The Master Craftsman
A Beauty Refined by Tracie Peterson is a Christian historical romance set in 1907 in Montana. It is the second book in the Sapphire Brides series but can be read as a stand-alone.
I always love Tracie Peterson’s novels. She writes good godly tales but is not afraid to tackle hard hitting subjects. Within A Beauty Refined there is the topic of domestic abuse. It does not always make for easy reading but Tracie Peterson sensitively presents it. Abuse is no respecter of age or status. It can be a ‘habit’ or it may have a trigger. However it occurs, it is always wrong. The victim needs to either tell someone or remove themselves from the abuser. Both require courage.
Linked in to the theme of abuse are the themes of anger, lack of self control, alcoholism and gambling. Characters with these traits, if left unchecked, will experience a downwards spiral.
In contrast the reader sees characters who practice the gifts of the spirit – love, joy, gentleness, kindness, self control. When life hits them, sometimes there is a battle between their human nature and their godly self. They try to always do what is right in God’s eyes.
Tracie Peterson has the twin topic of truth and lies. No matter how bad it is, it is always better to tell the truth. Without truth there can be no trust. “Lies ruined my life and proved deadly.” Big lies, little lies, they are all the same in God’s eyes and must be avoided.
The theme of trust links in with the truth and lies theme. There needs to be trust not only between characters but also trust in God. “Do you trust Him? Do you trust that He wants the best for you?” God always has our best interests at heart and He will not let us down.
Trust in God is closely allied with faith in God. Sometimes situations are so bad that all one can do is trust that God will work things altogether for good. One needs a faith in God that will not waver, trusting that God Who sees all things, will never abandon us. He walks alongside us in all situations.
There is the big question of what makes us a Christian. Going to church does not make us a Christian. There are many reasons why people go to church – some out of duty; some to look good; some to have religion and not relationship. Pastor Clearwater states “Religion is a weapon used by the devil.” A Christian is someone who has asked Jesus into their life and continues to develop a relationship with Him. Religion is a set of rules that one follows. All sorts of bad things have been done in the name of religion. Religion can bring death. Relationship brings life.
Prayer permeates the novel. Sometimes we do not know what to pray but we need to pray anyway. “I actually prayed… I didn’t know what else to do.” Words are not always necessary as God knows our hearts. “God doesn’t require certain words. He hears the cries of those who would have Him save them.”
There are some wonderful characters drawn by Tracie Peterson. I loved the incredibly warm Grandma Harper who practiced the gift of hospitality. She baked throughout the novel, dishing out cookies that makes the reader’s mouth water at the thought of them! Nearly ten year old Kenny was a delightful young lad, with an enthusiasm for life and living. Elizabeth and Phoebe were both warm, loving women who had a wonderful inner strength. And there was Ian, a Christian man with a huge heart.
There is the theme of fathers running throughout. There are actual fathers, father figures and Father God. Only Father God will never let us down. Earthly fathers may or may not be good role models. Men who try to imitate God’s characteristics are invaluable.
Within the story there are both large mansions and small cottages but “a place isn’t as important as the people in it.” You cannot put a price on people. They are what turn a house into a home.
Ian works with sapphires, turning them into a thing of beauty. The descriptions of the work involved are motifs for us in the hands of God, the master craftsman Who refines us. “By cutting it a certain way it allows the light to reflect.” When we are refined and polished , we will reflect God to the world.
I absolutely love Tracie Peterson’s novels and A Beauty Refined is a wonderful read. I just could not put it down. I cannot wait for the third book in the series. Treat yourself today and buy A Beauty Refined.
I received this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. No monetary compensation was received and all views expressed are my own.
A Beauty Refined blog tour on Litfuse