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Saturday, August 7, 2010

What She Left For Me by Tracie Peterson

Jana McGuire's pastor husband Rob has left her penniless and pregnant and has run off with his secretary. She has not seen him since her return from her Africa mission trip; she received this information from a note he left for her. He took many of his and her possessions with him, leaving her with ten dollars to her name. Her only option is the sign whatever she needs to sign to sever her marital ties with her unfaithful husband before going to live with her mother and great aunt miles away. She barely knows these two family members, but together, these three women are forced to reach into their pasts and reconcile long-buried hurts in order to move forward with their lives.

Tracie Peterson pens an uncharacteristic plot for her normal genre of historical romance with What She Left For Me. Instead, she writes a story of regrets reminiscent to a Lynn Austin novel. Here, she has written a perfect plot based on imperfect choices, yet undeveloped characters keep this book from being all that it could have been.

Jana is not the perfect victim she seems to be at first, but neither does she develop a real personality. There are some wrong choices she clearly made to get her into the mess she got herself into, yet she still has no personality. Her mother and great aunt each have half-personalities that could have been refined more, which is also the case with several characters from the past. There is no real villain, which makes this plot realistic because not every situation in life contains a villain. Basically, Tracie Peterson has some character development issues she needs to fix.

Tracie writes a Lynn Austin-style plot because she brings every main character up to the present by recounting their pasts. Each account has their own value, and none of them serve to subtract from the overall rating of the book. Probably the best outside factor of the plot is that fact that there is no real replacement romance for Jana, despite the availability. There are many everyday aspects that give the book a realistic feel. Therefore, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the plot itself. If Tracie continues writing plots like this, her career has taken a one-eighty.

Tracie Peterson has never been strong with her character development, yet her plot development has never been as good as this. If she continues to write books like this rather than her historical romance novels of old, she is on the right track.

4.5 stars

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