Title: The Rose Legacy, Diamond of the Rockies Book 1
Author: Kristen Heitzmann
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
If he wants her, let him come and prove it.
Fleeing her idyllic home in Sonoma, California, Carina Maria DiGratia journeys to the mining town of Crystal, Colorado. Clinging to hopes of a new life, she finds reality has a harsh welcome for her. Overrun with men seeking their fortune and women bound by circumstance, the town hosts both dreams and nightmares, with little surety for tomorrow. But at least here Carina is far from the betrayal that still pierces her heart.
Early on, two men vie for her trust, but neither is what he seems. Will Carina discern the truth and confront the turmoil hidden in her own heart in time to prevent tragedy?
Carina DiGratia is naïve, hot-tempered, and impulsive. The daughter of a respected Italian doctor who served a king, she’s used to getting her way, and it doesn’t take long to see she’d sheltered, spoiled, and ill-suited to life in a rough and tumble mining town.
Quillan Shepard is a freighter and the classic wounded hero. Nothing has come easy for him; life has battered him, his past is a shadowy mystery, and he has no interest in anything remotely romantic…unless you count his penchant for reading poetry and other books.
Then there’s Berkley Beck, Crystal, Colorado’s slick attorney. He’s suave, well-groomed, and takes gallantry to a whole new level. His inability to organize his office appears, at first, to be his only downside, and Carina fixes that soon enough.
Ms. Heitzmann brings her characters and an 1880 Colorado mining town to life with vivid descriptions and true-to-life dialogue. The cast of characters does a wonderful job of capturing the essence of the superstitious mindset, wild behavior, and loyalty of the mining camps and towns in the 1880s. Adventure, intrigue, suspicion, and the characters’ varying degrees of faith keep readers engaged and draw them into the story.
While the story is good and the writing magnificent, I must admit that the characters felt a bit overdone at times. Carina acted like a spoiled child for much of the book, and every time she showed signs of sucking up the hardships and carrying on with grace, she ranted either verbally or in her thoughts. However, she did grow throughout the story and eventually became the kind of strong Christian woman I kept hoping to see. Quillan started out dark and brooding, and he stayed that way to the end. Except for his occasional memories of his childhood and his thoughts of admiration and caring for an old miner, the insight into his past and him as a man came through the other characters. And finally, Berkley Beck. His actions fit his personality and the story well. Full of secrets hidden beneath a façade of respectability and smooth etiquette, he kept me guessing as to his true motives for a good portion of the book.
Although I enjoyed the story and found myself rejoicing and hurting along with the characters, I was disappointed by the ending. I love happy endings, but the end of this book if far from happy. There is a glimmer of hope that things will improve in book two of the Diamond of the Rockies series, but I still feel a little disappointed that The Rose Legacy ended the way it did.
If you’re looking for a good historical novel that does an amazing job of bringing an 1880 mining town to life and shows characters realistically struggling with their faith, I suggest reading The Rose Legacy. But be prepared to read the next book in the series. The end of The Rose Legacy leaves readers hanging and wondering how things turn out for Carina.