"The Lady's Mine is Christian fiction that's not cheesy," my friend told me when she handed me the book -- and she was right.
A well-read friend recently offered high praise for best-selling author Francine Rivers’ new release The Lady’s Mine, a western romance set in a California mining town in 1875.
“I can’t believe it,” she said as she handed me the book, “It’s Christian fiction that’s not cheesy!”
I knew exactly what she meant, especially because I’ve been a fan of Rivers’ work for years.
Faith-based but not preachy
I first fell in love with her Mark of the Lion series over a decade ago, and I remember recommending the her body of work with similar praise. I would tell others that Rivers’ Christian-themed books are inspirational without being preachy or contrived; that her characters are complex yet relatable; and her use of language is creative while still approachable to a wide audience. The Lady’s Mine, I’m happy to report, delivers at full force. It’s truly Rivers at her finest.
The story centers around Kathryn Walsh, a fiery Bostonian suffragette who has been sent West by a disapproving stepfather to claim an inheritance left by an uncle she’s never met: an apparently worthless mine and a defunct newspaper office in Calvada, California, an uncivilized mining town full of brothels and saloons.
Upon arriving in Calvada and learning of her uncle’s mysterious murder — he was a newspaper man who had a reputation for angering those in power — Kathryn is moved by the oppression of the mining community and decides to relaunch her uncle’s periodical in order to bring about change. In the process, Kathryn catches the eye of many eligible suitors, several of whom are prominent business men who are all determined to tame her bold nature and keep her out of danger.
But Kathryn has decided firmly against marriage. She doesn’t want to relinquish her small amount of legal rights to any man. It’s a decision, however, that’s put to the test when Matthias Beck, a successful saloon owner, pulls at Kathryn’s heartstrings in a way she can’t deny. Matthias quickly learns he’s going to have to grow into the person he’s meant to be if he’s ever going to become the rare man that will capture Kathryn’s heart.
An ideal gift
I finished The Lady’s Mine the other night and plan to give a copy to every gal in my family over the age of 13 for Christmas. I’ll wrap up a couple for the guys, too — at least my brothers who were cool enough to have read Louisa May Alcott and Margaret Mitchell — both of whom were popular with the mainstream masses in their respective times too. [I mention this to shush the literary snobs in your reading group who may not welcome The Lady’s Mine for your next selection; tell them that many books are popular for good reason.]
And speaking of Margaret Mitchell, probably the highest praise I can offer The Lady’s Mine is that my reading experience this past week often reminded me of the one I always have when re-reading Mitchell’s classic novel Gone with the Wind. Like Mitchell, Rivers has spun a thought-provoking tale, rich in historical ambiance, adventure and romance. In short: I could not put it down!