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A Valley of Betrayal
Tricia Goyer
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Yellowstone Memories - Jennifer Rogers Spinola Most Romancing America novella collections are a set of four short romance stories set in the same place. Some are contemporary and feature friends or siblings, others are a combination of historical and contemporary, moving through time to the present day. Many have a common theme, and all have a sweet romance ending with a tidy happy-ever-after for the two main characters.Not this collection.The first story, Black Widow, is set 1891 in Yellowstone National Park, where Collette Moreau is trying to find hidden gold to support herself since the death of her husband—a death she has been blamed for. But she hasn’t counted on Wyatt Kelly, who has also heard about the hidden treasure and wants to claim it for himself.In Finding Yesterday, Justin Fairbanks is trying to escape his past in 1937 in a CCC camp in Yellowstone when his past catches up with him—with unexpected results. Alicia Sanchez is fighting both the 1988 Yellowstone fires and her own history in After the Ashes. Thomas Walks-with-Eagles is there to help—but her abusive ex-boyfriend has also appeared.Jersey Peterson is a Yellowstone Park Ranger who has trouble forgetting her past sins until an encounter with researcher Taka Shimamori shows her that God really is in control, and they make an unexpected discovery.The teasers sound as though the stories are going to be fairly predictable, but only one of the four is (well, in my opinion), and I think they get progressively better throughout the book, although After the Ashes is my favourite, probably because the ending was totally different to what I would have predicted, yet totally believable for those characters. The whole series has been very well researched (the story of Ezra Kind and the Thoen Stone is true, even if its accuracy is disputed), and there was a definite sense of time and place, particularly in the later stories (oh, those ’80’s memories!). Overall, this was a well-written and thought-provoking collection with a strong Christian message of sacrifice and forgiveness. But I can’t say any more without giving away spoilers! Recommended.Thanks to Barbour and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.