My rating: 4/5
As a confirmed armchair traveler, I love visiting new places via the page. I was excited about the “Love Finds You” premise of romantic adventures in unique historical settings (some of which are no longer in existence). I have read several nonfiction books about the plight of mail-order brides in the nineteenth century, so was anxious to read Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico by Lena Nelson Dooley.
Dooley excels in making the setting come alive. As I read Love Finds You in Golden I was immediately transported to the mining camps of New Mexico. After reading Dooley’s lush, evocative descriptions I wish I could plan a vacation to this now quiet town.
The characters’ faiths are a very real part of the novel. I really appreciated the fact that the characters live out their faith from day-to-day. Jeremiah finds the loving father figure he never had in devout Philip. Philip seeks God’s guidance moment-by-moment in every situation he faces. Madeline’s faith allows her to forgive in extraordinary circumstances. She is truly a mother to the motherless and brings her faith to bear in every situation. I appreciated the fact that the Christian message was proclaimed so clearly throughout every chapter of this novel. Madeline, Philip, Jeremiah, and Mr. Johnstone demonstrate the power of forgiveness and through God how we can forgive even the seemingly unforgiveable.
On the whole I enjoyed this historical romance, however there were a few issues that marred my opinion of Dooley’s story. I found the villain, Mr. Johnstone not as clearly developed as some of the other characters and throughout the book I felt he came off as the “stereotypical” villain. I suppose it didn’t help that I had read the dedication of the book and so immediately knew that Johnstone would be the villain. Since I didn’t feel I got to know Johnstone as a person, even his transformation seemed less than believable.
Although I appreciated the way the characters’ faith was present throughout the novel, I think there were times when the way this faith was demonstrated might be difficult for a non-Christian to understand. For instance, the way Philip “knows” exactly which letter to open. Throughout the novel God speaks to Philip in a way that is understandable to the believer, but may appear mysterious to the unbeliever because it is not explained fully.
Despite some difficulties, I still found myself wanting to pick up this book and continue to read to find out what was going to happen to the characters. I feel that Dooley’s work has merit and I look forward to see what the future holds for her.
*Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book from the author for review purposes.