To Love and Cherish by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller originally came to my attention when Amazon selected it as a “recommendation” for me based on my history of past purchases. Then, when I saw it again in an email from Bethany House, I decided to take a chance, even though the back cover sounded like it would be a little slow for my taste.
I was wrong! To Love and Cherish is anything but slow. It is full of suspense, drama, and danger, as well as some romance. Melinda Colson is the companion / lady’s maid to Mrs. Mifflin, who agreed to give her a chance after Melinda’s parents died and she lost her own place in society. Evan Tarlow is the assistant gamekeeper on Bridal Veil Island, where Mr. and Mrs. Mifflin spend their winters.
As Melinda spends her afternoons off with Evan, they develop a relationship that leads to Evan declaring his love for Melinda. Mrs. Mifflin requires Melinda to leave the island early, and Melinda’s long-term plans with Evan are left open-ended, which really bothers Melinda. Add to the abrupt departure the slowness of the postal system during the late 1800’s, a hurricane, employers who conspire to keep the truth about damage at Bridal Veil from her, and the knowledge that her brother is back in town, and the plot becomes quite interesting.
Melinda acts impulsively to try to move things along between her and Evan, and the results do not please her. As the island prepares for the arrival of a special guest, the situation becomes dangerous. There are twists in the story that I never anticipated. (I love reading books like that!)
I enjoyed this piece of historical Christian fiction, but more than being “just” a story, it caused me to look at my own life. I reflected on times in my life when I have tried to manipulate circumstances rather than waiting patiently for God to bring things about in His timing. Unfortunately, my results were no better than Melinda’s. I was reminded again that God’s timing and ways are much better than mine, so I need to exercise more patience!
If you’re looking for a pleasant way to spend an evening or weekend, To Love and Cherish is a great book to choose. Be prepared to do some reflection of your own, though!