I just finished another book! Always game for a glimpse into the past – especially something unique – I recently finished reading The Chapel Car Bride by Judith Miller.
Intriguing Glimpse into the Past by Bestselling Historical Author Judith Miller
With her penchant for seeing the best in everyone, Hope Irvine sees a world full of good people in hard places. When her father accepts a position traveling in a chapel car as an on-the-rail missionary, she is determined to join him in his efforts and put her musical skills to good use by serving the mining families of West Virginia, saving their souls, and bettering their lives.
Luke Hughes shares Hope’s love of music and her love of God, but as a poor miner he knows he can offer her no future. Still, the notes she sings resonate in his heart. When she begins to travel with a young mine manager to neighboring counties, Luke can hardly suppress his jealousy. It isn’t until he begins to suspect these missions of mercy might be the mine manager’s cover for illegal purposes, though, that Luke feels justified in speaking up. But how can he discover the truth without hurting Hope or, worse, putting her in danger?
After receiving a copy from Bethany House, my honest opinion is this: For the history buff, there’s plenty Miller’s carefully researched novel has to offer. Prior to reading this novel, I’d never heard of Chapel Cars. It was a new aspect of revival history that never came up in any of my 20th Century history classes.
Also offered, is wonderful insight into the coal mining hey day of West Virginia.
The feel of Miller’s story reminds me very much of Jeanette Oke’s Canadian West Series. There is an old world feel to her words and a sweet innocence to her characters, esp. Hope and Luke. Her villains are also very well developed and fit right into the story. I was disappointed however, as there were many scenes I would have loved to see expanded and others condensed.
If you are expecting a sweet Edwardian romance, the story is very sparse. The conflict between the early prohibition bootleggers is the primary focus and much more time is devoted to how the characters find themselves playing a part in that conflict. Much of the triangle between Luke, Hope and Kirby is developed in summary.
I very much enjoyed the story in and of itself, but I think that the title is a bit misleading if you’re hoping for some hallmark moments. Enjoy it for the who-done-it that it is.
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