Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Review: The Paradox of Love by Teri Harman


My rating: 3 stars / I liked it



In 1889 in Paradox Valley, Colorado, Oakley Hallowell dresses like a boy, taking on the role left empty by her six dead brothers. Better than any cowboy, her hard work and mystic gifts are the reason Hallowell Ranch thrives—but her prideful, abusive father, Gideon, will never admit it. Despite his insults and beatings, Oakley refuses to abandon her grief-broken mother and beautiful home.

The Army killed Antero’s parents and the government forcibly removed his tribe of Utes from their beloved valley. His quest for revenge sent him down a dark path and into hiding. When he witnesses Oakley quietly, miraculously save a cow from a mud-bogged death he steps out of isolation to meet her.

Antero knows Gideon Hallowell will shoot him on sight, but this fascinating woman revives his bitter soul. How can he fight a world that despises him to keep Oakley by his side?

Oakley senses goodness and loyalty in Antero, unlike the other men in her life. But she’s afraid to get close, to trust. How can she open her heart to love, forgive her father, and forge a path to happiness?

My Review

I don't quite know what to make of this story. Oakley is a complex character- abused by her father, yet tries her hardest to be the son he never had. Cherishes her mother, but resents that she doesn't stand up for herself or her daughter. Has no interest in a relationship, but is inexplicably drawn toward a drifting Indian. The circumstances she cannot escape are difficult and trying, and there doesn't seem to be any hope or love there, until Antero shows her kindness and gentleness. I enjoyed their interactions, even though there are few before they become devoted to each other. They are each a rescuer of sorts to the other- he rescues her from harm, she rescues him from loneliness. They both struggle with the trauma they have experienced, and wonder together if forgiveness is possible. I liked the way they lifted each other, bringing light and even faith to their dark worlds. Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, they do... and the ending was both messy and wrapped up a little too nicely. Overall, I found it interesting and was compelled to keep reading to see how everything would turn out.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

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