Darlene Franklin. A Ranger’s Trail. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2012. See here for Moody’s page about the book.
A Ranger’s Trail is part of the Texas Trails series, also known as the Morgan Family Series. This series focuses on the Morgan family in nineteenth century Texas. A Ranger’s Trail is about William “Buck” Morgan, the son of Jud and Wande Morgan of Lone Star Trail and Captive Trail. In A Ranger’s Trail, Buck is a Texas Ranger in post-Civil War Texas.
A Ranger’s Trail is about the violent conflict in Texas between Germans and Anglos. The book starts with Derrick Denning being acquitted of stealing cattle from Germans, and this is followed by his hanging by a German mob. Buck Morgan is related to Germans through his mother, and one of his relatives actually participated in the hanging. Buck still reaches out to Derrick’s widow, Leta, as he attempts to ensure that justice is done. Germans fight Anglos and Anglos fight Germans, and peace-loving Germans and Anglos get caught in the crossfire.
There were aspects of the book that attracted me. It has important lessons about forgiveness. I especially liked Leta’s quiet times with God, which baffled her expectations and eventually challenged her to turn away from revenge. The book also effectively conveyed Leta’s sense of loss after her husband was killed, as well as the pain felt by her brother Andy, to whom Derrick was a sort of father figure. Andy wants to be a man and joins a gang led by an ex-ranger who is exacting vengeance against the Germans.
In terms of my personal chemistry with the book as a reader, however, I have to say that the chemistry was not that great. That may be because I thought that the book was too technical and complicated and had too many characters. But some readers may actually enjoy these aspects of the book, especially if they like historical fiction that really focuses on historical detail.
The book was complicated in areas, but it taught valuable lessons and wrestled with theological questions.
I would like to thank Moody Publishers for sending me a review copy of this book.