I've long loved Janette Oke's books since I heard one of her books read on National Public Radio many years ago. When I found her newest book in the list of books I could request for review, I jumped at the chance. I have enough books in my TBR (to be read or, in this case, to be reviewed) list that I've taken to reading them in requested order. Otherwise my e-reader would be in chaos. So my excitement rose again when it came to the top of my list to read.
While Where Trust Lies is the second book of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone without confusion. There are references to other characters in the first book, but they do not detract from the plot of this book.
Beth is coming home from teaching in Coal Valley hoping to spend a quiet summer at home with her family. When she gets to her family home, the news is sprung on her that her mother, her sisters, and she will be taking a cruise down the St Lawrence Seaway and then the eastern seaboard of the US. Her father is going on a business trip to South America while this trip is happening, so if Beth doesn't go, she will be alone. This isn't how she envisioned her summer unfolding, but as time goes on, she begins to enjoy herself on the trip. Every now and then, she receives a letter from Jarrick, a man she met in Coal Valley and developed an affection for.
Among the other passengers on the ship were friends of Beth's family--the Montclairs--high maintenance to the nth degree, or at least Mrs Montclair is. She refuses to abide by the schedule that has been provided by the companion Beth's father provided for the ladies on the trip and is consistently late for events, and if that's not enough, she's overbearing and micromanages her daughter. Beth's little sister, Julie, finds a couple of girls her own age and begins hanging around with them in spite of their lack of minimal social graces. A few odd happenings onboard lead Beth to not trust the girls, with good cause, as it turns out.
This time with her family, brings Beth to a more secure belief in what she's feeling for Jarrick, and she misses him more and more each day. When unforeseen events bring her back together with Jarrick, he wisely tells her that she has to walk this path with God. He can't walk it for her.
Without further ado, I shall get down to brass tacks. To tell more of the story is to give the whole thing away. Janette has thirty plus years of writing under her belt. Now co-writing with her daughter, both of their talents shine through. This is a quietly sweet novel with enough suspense and enough drama to keep the reader turning pages, but there is enough humor to keep the reader from losing heart. This is a five star novel, two thumbs up, and a cruise to your favorite destination.
My thanks to Bethany House for allowing me to read and review Where Trust Lies.