cover image A Beauty Refined

A Beauty Refined

Tracie Peterson. Bethany, $14.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-7642-1325-0

Peterson continues her faith-based historical journey with this feel-good second Sapphire Brides romance (after A Treasure Concealed). The year is 1907 and German-born Phoebe Von Bergen has come to Helena, Mont., with her father, Count Von Bergen. They’re on a grand tour of the world for the count’s business interests—specifically the acquisition of sapphires. The journey brings Phoebe more than she was prepared for as unexpected dark secrets await in the American West. Ian, who lives in Helena, is a man of strong faith who abhors a lie. He finds himself wrapped up in the beautiful young Phoebe’s life after he discovers that the woman living in his home is Phoebe’s long-lost mother—a convenient coincidence. In a situation fraught with betrayal and facades, Ian is the only person Phoebe can turn to. Peterson employs a boilerplate plot and unimaginative characterization, concentrating most of her attention on the flowing descriptions of the pre-WWI American West. Despite the story being light on substance, the underlying message of the triumph of faith and honesty makes for a satisfying if saccharine read. (July)