Peterson, Tracie. What Comes My Way. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House, 2019.
Paperback | $15.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0764219047 | 295 pages | Christan Ficiton/Historican Romance
After finding the previous two Brookstone Brides books lacking, I waffled about picking up the last book, but ultimately decided I wouldn’t if only to get some closure for the mystery and because Ella and Phillip are by far the most interesting characters, she for her family’s nefarious connections and he for the obvious demons driving him toward drink.
And both were well done. I am particularly critical of how romance novels, both inspirational and secular, approach issues like trauma and the reformation of a character’s vices, so I like that Phillip’s issues not only were confronted in a realistic way, but it wasn’t a case where love was the only answer, but him taking time to really commit himself to getting better. And I love seeing those little moments of him bonding with Wes, especially after seeing Wes’ perspective of his fall into dissipation in the previous books.
And, for any of its other faults I will discuss momentarily, I feel satisfied in the way the mystery was wrapped up, and Ella’s role in it. I was also stunned to learn about the ways in which former slave owners continued to exploit the former enslaved even decades after they were meant to be freed, as explored by the revelation of Jefferson’s mistreatment of Mara, Ella’s former maid. It shouldn’t have surprised me, given what I do know about African American life in this time period, but I still found it outrageous.
But sadly, like its predecessors, it still was all over the place, also focusing on the previous couples and their next steps as they embark on their lives, which I didn’t mind too much at first, but I feel like they stole page time from Phillip and Ella, who don’t even spend time together once he leaves to recover. And despite the valid reasoning for it, I just didn’t see the long-term chemistry there, like I did with the other two couples, who at least spent time together over the course of the series, particularly the books meant to focus on them.
Ultimately, each of these books feels too short and too scattered, trying to do too much with too little page time. I’m sure Peterson fans and maybe some other Christian fiction readers will enjoy this, as this series has gotten consistently good reviews from people in that community. But while I haven’t completely written off Tracie Peterson, I feel this series as a whole just wasn’t for me.