Book Review – Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander

Within My Heart is a historical romance set in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. It’s 1877, and despite financial setbacks, recent widowed Rachel Boyd is determined to fulfill her late husband’s dream of raising their two boys on a successful ranch. A physician's daughter, and familiar with medical treatment, Rachel provided what care she could until a young doctor moved into the area.

Doctor Rand Brookston arrived in Timber Ridge several years earlier, hoping to one day build a proper clinic for the townspeople. Since patients tend to pay with food and bartered services, he wonders if he’ll ever save enough funds to see his dream come true. Rand admires Rachel from a distance, and he wonders why she seems to dislike him. He’s unaware that she resents doctors because of the hurtful relationship she had with her father.

When tragedy strikes and a close friend of Rachel's may die, she must put her personal feelings aside and rely on the young doctor's help. A tentative friendship begins as Rachel and Rand work together to provide medical care for Ben. Ben and his wife, Lydia, face their fears that he may not survive. Their marriage is a testimony to the love and devotion a husband and wife can have for each other, and the kind of peace God is willing to provide during times of crisis.

Rand is a masculine hero, but he’s also patient, gentle, and compassionate. Rachel is a feminine heroine, but she’s also strong, independent, capable, and stubborn. As they both deal with obstacles standing in the way of their dreams, they begin to trust and lean on each other.

Within My Heart is a story about having enough faith in God—his protection and plan for our lives—to face our deepest fears. Who doesn’t have some kind of fear, whether it’s real or imagined, huge or small?

Rachel fears that if she loses the ranch or cares for another man, she’ll dishonor her dead husband, who she deeply loved. Without knowing his history, Rand’s fear might seem irrational, but the cause of his fear makes it believable. It’s so real, it almost has a paralyzing affect on him. Both must overcome their fears if they are to live freely and fully.

Many things contributed to making this novel one of my new favorites: great writing, the setting, the characters and their relationships, a relatable theme, and the way medicine was incorporated into the story.

I highly recommend Within My Heart to anyone who enjoys reading historical romance.

Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of the critically acclaimed historical series-- Fountain Creek Chronicles (Rekindled, Revealed, and Remembered), and Timber Ridge Reflections (From a Distance, Beyond This Moment, and Within My Heart). Tamera's The Inheritance, the 2010 RITA Award winner and 2010 Christy Award finalist, was the first historical for the Women of Faith Fiction line. Tamera's deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose continue to earn devoted readers—and multiple industry awards.

These awards include the 2008 and 2009 Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, and the 2007 and 2010 RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance. Her books have also garnered the 2010 HOLT Medallion, the 2010 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the Bookseller's Best Award, the International Readers Choice Award.

After living in Colorado for seventeen years, Tamera has returned to her Southern roots. She and her husband now make their home in Nashville, Tennessee with Tamera's father, Doug. They enjoy life there with Joe and Tamera's two adult children, and Jack, a precious—and precocious—silky terrier.

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