Published by Tyndale on February 8, 2022
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Historical, Romance
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New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers returns to the California frontier in this sweeping, romantic tale of a displaced New England suffragette, a former Union soldier disinherited by his Southern family, and the town they join forces to save.
1875. When Kathryn Walsh arrives in tiny Calvada, a mining town nestled in the Sierra Nevadas, falling in love is the farthest thing from her mind. Banished from Boston by her wealthy stepfather, she has come to claim an inheritance from the uncle she never knew: a defunct newspaper office on a main street overflowing with brothels and saloons, and a seemingly worthless mine. Moved by the oppression of the local miners and their families, Kathryn decides to relaunch her uncle's newspaper--and then finds herself in the middle of a maelstrom, pitted against Calvada's most powerful men. But Kathryn intends to continue to say--and publish--whatever she pleases, especially when she knows she's right.
Matthias Beck, owner of a local saloon and hotel, has a special interest in the new lady in town. He instantly recognizes C. T. Walsh's same tenacity in the beautiful and outspoken redhead--and knows all too well how dangerous that family trait can be. While Kathryn may be right about Calvada's problems, her righteousness could also get her killed. But when the handsome hotelier keeps finding himself on the same side of the issues as the opinionated Miss Walsh, Matthias's restless search for purpose becomes all about answering the call of his heart.
Everyone may be looking to strike it rich in this lawless boomtown, but it's a love more precious than gold that will ultimately save them all.
It’s been four years since Francine Rivers last released a novel and longer than that since she’s delivered a historical romance similar to her enduring classic, Redeeming Love. To say that The Lady’s Mine is highly-anticipated is to downplay just how much her fans have been clamoring for this novel. As someone who got to read an advance copy, let me tell you—it’ll live up to the hype. Rivers checks all the boxes you’d expect while delivering some surprises and twists along the way. I’m not exactly Rivers’ target demographic (a Millennial male), but she kept me entertained even during the cheesy bits and had me rooting for her no-nonsense heroine.
The Lady’s Mine is the perfect title for this book. It plays off the rather stereotypical (and male-oriented) quest to win over a lady’s hand, but Rivers twists it, making her heroine a somewhat well-to-do young lady who has just inherited her uncle’s mine. Kathryn Walsh is encouraged to sell the mine, but is determined to put down stakes, take over her uncle’s business, and make it in what is clearly a man’s world.
She’s quite a disruptive force in Calvada, a quickly-built boomtown with only a bare semblance of law and order and whose only other single women aren’t exactly the marrying kind. Shocked by the treatment of local miners, haunted by the knowledge her uncle was murdered, and with nowhere else to go, Kathryn determines to make the town a better place by taking on Calvada’s most powerful and wealthy mine owner. And she doesn’t need any man’s help.
Despite that, Matthias Beck—hotel/saloon owner—is right there at the ready. Matthias is a good guy, but his intentions are not quite clear. He’s drawn to protect Kathryn, sometimes over her objections, and the two fall into a fairly stereotypical and predictable banter-and-disdain-until-we-fall-in-love storyline. If it was me, the one thing in this book I’d change would be the inevitable. Their romance always feels a bit forced even as Rivers telegraphs what’s going to happen with them from almost page one. It’d be a great inversion of trope for them to remain platonic friends but…yeah…that wasn’t going to happen. It’s not quite as overbearing or central to the story as the romance in Redeeming Love, making it a bit more palatable, but still more than a bit paint-by-numbers.
The Lady’s Mine combines vintage Rivers’ style with a strong female character who shows remarkable grit and resilience. There’s action, mystery, romance, some surprising twists, and more than a bit of interesting history. This era and this type of story is Francine’s forte and it shines with brilliance from start to finish. Given the soon-upcoming Redeeming Love movie, one has to wonder if The Lady’s Mine will be the next in line to get the Hollywood treatment. It’s certainly deserving.