Monday, January 2, 2012
Enduring Light by Carla Kelly
She leaned toward him and rested her elbows on the brass rail at the foot of her bed. “All right, cowboy, just when did you fall in love with me? I’m definitely curious now.”
He regarded her in the moonlight. “I knew I was a no-hoping goner when I caught that ridiculous hat of yours on the platform at Gun Barrel.”
Julia sucked in her breath. She tried to be severe. “Mr. Otto, nobody falls in love that fast!”
“I did,” he said simply, as he left her room.
Julia Darling is finally able to marry Paul Otto for eternity. But it’s a harsh world for a rancher in turn-of-the-century Wyoming, especially a Mormon rancher. When alienation and threats begin, Julia must prove she’s her husband’s equal in strength and endurance as she learns to let go of scars on the outside and inside.
Bestselling author Carla Kelly has woven a new story of a determined rancher, his wife, and how they discover the depths of love.
If you've read Borrowed Light, and I recommend you do before opening up Enduring Light, you will find the blurb above an inadequate summation of what happens to Paul and Julia, starting with the nit-picky distinction that this book is not about a rancher and his wife, but is about Julia and her rancher husband, Paul.
Now that we have that clarified, I will tell you I liked this book. I like Kelly's writing style and recommend, if you want to experience it in microcosm, checking out her blog, Random Natterings. I liked the first book, Borrowed Light, and though the term "really long epilogue" kept running through my mind while reading Enduring Light, that was pretty much all I was looking for when I finished Borrowed Light. What happens to them? Well, Enduring effectively answers that question and after the first five or seven or ten chapters turns into a pretty good story. Not that the first 1/3 of the book wasn't good. It was, and despite Julia's father and her then fiance having the exact same sense of humor, and Julia being, well, whiny, self-involved and still immature, I still loved reading about Julia and Paul's wedding and the preparation for it.
In the following chapters, everyone evolves into big ballbabies, but it's kind of sweet. There are some real heroes in this book. There is some real sacrifice. Some real conversion. And you guessed it, some real enduring. Though still a clean read, the references to sex may be offputting to some LDS readers. I have to admit that at times it was even offputting to me, but I came around to the right way of thinking. Kelly is a really fresh voice (was that a pun?) in LDS romance, and if you like to read Romance at all, I think you'll enjoy her books.
Kelly has the gift. She is completely able to create events that manipulate your emotions and make you care about her characters. Both books are worth the investment of your time. They are educational (as a historian, Kelly really does her homework), enlightening, and uplifting. Not to mention, there is a great recipe for Cowboy Oysters in the back of the book (if you don't know what that is, ask your mom).