The Raven Saint by M.L. Tyndall, Charles Towne Belles, book 3 (Barbour, January 1, 2010), 320 pages
Grace Westcott is driven. She’s determined to help the poor and needy in her community (Charles Towne), and save of her sisters, too. But when she’s kidnapped by a French mercenary and learns she’s to be sold to a wicked Spanish Don in Colombia, she doesn’t know what to think. She does get mad at God for putting her in this situation, though.
I don’t usually like reading a series out of order or a series book of any kind (beyond the first book) if I haven’t already read the previous installments. Something about the characters in this book caused me to make an exception in this case, though.
In a lot of ways, this wasn’t a book I would typically pick up — it’s a historical romance, set at least partially in the States. It’s a sea story. (I’ve read a few sea stories I enjoyed, namely Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey and Maturin series, but for the most part I stay away from stories set on boats.) What drew me to this book, then? Grace Westcott’s strong drive to help the poor and save her sisters.
As a character, Grace was less than I hoped for. She fell into traps that are all too common in Christian fiction (albeit perhaps in actual Christians, too), and I quickly tired of her tirades and assumptions.
As a story, it was quite a bit better than I expected. It tackled some issues that aren’t broached enough, especially in Christian fiction.
The writing felt repetitive; the same characters were described over and over, with little change. Sometimes, a few pages after I learned something, I’d be told that same thing. I did enjoy the interspersing of French words and phrases throughout, even when I couldn’t understand all the words and they weren’t translated (which they were, most of the time).
I wish there was more white space on the pages. The interior pages feel quite crowded to me, between small margins and very little line spacing. This wasn’t as much of a problem once I really connected with the story.
All in all, some aspects of this book were pleasant surprises to me, while others were disappointing. This doesn’t normally happen to me, but I enjoyed reading the book, even though I didn’t like the main character most of the way through.
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