cover image Refining Fire

Refining Fire

Tracie Peterson. Bethany House, $14.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7642-1062-4

In the second book of the Brides of Seattle series by award-winning author Tracie Peterson (Steadfast Heart), Madison Bridal School serves as the matchmaker for two outcasts with troubled pasts. Uninterested in matrimonial preparation, Militine Scott has come to Mrs. Madison’s school as a refuge from her abusive, alcoholic father. There she meets Thorne Patton, a ship repairman who sheepishly walks her and her best friend Abrianna to church every Sunday. However, much of the romance in Militine and Thane’s budding relationship remains cursory throughout; the real emotion of the book comes from opinionated, pious Abrianna. Her altruistic endeavors to help the poor and a jolting surprise from her past pick up the narrative slack. A large cast of characters and the use of multiple POVs make the setting come alive, but eventually the diversity of voices detracts from the main plot. Despite Militine’s sputtering narrative, fans of Peterson will enjoy the new additions to Madison Bridal School. [em](July) [/em]