The second book I received to review was a historical fiction by Tracie Peterson called "Touching the Sky." I have to say this one was vastly better than the first book I got. I actually finished this one!
It's set just after the civil war ended in Corpus Christi, Texas. The setting was the reason I chose this book, thinking it might be fun to read about Texans. Then I started it. The main characters are Union supporters. Or rather, I should say, the protagonists are all Union supporters. The bad guys seem to be confederates. There was one former confederate supporting good guy toward the end of the book. I guess he redeemed the author from making all confederates out to be racist bad guys.
The gist of the story is about a young woman who's sister is marrying a real turd (confederate). The young lady, Laura, overhears her brother in law plotting some 'trouble for the Yankees' and she doesn't know what to do. Meanwhile, she's falling in love with an army officer. They've occupied Corpus with a regiment of black troops just to 'rub it in' to the citizens. The love interest is a former Union officer who led the colored troops. Incidentally, he is also investigating the brother in law for another horrible crime. Such intrigue.
This book was actually written well enough for me to not be completely disgusted by the time I reached 20%. I gave it a shot and by the time I was half way through I actually wanted to finish it.
The characters are very open about their faith and trust in God. I loved this aspect of the book. God, private prayer and discernment were discussed as freely as descriptions of Southern bell dresses. The faith of the main characters was an integral and comfortable part of their lives. They could talk about it as easily as the weather. I really enjoyed this part and for most of the book it came across as not preachy. Right smack dab in the middle of the climax there was a bit that did seem preachy and unrealistic. But I guess you need to give the author credit for building up to this throughout the book. I kind of felt it coming.
If you can get past the part about the union supporters portrayed as the righteous, intelligent, 'do no wrong' type and the confederate supporters as the ignorant, racist, thugs then there's a nice little story. I was a bit perturbed by the way the author wrote the speech of all the characters. The white union supporters all spoke with perfect English. Absolutely no Southern accent. The only accents that came across in the writing was from the blacks ("I reckon iffn I could read.."), Mexicans, and thug confederates. There wasn't even a y'all from the protagonists. That seemed a little unbelievable for native Texans.
The love story is sweet and chaste. This is not a raunchy romance book. It's as chaste as Pride and Prejudice, not nearly as well written, but good enough to enjoy.