Do you enjoy Christian Historical Fiction with a western setting and a flair for humor? I know I do! Regina Jennings’ newest novel from Bethany House is the second in her “Fort Reno” series, and is entitled “The Lieutenant’s Bargain”. Although recurring characters from “Holding the Fort” appear regularly, this is a story all it’s own – with plenty of sweet romance, a taste of wild west danger, a dose of laugh-out-loud humor, and some thought-provoking themes about faith, trust, idols, and love. It is also set during the Christmas season, making it a fun story to read in December.
“The Lieutenant’s Bargain” opens with a startling scene… the holdup, robbery, and attack of a stagecoach carrying Hattie Walker to her dream of placing her artwork in an exhibit in Denver. Her escape and subsequent rescue by a tribe of Arapaho Indians leads to a domino chain of events that end up with her being reunited in a most unexpected way with a childhood friend – who happens to be a lieutenant at the nearby Fort Reno, and who happens to have loved Hattie since they were children. What unfolds is a story neither of them could ever have expected, and perhaps more than they could have dreamed.
I very much enjoyed “The Lieutenant’s Bargain”… or about 93% of it. The other 7% was too suggestive and inappropriate to be completely acceptable in my personal grading of Christian fiction. To be fair, however, because of the unique storyline (which I can’t divulge without giving away vital plot points!), I can see how some of the details were somewhat unavoidable. Because of these elements, however, I do not recommend this story for younger readers.
Overall, despite a few scenes that I found overly descriptive in unfavorable ways, Regina Jennings’ new story is still a pleasant and memorable-in-a-good-way story. The characters are lovable and quirky and compelling, and the storyline is so unique that you can’t help but be drawn in immediately. If you’ve read the previous “Fort Reno” novel, you will also enjoy the reunion with various characters. (Note – It isn’t imperative to read the previous novel first, but a word of warning: you will miss several inside jokes!).
If you can see past a few scenes that would have been better toned down or left out altogether, I still recommend “The Lieutenant’s Bargain” as entertaining, high-quality Christian Historical Fiction with a healthy dose of humor.
“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”