Olivia Moore is praying desperately for guidance. Drought and plagues of insects have devastated her family’s farm in Hope County, Oregon. To ease the burden, she finds a job in town as nanny to the children of handsome widower Elijah Whitman, the president of the Bank of Bountiful. Just as Olivia settles into the Whitman household, gossip spreads about her and Elijah. The only way she can think to preserve her reputation is to leave town until Eli proposes another solution: marriage. It’s purely a business arrangement she accepts. But when the Bank of Bountiful forecloses on the Moores’ farm, Olivia is torn between her duty to her husband and love for her family.
This book has so many positives for me – historical fiction set in late 19th century Oregon, a marriage of convenience, and the icing on the cake, it is a retelling of Esther, one of my all time favorite books of the Bible – that I was thrilled to find it at one of my local Dollar Tree stores. It had been on my library ebook “wishlist” for quite some time, along with the other books in Ginny Aiken’s Women of Hope series, but I just wasn’t finding the time to read any of them.
After reading it I hesitated to write anything about it for quite some time. Usually, my reviews are positive (even glowing), in part because I try to be particular about what books I spend my limited reading time with. I’m not always successful, so, to get it over with, I’ll just make a bald statement: I was disappointed.
It took me a little time to decide what it was that didn’t appeal to me about this book and, frankly, it is partly the writing style. I love the setting, the premise, but when characters say things like “Ho-ho!” (p. 239) or “And see, dearie? God knew what He was doing when He brought you here. You’re the right one for us, you are!” (Cooky, p.211) I have trouble continuing. I did persevere to the end, however, so that I would be able to explain what didn’t work for me. Unfortunately, the conclusion I came to is that it just isn’t a memorable story. I can’t remember particulars or any character development, so I am unable to comment further.
If you like the idea of a retelling of the story of Esther as a historical romance set in 1870’s Oregon, then this might be a book you would enjoy. I am saddened that this wasn’t the case for me, as I have great respect for the amount of effort and love that an author puts into a novel, but feel free to read it and form your own opinion. If you do and would like to respectfully disagree, please let me know why you think I should give it another read or if I should continue on if you think the rest of the series improves. It may not be sitting on my shelf anymore, but hey, the library will let me re-read it for free!
For Such A Time As This by Ginny Aiken, A Women of Hope Novel | FaithWords, 2012 | paperback, 372 pgs.