Grace Martindale has known more than her share of hardship. After her parents died, raising her two younger sisters became her responsibility. A hasty marriage to a minister who is heading to the untamed West seemed like an opportunity for a fresh start, but a cholera outbreak along the wagon trail has left Grace a widow in a very precarious position.
Having learned natural remedies and midwifery from her mother, Grace seeks an opportunity to use her skills for the benefit of others. So when she and her sisters arrive at the Whitman mission in "Oregon Country," she decides to stay rather than push on.
With the help of Alex Armistead, a French-American fur trapper, Grace begins to provide care for her neighbors, including some of the native populace. But not everyone welcomes her skills--or her presence--and soon Grace finds herself and those she loves in more danger than she imagined possible.
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By Tracie Peterson
Baker Publishing GroupCopyright © 2017 Peterson Ink, Inc.
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Oregon Trail Late October 1847
So what do you plan to do now that he's dead?"
Grace Flanagan Martindale thought of the trailside grave where her husband, the Right Reverend T.S. Martindale, had been buried. The simple burial site, not even two hundred yards away, was nothing like the pompous, pretentious man it held. There wasn't even a proper marker, and that alone would no doubt have the man turning in fits of outrage.
"I don't know." Grace looked at the woman who had become her friend on their travels west. "I honestly don't." She shrugged. "But then I wasn't at all sure what I was going to do when we reached Oregon City either."
Eletta Browning grew thoughtful. At twenty-five years old, the petite, sandy-haired woman had been a wealth of information regarding the trail. She and her husband had read countless letters and articles created for missionaries regarding Oregon Country.
"We're supposed to make the Whitman Mission by Friday," Eletta finally said. "As I understand it, Dr. Whitman and his wife often take in travelers from the wagon trains. At least for the winter. You could probably stay with them."
"Yes, the wagon master mentioned it."
"We've become friends through correspondence, so Isaac will no doubt put in a good word for you and your sisters."
Grace cast a glance outside the tent opening. Her sisters were speaking to their friends in hushed whispers. Their brother-in-law hadn't been the only one buried that day, and the spirit of the camp remained sober at the nearness of death. However, Grace knew her sisters were relieved that the Right Reverend had passed on to his glory No doubt he was even now instructing God as to how heaven should be run.
"I suppose it might be wise to stay if the Whitmans will have us." Grace considered the few choices available to her. "I know the girls are exhausted. Mercy, especially. She's nothing but skin and bones, and she was already so small for her age."
"It's been a hard trip. We've all had our share of problems. I might have lost my dear Isaac to cholera had it not been for you." Eletta choked on the words and then regained control of her emotions. "Mr. Browning and I are most grateful for your healing skills. There's nothing we wouldn't do for you and your sisters."
Grace smiled. She had been trained in the healing arts since she was a young girl. Like her mother and grandmother before her, healing seemed to come naturally to Grace — unlike her sisters, Hope and Mercy, who had no end of confusion when it came to gathering wild plants and roots to make medicines.
"I'd like to think I could offer my skills in whatever community I make my home, but since Dr. Whitman is a certified doctor, he might find my abilities primitive." She sighed. "If I could just locate Uncle Edward, I know I would feel better. We sent him a letter early last spring before coming west. I'm hopeful he received it, but we heard nothing from him before leaving. Of course, I didn't really expect to. It takes months and sometimes years to get letters back and forth. The men headed west with the letters might even have been killed on the trail."
"Most of the wagon train will go on to Oregon City, Grace. I'm sure someone would take a message to him. Mr. Grierson, perhaps? Then your uncle might come for you and the girls before the winter is over."
"Maybe." Her uncle had written Mama a year ago, begging her to join him in Oregon City. He told her it would be a wonderful new start and she might even find love again. Grace knew her widowed mother would never love another man. She had been completely devoted to Sean Flanagan. And even though he was a hard-fighting, stubborn Irishman, Nancy Flanagan loved him with a passion that Grace could only envy.
A shadow crossed the opening of the tent, and Nigel Grierson called to her. "Mrs. Martindale, I wonder if we might speak."
She knew what he wanted. Eletta knew it too. Grace bit her lower lip and then exited the tent. She didn't bother to acknowledge his offered hand to help her. Straightening, she relaxed her jaw and waited for him to say something.
The tall, blond man gave her a sad smile. "Thank you for agreeing to speak to me in your time of mourning."
Grace nodded. "What can I do for you, Mr. Grierson?" She glanced over to where her sisters had been only moments before. Apparently when they saw Grierson, they had hightailed it out of there.
"Well ... you know that ... my Abigail died two weeks ago."
"Yes." Grace had no desire to make this any easier on him, but neither did she want to waste her time. She knew what he was going to say and decided to say it first. "So now that my husband is dead, you believe we should join our fortunes together and marry."
He looked sheepish and glanced away. "Yes. You see, Mrs. Martindale, I know from our long months on the trail that you are an industrious woman, just as my Abigail was. She and I admired you very much for your patience and skills, not only with people but the livestock as well. I believe we have a great deal in common. I hope to start a dairy farm eventually, and you have a small flock of sheep. It seems together we could make a proper go of it." He cleared his throat and seemed to struggle for what he wanted to say next. "And ... well ... while I don't like to speak ill of the dead, we both know that your deceased husband was hardly cut out for such a life. On more than one occasion I know he spoke with great disdain regarding his sheep."
"Yes. However, the sheep were never his to consider. They belong to me."
"But when a woman marries, her property belongs to her husband."
"Be that as it may, my husband hardly has need of sheep now, and what meager possessions we held are mine." She could see that her tone had made clear her irritation. She turned to go, but Nigel took hold of her arm in a bold move.
"Please, Mrs. Martindale ... Grace." He spoke her name with great hesitation.
Grace fixed him with a look that caused his immediate release of her arm. "I cannot marry you, Mr. Grierson. I have no desire to give myself over to another loveless marriage. Good day"
She walked toward the wagon the Right Reverend had purchased shortly before their trip west. Purchased with money from the sale of her parents' house. It was loaded to the hilt — mostly with his prized possessions of theological texts and clothes. He had also demanded to bring several pieces of furniture, including an ornate pulpit and a large feather tick upon which he could sleep at night. He was one of the few travelers who insisted on sleeping in the protective covering of his wagon. Every night when they set up camp, Grace and her sisters had been required to empty the wagon of several crates in order to make room for the Right Reverend to sleep. It was ludicrous, given all of the other work required, but Grace went along with his demands despite knowing her husband was the talk of the train.
Now all of that belonged to her. At least Grace presumed it did, as the Right Reverend had no family. She looked into the back of the packed wagon. There had barely been enough room for Grace and her sisters to add a few trunks. Not that they'd had much to take with them. When Mama had died, Grace knew she would have to sell their small farm in order to survive. She had tried time and again since her father's death to convince her mother to put the property up for sale, but her mother had refused. She and Grace's father had purchased the Missouri farm when they'd first come west. They owned it free and clear, and it was the only thing of import to Mama. It didn't seem to matter that it was in need of constant repair or that the taxes increased every year. Selling the property had given Grace the money they needed to go west and to buy her sheep.
"Grace." The whispered voice was that of her seventeen-year-old sister Hope. "Did you get rid of him?" She peered from around the far side of the wagon.
"Yes." Grace rolled her eyes. "He is without a conscience, to be sure. Who ever heard of approaching a widow on the day of her husband's burial?"
Hope joined Grace at the rear of the wagon. "Conscience isn't important on the frontier. I've had a dozen proposals since we started this trip."
Glancing at her sister's womanly figure, Grace could see why the men had been attracted to her. Hope was by far the prettiest of the three Flanagan girls. She always had been, even though they all looked very similar with their dark brown hair. Each sister, however, had a variation on their mother's and father's eyes. Grace had green eyes like her father, and Hope's eyes were blue just as Mama's had been. Mercy, the youngest, combined the two for an unusual turquoise shade.
But Hope was the beauty of the family. The interest of young men had been on the increase since she'd turned sixteen, and as a flirt, Hope enjoyed the part she played. To Hope, the world was filled with admirers, and she was only too happy to be the focus of their attention.
"Mrs. Martindale?" The questioning voice was that of Mr. Holt, the wagon master, who was walking toward their wagon.
Grace offered him a smile. "What can I do for you?" "I thought I'd make a suggestion, if you don't mind." He pointed to the back of the wagon. "Your oxen have suffered a great deal from that load. If you aren't attached to that heavy furniture, I'd suggest getting rid of it."
Grace nodded. "I think that's a marvelous idea. The pulpit alone weighs more than Hope and Mercy combined. I believe that would make a perfect marker for the Right Reverend's grave. Then there's that heavy walnut table. That can easily be discarded."
Holt smiled. "I'll get a couple of fellas to help, and we'll unload it."
"Thank you. I believe my sister and I will check on our flock."
Holt tipped his hat and left while Grace moved toward the area where her sheep were grazing.
"Smelly animals," Hope said, turning up her nose.
"You may be grateful for those smelly animals one day when we have a flock big enough to prosper us."
"I wondered where you went," twelve-year-old Mercy said, coming to join them. "I heard Mr. Holt say he and some other fellas are going to unload our wagon."
"Yes, we're lightening the load." Grace noted her youngest sister's long brown braids. Styling her hair that way made her look younger still. "You can ride tomorrow, if you like. I know you're tired."
"Mr. Holt said we needed to make up for lost time tomorrow. He wants to start as soon as there's any light at all and keep going until it's dark."
"I hate traveling," Hope said, blowing out a heavy sigh. "Everything is always dirty, and my shoes are completely worn out."
"Well, I managed to take the Right Reverend's boots off of him before we wrapped him in the burial sheet." Grace glanced around and lowered her voice even more. "I think they're just a wee bit big for you, Hope, although he didn't have feet anywhere near as large as most men. They should suffice. And you may ride the Right Reverend's horse. He's a very gentle mount with the right person handling the reins." The Right Reverend had never been able to sit the horse without some sort of trouble, but Grace and her sisters had learned to ride as children. Da had been a masterful horseman and saw to it that his daughters knew their way around horseflesh as well.
Hope wrinkled her nose but didn't refuse either gift. Grace knew she would wear the boots and ride the gelding and be grateful, because the road was much rockier than it had been coming across the prairies.
"I know it's not very nice," Mercy said, looking at the ground, "but I'm glad he's dead. He was mean, and I didn't like the way he treated you. Or us." She looked up at Grace. "Do you suppose God will be mad at me for saying that?"
"You're just telling the truth," Hope said. "I'm glad he's gone too. He was so bossy. I figure he thought he owned the three of us; he treated us like slaves."
"I can't lie and say that I'm not just as glad to be rid of him myself," Grace admitted. "But now we're back to trying to figure out how to take care of ourselves in the future. Most all of our money was tied up in this trip west."
"Won't Uncle Edward take care of us?" Mercy asked.
"We have to be able to find him first." Grace shook her head. "There's no telling if he's even still alive."
Hope frowned. "Then what are we going to do?"
"I've been giving that some thought. The train is splitting, with most of the wagons going on to Oregon City. Those with sick or who need a rest are heading for the Whitman Mission. Dr. and Mrs. Whitman are used to taking in folks from the wagon train and often let them stay for the winter. I figure we can help out with the chores."
Hope's expression took on a look of protest, but before she could open her mouth, Grace continued.
"Mercy can attend their little school. We'll send a letter to Uncle Edward with the wagon train folks who are going on to Oregon City."
"Why not just go on to Oregon City with them?" Hope asked. "Seems to me we've come this far, we might as well go the rest of the way."
"I thought about that, but honestly I don't think we have it in us. We're all three tired, and our oxen are nearly done in, thanks to the Right Reverend's overburdening them. Not only that, but the sick also need my help."
Hope shrugged. "I wish we'd just go on with the others to Oregon City. But I haven't had much say in this trip."
Grace turned to face the setting sun, ignoring Hope's comment. "Looks like we'd better get back. Mrs. Browning has invited us to share supper with them tonight, so we don't have to worry about fixing anything. However, I still need to boil some water for tomorrow's drinking water."
"That's so silly. Mr. Holt said he has never seen nothing like boiling water to drink unless it had coffee added to it," Mercy said. "He told me it was just a lot of extra work."
"Well, consider this," Grace said, motioning for her sisters to follow her back to their tent. "The Right Reverend didn't drink the boiled water or take vinegar daily as we do, and he died of cholera. The other folks who died from cholera also didn't boil their water. Our granny always said that boiling water was the best way to keep from getting sick."
"She also said boiling it made the water too hot for the fairies to touch and taint," Hope added. "Granny said a lot of things that were mostly superstitious Irish nonsense. You said so yourself."
"It's true that she had her superstitions, but along with the ridiculous claims, Granny had great wisdom." Grace could still hear her swear that she owed her eighty-some years of life to boiled water and vinegar. Both of which Grace's mother had sworn by and which Grace held just as valuable. If only those things could have sustained her mother from a broken heart.
"Come on, I need you to fetch water while I get the fire going." She heard her sisters mutter as they collected the buckets, but they offered no further protest, to her relief.
Grace had begun to put together fuel for the fire when the voice of a woman sounded behind her. "I want to thank you, Mrs. Martindale, for all you did for my Jimmy He's feelin' a lot better. Even ate tonight."
Grace straightened and smiled. "I'm so glad, Mrs. Piedmont. Just keep doing what I told you, and he should be fine."
The middle-aged woman nodded. "I'm worried about my Anna-Beth. She's feelin' a mite poorly, and I wondered if you could take a look at her?"
The wagon train was without a doctor, and Grace had been kept busy stitching up wounds, tending rashes, and overseeing the epidemics of cholera, dysentery, and the ague. It was good to be of use to people, and Grace knew that healing was her true calling in life.
"Of course," she told Mrs. Piedmont. "Let me get my fire going and the water on, and I'll be right over."
* * *
Hope grinned at the young man who'd just stolen a kiss. "Robbie Taylor, you are the most forward boy I've ever made the acquaintance of."
The sandy-headed boy gave her a lopsided smile. "I'm not a boy, Miss Hope. I'm a man full grown. Why else would I be sparkin' you?"
"Why, indeed," she murmured, batting her eyelashes.
Her coyness only served to encourage him to risk another kiss. This time, however, Hope pushed him away.
"I'm not easily had, Mr. Taylor. If you mean to court me properly, then you'll have to speak to my sister. However, you should know that at least five other fellas have gone ahead of you to ask for my hand."
Robbie's smile faded. "But, Miss Hope, you know I love you. I'm gonna get one of those big tracts of land and farm it. We'll put up a house, and you can plant a garden."
Hope wrinkled her nose. "I don't like planting and harvesting gardens. It makes my hands get all dirty and rough. This horrible journey has already been so hard on my hands, and I wear my gloves almost all the time." She sighed and raised her hands as if to offer proof.
Excerpted from Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson. Copyright © 2017 Peterson Ink, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Baker Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Fascinating saga of the perils that were sometimes faced when traveling the Oregon Trail. Grace and her 2 sisters find themselves involved in the Whitman Mission Massacre and must learn to survive and even love afterward. Engaging characters and plot.
This was truly an inspiring story. It was well written and had a very good Storyline.
Before I start this review there is a disclaimer I need to share with you. This is a book of historical fiction, I mean how many of us played Oregon Trail with the old school floppy disks (literally floppy) on a green screen computer. That is this book, sorta, the settling of Oregon Territory and the path to get there. This book is not an old school video game with green ducks and greener tomb stones. This book is about the real life tensions between the ‘Boston Men’ (or whites) settling near the Native’s (Indians). This is a book about a young widow and her sister’s who stay on a the mission due to a measles outbreak on their wagon train. There is violence, the murder of individuals at the mission as tensions run high between the two groups due in part to the many deaths from measles, and while not graphic is not subtle either. There is sexual assault (spoiler!) that leads to pregnancy. There is talk of rape and the desire to end a pregnancy. This book is not graphic but it’s also not subtle. Our history is not subtle either. I know that some readers may not be comfortable with some of these topics and I would not do my due diligence if I did not disclaimer this. However, even in Christian Fiction there has to be truth. These things really did happen. They are part of our historical truth and they are opportunities for growth and learning and strengthening of faith. There were a couple of hiccups in this book for me. I’m going to start with Grace. Grace did not lend herself to being a character that I could relate too or really care for. She felt overbearing and bossy. I mean I get it, after the death of her parents she became responsible for her sisters. She married for convenience to the Right Revered Martindale. I’m not even certain he had a first name, maybe Right Revered was his given name? Who goes by that all the time? Pretentious! He needed a wife to gain the mission field, she needed a new start and help getting them to her uncle in Oregon City. He died on the trail before the book started so . . . Still, she felt more structure and rules than someone who would offer a hug or be a gentle shoulder to cry on. Hope was alternate with pout-y and wounded. I mean I get it but it fell flat for me. These characters lacked a depth that would have gone a long way toward building the story. Even the conflict, drama, and emotions missed some little something that would have brought this story to life for me. Depth. I needed depth. However, despite the flatness of the characters and the drama this book did hit a few right things for me. I appreciate the detail that was apparent in research by the author. While I would have appreciated research notes or even some reference points, you could tell there was effort there. I also appreciated that there was a depth of scripture and spirituality. It wasn’t detracting from the greater story and actually added to the story. From a Christian Fiction standpoint this is huge. When scripture and to some degree theology is used in a book there is a balance. Sometimes those things actually detract from the greater story which the detracts from the stronger Christian take-away for the book. Peterson handled this smoothly so that these things built the story. It’s a fine line and I love that it was handled amazingly!
Tracie Peterson does it again!! I love how she takes an actual historic event and turns it into a story that will keep you reading and wanting more.
I loved the romance and the history. This seems to have been very well researched. I had a hard time putting this book down. I had to check in to see who did survive the Whitman massacre. I loved the characters of Grace and her sisters and Alex. Each character handles adversity in a different way. I look forward to reading the second book in the series.
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Bethany Books. All thoughts and opinions are my own.] The author of this book, working in a genre I do not read as often as others but still often enough to familiar with , managed to make about the most Nathanish historical romance possible, and I mean that in the most unpleasant possible way. I feel it necessary to give a fair warning about this review, because I am going to discuss some spoilers and some matter that is likely to be potentially triggering to people. Consider yourself warned. I must admit that I did not find the novel to be a bad one, but it was certainly one I got no enjoyment reading, even though I went into the book looking forward to a romance novel set in the Oregon Country during the early days of the Oregon Trail, and everyone knows how much I love the Oregon Trail . I found this book to be historically accurate, but I think the author greatly erred in choosing to base her romance on the particularly traumatic material she chose to write about. Perhaps she will see her choice validated in terms of sales and awards, but this reader found the material of the Whitman massacre and its aftermath a decidedly unpleasant base to make a romance novel that depends on Nathanish characters. In explaining what makes this novel particularly Nathanish, I am going to give away a lot of plot spoilers. The central romance of this novel is between a virgin widow named Grace who had been in a loveless marriage with a would-be missionary to the native peoples of Oregon who only married because he would not be ordained a minister otherwise and had no interest consummating his marriage, to the relief of his poor wife and her two orphaned sisters who traveled with her to Oregon country, and a troubled and tormented trapper named Alex with a dramatic life history of his own. Exhausted by a slow journey, the family stops at the Whitman mission only to be subjected to the horrors of the Cayuse uprising that led to Grace’s immensely flirtatious younger sister being raped and impregnated by her rapist and seeing her love killed in front of her eyes. The novel deals with her resulting PTSD in rather dramatic ways, discussing nightmares and irritability and depression, struggles with suicide and a desire on the part of Hope to abort her unwanted baby only to give the child up for adoption. And then, after a lack of communication between the main lovers, whose inability to communicate with each other despite their feelings for each other is something I know all too well in my own life, Grace nearly finds herself in another loveless marriage before the author brings the two of them together for the requisite happy ending that does not feel particularly happy in light of everything that happened before it. As I mentioned before, the material of this novel is not the sort of material that makes for a compelling romance. The main plot is dragged on for far too long, as the tension relies on the two lovers to feel deeply attracted to each other but be unable to communicate with each other to the point where they both end up nearly trapped in unhappiness before one conversation makes everything alright. Maybe some people enjoy that sort of plot contrivance, but I find that sort of problem to be particularly tragic in light of my own personal experience. Not only this, but often the main plot gets overwhelmed by the even more tragic subplot that is unpleasant because of personal e
Historical novels are always so exciting to me as I get to step into the past with characters and their lives the author has created. I live beside them and experience living and facing challenges during that era. The early American frontier was such a time of change and adventure. That’s why so many of us love westerns right? Reading about those times and entertaining ourselves with movies is far different than living during that era. This is something the author really brought to light for me. If you lost your family you were on your own and at the true mercy of others. You couldn’t run down to Walmart and buy medicine when you were sick or groceries and these are just a few difficulties they faced! After losing her parents, Grace marries the bad-tempered Rev. Martindale so she could provide for her sisters and travel the Oregon Trail west. It was a marriage of convenience as he had to be married to serve as a missionary. Her plans were derailed when he suddenly dies along the way. She is left with nothing again. Dr. Whitman of the Whitman Mission (of the infamous massacre) allows them to stay. Grace finds herself in conflict with the doctor/missionary because she is an herbalist. He does not want her treating anyone. This is ironic as she saved so many lives with her remedies on the wagon train. It reminded me of western medicine and holistic medicine conflicts today. While Grace and her sisters have a roof over their head they are not out of danger. Unfortunately the wagon train brought an epidemic of measles and there are many deaths, especially among the Indians. The Cayuse Indians the doctor is treating are dying in large numbers. They believe his medicine is purposely killing them. Add to that the problem of the increasing population of white men taking the Indian’s land, and there is serious trouble. Hostilities are increasing and the mission is in danger of Indian attack. A bright note in her life is handsome trapper Alex Armistead. Familiar with the ways of the Indians and the wilderness, he protects and watches out for Grace and her sisters. There were so many things I liked about the book. First and foremost was the focus on scripture and the plan of salvation. So rare to find a novel that actually shares this. The author emphasized strongly the reliance on God and strong faith in any situation, not allowing compromises. The tragedies faced by the characters are heart-breaking. I use natural remedies and oils regularly. I found it extremely interesting as to how Grace used and obtained her treatments. Once again a startling reminder of the hardships the people faced with injuries and illness. Always a great author, Ms. Peterson did an extraordinary of capturing historical facts and bringing to life the raw emotions of those who lived through the events. A book you will want to read! I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated are my own.
This is why I always enjoy what I call "prairie fiction." The daily struggle of travel and survival is met head on by a strong female character. Grace has skills, is hardworking and compassionate, and will do what is necessary to keep her family intact. This is the first fictional account I have read of the Whitman Mission massacre. Author Tracie Peterson handled it well. The horrible things that happened were mentioned, but not described in too much detail. What Peterson excelled at in this book, though, was fostering compassion for the victims of the massacre and the far-reaching effect it had on their lives. I thought the ending was a little predictable, but the book as a whole was worth the read. I am already anticipating the next book in the series. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, for review purposes. The opinions expressed here are my own.
Grace Martindale has a heavy load to bear but she is more than willing to sacrifice her own happiness to protect and provide for her two younger sisters. Grace is a compassionate and teachable young woman. She is intelligent, brave, and hard-working. Grace is a big sister after my own heart. Alex Armistead is a quiet, steady trapper who has years of experience with natives and other early inhabitants of the Oregon Country. He and his friends know the flood of settlers will change their lives irrevocably yet they choose peace and acceptance. Under the buckskins, Alex is a gentleman at heart. This story of sacrifice, strife, and survival shines a spotlight on a tragic chain of events in our nation's history yet the light of hope and love shines brighter in the darkness. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys frontier tales and stories of the early Oregon settlements! What a promising start for this new series! I requested the opportunity to read this book through the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.
Wow! Tracie Peterson wrote an amazing book, but it was also filled with gut-aching pain and unimaginable circumstances. "Treasured Grace" tells the story of three sisters, Grace, Hope, and Mercy, as they traverse a rough road west. Grace, the eldest, may be considered the main character, but the story weaves around each sister and their newly made friends. While I appreciated the historical accuracy that Peterson strove to portray, this was a difficult story to stomach so I would not suggest it for any young or sensitive readers. Since "Treasured Grace" is the first of the Heart of the Frontier series, I expect Peterson will focus on each of the sisters for subsequent books. With what these girls endured, I can only imagine that each book in the series will be as heart-palpitating and intriguing. I'll be watching for the next books and I will be suggesting "Treasured Grace" to my family and friends! I received "Treasured Grace" complimentary from Bethany House Publishing and I am happy to share my honest review.
The Oregon Trail is no easy place for the three Flanagan sisters in 1847. As the eldest sister, Grace, widow of the late Right Reverend T.S. Martindale, keeps her small family together despite difficult circumstances and locales. Others are surprised when Grace doesn't seem to be mourning her husband at all. The truth is that she never truly loved the self-serving Right Reverend Martindale and only married him for convenience sake (as it enabled her to travel west with her sisters). Ever since their parents passed away, Grace has always acted in a maternal way towards her two younger sisters, Hope and Mercy. Hope, often considered the loveliest, is the second eldest sister who has a sweet nature and a zest for life, while Mercy is still very much a precocious little girl. As the three sisters make it to the Whitman Mission, run by Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife, Mrs. Narcissa Whitman, Grace receives unwanted attentions from a would-be suitor, Nigel Grierson. In addition, Grace, who has extensive healing experience, seems to constantly buts head with Dr. Whitman who insists that he is the best medical caregiver there. When Grace meets the handsome French-American fur trapped by the name of Alexander Armistead, her life takes an interesting turn. It seems that the two have an immediate chemistry. To make matters worse, the relations between the Cayuse tribe and the Caucasian settlers is steadily growing worse and worse. The situation is like a volcano about to erupt at any minute. Tracie Peterson's "Treasured Grace" was a scenic but visceral journey that felt so real and engrossing. As the characters had their conflict, felt the feelings of love, and faced tragedy at certain points, I felt like I was there the entire time. The character I have to say I connected the most to was Hope, the middle sister of the Flanagan sisters. Of all the characters, I have to say that she was the most dynamic and interesting. To go into more detail about this would be to give away spoilers, so all I will say is that she has such a big heart. The other characters were dynamic and there were some that you just loved to dislike. For example, Dr. Whitman and Telokite. Alexander Armistead, Grace's sweetheart really fell flat for me. Yes, he lived a fascinating life but I didn't feel much of an emotional connection in regards to him. Gabriel, the good friend of Alex, was someone that I was very emotionally invested in. He made me smile and cry. For me, this is the hallmark of a good author, to move you to such strong emotions that you feel it long after you finish the novel. Ms. Peterson's prose was intriguing, refreshing, and, in certain parts, heartwarming. She described the world of the Oregon Trail and the American West with such precision and clarity that (as I stated before), I could have been standing there beside the characters. What I also liked about her descriptions was that they weren't too wordy and that the story flowed smoothly. The dialogue kept the story going but it didn't particularly grip me in anyway. It was more so the actions and the descriptions that really kept my attention. Some universal themes I was able to discern were: family, faith, and survival. These three themes were the strongest ones that I could really think of at the moment. The tone and atmosphere of the novel, while dark in certain situations, struck me ultimately as hopeful. Reviewed by the Merry Wife of Windsor.
I love reading about the early history of America, especially any thing about the Oregon Trail. This story centers around the Whitman Mission massacre, a well-known piece of history that forever changed the western frontier. There is blame to be placed on both the Indian and the white man. So much harm and killing and torture of the innocent because of misunderstanding and difference in cultures. Grace Martindale, married the Right Reverend T. S. Martindale so she and her two younger sisters could move west on the Oregon Trail. She hopes to meet up with her uncle in Oregon City and live there with her sisters. They agree to keep the marriage one of convenience over one filled with love. They just didn't expect the Reverend to die along the way and leave Grace a widow. Now with no money to really begin a life, all she has is her talents as a natural healer and in a hostile world faced with increasing Indian threat at the Whitman Mission, the place where Martindale girl's are slated to stay for now. ....Then the Massacre by the Cayuse Indians. All the men are killed and the rest taken as slaves and worse. Alex Armistead, a local trapper, with problems from his past, is taken with Grace and cannot forget about her although he tries. After the army moves the remaining women and children to the fort, he helps her and her sisters to travel to Oregon City to reunite with her uncle. This is a very moving and heartfelt story, with christian principals and a happy ending...........I received a complimentary book from Baker Publishers in exchange for my honest review. Treasured Grace (Heart of the Frontier Book #1) by [Peterson, Tracie]
Treasured Grace is just that a book that shows you how to treasure Grace. What an amazing reminder to us all isn't it and it just takes us to going back to settler days to do that. This is about Grace who goes with her husband, who is a minister, and heads on the wagon trail. On the way there there is a cholera outbreak leaving her a widow. Well now the others needed someone to nursemaid those that were sick, pregnant, hurt etc and Grace happened to have some experience in that area helping the settlers and the Native Indians. She gets to Oregon and decides to stay there because her experience is needed. There is Alex, a fur trapper - who seems to help and like her - and she needs it because there are those who are not too happy she is there and she is in some danger - So, what happens is.........y'all I can't tell you what happens - you have to get the book and read but I tell you -this book is authentic especially with this being a historical novel - and this Author is ONE of the best one's I have read for historical books. I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Treasured Grace is the first book in Tracie Peterson's Heart of the Frontier Series. Grace Martindale has buried her husband on the Oregon Trail. She continues on the trail with her two younger sisters, Mercy and Hope. They are traveling to Oregon City to be with their Uncle after the death of their parents. Grace has decided they would stop at the Whitman Mission and stay until spring instead of traveling on. The Whitman Mission is run by Dr. Marcus Whitman. Shortly after arriving at the Mission, there is an outbreak of measles. Grace is a healer and can help, Dr. Whitman does not allow her to. Even though Dr. Whitman has been helping the nearby Cayuse Indian camp, the measles is taking the life of some of their people. Grace travels to the camp with Alex Armistead, a fur trapper and his friend, Sam. She finds the camp filthy and attempts to treat the ill but it is too late in some cases. Grace is called to help a friend who is ill. Her sisters do not want to go with her. While she is away with Alex and Sam caring for her friend, the Cayuse attack the Mission killing the doctor, his wife and many others. Those that are left are taken hostage and the women are abused. The hostages are eventually taken to Fort Nez Perce and traded back to the white people. The women and children are so traumatized they did not want to be with others. Rumors of the Cayuse coming back for the hostages caused them to be taken by boat to Oregon City. Grace was in a loveless marriage and since the day her husband was buried, Nigel Roberson has been proposing to her. After arriving in Oregon City she realizes she can not support herself and sisters on her healing. She feels she has no option to care for her sisters and herself than to marry him, even though it is Alex that she loves. This is a good but very hard story to read. The author has spend much time researching to make the story as real as possible. The story brings to life the situations with the early settlers moving into Indian territory and how the Indians feel threatened by them. The story does an awesome job of explaining this. I found this book very hard to put down. I appreciated the importance of Faith that is written through out the story. I also appreciate the importance of having love in a marriage that was brought out many times. The story is a very violent one, it gives glimpses into the fears the early settlers had and the hardships they endured. The topics within the story could be bothersome to readers, but they were true events of the time. I think people who enjoy reading stories based on the Oregon Trail and early settlers will enjoy this story. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I have chosen to write this honest review.
I have always loved Tracie Peterson's historical novels. Her writing draws me into the story, with accurate portrayals and rich characters; this book was no exception. Set it the mid-1800's, a young woman finds herself caring for her two sisters after her parents have died. Leaving her family home and marrying a minister out of convenience, she find herself on a wagon train heading towards Oregon. I appreciated the main character Grace, for her wisdom of herbs and the healing properties they offered. On the trail her husband dies and she stops at the Whitman Mission until they can proceed to Oregon. Grace realizes that the native peoples are not the demons some people portray them as, she seeks to help them as well. The white people were also equally vicious on their attacks of the natives. The story is fascinating and suspenseful and I did not want to put the book down; the only thing I found difficult was waiting until this summer for the next book in the series. I would rate this 10 stars, out of 10. If you like historical fiction, look for this book~it won't disappoint. I would like to thank Bethany House for the opportunity to review this book. I was provided this book in exchange for my honest opinion; I received no compensation for my review.
With over one hundred books to her credit, Tracie Peterson is a prolific writer. While Treasured Grace falls among her historical fiction novels, Tracie writes contemporary fiction as well. Her fans will be very pleased with this first book in her latest series. Treasured Grace is set in Oregon Country in the mid-1800s, leading up to Oregon’s recognition as a territory of the United States of America. Peterson’s fictional characters survive the trials of life on the Oregon trail, only to live through the real life horrors of the Whitman Mission massacre. Readers of Jane Kirkpatrick’s The Memory Weaver, which told the story of Eliza Spaulding, an actual Whitman Mission survivor, and her family, may also be interested in reading the story of the Flanigan sisters: Grace, Hope and Mercy. Following the death of their widowed mother, the sisters embark upon a journey to Oregon Country in order to locate their uncle. Unable to make the trip as a single woman, Grace, the eldest, enters a marriage of convenience. The Right Reverend T.S. Martindale, meeting the Mission Board’s requirement of having a wife, agrees to take on the responsibility of Grace and her sisters, while also taking most of their resources. However, during the trip to Oregon City, the Right Reverent succumbs to illness, and Grace becomes a widow whose marriage was never consummated. She finds that she must place herself and her sisters at the mercy of Dr. and Mrs. Whitman, who graciously allow the sisters to winter over while they build up their strength, and determine their next course of action. Any thoughts they had about their future were abruptly changed as the Cayuse attack the mission killing the older boys, men, and Mrs. Whitman, and keep the women and children hostage. Themes presented through this story deal with forgiveness, prejudice, healing, and faith in the face of the most difficult of times. I recommend this book to fans of well-researched historical fiction as well as fans of Christian romance novels. I thank the publisher for making this book available to me in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation for this review.
Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson is the first book in Heart of the Frontier series. It is late October in 1847 on the Oregon Trail. Grace Flanagan Martindale has just lost her husband, Right Reverend T.S. Martindale (I do not know why he is Right Reverend). Grace is not exactly sorry that he is dead (he treated them like slaves). It was a marriage of convenience on both their parts (they did not share a bed). Grace wanted to go west with her two sisters, and Martindale wanted to go to the mission fields. The timing, though, is imperfect. The trail is no place for a widow and her two younger sisters especially when winter will soon be upon them. It is suggested that Grace, Mercy, and Hope spend the winter at the Whitman Mission (especially after she refuses the proposal of Nigel Grierson). Grace agrees and hopes that she will be able to earn a living with her healing herbs, nursing skills and midwifery. Dr. Whitman, though, does not appreciate (or trust) Grace’s skills with herbs. The local Indians, though, could use Grace’s help after illness strikes them (thanks to the settlers). Fur trader, Alex Armistead helps Grace get over her fear of the Indians by showing her that they are just like her. Grace receives a letter from Mr. Browning, her friend Eletta’s husband. Eletta is ill and needs her assistance. While away helping Eletta, the Indians attack the mission. Hope and Mercy are at the mission and the Indians take them captive. Can the sisters and the other hostages be rescued? If so, will they ever be the same again? Join Grace and her sisters on their journey to Oregon in Treasured Grace. Treasured Grace is well-written and has good characters. My attention was captured and held throughout the book. I found it to have a good pace which made it easy to read. There is extreme violence in the book which is historically accurate, but I found it upsetting. Prayer and faith are prevalent themes throughout the book. It emphasizes how important it is to have faith that God is there for you in the bad times and the good. I give Treasured Grace 4 out of 5 stars. It is a lovely yet heartbreaking story. It does have a sweet ending once you get past the serious parts (which are sad, heartbreaking and slightly depressing). There is the requisite romance, but I did enjoy the character of Alex. Tracie Peterson did a great job with her research. Her writing brought history to life. I have read the majority of Ms. Peterson’s novels (I still have a couple in my TBR pile), and I will continue to read her stories in the future.