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March 20, 2017


Heart of the Frontier
Book One
Tracie Peterson


Grace Martindale has known more than her share of hardship. After her parents died, raising her two younger sisters, Hope and Mercy, became her responsibility. A hasty decision to head west seemed like an opportunity for a fresh start but has instead left grace in a  precarious position. When missionary Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife agree to let Grace and her sisters stay at their mission for the winter, Grace is grateful. Until they hear from their uncle in Oregon City, the three sisters have nowhere else to go.
As Grace adjusts to life int he west, she meets a fur trapper named Alex Armistead who intrigues and infuriates her in equal measure. But when a measles outbreak threatens lives at the mission and among the native Cayuse who live nearby it is Alex who helps Grace use the natural healing remedies she learned from her mother to help where she can despite Dr. Whitman's disapproval. As the death toll rises so do tension between the settles and the natives and Grace soon finds herself and those 
she loves in more danger than she imagined possible.

From the Inside Flap

For a moment Dr. Whitman sized her up. "I am formally trained as a physician, and I alone will be responsible for the welfare of my people and of the Indians nearby. I am well known for my skills and called upon to travel many miles to tend to the ill and wounded. You, Mrs. Martindale, would do well to learn your place."

"I know my place." Grace put her hands on her hips. "I'm good at what I do. I believe it is a gift from God and can hardly believe a minister of the Word would suggest such a gifting was invalid simply because it didn't come with a certificate."

Without waiting for his reply, Grace turned on her heel and left. Muttering to herself, she rounded the corner of the house and plowed headlong into a tall, dark-haired stranger.

"I'm so sorry," she said, trying to right herself.

He took hold of her shoulders to steady her. "I'd have suffered worse to hear someone stand up to Whitman that way." His dark eyes seemed to see right through her. "I'm Alex. Alexander Armistead."

Grace nodded and pulled away from his touch. "I'm--"

"Mrs. Martindale," he finished with a broad grin and added, "the healer."

 If you like historical fiction with some suspense and romance, then this is what the author is giving you. Ms. Peterson never fails to deliver. I haven't read a book of hers that I didn't like.  Her way of telling a story will grab hold of you and you won't want to put the book down.  You have to get to know the characters and everything about them.
Grace Martindale was dealt a huge blow when her parents died.  She had two younger sisters to take care of. There was no one else.   She seemed to develop a hardness towards men.  It could have had a lot to do with her stubbornness and a little of her ego. It seemed to me that Grace had a lot to deal with, not only taking care of herself in unknown surroundings but she had the responsibility of taking care of two younger sisters.  
This is taking place in the Oregon frontier in the mid nineteenth century.   The author gives the reader everyday troubles that people had to face during those days such as many illnesses that homemade remedies had to be used for, murder, death and even rape.  So this book may not be for you if any of these things are hard for you to read about
When one of her sisters comes down with measles Grace tries using her natural healing abilities against the disease.  But soon trouble begins,  The Cayuse Indians are dying from the measles.
 Grace comes in contact with a fur trapper named Alex Armistead.  They both have hurt and pain in their past and they have a hard time relating to each others.  But before Alex and Grace can think of a relationship, there is something far more important to deal with, the Cayuse are angry and want some kind of revenge.
At that period in time, land was a very important thing along with lives that could be over with just a shot or an arrow or even a simple disease as measles.  Of course, back then measles wasn't a disease that was easily cured.  Life back then was harsh and cruel. It took a hardened person with a strong will to keep themselves and their loved ones alive.  
I had a problem with the relationship between Alex and Grace.  They just didn't belong together as far as I could see.

I did enjoy the use of natural herbal remedies, which is almost all they had back then, but I wish more was given on the subject. More detail as to what Grace was mixing together.  I believe that is why I like historical fiction so much is the detail of the days back then.  I also wish that there would have been more on the Native Americans.  After all they were the beginning of the territory.
The ending was rather short.  You're left wondering about Mercy and Hope.  What happened to them?   This may have been done on purpose in the wake of a second book.
If you love historical fiction with a touch of romance then try Ms. Peterson's book.  Just take note, there are some things that may you may not prefer reading about.

I was given a copy of this book from the author and Baker Publishing Group and voluntarily decided to review it.

I would give this book 4 STARS.

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