Title: Along the Rio Grande
Author: Tracie Peterson
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Copyright: March 1, 2022
Format: E-Book, 304 Pages
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Historical Fiction, Christian Historical Romance
Recently widowed Susanna Jenkins has decided to follow her family to the booming town of San Marcial, New Mexico, for a fresh start and to aid in her family’s sudden change in fortune. They are tasked with managing her uncle’s new Grand Hotel, and it takes all her patience to try to help her parents see the good of their circumstances and relinquish their sense of entitlement.She’s hopeful when her brother becomes determined to get a job and make his own way, and she feels drawn to his kind boss, Owen Turner, who works as a boilermaker for the Santa Fe’s train shops in town. But the hard work only seems to fuel her brother’s anger, and his rough new friends give her pause.When misguided choices put Susanna’s family in an even more precarious situation, she worries her help has only made things worse. Leaving her family to fend for themselves seems like the best option, but how can she walk away from the true friendships–and love–that she’s found?
Susanna Jenkins has a difficult life. First she lost her husband to influenza, and now she has to deal with her selfish family. Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Ragsdale have never known a moment of hardship. When Mr. Ragsdale is tricked out of money by a con man, they lose their standing in society and fall from grace. With nowhere to go, the Ragsdale family reluctantly moves to San Marcial, New Mexico, to manage the Grand Hotel. The hotel belongs to Mr. Ragsdale’s wealthy older brother, Harrison Ragsdale, who is teaching them a lesson. From the moment of arrival, the Ragsdales act as if keeping a hotel is beneath their dignity. Even though faced with many challenges, Susanna cannot deny her growing attraction to Owen Turner, her brother, Gary’s boss at the railroad company. Will the widow have the courage to open her heart?
Along the Rio Grande, the first installment in the Love on the Santa Fe series, draws the reader in immediately. The vibrant and interesting world of 1899 New Mexico comes to life. Tracie Peterson has an amazing talent in rendering her characters to be so human and flawed. The characters and their struggles always feel so real. In the hardworking Susanna, who tries to make the best of her circumstances, there is much to admire. The same can be said of the happy-go-lucky Owen, who treats Susanna with great kindness. While reading, one wonders how Susanna exercised such patience around her family. The overall pace of this story is steady, and it has a solid plot. From start to finish, Along the Rio Grande is a delightful story with relatable characters in a fascinating setting.
Originally featured on the History Novel Society website.