Have you ever dwelt on the poor choices and mistakes you’ve made in your past? Perhaps the affects of those sins were far reaching. Despite receiving forgiveness from those you’ve hurt in the process (family, friends, innocent bystanders) and God’s grace, you don’t feel deserving of any of it. In the second book of her Penned in Time series, The Thorn Keeper, author Pepper Basham explores the power of God’s grace and love.
In the midst of World War I, Catherine Dougall walks a fine line between the woman she was a year ago—one who flirted with every eligible man who might secure her fortune, one who brought pain to those who loved her in an attempt to find the approval she never received from her own father—with the one she is now—someone who desired nothing more than to serve. Her family home in Ednesbury, England has been turned into a makeshift hospital and orphanage, and Catherine tirelessly spends her day helping wherever she can, often beside her friend, Dr. David Ross.
There are more hurting people than those with her home, and Catherine finds injustice in the way so many less fortunate are shunned by David’s aunt, the patroness of the town. Her resolve to better the circumstances of the lower social class brings her face-to-face with her own situation and where she could be in months if not for the family and friends surrounding her.
As Catherine brings hope to the soldiers hospitalized in her home and the women in town who need some hope and encouragement, she struggles with her feelings toward the doctor and how her past can ruin the kind, caring, man she’s grown to care for deeply.
By the end of the second chapter of this book, I was both enchanted and endeared by Catherine Dougall. She makes no apologies for the woman she is, the decisions she makes, her stubborn streak, or her tenacity in bettering the lives of those around her. David’s steadfast and caring personality is the perfect complement to Catherine’s fiery one.
The theme of this book is grace and forgiveness—especially forgiving oneself for those past choices. Basham does an excellent job of handling the balance of a renewed life lived for God with a past life lived in self ambition and the lasting consequences of the latter. For those who read the first book in the series, reading The Thorn Keeper will be like visiting old friend and for those who have not, you will still feel like part of the Dougall family as you settle in with this group of people.
***Vinspire Publishing provided me with a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.