Historical Fiction Book Review: Three Words and a Kiss

Publisher's Description

"When a big-hearted debutante collides with a small-town blacksmith set in his ways, it can mean only one thing—a war of hearts has come to Pine Creek.

Washington, 1892

Cameron Wallace thrives as both the blacksmith and the minister in his community of Pine Creek. Out of the fires of a chaotic childhood, he’s forged a peaceful life filled with safe relationships and predictable routines. But when the smithy he’s been renting is sold out from under him, the impulsive woman who buys it stokes the embers of emotions he’d rather keep unlit—and even has the audacity to lend a helping hand to his smithy work.

Samantha Klein has never been afraid to push boundaries when it comes to helping those whom society—and God—have overlooked, be they orphans, immigrants, or injured animals. When her latest attempt to aid a group of Chinese women lands her in a newspaper scandal, her high-society family sends her packing from Seattle. Setting out on her own, she purchases the Pine Creek smithy and hatches another plan for helping her immigrant friends. But only weeks after arriving in Pine Creek, her plan turns to ashes, and she’s overwhelmed by needs she can never hope to meet, including her own need to be seen and cared for. And the one who seems to understand her is the man who won't let her anywhere near his heart, no matter the attraction that burns between them.

As Cameron struggles to find a new normal, and Samantha yearns for someone to share her burdens, old hurts and dangerous secrets make them both terrified to admit that what they need—and what God has planned for them—just might be each other."

My Review

Three Words and Kiss, by Sondra Kraak, is the third book in the Love that Counts series. Though it includes several characters who were introduced in the previous books in the series, Three Words and a Kiss can easily be read as a stand-alone novel. Even though I have not read the other books in the series, Three Words and a Kiss is so well-written and entertaining that I had no trouble following the story, engaging with the characters, and enjoying this book from start to finish. Having liked this book so much, I am certainly eager to read the other two books in the series, as well as other novels written by the talented Ms. Kraak.
 
In addition to the fabulous writing, this book moved me with its prominent themes of prejudice, compassion, and faith. Within this novel, the ugliness of racism, ignorance, and fear contrasts sharply with the restorative power of compassion and grace. Even in the face of opposition, those with kind hearts remain generous and faithful depriving prejudice of its power.

I was also surprised and delighted by the prominence the author gave to a strong, female character, named Samantha. Samantha consistently chooses acts of compassion and service rather than submitting to cultural expectations and family obligations. Her sincere desire to do the right thing more than to do the expected thing was inspiring.

Within this book, there were several significant scenes of clean, vulnerable, and passionate romance. More than being simply fun to read, the romantic moments in this book also served an important role in the story fostering the emotional and spiritual development of the characters as they grappled with their own motives, desires, insecurities, expectations, and fears. 

Three Words and a Kiss is a wonderful piece of historical fiction. It is rich with relevant themes and thought-provoking ideas. It is romantic, emotionally stirring, faith-filled, and ultimately uplifting. It is a novel that I will long remember for the lasting impact that it has had on my thoughts and upon my heart. This novel was engaging, meaningful, and a pleasure to read. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

My Reflection

Throughout the pages of this novel, I was reminded over and over again of the astounding truth that we are loved by a God who is actively present in our lives. This novel affirmed the profound reality that we are cared for by a God who is always near, always available, and always ready to guide us, encourage us, and inspire us. No matter our background, our needs, or our hurts, just like the characters in this book, we too can place our trust fully in God. We can love him with unreserved abandon because of the unconditional grace and miraculous salvation he offers to us. Because he loved us first, it makes it possible for us to love, to live, and to thrive with full and open hearts.

About the Author

" A native of Washington State, Sondra Kraak grew up playing in the rain, hammering Chopin at the piano, and running up and down the basketball court. After attending Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, she moved to North Carolina to work for a small non-profit ministry. It was in the backroom of that office, amidst the clamor of copy machines and printers, that love blossomed. She married her mountain man in 2004, and they spent the first season of their marriage in New England where Sondra attended Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Now settled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, she works part-time at her church doing worship ministry. Life at home with her husband and children is full of Yahtzee, backyard football and baseball, reading parties, activities involving food, and magically multiplying loads of laundry. She writes historical romance set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest through which her passion and delight is to provide readers with stories that not only entertain but nourish the soul.

Her debut novel, One Plus One Equals Trouble, was a previous ACFW Genesis semi-finalist and the winner of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Foundation Women's Fiction Award." -- biographyfrom Sondra Kraak's author page on Amazon.com.

Click here to purchase a copy of this novel for yourself.

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