Beauty For Ashes by Dorothy Love
Review by: Bonita Ledzius
Genre: Young Adult, Christian Romance
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2012
The only thing Carrie Daly has known all her life is loss. As a young child she lost her parents and with her older brother, Henry, had to be raised by a relative. Then shortly after marrying, Carrie loses her husband to the Civil War. Taken in by her brother, Carrie manages to find a bit of happiness, until she loses her brother as well to a woman who knows nothing of farming, has two ill-mannered boys, and a nasty disposition. Was this really God’s plan for Carrie, to lose everyone she loves, and be treated like a house slave by her new sister-in-law and her rambunctious nephews? Carrie finds herself facing a life on her own, and the mysteries that are thrown into her life along the way.
Griff Rutledge, on the other hand, is a carefree bachelor, with a mysterious past of his own. He is just passing through Hickory Ridge when he saves Carrie Daly from a rampaging horse. The next thing he knows his life is forever entangled with this damsel in distress. Will Griff ever confront memories from his past, and overcome his wonder lust?
Beauty For Ashes is a beautiful story, of love, loss and giving your complete will to God. Carrie is making bread in the kitchen of the Verandah, a hotel for women, and is thinking back about her Granny Bell’s wisdom. Hearing Granny Bell’s voice as a whisper in her ear…
“Baking bread is a lot like growing your faith in the Lord, Carrie Louise. You mix together the best ingredients you can find and wait for the mixture to mature, but it’s the heat of the oven that makes dough into something of worth and of substance. The same way the tribulations of this world mature a person’s faith.”
After adding the heat of trials to the lives of the characters, the author made a beautiful story rise that will touch the hearts of its readers.
A good story should make the emotions inside us swell with every event in the story, and it should be able to transfer mentally and emotionally to the time and place of the story. Beauty for Ashes did just that for me. I found myself angry with some characters and the selfishness and deceit they showed. I cried with Carrie, felt angry with her and hoped with her for love in her life. I was transported to the bookstore, with its dusty shelves and to the barn where Griff trained the horse, Majestic, and could smell the animals and hay there. I waited excitedly for Race Day, and cheered for Griff and Majestic all the way to the finish line, and worried for Griff’s life as the horse reared sending him crashing to the street. Ms. Love truly took us through the realm of emotions in the story, and created not only a love story, but a mystery as well. I was intrigued from the moment that Carrie left the dress shop with her package and nearly was ran over by Majestic.
I would recommend this to anyone who loves historical romance from the age 12 to 100. Beauty for Ashes holds a real lesson in choosing the right person to marry and knowing someone before jumping into marriage with them. For mother’s reading this with teenage daughters, it will spur plenty of opportunities to talk about God’s choices for our lives, our futures and our love. I know other readers will feel part of the story and the town of Hickory Ridge, as I did. The description of the characters and interaction with them will make you feel like you have lived there forever. Memories of Granny Bell will fill your heart with bits of wisdom that will forever help you remember that God can take your life and give you beauty from the ashes.
Rated PG: This story is a little more involved than children under 12 will understand, but it contains nothing in the way of profanity or situations that would be offensive or too mature for those younger than 12.
Review copy provided by publisher…Thank you!