Wind Over Marshdale
Wind Over Marshdale by Tracy Krauss

This is not the type of book I would normally read at all – too much romance for me! However, I read the book after a recommendation from its author, Tracy Krauss, while we were having a discussion about Christianity and its interaction with indigenous cultures in relation to my own novel, Redeeming Brother Murrihy. In reading the book, I could appreciate the author’s inclusion of this theme, one of many she includes in this tale of events in a small western Canadian town.

I also appreciated the setting – being Canadian (albeit from the east in Nova Scotia) and living and teaching in a small town in New Zealand, similar to the book’s protagonist, Rachel Bosworth. My affinity with Rachel ends there, however, as she is a young female Torontonian bent on finding love in the forms of either/both Con McKinley and Thomas Lone Wolf. This is the central plot of the story amidst a cast of characters all dealing with sin, regret and attempts to move forward in life as individuals and as a community. There is also a debate in the township about the construction of community centre.

Krauss’ prose is crisp and professional and edited to a high standard. One of her strengths is in capturing character voices – all distinctive and fairly true-to-life.

My Goodreads three-star rating is based on my criteria for reviewing: I reserve five-star reviews for books that impact me in significant, paradigm-shifting ways. Four-star ratings are for books that I thoroughly enjoy and believe to be at a very high standard of literay merit. A three star rating, for me, indicates a quality read that may have that literary merit or significant impact for someone who prefers the genre. Simply put – this just isn’t my preferred genre.

I do recommend this book for young readers who like romance and a rural Canadian setting as well as anyone who is interested in clean, overtly Christian literature that addresses interesting issues. Tracy Krauss advertises herself as a writer of “fiction on the edge without crossing the line” (http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.com/) and I can attest that she honours her mission in Wind Over Marshdale.

Antony Millen is a Canadian living and writing in New Zealand and the author of Redeeming Brother Murrihy: The River to Hiruharama and Te Kauhanga: A Tale of Space(s)

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