her gaze upward as thoughts of Ben pressed close. The rush of her pulse pounded hard in her ears.

If only Ben's heart could beat half as strong ...

If Ben had a history of heart weakness, he'd never mentioned it. Neither had Lyda. And Rachel felt certain they would have, given her closeness to them.

A left at the next intersection led her into a part of town she didn't usually frequent. Saloons and gaming halls lined the thoroughfare. Even midday the smell of liquor was potent. She spotted Miss Bailey's establishment at the end of the street and made a beeline for it, wondering how she knew which building it was. She couldn't recall being told. It was simply one of those places everybody in town knew of, but most folks—at least in her circle—never spoke about.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander Copyright © 2010 by Tamera Alexander. Excerpted by permission of Bethany House Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

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(22)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2010

    Great Read

    From Bethany House, I received a copy of WITHIN MY HEART, a novel based in 1877. Rachel Boyd had never recovered from the loss of her husband. Her youngest son, Kurt, is a delinquent at school, causing her endless amounts of pain. Her good friend Ben, the shopkeeper, has fallen ill with heart troubles. He has very little time left in world, despite the efforts administered to him by Rand, the town's only physician. Rachel knows medicine from her father, who was a doctor for whom she felt little love, and assists Rand with his medical practices. At first, she is wary, expecting Rand to be just like her father. In the end, she recognizes him for the caring individual he really is, and welcomes him into her life. He offers a strong, manly figure for her and her two sons. She offers him the chance to feel complete. Ben remains strong throughout the medical procedures and offers a bravery that touches all those who love him, including his beloved wife, Lyda. Although Rachel never forgets her husband, Thomas, she finds a new place in her life for Rand. The book is touching, a tear-jerker, and a page-turner. I never wanted to put it down, nor did I want it to end.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 30, 2010

    A Great Christian Historical Romance!

    Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander is a wonderful historical Christian romance full of faith, love and life in the 1800's wild west. The story is engaging and the characters well rounded and realistic. The story follows the standard format that most love stories do but it is tastefully written and full of strong Christian faith. Don't be fooled though, this is not just your average historical romance book! Ms. Alexander has thrown in some twists to the plot that keep this story intriguing, engaging and fresh. Her style of writing is humorous as well as thought provoking and enjoyable to read. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and came away relaxed and smiling from reading a good, tasteful romance novel! Many thanks to LibraryThing Early Reviewers for the opportunity to review this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Don't Miss for Tamera Alexander Fans!

    Within My Heart is not a high drama, action packed historical. There are no big baddies to wreak havoc on our hero and heroine. There are several little baddies, but until the end, the tension is low.

    Instead, Within My Heart is the story of love and of loss and of living again. This book sneaks up on you, its vivid scenery and budding romance lowers your guard as the layers of the characters are peeled back. Before you know it, you're hit with an emotional wallop that affects you as deeply as the residents of Timber Ridge.

    When I finished this story, I was red-eyed and wrung out, honking into my last Kleenex. Just as I thought, "the book's over, I can catch my breath," there's the author's note at the end from Tamera Alexander sharing her personal story...and well, I had to get the second box of tissues. (Cyber hugs to Tammy, and thanks for opening up to us).

    Maybe I shouldn't have picked this one up while I was feeling hormonal. But I'm the kind of gal who finds a good cry cathartic, so I loved every minute of this ride. Fans of Alexander will notice the different feel to this book, but I'm confident that like me, they'll embrace it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2010

    Captivating

    I was given a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing to read and review. Within My Heart is about a widow named Rachel who is struggling to raise her two boys and keep her ranch from going under. Rachel's father was a doctor so she knows a lot when it comes to medicine. When her friend Ben passes out she rushes to get the doctor to help. After finding the doctor in a compromising situation she turns a cold shoulder to him. Rachel must put aside her feelings so they can save their patient. The longer that they work together the closer they get. As they fall in love they both work through their fears to become closer to God and to each other. This is a wonderful read that will pull you into their world and you will not want to leave.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2013

    Great story

    Tamera Alexander writes excellent stories. They are all full of humbling experiences with timeless threads of history,discovery, romance, and faith. I have enjoyed all her stories so far and look forward towards more!

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  • Posted March 1, 2013

    My wife and I read Christian Historical Romances together and Ta

    My wife and I read Christian Historical Romances together and Tamera's  Fountain Creek and Timber Ridge series are both excellent.  The book ties things together nicely and carries an intriguing plot.  Tough to put it down as you really feel like you are part of the town community.  She is one our favorite authors, right there with Terri L Fivash (Joseph and Daveed series).

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  • Posted April 23, 2012

    Highly recommened

    This story was a great end to the series. Love it. Wonderfully written!

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  • Posted April 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Engaging Characters Nearly Any Reader Will Identify With

    Without knowing how to trust people trusting God is an even more indomitable struggle. Alexander draws readers into the past as her characters find their way into minds and hearts long after the pages are once again still. Faith and personal growth play a huge part in the stories of each of our lives and Alexander brings many of those experiences back to readers through the struggles her characters find challenging them in their own journeys. Though my experiences and reasons for similar struggles to those Rachel faces may be different, the feelings and doubts she must overcome are something nearly everyone can relate to. Though I read this book out of order, the previous two titles are in my TBR and I look forward to reading more from Alexander's body of work when the opportunity presents itself.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2010

    Worst of the three.

    If read as stand alone typical plot. If read as followup to the first two in the trilogy not the best. Plot was disjointed and left two many holes.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Another great book!

    Award-winning author Tamera Alexander has written another riveting book! I've read almost all of her books and have enjoyed them immensely. Somehow I missed reading Beyond This Moment, the second book in this series, but I'll be reading it soon! The characters are well developed, and the story kept me turning pages. I found the explanations of medical procedures very interesting, and each new plot development kept me reading late into the night as I thought, "Just one more chapter." The satisfying conclusion left me looking forward to Ms. Alexander's next series.

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  • Posted November 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful!

    I read "From A Distance" (1st book in this series) quite awhile ago and really liked it - I found it to be a pretty original historical fiction and I appreciate originality in a basically formulaic genre. I somehow or another missed #2 but was excited to read this one. Tamera doesn't disappoint. This book stands alone just fine, but the characters from #2 and #3 are right in the midst of everything so having read them will be beneficial but not necessary.
    In this particular book we follow widow Rachel and her 2 boys Mitch and Kurt as they are trying to make it on the ranch when everything seems to be working against them. In the meantime Dr. Rand has been in town as the only Dr. for a 57 mile radius and now someone that the whole town loves has fallen ill and Dr. Rand needs Rachel's help to perform a new surgery on him to give him a little more time.

    I felt like I was on an emotional journey with the characters and I loved every minute of it. Tamera is masterful in her rendering of characters with depth, settings in detail and story lines that keep you hanging on. This series is absolutely wonderful and I look forward to more from Tamera!

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  • Posted November 15, 2010

    Within My Heart Captured My Heart

    Within My Heart by Tamara Alexander captured my heart from the start. Rachel Boyd is a widowed woman who has two young sons she is trying to raise on her own. Her late husband had dreams of raising them on the ranch and she is struggling to fulfill his wishes. With cattle dying due to the winter months, she finds herself losing more and more money. She finds herself wondering if it is worth it to work so hard to honor her husbands wishes, a wish that was completely different from her own.

    Dr. Rand Brookston is new to town. Rand doesn't have a proper building for a medical clinic and makes many house calls with dreams of opening a clinic in the future. Rand and Rachel's paths cross when Rand starts taking care of someone very close to Rachel. The town of Timber Ridge is behind times on technology and Rand has to decide to perform a new surgery on this patient. If he succeeds, he would gain the trust of the town, but he fails....

    This was a great, intriguing book. The mystery and love story kept me up all night reading to find out what was going to happen. Being in the medical field as I am, I was impressed that Tamara Alexander did her research and was accurate in her writing. This was the first book I have read by her and I can't wait to read more! I would highly recommend this book.

    I was provided this book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers. The opinions are my own and have not been influenced.

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  • Posted November 8, 2010

    A Good Read!

    As a widow, Rachel Boyd must be both mother and father to her young sons. Her dream is to raise the boys on the ranch she and her late husband worked hard to build. Life in post-Civil War Colorado isn't easy, and dreams and reality often take different paths. Debt and dying cattle hinder Rachel's goals. Can she turn things around? Only time will tell. Civil War veteran Dr. Rand Brookston has goals of his own. Setting up his practice in Timber Ridge, he hopes to bring modern medical services to the area. Some of the townsfolk are thrilled to have a resident doctor, others are skeptical. He dreams of building a state of the art clinic in town to better serve the public. Rachel is determined to make it on her own, but her pride threatens to trip her up. She's not about to entertain the thought of remarriage, even though friends and family have gently suggested it for the sake of the boys. Rand wouldn't mind settling down, but the only woman who catches his eye happens to be the stubborn Mrs. Boyd. Rachel and Rand's paths cross in unusual ways, and they settle on a truce of sorts. Rand requires Rachel's assistance with medical procedures; she has experience from working with her late father who was a doctor. Rachel needs Rand's help with the birth of a calf. They both struggle with fears that continually lurk in the shadows. And so it goes until...? No spoilers here! It's a lovely tale of winning the trust of others, facing fears, and trusting God. I enjoyed Within My Heart as much as the first two books in the Timber Ridge series. Even though they are part of a series, each book can stand alone. I prefer this, as you don't spend half the book trying to catch up on who's who and who did what in the last book. If you need a good book to curl up with on a chilly day, this might just be the one.

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  • Posted November 5, 2010

    Another Wonderful Book by Tamera Alexander!!

    Since I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in the Timber Ridge Reflections series, I assumed I'd enjoy this third, and last, book in Tamera Alexander's wonderful series. I LOVED this story, and was not disappointed!! The setting, the characters, and the plot kept me reading and never bored with the story. If you're a fan of historical fiction (or even if you're not!) you need to read WITHIN MY HEART by Tamera Alexander - - I'm sure you'll enjoy it as I did. FIVE STARS!!!

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  • Posted November 5, 2010

    AN AMAZING HISTORICAL ROMANCE/FICTION! A TALE OF LOVE AND HEALING...

    WITHIN MY HEART by Tamera Alexander is an inspirational historical romance/fiction set in 1877 Timber Ridge, Colorado, Rocky Mountains. It is the third in the Timber Ridge Reflections but can be read as a stand alone. It is well written with details, depth, fast paced and page turner from beginning to end. It has romance, trust,forgiveness, faith, tenderness, love, lost, struggles, broken hearts, courage, fear, and second chances. The characters and their story is heartwretching, heartwarming and down right amazing in their struggles to survive the harsh lands, keep their faith, and become a family in the Colorado mountains. Through hardships, struggles, sadness, and healing they continue to keep their faith.This is a wonderful conclusion to Timber Ridge Reflections. (Book One,From A Distance, and Book Two, Beyond This Moment).I would highly recommend this book. Once again, Tamera Alexander has delivered a tender amazing story of love, faith, family, belonging with vivid characters and landscape. This is a keeper and a must have. This book was received from the publisher for the purpose of review and details can be found at Bethany House Publishers and My Book Addiction and More.

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  • Posted October 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great Book!

    The widow Rachel Boyd is struggling to raise her two sons and keep her ranch running in the Colorado Rockies. Dr. Rand Brookston comes into town with his new modern way of medicine. Rachel does not like doctors because her father was one.

    Under troubling circumstances, Rachel must trust Dr. Brookston. The doctor is having trouble of his own; adjusting to his new life. The town people are having a hard time accepting him as the new doctor.
    Rachel and Dr. Brookston must aside their difference and have faith in each other.

    Within My Heart is a wonderful historical novel. The author uses incredible detail and descriptions of Colorado. There have been dozens of books and movies about a new doctor in town, but the formula works very well in this novel. You instantly feel for the main character, Rachel, as she struggles to keep her ranch and raise her children by herself. This is a great read.

    I would like to thank Bethany House for sending me this copy to review.

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  • Posted October 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Must read if your a fan of historical fiction

    Rachel Boyd has been struggling to keep her husband's dream alive since his death two years ago. His dream(which became her dream too) was to have a successful ranch that would be a legacy for her two young sons Mitch and Kurt. Some days she wonders if she has made the right choices.It is a major struggle to keep the ranch afloat, with cattle dying and unable to make her payment to the bank she is forced to go to the bank and ask for more money, she also knows she will need to make some tough decisions where the ranch is concerned, but she is no longer sure that the ranch is her dream. Her father was a physician, not always there for his family, but Rachel learned from him the skill of taking care of the sick, she has a natural talent for it.
    Rand Brookston is the local physician and sometimes veterinarian, he has issues from his past that he struggles to deal with, but he has been watching Rachel for some time. He admires her greatly often asking her to assist in medical procedures, so when Ben Mullens the local store owner and dear friend of Rachel needs a life saving medical procedure preformed Rand asks Rachel to assist. While she judges Rand based on the way her father was she soon comes to see that Rand is nothing like her father.Can she let down the protective shield she has placed around her heart and learn to love again?

    Even though this was the third book in the Timber Ridge Reflections series, I missed the first two and had no problems becoming quickly immersed in this story. I really enjoyed reading this historical romance. Rachel's character had to be tough to run a ranch and raise two boys as well, she relies on God and also has support from friends and family. Her brother is a steady influence in her life, as well as Ben and Lydia. I was so glad when she finally gave in to her feelings for Rand, they needed each other, and he was so good with the boys.

    This book was really so much more than just another romance, we saw a young boy deal with behavior issues, a man with heart issues learn that he didn't have long to live, and makes sure his wife is taken care of. We also got a small glimpse of what happened with Rand during the civil war, combine this with Rachel's struggles and you have a book that you won't be able to put down. On a scale of one to five this book easily rates a 5.

    Even though I was provided a copy of this book by Bethany House for review it in no way alters my opinion of this book!

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  • Posted October 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Does life offer second chances?

    Losing the most important person in your life can make you wonder if there is anything reason for you to go on with your life, but when Rachel Boyd loses her husband Thomas, leaving her behind with her two young sons, Mitch and Kurt and a ranch that is barely making ends meet, she questions whether she has the strength to make it.

    Rachel Boyd has grown up in the shadow of her father, a great physician whom never seemed to have time for her or her mother growing up yet the skills she learned while watching him has helped her become a bit of an expert in being a mid-wife in the small town of Timber Ridge.

    When the new town doctor, Rand Brookston, sets up shop, he soon discovers he needs more than Rachel's trained medical skills to help him. In the latest book from Tamera Alexander in the Timber Ridge Reflections series, we have an opportunity to travel back in time to the Colorado Rockies in the late 1800's in Within My Heart.

    Both characters of Rand and Rachel have fears that only love and their faith in God can conquer and they soon will come to realize that they both need one another to face them.

    I received this novel, compliments of Bethany House Publishers for my honest review and literally read all 378 pages on a cold rainy day. What a perfect way to escape and I would rate this one a perfect 5 out of 5 stars. I can't wait to pick up the first books in this series, From A Distance and Beyond This Moment. Tamera Alexander has such a profound way with words that she makes you feel like you are a part of this characters lives.

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  • Posted October 10, 2010

    Refreshing and satisfying romance

    This is a book that leaves the reader with a feeling of satisfaction, even though the plot is what can typically be expected from a romantic novel. There is Rachel, a widow that has two kids and is still recovering from the wounds of the past. She is afraid of opening her heart one more time, and she thinks she will not be strong enough to face once more the hardships that a loss brings along. Justifying her choices by trying to protect her kids, she finds herself taken by the new doctor in town, Rand. However, her own experience with another doctor keeps her from acknowledging how interested she is in him. Rand also has a past that casts a shadow on his present; he was misdiagnosed when receiving a serious wound during the Civil War, and is still living the consequences of a terrifying ordeal. Both share the commonalities of a harsh life in the Colorado mountains, but their care for a patient in need takes them to where none would dare to go by themselves - getting to know each other, face their own fears and accept their love. They come to understand that whatever loss and pain they have experienced before, their love would far outweigh it all. Their learning experience gets really intense at the end of the story, with an imminent dangerous situation that has come to be really common to romantic novels nowadays. Mrs. Alexander's writing is enticing, but this conclusion seems to be unnecessary. However, I also recognize that it is a trend nowadays, a quick climax with forced suspense that will obviously end up with the highly expected ending, the two main characters committing their lives to each other. Despite this, the faith lessons included in the plot are well worth it; it is an invitation to accept God's will, make good use of the time that has been given us, and move forward with life. Through Ben's and Rachel's story, the reader is reminded that God pays attention to details and that joy costs pain. The characters learn that "walking into the unknown [is] a little less frightening knowing God is there." They begin to walk in faith, with their heart on God's promise about our wonderful experiences are but a shadow of what is yet to come. Overall, this is a book that felt a bit too personal (in the best sense of the word). The author includes a note and shares an experience that ratified this sensation; it is always refreshing that an author is willing to write an honest book that would open herself to readers. (I would actually like to have the chance to thank Mrs. Alexander for such a beautiful effort). It is enticing, easy to read and has the gift of helping us understand a bit more of how our faith will be strengthened if only we keep our eyes on God, despite fear and pain. Bethany House Publishers sent me a free copy of this book. They only asked me to write an honest review, whether my opinion of the book is favorable or not; the above is my own opinion. Thank you for reading this review.

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  • Posted October 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    loved the medical setting in the 1800s

    As I was reading this sweet historical romance, I kept getting flashbacks of when I used to watch Little House of the Prairie and Road to Avonlea: small town, good morals, God-fearing characters and great storytelling. Just as I thoroughly enjoyed those TV series, I also did this book.

    It's the late 1800s. Rachel Boyd is a widow with two young sons, who is struggling to keep her ranch after her husband dies. Rand Brookston is a doctor who chooses to set up practice in the town of Timber Ridge in the wilds of the Colorado Rockies instead of accepting a prestigious fellowship in New York. Both Rachel and Rand have fears they need to confront to move forward in the future. I especially liked Rand's character and his story, and I wouldn't have minded at all if it had been expanded. I understood Rand's fear well, but I thought Rachel's fear was not as hard to overcome and it prolonged unfounded toward the end of the story.

    The setting and the circumstances (I love reading about medicinal practice in the 1800s) was one that truly rendered this book appealing. The medical scenes held my interest, like when an innovative surgery was performed, or when Rand explained a medical phenomena that affected his life in the past. I found these details fascinating.

    Alexander's writing is rich, bringing both setting and emotions to life. I was easily able to see the characters and feel their pain, and I was brought to tears several times. The story is not fast paced but unfolds slowly, and I had to adjust to this pacing. Once I did, I savoured it. Because of this, I found that things were wrapped up a little too quickly in the end. The characters made many references to God and their faith, and some Bible verses were quoted. The message is clear that trusting and relying in God will help one conquer their fears and live a full and satisfying life no matter what trials befall them.

    Although this is Book 3 of the Time Ridge Reflection Series, it can be read alone. I had not read the previous ones and I did not feel like I was missing anything. If you enjoy Christian fiction with a sweet romance thrown in, you will definitely enjoy this one. It's one of those cozy books you'll like reading, snuggled on the couch with a hot cup of tea close by.

    Disclosure: Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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