Heartbreaking History

After recently discovering what an enjoyable author Tracie Peterson is, I was excited to read her newest series set on the Oregon frontier. “Treasured Grace” was published in 2017 by Bethany House as the first in a new series entitled “Heart of the Frontier”. Each book focuses on one of three sisters, and “Treasured Grace” reveals the story of Grace Martindale, the eldest sibling. Unlike many works of Christian Historical fiction, this novel is based on the true events of the Whitman Mission massacre — a gruesome event that changed history.

The characters in this story are average, not extremely realistic but not terribly flat. I was hoping for more depth in their personalities as time went on, (I really wanted to care about them more than I did) but that just didn’t happen and I’m not quite sure why… As a reader, I suppose I never fully stepped into their shoes. It was more of a feeling of watching their story unfold from afar. As for the plot and problem of the story, well, conflict began to build quite early in the story, and it was clear that trouble with the Natives would occur before long. Even though I expected it, I wasn’t quite prepared for the actual scene where the massacre took place. It was gruesome and disturbing, especially the brutal attacks upon the young women who were allowed to survive.

“Treasured Grace” is not an uplifting, sweet, heartwarming, or happy novel. With a horrific massacre at its core, we can’t really expect much else… While the descriptions of the attack were troubling, and almost made me wish I hadn’t read the book, it helps to remember that this is history we are talking about. While not all of the events may have happened exactly as the author depicted, certainly innumerable ones just like them have occurred over the course of time. It is how people respond to them, and grow from them, that makes them worth recounting. While I wouldn’t say that the characters in this book were as memorable or realistic as many fictitious people I’ve “met” through the years, they do have a memorable tale to tell. They also learn to recognize God’s hand in their lives, even in the midst of unthinkable suffering. And this response may just teach us, as readers, something that we can apply to our own lives.

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”

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