Title: Out of the Ashes (The Heart of Alaska #2)
Author: Tracie Peterson & Kimberley Woodhouse
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publishing Date: Jan 2, 2018
Length: 352 Pages
About the Book:
After the death of their father, Collette and Jean-Michel Langelier are no longer tied to post-war France. While his sister dreams of adventure, Jean-Michel is hoping to finally escape reminders of the horrors he faced in the war. When Jean-Michel receives an unexpected invitation for them to visit Alaska and the Curry Hotel, it seems an opportunity for a change he needs.
Katherine Demarchis is a young widow who does not grieve the dangerous husband she was forced to marry. Now she just wants to retreat to a quiet life, content to be alone. First, though, she’s agreed to accompany her grandmother on a final trip, but never expects to see a man from her past.
Katherine and Jean-Michel once shared a deep love that was torn apart by forces beyond their control. Reunited now, have the years changed them too deeply to rediscover what they had? And when Jean-Michel’s nightmares return with terrifying consequences, will faith be enough to heal what’s been broken for so long?
One of the perks of jumping into a series after the books have all been released is that you get to read them all right away. I was glad that even though the books are intended to also be able to be read as standalones, many of the characters of the first book were present in this one and I was glad to be revisited by them. Towards the beginning I wasn’t sure if I was going to fall into this one as deeply as the first book, but oh boy did it grip my attention once it had it!
Without sharing the labels this novel touched on some more difficult topics like PTSD and domestic violence. It’s safe to say there were some pretty intense emotions that the characters were wrestling with as they desperately sought peace and healing. God wasn’t forced upon them but seeds were sown that eventually started to take root and it wasn’t until they looked up that things started to improve around them. I appreciated that it wasn’t made into a miraculous “I’m a Christian now so all my pain and struggles have disappeared” type of healing. Faith in Jesus restores our relationship with the Father but it doesn’t immediately fix all of our earthly struggles. He does work in us and through us, but there are things he may not heal us from in this lifetime. It reminds me of the passage in 2 Corinthians 12 when Paul asks God for healing from a thorn in his flesh. God’s response is “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Whatever his ailment was, his weakness continually reminded him of his need for Christ. He couldn’t do it all on his own, but he also wasn’t meant to. Y’all, I think this is a message we could all use a reminder of every now and then.
I truly adored the cast of characters in this book. I especially loved the witty banter between them that proved they were more than just co-workers and friends, but a sort of family. Their care and concern for one another was refreshing to see. The growth that was able to happen in them through the fellowship and spiritual encouragement of one another was also a wonderful thing to witness. I already know I’m going to have a difficult time letting these characters go once I finish the next and final book in the series.
Historical fiction fans? Read this series! I highly recommend it. I will be digging into the next book as soon as I finish this review 🙂