She’s a beautiful young widow. He’s a Southern gentleman with a thirst for adventure. Both need a place to call home.
After losing her husband in the Civil War, Carrie Daly is scared she will never have the family she longs for. Eligible bachelors are scarce in Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, but Carrie has found love. Not the weak-in-the-knees kind, but something practical. Still, she isn't quite ready to set a wedding date with Nate Chastain.
Griff Rutledge is a former member of Charleston society, but has been estranged from his family for years. He’s determined to remain unattached, never settling in one place for too long. But when asked to train a Thoroughbred for an upcoming race in Hickory Ridge, he decides to stay awhile.
Despite objections from the townsfolk, and her fear that true happiness has eluded her, Carrie is drawn to Griff's kindness and charm. It will take a leap of faith for them to open their hearts and claim God's promise to give beauty for ashes.
About the Author
A native of west Tennessee, Dorothy Love makes her home in the Texas hill country with her husband and their golden retriever. An award-winning author of numerous young adult novels, Dorothy made her adult debut with the Hickory Ridge novels. Facebook: dorothylovebooks Twitter: @WriterDorothy
Read an Excerpt
Beauty for Ashes
By Dorothy Love
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2012 Dorothy Love
All right reserved.
Chapter OneHickory Ridge, Tennessee May 1876
Carrie Daly watched a knot of people hurrying past the dress-shop window and tried to think of something—anything—except the wedding. These days, everybody in Hickory Ridge made a point of speaking to her about it. For Henry's sake, she smiled and thanked them for their good wishes, ignoring the creeping dismay at the bottom of her heart.
"Hold still a minute longer, Miz Daly. Almost done here." Jeanne Pruitt, the wife of the mercantile owner and the new proprietress of Norah's Fine Frocks, knelt on the floor to attach the lace trim to the hem of Carrie's dress.
In her stocking feet, Carrie balanced on the small step stool and listened to Mrs. Pruitt's detailed recounting of her recent visit to her sister's place in Muddy Hollow. The new dressmaker wasn't as stylish as Norah had been. She was, however, a magician with needle and thread. The ladies of Hickory Ridge kept her busy repairing seams, restyling old frocks, and occasionally making a new dress from scratch. Now, with a final snip of her scissors, she finished both the hem and her tale and got to her feet. "You're all set, dear. Take a look."
Carrie crossed to the cheval glass in the corner and studied her reflection. The dress, a pale robin's-egg-blue silk, featured wide ruffled sleeves and a neat bustle in the back. A row of tiny mother-of-pearl buttons graced the bodice. It was much too fancy for farm life—once the wedding was over, where would she ever go to wear it?—but Henry had insisted that she have the best. "It's beautiful, Jeanne. You outdid yourself."
"I'm glad you like it. That color exactly matches your eyes." Jeanne's gaze met Carrie's in the mirror. "Things must be busy at the farm these days."
Turning sideways, Carrie eyed the bustle and smoothed it with her fingertips. "Everything's ready except for baking the cookies. And the cake."
Jeanne grinned, revealing a missing front tooth. "Every last soul in Hick'ry Ridge is hankering for an invite to the wedding just to eat a piece of your coconut cake. And to see the Caldwells, of course. I hear they're due in from Texas tonight."
The prospect of seeing her dear friends took Carrie's mind off her apprehensions, if only temporarily. She nodded. "Wyatt sent a wire from Nashville yesterday afternoon. I can't wait. I'm only disappointed they aren't bringing Wade and Sophie."
"It's a long way to bring a little one on a train but I'm sure this won't be their last trip to Hick'ry Ridge." Jeanne folded a scrap of lace and placed it on a shelf. "Wyatt Caldwell may not own the lumber mill anymore, but he can't stop caring about it."
"I'm glad someone cares." A tiny frown creased Carrie's forehead, and she absently rubbed the small bony protrusion on her wrist, the result of a fall from the hayloft the summer she turned nine. Hard times at the mill had everyone worried. Only last week Henry had mentioned that orders had slowed to a trickle. And the Chicago Yankees who now owned the place, safe and secure in their distant lakeside mansions, were talking about letting some of the mill hands go. Why Henry wanted to get married now, taking on so much responsibility when times were so uncertain, was the mystery of the ages. But his mind was made up.
Jeanne patted Carrie's shoulder. "Why don't you change out of that dress and I'll box it up for you."
Carrie stepped around a muslin-draped dressmaker's dummy and a scarred pine table laden with fabric samples and pattern books. Behind the folding screen, she shucked out of her new dress, draped it over the top of the screen, and slipped into her everyday green calico.
Jeanne folded the new frock, nestled it into layers of tissue paper, and tied the box shut with a length of yellow ribbon. "There. Hang it up as soon as you get home so the wrinkles won't set."
Carrie picked up her bag, her parasol, and the dress box. The bell above the door tinkled as she stepped out onto the boardwalk. A horse and wagon rumbled past, a sturdy farm girl at the reins. At the far end of the street, on the porch of the Verandah Hotel for Ladies, two residents sat in rocking chairs watching groups of noisy, barefoot boys congregating outside the bakery. Businessmen in dark suits and bowler hats hurried toward the railway station, their valises bumping against their legs. A train whistle blew, two sharp blasts that echoed against the fog-shrouded mountains. Cupping one hand to the dress-shop window, Carrie waved another good-bye to Jeanne and started along the boardwalk to Mr. Pruitt's mercantile, thinking about what she needed for baking the cake. More sugar, a pound of butter, a dozen—
"Look out!" A man's booming voice shattered her reverie. She looked up just in time to see a horse charging toward her, the young woman in the buggy yanking furiously on the reins. The horse was immense, coal black and sleek as an eel. His hooves pounded the street. His legs pumped like pistons. Carrie stood transfixed, clutching her package as the huge beast thundered toward her, scattering a group of farm women outside the post office and nearly colliding with a freight wagon just turning onto the street.
"Whoa," the buggy driver cried, her voice shrill with fear. "Whoa there."
The horse bore down on Carrie. He neighed and reared, his eyes wild with fright, his immense front feet pawing the air.
"Move!" the man shouted. Carrie's feet left the ground as he shoved her aside.
Her shoulder cracked against the boardwalk. Her parasol and the dress box tumbled into the dust.
"Steady, boy." The man grabbed the horse's silver-studded bridle and spoke into the beast's ear. Holding tightly to the bridle, he pressed his head against the horse's neck, speaking so softly Carrie couldn't hear a word. But whatever he said worked. The horse nickered and immediately quieted, his powerful legs quivering. The young woman in the rig buried her face in her hands and sobbed. A crowd gathered, but the horse tamer quickly dispersed them.
Before Carrie could move, the door to the bank flew open and the bank president, Mr. Gilman, hurried outside. "Sabrina?" he called to the weeping girl. "What on earth have you done now?"
"I'm sorry, Daddy." Sabrina Gilman tumbled from the rig, her straw hat askew. "Old Peter harnessed him for me this morning, and I thought I could handle him, but when the train whistle blew he went plumb crazy."
"Old Peter should have known better. I've told you both to stay away from Majestic. He's high-strung and certainly no carriage horse. You could have been killed." Mr. Gilman held out a hand to steady her. "Go on inside and collect yourself."
Carrie felt sorry for the banker's daughter. Her intended, Jacob Hargrove, had abandoned his family farm in search of work elsewhere, and the separation had left poor Sabrina in a state of nervous exhaustion. According to Mariah Whiting, who knew everything that went on in town, Sabrina had become susceptible to frequent fainting spells and bouts of the mullygrubs.
The horse tamer hurried over and helped Carrie to her feet. He touched the brim of his hat in greeting. "A thousand apologies, miss. I shouted a warning, but you didn't hear. Are you all right?"
"I think so." She straightened her hat and reached for her crushed dress box.
"Please. Allow me." He retrieved her box and smiled down at her. Her stomach dropped. Heavenly days, but this man was handsome. He was nearly a foot taller than she, with sun-browned skin, full lips, a straight nose, and eyes so brown they appeared almost black. He stood so close she could see beads of moisture on his brow and a tiny white scar just above his upper lip. Somehow the slight imperfection only increased his appeal.
"You're sure you aren't hurt?" He lifted a brow and studied her.
She brushed the dirt from her skirt and took in his attire—a clean, crisp boiled collar, fine wool trousers that fit him perfectly, and a coat that accented the set of his broad shoulders. Everything about him spoke of gentility and old money. He even smelled expensive.
"I'm quite all right, thank you."
Mr. Gilman hurried over and pumped the horse tamer's hand. "I can't thank you enough for what you did, sir. Sabrina knows better, she's—" He nodded to Carrie. "Miz Daly. My word, are you hurt?"
"I'm fine, Mr. Gilman."
He eyed her box. "I suppose that's your dress for the wedding?"
"If there's any damage at all, you let me know. I'll make it right." He turned to the horse tamer. "I don't believe I've heard your name."
"Griffin Rutledge. Griff to my friends." He winked at Carrie and her cheeks warmed.
"Rutledge," Mr. Gilman said. "You by any chance kin to Charles Rutledge of Charleston?"
"He's my father." Mr. Rutledge's face turned stony, but the banker seemed not to notice.
"Well, well, what a small world, eh?" The banker slapped Mr. Rutledge's shoulder as if they were old friends. "I knew your daddy back before the war. Used to go down to Charleston every February for Race Week. Oh, the times we had with your folks and the Venables, the Hugers, and the Ravenels. Y'all had some of the finest horses I'd ever seen." He studied the horse tamer's face. "I remember Charles's boy Philip, but I declare, I didn't know he had two sons."
Carrie stuck out her bottom lip and blew her rust-colored curls upward. The day was heating up, her shoulder throbbed painfully, and she still needed things from the mercantile. But she stood rooted to the spot, unable to tear herself away from Griff Rutledge. Which made not one iota of sense. What was the matter with her?
Mr. Gilman went on. "What brings you to Hickory Ridge, Mr. Rutledge? I hope you're planning to stay awhile."
The banker looked past Griff's shoulder to the huge horse, now standing placidly in the shade of the building. "Maybe a good business proposition will change your mind. You got some time to discuss it?"
"Not at the moment." Mr. Rutledge made a slight formal bow toward Carrie. "I knocked this lovely woman into the dirt and crushed her dress box to boot. The least I can do is to see her safely to her carriage."
Carrie dropped her gaze. The old rig hitched to Henry's plodding bay mare, Iris, was a far cry from a carriage. But the prospect of spending a few more moments with the courtly Griff Rutledge overcame her embarrassment.
Griff offered her his arm. "Which way, Miss ..."
"Daly. Carrie." She pointed. "My horse and rig are over there."
He glanced at the dress box. "Do I understand that you're about to be married?"
"Marr—oh. No. My brother Henry is getting married the day after tomorrow. He insisted that I get a new dress for the occasion."
A grin split his handsome face. "Well, that's surely a big load off my mind. There's nothing quite so maddening as meeting the prettiest girl in town only to learn that her heart is already taken."
Carrie blushed. Mercy, but he was forward. Were all Charleston gentlemen so outspoken?
"If your brother's intended is half as pretty as you, he's a lucky man indeed."
Overwhelmed by his sheer physicality and the brush of his shoulder against hers, Carrie went mute.
"I hope your dress isn't damaged," he went on. "I'll bet it's beautiful. Wish I could be there to see you wear it."
At last she found her voice. "You should come. We'd be delighted to have you."
Holy hash! What would Nate Chastain say about her inviting a man to the festivities? More to the point, how would Mary Stanhope react to the news? Henry's bride was not the most accommodating woman on the planet. And she put on airs. No doubt she'd give Carrie a blistering lecture about inviting a total stranger to a wedding. It simply isn't done. But it would be worth braving Mary's wrath to see this man again.
"That's the nicest invitation I've received in a while," he said, "but I couldn't possibly impose upon—"
"It's no imposition at all," she said quickly. "It's the least I can do. After all, you practically saved my life."
"Well, when you put it that way—"
"It's to be held the day after tomorrow at the Henry Bell farm. Just follow the main road a mile or so past the church. The wedding's at half past ten."
He smiled. "Half past ten. The Bell farm. Thank you most kindly, Miz Carrie Daly. I'll see you then."
He tipped his hat and sauntered toward the bank. Carrie climbed into the rig and flicked the reins. Iris plodded onto the road and across the railroad trestle. What in the world had possessed her just now? Everyone in Hickory Ridge knew she and Nate planned to wed ... someday. Everyone said they were a perfect match.
Nate was a fine man, kind, hardworking and intelligent, well liked in town. Maybe he wasn't the most exciting man in the world, maybe the sight of him didn't exactly make her heart beat faster, but she enjoyed his company. So why couldn't she get the image of Griff Rutledge's handsome face out of her mind?
Halfway home she remembered she still needed flour, eggs, and sugar for the wedding cake.
* * *
Griff watched Carrie's rig make the turn at the bottom of the street and whistled softly. What a woman. Hers was not the half-formed prettiness of a young girl, but the full loveliness of a mature woman with all the self-possession maturity brings. Her hair was somewhere between red and gold, the color of a Carolina sky at sunrise. And those eyes—clear and blue as the Atlantic. She smelled good too, like the air after a low country rain. He wondered if there was a Mr. Daly in the picture. Probably so. Women like that didn't stay unattached for long. Just the same, he was glad he'd accepted her invitation. Lately he'd spent far too much time alone.
When the rig disappeared from view, he retraced his steps to the bank. Though he didn't plan on staying here any longer than necessary, if a profitable proposition was in the offing, he owed it to himself to hear the banker out.
The big black colt stood where Griff had left him, tethered to the rail outside the bank. Griff stopped to admire the horse. Everything about him, from his height to the shape of his hindquarters to the proud set of his neck, bespoke quality. Obviously, the banker had spent no small sum acquiring him.
The horse bobbed a greeting and nuzzled Griff's hand as if they were old friends. Griff felt a surge of pride. He had disappointed his father in every way imaginable, but his skill with horses was the one thing Charles Rutledge had been unable to ignore.
"Beautiful, isn't he?"
Griff turned to find the Gilman fellow standing outside the bank, puffing a cheroot. "He is indeed. One of the finest I've seen since the war."
"Come on in." The banker ushered Griff to his private office at the back of the building and motioned him to a chair. He extracted another cigar from the humidor on his desk and held it out. "Care for a smoke?"
"No, thank you." Griff unbuttoned his coat and settled into the leather chair.
Gilman puffed his cigar, sending a cloud of blue smoke curling behind his head. "How's your father these days?"
"I wouldn't know. I've been away from home for a long time. After my mother passed on, I lost touch."
"I see." Gilman eyed Griff across the desk. "What brings you to this neck of the woods?"
"I've a bit of unfinished business to clear up. Soon as it's done, I'm headed west."
"Ah, the lure of California claims another son of the South. Too bad."
"The South we knew is gone, Mr. Gilman. I'm headed much farther west, to New South Wales. A friend of mine went over in 'fifty-eight. Ever since the war ended, he's been after me to come down and take a look."
Gilman frowned. "Australia? What on earth for? All they have there is red dirt and kangaroos."
"I'm told the place is booming since the great gold rush. There's still some gold to be mined and millions of acres of ranch land available. I might try my hand at running a cattle station."
Griff paused and gave free rein to his imagination. What would it be like living amongst a bunch of foreign drovers, fighting off dingoes in the middle of the night?
"Good heavens, man," Gilman said. "If it's a ranch you want, I'll put you in touch with Wyatt Caldwell down in Texas. He sold his lumber mill here in town a few years back, and now he's got one the finest herds of longhorns in the state. There's no need for you to go clear to the edge of the known world."
"I appreciate the offer, but my mind is made up." Griff shifted in his chair. "Maybe we should get down to business."
"Very well." Gilman set his cigar aside. "I'm the head of a committee looking for ways to bring more money into Hickory Ridge. Like a lot of other towns these days, ours is declining, and we have to do what we can to save it."
Excerpted from Beauty for Ashes by Dorothy Love Copyright © 2012 by Dorothy Love. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was practically determined to not give this a 5-star rating--I have been giving so many lately. I also was not sure that I truly liked the characters or the story. But Dorothy Love has come out with a winner in this book! I have never read any book by her, but she is definitely towards the top of my list now. I did not realize that this book was part of a series, but I had no problem following it even though I did not read the first in the series. I was able to jump right into the action and get to know Carrie and Griff from the beginning. I was completely impressed with the wide variety of characters and realistic circumstances that the author put in this book. Nothing was sugar-coated, and some of the great tragedies truly touched me. It was nice to see an imperfect heroine and see how she dealt with it in light of her faith. The message of the book truly struck a chord with me. It is the same message that I continue to read over and over lately. Find God's will, and then do it. Don't let the chance pass you by. God will provide for all your needs, and He cares about everything that concerns you. He will work it all for your glory--the bad things too. I can relate a little bit to Carrie. I have a father that treats me very much like a slave (though I am a grown woman), and I am quite friendless and sometimes shunned--that is the story of my life! I know how it feels to continue to ask for God's will and seemingly receive no direction. It is so tough to not give up! The Christian themes were placed in very natural places in the book. The reader was not beaten over the head with Christianity, and yet, it was there. It was neat to see that God could change anyone. And it was amazing the way God worked through various tragedies in the book. I was pleased to see that the author is working on a sequel to this one. I hope that she will tie up the minimal loose ends that she left. The book ended in the right way, but it was rather abrupt as well. My only complaint! I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated in any way, and all opinions are 100 percent mine. fla
Carrie Daly and her brother Henry lost their parents at young age. Bonding together, family was the tie that brought them strength.. Carrie had been living with Henry after loosing her husband to the Civil war years ago. When Henry weds Mary, accompanied by her two young sons, everything is thrown into turmoil. Carrie soon finds herself leaving the family home, heart broken and discouraged. Dorothy has woven a tale of disappointments, struggles and testing of the human spirit. Life gets more complicated each day as Carrie seeks for answers but the path is not always clear. The story reads smoothly, the characters are well developed, vivid and memorable. A wonderful story the will bestow hope to the wounded heart.
Sometimes I hate when a story ends. This is one of those times, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the way it was written, had a very hard time putting it down even to sleep.
‘Beauty for Ashes’ by Dorothy Love is quite a leisurable an inspirational read. It reminds me that to have something better in life, sometimes, we need to leave what we already have behind in order to pursue for something better. We got to be brave, and be willing to leave our comfort zone for that. And sometimes, to get want we want, we need to turn deaf ears towards the scrutinizing society who more often than not, will condemn you for doing something out of ordinary. The story is quite slow for me, but it’s an okay read. Highly recommended for people who wants an inspirational fiction. This book will remind us all that having faith in God’s plan can’t really be a bad thing as it always turns out better at the end of the day.
Should be called Never Give Up as its a very motivational book!
Carrie Daly, a childless Civil War widow, had been helping her brother run her family’s farm in Hickory Ridge, Tennessee. When her brother marries, her sister-in-law and two children move into the family home. Two newcomers in town, along with a failing economy, change Carrie’s life. She struggles to accept the trials that come her way; she prays for God’shelp for others…and prays that she will have the patience and grace to accept the disappoints and heartbreak in her life. She expects her attraction to Griff Rutledge to conclude with unhappiness because he states from the beginning that he intends to leave for Australia as soon as the thoroughbred race is ended. Carrie Daly is a strong, creative, family-loyal woman. I silently thanked the author as I read about Carrie Daly’s experiences with her sister-in-law, nephews (although 5 year old Joe can be adorable),original boyfriend, and new friend. Although Carrie always seems to take the high road, Dorothy Love did relate some of Carrie’s fuming thoughts. If she hadn’t, I would have been too angry myself to finish reading the book. The situations in the book, when other people take advantage of her, annoyed me enough that I would have jumped in and lent a hand if I could. A bright spot is Griff who helps her “run away from home” and learn to enjoy life again. Readers will enjoy discovering Carrie’s character; there are so many facets to her personality. Other characters, except for Mary: the sister-in-law you will love to hate – are less complex. Three and a Half Stars
I enjoyed this second book by Dorthy Love. Loved that some of the Characters from the first book Beyond All Measure, made a return visit! This books has many chuckles, and some ohhhhhs, and some very sad happenings. We are focusing at a time just after the Civil War and there is a Depression happening. Carrie Daly is now required to welcome a new woman into her home she shares with her brother Henry. His new bride, Mary, comes with two...not adorable sons. Carrie has been keeping company with Nate for quite awhile, and everyone expects them to marry. She is rescued from an uncertain death by Griff Rutledge, he is going to be in town for awhile training a horse. Now we will wonder for awhile who will win her hand or neither? Love that the Lord seems to have a hand in the lives of these Characters, and as in real life not always as we wish. I recommend this for a fast enjoyable read! I received this book from the Publisher Thomas Nelson, and was not required to give a positive review.
Well written story about romantic and family relationships. Loved it so much, read it in a day!
I loved this book as much as the first and cannot wait to start the next one! I highly recomend it!
See how a heart is tamed in the old west! Once again Dorothy Love has managed to draw me in as a reader and create such timeless characters that I am immediately rooting for them the entire way through the novel. In the second book in the Hickory Ridge Romance Series, Beauty for Ashes picks up with the life of Carrie Daly who is making preparations to attend her brother Henry's wedding. While retrieving her dress from the dressmakers, she finds herself in immediate danger from a runaway horse who is spooked from the whistle of the train. Just at the last minute, Carrie is rescued by Griffin Rutledge, a handsome horse trainer in town on business. This is the true definition of falling in love, and the sparks between Carrie and Griffin are immediately lit even though Carrie is being courted by Nate Chastain, the local bookstore owner. Nate's been proposing to Carrie for many years but she just can't seem to find the same feelings for Nate as she did for her husband who left her a widow. Could the sparks between Griffin and Carrie be what has been missing for both of their lives? When Henry's new wife, Mary and her young sons, Caleb and Joe, leave Carrie with no alternative but to move out of her family home, she finds a room in the Verandah Hotel where she hopes to earn money taking care of the cooking and cleaning. However she finds once more, that she has been replaced by Rosaleen Dupre', a fancy lady with a sorted past, that will weave her way in and around the residents of Hickory Ridge, even though they won't see it coming. I received Beauty for Ashes compliments of Litfuse Publicity and Thomas Nelson Publishers for my honest review. I love the strength that Carrie possesses, not being afraid of what people think, and isn't afraid to speak her mind. I can't imagine being treated so poorly by her new sister-in-law, Mary who seems to think that Carrie will now be her maid while she is living in the house. Not only that but her younger boys, Caleb and Joe have no manners or respect for Carrie, telling her on one to many occasions that she is not there mother and they don't have to pay her any mind! I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and can't wait for the third book in this series. If you've never read any of Dorothy Love's book, please pick up this series. She will take you back to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee for a definite adventure in western historical fiction with some great romance thrown in for a treat! The best part of this book is that it can be read as a stand alone, but trust me, you'll want to pick up Beyond All Measure to capture the whole story of the residents of Hickory Ridge!
She’s a beautiful young widow. He’s a Southern gentleman with a thirst for adventure. Both need a place to call home. After losing her husband in the Civil War, Carrie Daly is scared she will never have the family she longs for. Eligible bachelors are scarce in Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, but Carrie Daly has found love. Not the weak-in-the-knees kind, but something practical. Still, she isn't quite ready to set a wedding date with Nate Chastain. Griff Rutledge is a former member of Charleston society, but has been estranged from his family for years. He’s determined to remain unattached, never settling in one place for too long. But when asked to train a Thoroughbred for an upcoming race in Hickory Ridge, he decides to stay awhile. Despite objections from the townsfolk, and her fear that true happiness has eluded her, Carrie is drawn to Griff's kindness and charm. It will take a leap of faith for them to open their hearts and claim God's promise to trade beauty for ashes. (book blurb) Beauty For Ashes is a follow-up book to Beyond All Measure, which I’ve reviewed previously Personally, I think I enjoyed Beyond All Measure more than Beauty For Ashes. It wasn’t so much that the book wasn’t good; the plot was interesting and I was curious to see how the story would unfold. My major issue was that I never really felt connected to the characters enough to really feel engaged in the story like I was when I read Beyond All Measure. It also seemed like there was going to be something more to the story, but that the plot and characters just didn’t delve deep enough into it. When I finished the book, it still seemed like there was something important left unfinished—I can’t seem to pinpoint it though (one unfinished thing leads into the next book in the series, but I’m referring to just a general feeling I had once I finished the book). That said, I did think it was fun to read a book that discusses places I’m familiar with (though Hickory Ridge is a fictional place in Tennessee, some of the places mentioned in this series are places I’ve either been to or know something of). I also was curious to see how the story would unfold, such as what would be the most important thing in the outcome of Griff’s decision, and also if Carrie would resolve things with Henry and his wife, Mary. The subplot with Nate was an interesting addition, though I think there might be more to it than was explained in this book. This book was definitely set up to have a follow-up, and I’m looking forward to reading that when it’s available. ** I received this book free from Thomas Nelson’s Booksneeze Program in exchange for an honest review. **
One of the strengths of Dorothy Love's books is her character development. Beauty for Ashes is no exception. Carrie, our heroine, is a strong woman with a bit of a temper. Part of her journey as a believer is how to care for a really irritating sister-in-law, Mary. Even though Mary is irritating, Dorothy reveals enough of her history so we see her as a person. She's not one dimensional. I loved Dorothy's development of the two exasperating nephews into likable boys. Then there's Griff, the gorgious gambler, who finds in Hickory Ridge a reason to stop running from his past. All in all, this was a wonderful story with each chapter drawing me in more deeply.
I really enjoyed getting lost in the setting of this book, It was predictable in my opinion but easy to follow the storyline and I started to feel sorry for Carrie although at times I wanted to tell her to "Suck it Up" and deal with what life has thrown at her and look for the small Blessings in life...but that's just me. The closing was cleanly added up and ended sweetly, I liked it!
Carrie Daly does not like to hear the statement " Sorry you lost your husband." She will let you know real quick that she did not loose her husband he was killed during the Civil War. She has grieved his death for many years and honored him by not remarrying in hopes of keeping his memory alive. Carrie's friend Ada Wentworth helped Carrie realize that she wanted to have a family of her own especially children. She has had a friendship with Nate Chastain, the town's bookstore owner but friendship is as far as her feelings for him have gone. Then Griff Rutledge, a known gambler, comes to Hickory Ridge and saves her from being trampled by a horse drawn buggy. Every time she turns around he is there rescuing her from one thing or another. She is drawn to him and he to her. Surprisingly they do seem to have some things in common. Carrie's friends try to discourage her from associating with him fearing her reputation will be ruined. Griff has plans to start a ranch in Australia. He is not interested in being tied down by land or a woman. He prays and reads his bible but is still confused as to the direction of his life. Is he avoiding praying for God's will? Nothing seems to be going Carrie's way since her brother got married and turned her life upside down. It seemed like every obstacle imaginable is getting in the way of the life she so wanted for herself. She reads her bible and prays everyday yet she still feels discouraged. Is she also avoiding praying for God's will? This story show just how difficult things were back them for man to provide for his family. It was much worse for a woman trying to run a fame and provide for a family. I highly recomment this book! I rate this book a 5 out of 5. Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Litfuse/Thomas Nelson for review. In no way was I compensated for this review. This is my own opinion.
1876 is not a good year for Carrie Daly. Her brother marries, bringing the manipulative and lazy Mary Stanhope and her two snake-wielding hellions into their home. The bookstore owner, who’s been courting Carrie for years, suddenly takes an interest in an exotic newcomer. And the local economy tanks, leaving the church without a preacher, the school without a teacher, and everyone without money. The lone bright spot is Griff Rutledge, a handsome itinerant horse trainer. Even if she didn’t know better, everyone in town warns Carrie against him. How could God make anything good come from this mess? I measure the success of a book by how much it emotionally engages and Beauty for Ashes was victorious! I can’t remember the last time I’ve wanted to grab a villain around the neck and shake - Mary Stanhope is that realistic and despicable. Carrie’s struggle is valiant, yet human - haven’t we all prayed “If you have something better in mind, could you please let me in on it?” I love the southern Appalachian setting of Hickory Ridge, reminiscent of Catherine Marshall’s Christy and Jan Karon’s Mitford series. Dorothy Love’s vivid writing and attention to historical detail brings the setting to life. I remembered the townsfolk from the first book in the series. Yes, this is the second book, and yes, you can read it without the first. But why deprive yourself of the pleasure?
Beauty for Ashes by Dorothy Love was enjoyable. This book takes place in the years that followed the Civil War. Amidst depression and heartache, love still is able to find a way. Carrie Daly, a widow, lives in Hickory Ridge with her brother, where they tend to their farm. Carrie Daly is “promised” to marry Nate Chastain, however, the timing always seems off and she can never seem to set a date for the wedding. Everyone in town thinks and knows it will happen. Everyone in town loves the idea of them getting married, until Carrie meets a traveler, Griffin Rutledge, who “rocks her world” so to speak. They meet the day before her brothers wedding to whom other but “Cruela DeVille” a nice modern day term for Mary. Shortly after the wedding, Carrie leaves the farm knowing that she doesn’t have a place anymore and knowing that she will not be able to handle living there with Mary’s boys whom terrorize her in every way. She begins to build a friendship with Griff and begins to lose Nate. Her heart doesn’t know what to do or think and she begins to lose hope, especially when her brother leaves to find work, Mary becomes pregnant, and Carrie has to come back home to work the farm and care for Mary and her boys. Carrie does everything for everyone else and doesn’t receive much in return. Eventually she finds love in several different ways, much different than she ever expected. I received a copy of this book from Booksneeze for my honest thoughts.
A beautiful story.
Love the book as much as the first one can't wait to read the third one.