"Can she turn her second-best chance into a golden opportunity?
Dowryless and desperate, Tressa Neill applies to the inaugural class of Wyatt Herdsman School in Barnett, Kansas. The school's one-of-a-kind program teaches young women from the East the skills needed to become a rancher--or the wife of one. But will Tressa have what it takes to survive Hattie Wyatt's hands-on instruction in skills such as milking a cow, branding a calf, and cooking up a mess of grub for hungry ranch hands?
Abel Samms wants nothing to do with the passel of potential brides his neighbor brought to town. He was smitten with an eastern girl once--and he got his heart broken. But there's something about quiet Tressa and her bumbling ways that makes him take notice. When trouble strikes, will Abel risk his life--and his heart--to help this eastern girl?"
My Rating: Summer
This book is wonderful all the way around! The story caused me to think deeply about spiritual truths, and I was encouraged by the hope that Tressa, Abel, and other characters found in the Lord. The secondary characters were real (even the cat, Izzy-B)--either very misguided, very intriguing, or very sweet. And Aunt Hattie's story, including the help and inspiration she offers to Tressa and the other girls throughout the book, is great!
The romance in this book was beautiful. I was drawn into the suspenseful moments, and I confess to looking ahead sometimes because I was just so excited about what would be coming up next! I loved seeing the growth that happened for Tressa and Abel, and there were some moments in the book that really made my stomach flutter due to Abel's protection of Tressa.
The ending is more than satisfying, and the message that is set up by the title and the verse at the beginning of the book is powerful and lasting. I love it when there are many elements to a story, but also one guiding message that is emphasized throughout the book--and A Hopeful Heart really touched me in that regard. I'll say it again: this book is wonderful all the way around!