Sixty Acres and A Bride by Regina Jennings

I found this book hard to put down. More than once I looked at the clock and it was 2 a.m.!
The story takes place in Lockhart, Texas in 1878. Rosa Garner, a young Mexican woman and her mother-in-law, Louise, had recently lost their husbands in an earthquake in Mexico. When Rosa accepted Christ her family disowned her and told her to leave their home. She chooses to follow her mother-in-law back to Texas to help her.
Hardships await them when Louise learns that her renters had failed to pay the taxes in the 5 years she had been gone. She has only 3 months to come up with the money or lose the family ranch.
The author did an amazing job not only of detailing day to day life during that time, but also what it was like to be the target of prejudice. Through the eyes of Rosa I was able to see and experience being thrust into a new culture and new people that had already passed judgment upon. What was right? What was wrong? What was proper and what was not? I hurt for her as she struggled to fit in. I understood her confusion and hesitancy about when and who to ask for help. Many times she didn’t even know that what was accepted in her country was considered taboo in this country. These are things we overlook today in helping someone new to our country to adapt.
The only thing Rosa knew she could do and do well was to work hard to help her mother-in-law to save their ranch. She threw her heart into it and her spunk and determination (not to mention her beauty), caught the eye of her husband’s cousin, Weston Garner.
Weston was as isolated emotionally as Rosa was culturally. He blamed himself for the death of his wife and had shut out everyone including his family. Rosa carried the hurt of a loveless marriage to Louise’s son. Neither expected to fall in love again, but each time they were drawn to each other, their past hurts and bitterness put a wall between them time and time again.
I was very moved at the strong faith of the characters. Weston as a grounded, mature believer and Rosa as a babe in Christ. I liked the way the author had the characters live and speak their spiritual convictions.
I was reminded again how God can heal the deepest hurts if we will only let Him. I guess the biggest lesson that I came away with was how misunderstandings that are not dealt with can not only hinder relationships but even cause more pain. When we are close to someone and do not discuss our hurts, the situation will worsen and we will miss out on something wonderful God has planned for us. I already knew it, but this book made me really think about it.
I can’t wait to read more of Ms. Jennings novels. An excellent book!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publisher in exchange for my honest review. I am not required to write a positive review.

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