Tracie Peterson. Treasured Grace. Bethany House, 2017. See here to buy the book.
Treasured Grace is set in the mid- to late-1800s. Grace Martindale’s husband, a harsh pastor, has recently died. Grace and her sisters Hope and Mercy travel west, to the area that is now Oregon. They stay at Dr. Marcus Whitman’s mission, and Grace upsets Dr. Whitman because she tries to help the sick with natural healing remedies.
Grace meets Alex Armistead, a fur-trapper who is dealing with guilt and anger due to events in his past. The two clash somewhat, since Alex is opinionated, and Grace has a rather patronizing attitude towards the Native Americans, which Alex does not share. Meanwhile, Grace is being pursued by Nigel, a nice man, but she does not love him.
A measles epidemic is breaking out, and many in the nearby Cayuse tribe are blaming the whites for giving it to them. Alex’s friend Sam, who has Cayuse background, has a more balanced perspective. The Cayuse raid, and others get hurt or killed in the process. Victims struggle with their faith in God, after having such experiences.
There are many assets to this book. The contrast between Native Americans’ interactions with Catholics and their interactions with Protestants was interesting, as was the detail that some of the white settlers married Native American women. Tracie Peterson put research into this book and painted a picture of that complex historical setting.
The spiritual element was good, too. Alex had to deal with his own guilt and alienation from God. Alex and Grace also have discussions about the problem of evil. God’s activity is acknowledged as a hopeful possibility, and yet the salient theme is that this is a fallen world, in which Satan is active. One of the characters takes comfort in a sermon in which the preacher highlights the biblical characters who suffered, as God was with them.
I do not feel attached enough to the characters to rush to read the next book of the series. But I am at least open to reading the sequel, or the many other Tracie Peterson books that have been written. The prose is somewhat dry, but there is enough reflection on the part of the characters to make the book interesting.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My review is honest!