Saturday, January 28, 2017

Beyond This Moment: Timber Ridge Reflections, Book 2

Product DetailsBeyond This Moment
Timber Ridge Reflections, Book 2
Tamera Alexander
Bethany House Publishers
April 1, 2009
ISBN: 978-0764203909
395 Pages

I enjoyed the overall premise of Beyond This Moment, book two from the Timber Ridge Reflections, a series by Tamera Alexander, published by Bethany House.

I was immediately impressed that the author chose to make her main character, Dr. Molly Whitcomb, beautiful and well educated, as well as somewhat assertive and defiant. It shows that the author wasn’t just focusing on the pretty shell outside when she created the character, but on who the whole character was to be. Molly is certainly no wilting violet, even though she harbors deep insecurity about her present circumstances and her future success, a trait common to romantic characters. Dr. Whitcomb is a young woman who is determined to meet her goal of starting a new life in the frontier country of Colorado and she is willing to risk everything to succeed. Dr. Whitcomb, who has lived somewhat of a sheltered past, is thrust into the real world when her safe shelter is destroyed by the unexpected death of her father. After suffering the insult of a romance gone wrong, she takes her uncertainties and her hope westward.

The dangerous reality of the new territory she has entered is driven home to Molly as she journeys to her final stopping point, Timber Ridge, Colorado. When she disembarks the train at Sulfur Falls, Colorado, she is introduced to the second main protagonist, Sheriff James McPherson, and immediately establishes a tension that continues to build as the story develops. Molly quickly learns she will need friends in her new life, particularly in such a rugged country, but she isn’t certain Sheriff James McPherson will be one of them.

Ms. Alexander's characters are well-formed and interesting, and she has added a deeper breadth of interest to the story by creating a diverse culture in the community of Timber Ridge, including some of the cultural clashes that occur when people of different faiths or the lack thereof, different nationalities, and different races find themselves trying to carve out a life together in a relatively untamed land.

The author has also done an admirable job of creating imagery to aid the reader in visualizing Timber Ridge, and to have a true sense of place. One can feel as though they’re walking along its streets, dipping their toes in the ice-cold mountain water of its streams and lakes, breathing in the fragrance of its trees and flowering plants, and feeling that first bite of crispness in its thin air. Having lived in Colorado for many years in the past, and having spent time in its mountains, I can say the author has done well to describe it from her own experiences living there. 

The main drawback I found in Beyond This Moment is the repetitiveness that so often inflicts itself on books of this genre, historical or otherwise. Too often the crafters of these stories feel it necessary to have their characters restate the doubts, fears, and insecurities they harbor, instead of trusting readers to remember those issues from the first time they are introduced in the story. By the middle of the book I found myself anticipating the character’s insecurity coming forth, again, and I had to skip a sentence or two in order to avoid the rehearing of it, and to keep the story moving forward in my own mind.

I know many people who read and enjoy romance novels like Beyond This Moment, and I would feel comfortable recommending the book to them. This is the only book in the Timber Ridge Reflections series I have read, at the present. The story is clean, free of profanity, explicit and graphic imagery, and excessive violence. It is certainly worth one's time to investigate Beyond This Moment and the author's broader collection of stories. 

Susan Cronk
January 28, 2017