It's been a while since I've read any of Tracie Peterson's work, but this novel and series is set in Seattle and I do live in Washington State, so I thought I'd give this book a go. I am sooooooooooooooo glad I did. I cannot wait until the next one in the series comes out and I hope that it is about Abrianna. I've waffled around trying to pronounce her name, and I've decided it's Aubrey-Anna. But she isn't the mainest main character. She is A main character but not THE main character. Now I'm confusing myself. I'll just get to the review.
Lenore Fulcher is a child of privilege, but she is an unspoiled, caring young woman who really wants to make her life count for something more than fancy dresses and society events.
Kolbein Booth is newly arrived in Seattle, looking for his younger sister who has run away from home.
Abrianna is Lenore's best friend, an orphan raised by three women who also run a marriage school for potential brides, and she is also the friend of the street people around the wharf in Seattle.
Wade is the wagon maker who has made it his job to keep up with Abrianna and keep her out of trouble.
Priam Welby is a human and drug trafficker who needs his come-uppance. He would like to court Abrianna as a means of getting the building her "aunts" own.
The weakness: Abrianna took more of the center stage than Lenore did even though this book was Lenore and Kolbein's love story.
The strength: Well-defined characters bring the story to a beautiful garden of personalities and events.
The book is the first in a series of novels, and it is set up for the continuing story. I am hoping that the next one in the series brings Abrianna and Wade together. Here's what I can see happening: Priam will kidnap the "aunts'" Chinese servant Liang because he can sell her into prostitution for a high price. Abrianna and Wade will hunt for Liang and eventually bring Priam's empire to an ignoble end. It may take two novels for all this to happen, but that's where my mind takes the story. It may even take two novels for Abrianna to see that Wade is the man for her.
One event in the book will stay with me for a long time--Lenore and her parents have gone to San Francisco to visit the man her father is selling his freighting business to. Lenore finds the daughters of the man rather vacuous and vain. When one of the daughters beats a servant for dusting the room where her wedding dress is being displayed, Lenore takes issue (albeit silently) with the behavior and begins to see servants as humans just as much in need of kindness as everyone else.
Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a dress for the next ball.
Bethany House provided this book in exchange for my honest review.