A decade after surviving a brutal attack, a mercantile owner’s daughter seeks to begin her life anew in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. A gifted craftsman wishes to leave his lumberjack life and seeks employment at her new store. When his presence dredges up memories she sought to suppress, she must learn to overcome them. Can affection grow between the cabinetmaker and the proprietress of St. Ignace’s newest business? When complications arise, will they overcome adversity in time for The Lumberjacks' Ball?--Author Carrie Fancett Pagels
I have been waiting to open this interesting cover and begin reading the story. I can just see our protagonist stride walking right off the cover! Doesn't she look determined?
Upper Peninsula ~ St. Ignace, Michigan, April 1891
Rebecca Hart dons her drab clothes so as not to stand out. She is in need of a cabinetmaker to design and build furniture and shelving to display her incoming inventory shipments for her new mercantile. Finally, she will be able to support herself and have a fresh independent beginning from her parents' disapproving influence. A brand-new store, a brand-new life.
Garrett Christy is seeking side jobs after their family's lumber camp and is quite skilled in working with wood. Answering a cabinetry ad, he goes to the new general store promptly at the start of day. After bringing a requested sample of his woodworking, Rebecca hires him for the work she needs done to ready her merchandise. He is certain he has seen her before; those eyes somewhere in his memory. Being startled that Rebecca's father is not available to speak with about business matters, as she is a single young woman, he looks back to the safety he and his brother provided for their sister before her marriage engagement. Concern about Rebecca not having someone watching over her, he determines to talk to his sister, Josephine, and her fiancé, Thomas Jefferies.
Jo Christy cooks meals for Tom's mother's new inn until tourist season begins and Jo's new bakery flourishes. With new railroad tracks and businesses cropping up, St. Ignace will be booming. Fortunate that "Cordelia's Hotel" is available to house the dozen or so visitors during the declining snow and arriving springtime. Preparation, good food, and a meeting place welcoming boarders.
Coming to secure fundraising for the orphanage and a credit account for much needed supplies, a nun, Sister Mary Lou, enters the new mercantile to introduce herself and a young child who has come with her to place a placard for this year's Lumberjack Ball where they sell crafts made by the orphans. With the desire to help right away, Rebecca offers to have young Amelia help her unpack the crates of merchandise as they arrive. In exchange, fresh fruit and extra canned goods are requested.
What I like best about this story is their reliance on God and trust to take the next step. I like how each of the characters are reintroduced from the first book in the series, The Fruitcake Challenge. Like walking into their every day lives, unfolding each day with decisions they must make and their opening hearts revealing hope.
I like the part Amelia plays in the story, being precocious and outspoken, yet loving and accepting; she moves the story along with inner wonderings of the others, she speaks outright. I love the provision for her!
A secondary character I enjoyed was ~ of course ~ the librarian. Dressed in dark clothing befitting a professional manner, and not to engage in personal conversation with the patrons, Juliana Beauchamps follows library rules in her duties in the direction of self-culture and relations to readers.
Amelia touched the librarian's tightly coiled bun. "I bet your hair is as pretty as my mother's if you'd let it down and curl it."Wait until you find out what she chooses as the fabric for her gown ~ with silent hopes of being invited. Along with Rebecca's assistance, Juliana enjoys reading to the orphanage children, as does Amelia as she gathers books at the library to share. Juliana unknowingly brings to the surface hidden feelings Rebecca is unaware are blossoming within her own heart.
--The Lumberjacks' Ball, 38
One highlight to the story is traveling to Mackinac Island and over to Mackinaw City. So many new adventures and opportunities afforded, not by coincidence but design.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”As the story unfolds, you will be inspired by the direction they take. Such a fun read, and prepare to read it in one sitting, or two!
Warming up for the Lumberjacks' Ball, an impromptu dance amid the lumber camp sky and campfires bursts forth. Now, could your feet stay still for this fiddle tune ~ or your shoulders?
"I am happy to give away a copy of either book to your readers." --Carrie Fancett Pagels
The Christy Lumber Camp Series
Comment below, including your contact e-mail[at]location[dot]com. Drawing will be June 6, 2015, for one copy, winner's choice. Book 1, The Fruitcake Challenge or Book 2, The Lumberjacks' Ball.
*Thank you to author Carrie Fancett Pagels for inviting me to review Book 2 in The Christy Lumber Camp Series ~ The Lumberjacks' Ball. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***