Monday, March 21, 2011

Blog Tour: Journey of Honor by Jaclyn M. Hawkes

Synopsis: From the back of Journey of Honor by Jaclyn M. Hawkes:

Disowned, she came to America anyway. Attacked and left pregnant by a vicious mob, she still pressed on. Finally, in spite of being accused of theft by the vilest of her attackers, Giselle tries to remain as upbeat and uncomplaining as a prairie wildflower as she travels on to Zion.
Thoroughly disillusioned with the ugliness and cruelty of slavery in the South, Trace Grayson leaves his young medical career to go west, hoping to leave bigotry and hatred behind. He begins taking goods by teamster train to sell in the territories. However, this fourth time across, in July of 1848, he’s stuck in St. Joseph, Missouri, waiting for enough wagons to join the train so that they can leave.

Knowing that if they don’t start west soon, they’ll be caught by snow in the mountains, Trace is thrilled when the final wagon signs on. Then, when the beautiful, young Dutch girl traveling with the last wagon is falsely accused of stealing and is detained, the whole trip is jeopardized. Thrown together by circumstance, Trace and Giselle team up to begin to figure out just how to make this epic journey across a continent a success.
With a deep sense of honor and an equally strong sense of humor, together they learn to deal with everything except the one trial that neither of them can overcome.
What I Thought: Jaclyn M. Hawkes' Journey of Honor is first and foremost, a love story--a romance that happens to be set on a pioneer trek from St. Joseph, Missouri, across the prairie to Salt Lake City. Along the way, the wagon train encounters many of the expected trials: mob violence, natives, illness, weather. But the strength of this book lies in its characters.

It is the budding romance between Trace and Giselle that compelled me to turn the pages. Although I found it jarring at times when the point of view switched from one character to the other in the middle of a scene, it was nice to get a glimpse into both characters' thoughts and feelings. I thoroughly enjoyed Mose, Trace's best friend and adopted brother, but I have to admit, my favorite character was the native who pursued Giselle. The resolution between the three of them made me laugh out loud.

Without compromising the light, romantic feel of the book, the author touches on the difficult subjects of rape, slavery, blacks and the priesthood, and polygamy without dwelling on them. She is able to sow seeds of faith and hope rather than planting doubt or discouragement as I have experienced in other books in the past. It was a novel I felt comfortable allowing my teenage daughter to read.

Jaclyn M. Hawkes is a debut author who can tell an interesting tale, and I look forward to her next book.
To learn more about Jaclyn M. Hawkes, you can visit her website or check out her blog. Journey of Honor is available at Amazon.com in either paperback or Kindle.