Love’s First Bloom
Ruth Livingstone arrives in 1838 Toms River, New Jersey, with a prostitute’s baby in her arms. Her minister father, who rehabilitates “fallen angels,” has sent her to the country while he faces charges of murdering the baby’s mother. Naturally the New York newspapers are eager to exploit a story about a sinning pastor, and ne’er-do-well reporter Jake Spencer is sent by his editor brother to look for Livingstone’s daughter. If Jake gets her story, his brother will allow him to keep his share in the newspaper. But how can Ruth trust a reporter with her true story? And will Jake confess his past sins to the woman he is growing to love?
This Christian novel has short chapters and religious content is on the moderate side. There’s an amusing passage where local women bring Ruth “weapons,” such as an old hat decorated with sharp, removable quills, to defend herself against nosy reporters. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel much spark between the romantic leads, and thought the pace was slow. I liked Parr’s attempt to address themes unusual in Christian fiction, like prostitution and tabloid newspapers, but the end result didn’t quite work for me.