Book Review: Beyond All Measure

7 Nov

Ada Wentworth, a young Bostonian, journeys to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, in the years following the Civil War. Alone and nearly penniless following a broken engagement, Ada accepts a position as a lady’s companion to the elderly Lillian Willis, a pillar of the community and aunt to the local lumber mill owner, Wyatt Caldwell. Ada intends to use her millinery skills to establish a hat shop and secure her future.

Haunted by unanswered questions from her life in Boston, Ada is most drawn to two townsfolks: Wyatt, a Texan with big plans of his own, and Sophie, a mulatto girl who resides at the Hickory Ridge orphanage. Ada’s friendship with Sophia attracts the attention of a group of locals seeking to displace the residents of Two Creeks, a “colored” settlement on the edge of town. As tensions rise, Ada is threatened but refuses to abandon her plan to help the girl.

When Lillian dies, Ada is left without employment or a place to call home. And since Wyatt’s primary purpose for staying in Hickory Ridge was to watch over his aunt, he can now pursue his dream of owning Longhorns in his home state of Texas. With their feelings for each other growing, Ada must decide whether she can trust God with her future and Wyatt with her heart.

Dorothy Love is the author of the Hickory Ridge series,  historical novels set in the beautiful Smoky Mountains region of  her native Tennessee.  Her well-researched, heartwarming stories of small town Southern life, faith, friends, and family reflect the emotions, concerns, and values of women everywhere.

Growing up in McNairy County, Tennessee, Doro attended  Bethel Springs Presbyterian Church and  the local grade school where she spent every spare moment writing stories to share with her classmates. As a college student in Texas majoring in teaching and English literature,  she co-edited her university newspaper. After earning a masters degree and a Ph.D, she authored dozens of magazine articles before breaking into book publishing with a number of award-winning novels for preteens and young adults. The Hickory Ridge series (Thomas Nelson Fiction)  marks her adult fiction debut.

When she isn’t busy writing or researching her next book, Doro loves hiking and hanging out with her husband Ron and their two golden retrievers, Major and Jake. Lifelong avid travelers, the Loves have explored the cities and the back country of New Zealand, photographed the Cuna Indians of the San Blas Islands, traversed the Panama Canal, explored Bermuda on motor scooters, and combed the best beaches in Hawaii and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

For more than twenty years they have collected antique maps depicting their many ports of call, chiefly those  maps by 19th century mapmaker and engraver John Rapkin. Published by John Tallis of London, Rapkin’s maps in the 1851 edition of Tallis’ Illustrated Atlas are among the most visually appealing of the Victorian age.    The Loves make  their home in the Texas hill country.

My Impressions:

The struggles of a small, Southern town post-Civil War come alive in Dorothy Love’s book, Beyond All Measure.  Hickory Ridge, Tennessee is doing better than most towns in the South following the Civil War that left so many wounded and broken. Thanks to a prosperous sawmill, the town is growing.  Yet there are still problems — farmers, black and white, struggling to get by and the threats of the Klan.  But most of the people are welcoming, even to a Yankee outsider like Ada Wentworth. Ada has come to Hickory Ridge as a companion to Lillian Willis and to make a fresh start following the death of her father and the heartbreak of a failed engagement.  Wyatt Caldwell is Lillian’s nephew and Ada’s boss.  But their relationship grows into much more.

Beyond All Measure is a story of second chances, forgiveness and finding a place in the world.  The characters are well-drawn; the plot believable.  Not all is rosy, but God has a plan that supersedes those of man.  I would recommend this book to anyone who likes romantic, historical novels.  If you love the South, you’ll love Hickory Ridge and Beyond All Measure.


To win your own copy of Beyond All Measure, click HERE.

Check out book 2 in the Hickory Ridge Series — Beauty From Ashes due out February 2012

She’s a beautiful young widow. He’s a charming Charlestonian with a taste for adventure. Both need a place to call home.

For Carrie Daly, life seems to consist mostly of mourning and ashes. Widowed when her young husband died at the battle of Shiloh, Carrie has spent the intervening years living quietly on her family’s farm with Henry, her older brother. But then Henry marries Mary Stanhope, a difficult widow with two rowdy sons in tow. Feeling that there is no longer a place for her on the farm, Carrie moves to the genteel but shabby Verandah Ladies Hotel and takes a job at Nate Chastain’s book shop, intending to make a new life for herself.

But a chance meeting with a newcomer to Hickory Ridge changes everything. From their first glance, Carrie is drawn to Griff Rutledge, a charming Charleston gentleman who has a way with horses and a taste for adventure. Griff seems attracted to her, too. But some folks in Hickory Ridge are suspicious of the newcomer and disapproving of their friendship. Then a family crisis sends Carrie home to the farm.

As Carrie struggles to help Henry’s new wife and children, Griff is called home to Charleston. It will take a leap of faith on both their parts to redeem the hurts of the past and discover God’s promise of beauty for ashes.

(I received a copy of Beyond All Measure from TLC in return for a review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Dorothy Love’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, October 18th:  2 Kids and Tired

Wednesday, October 19th:  Reviews by Molly

Thursday, October 20th:  A Chick Who Reads

Monday, October 24th:  Reviews from the Heart

Tuesday, October 25th:  All Grown Up? 

Wednesday, October 26th:  I Am A Reader, Not A Writer  author Q&A

Thursday, October 27th:  A Fair Substitute for Heaven

Friday, October 28th:  Life in Review

Tuesday, November 1st:  Deb’s Book Bag

Wednesday, November 2nd:  Cheryl’s Book Nook

Thursday, November 3rd:  Life in the Thumb

Monday, November 7th:  By the Book

Tuesday, November 8th:  Southern Sassy Things

Wednesday, November 9th:  Christian Bookshelf Reviews

Thursday, November 10th:  Luxury Reading

Monday, November 14th:  The Overweight Bookshelf

Wednesday, November 16th:  Peeking Between the Pages

7 Responses to “Book Review: Beyond All Measure”

  1. Dorothy Love November 7, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    Good morning! I’m stopping in to say hi and to thank you for allowing me to visit here today. The Hickory Ridge novels are very special to me, and I’m always happy when readers enjoy them. I’ve just finished correcting the galleys for BEAUTY FOR ASHES and am so excited about its release next spring. I do hope readers will enjoy Carrie’s story, too.

  2. rbclibrary November 7, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    Thank you for stopping by. I look forward to the next installment of the Hickory Ridge series.

  3. Faithful November 7, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    hello, just stopping by to say hello. And yes, I know, I came just to get the chance to recieve a free book. But it’s worth the shot…:D

    • rbclibrary November 7, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

      To get a chance at the free book, please click on the link above. Thanks.

  4. Brenda November 9, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    I really enjoyed this book, and the cover for “Beauty For Ashes” is very eye catching, will certainly watch for it. Great review!

  5. Heather J. @ TLC November 9, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    I really like the combination of historical and romance novel. Glad you enjoyed this one!

    Thanks for being on the tour.


  1. Dorothy Love, author of Beyond All Measure, on tour October/November 2011 | TLC Book Tours - November 9, 2011

    […] Monday, November 7th:  By the Book […]

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