Bethany House Publishers provided a complimentary copy of Touching the Sky in exchange for an honest review. The Civil War has just ended when Laura Marquardt finds herself in the midst of the lingering smoke in Corpus Christi. Her family was ousted with many others that supported the Union's cause who now truly want to move forward with their neighbors. Miss Marquardt wants to follow her faith and help educate the recently-freed slaves. However, some in the town want to further define those dividing lines that many men had lost their lives trying to blur.
Laura's sister weds a man she has hardly any knowledge of and gives into her heart's enchantment. It is only after the wedding she understands Laura's numerous warnings were meant to protect her from her husband, a Confederate soldier, and not out of jealousy. When Laura foils the plans of her brother-in-law's posse she valiantly looks death in the face to save her sister and the lives of Union soldiers. Despite the lingering heartache she meets Union Army Captain Brandon and realizes she has fallen for the handsome man faster than she thought possible. It is here Laura learns that sometimes one must follow their heart.
Well-renowned Christian author, Tracie Peterson, manages to capture a vast array of emotions with depth and clarity. Not every author delves so well into the heart of every character. The reader will get a real sense of the fear and anguish, as well as joy and love that is woven into one narrative. The characters are multi-faceted, particularly Miss Laura Marquardt. By the end of the book I felt as if I knew her for much longer than Touching the Sky's 331 pages.
Peterson invokes the age of the narrative with a dusting of vintage words and phrases, though it is written with a modern pen. The mannerisms of the characters and setting of the piece also lend a hand to bring the 19th century back to life. Yet, I never was annoyed with overuse of such tools. Peterson's gift is well displayed.
My favorite aspect of Touching the Sky was how she incorporated faith into the book. Both Laura and Brandon are close to the Lord, but not zealously so. Initially, their Union support is what drew them together. Yet, it was the natural outward extension of their faith that knits their hearts together. With that said, make sure you are a romantic at heart to pick up this book. If you are not, you will probably be disappointed. Every now and then I love a good romance without the fluff. Touching the Sky delivers just that within a historical background. The only downside was the story ended.
Just an extra note: Apparently, this book is part of a series, Land of the Lone Star. I was well unaware of that fact and found this book to be very enjoyable without having read the first in the series. Touching the Sky stands alone as a great book itself.