Catherine Palmer, Author . Tyndale $9.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-8423-1927-0

On the heels of Palmer's soul-searching, competent autobiographical novel, The Happy Room, comes this unsatisfying, lightweight romance set in rural England in the early 19th century. Pretty, bookish Ivy Bowden is pledged by her adoptive father to marry the despicable Nigel Creeve. When Ivy and her three young cousins are robbed en route to the local village on an errand, Ivy is rescued by the dashing Colin Richmond, newly arrived from India. While she recuperates at his home, Colin informs Ivy of her true parentage and the conditions surrounding her lavish inheritance. Ivy must choose among three men: a worthless fop, John Frith; her betrothed, Nigel; or her true love, Colin. In their romantic confusion, Ivy and Colin turn to often-bewildering Scriptures both to find God's will for their lives and to determine how to keep Ivy's beloved adoptive family from financial ruin. From a less talented writer, this trite tale might be passable, but it's a major disappointment that Palmer, a Christy Award–winning author of 30 books, who possesses all the tools to produce novels of substance, has taken this distressing step backward. It's not wholly bad; her writing is basically sound (apart from some exhausting attempts at Yorkshire dialect), and her descriptions often superb. However, at a time when Christian fiction fans are clamoring for depth in their novels, this offering serves only as an escapist romance for those readers content to wade in the shallow end of the inspirational literary pool. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 12/17/2001
Release date: 02/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 322 pages - 978-1-4143-1350-4
Hardcover - 411 pages - 978-0-7862-6781-1
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