Friday, January 22, 2010

What's Not to Love About Character Conflict?

I am currently reading a great book by Margaret Brownley, A LADY LIKE SARAH, publisher Thomas Nelson.

The characters grabbed my heart from the very first chapter. The tag line says it all, "She's an outlaw, he's a preacher. Both are in need of a miracle."

I'm enjoying the conflict with Justin, a preacher who left Boston in disgrace. He's traveling toward a new ministry in Rocky Creek, Texas, when he stumbles upon a U.S. Marshall and his prisoner. The two were left to die after being hijacked near a creek. When Justin removes the hat from the young prisoner's head, he sees a wild tumble of red hair. The prisoner isn't a young lad, but a young woman!

Justin, a God fearing preacher, is quickly put in conflict. He has made a promise to the marshall that he will deliver the prisoner to justice. However, justice in this case, means hanging. Who ever heard of hanging a woman? What could she have done to deserve that? He hopes he can find a way to save her when they arrive in Rocky Creek.

Sarah, however, has no plans on going back to Rocky Creek and feeling the course rope close around her throat! Having been taught by her brothers to seek justice for her father's death by robbing Wells Fargo at every opportunity, she doesn't feel she's done anything wrong. They aren't taking anything that isn't theirs. If Wells Fargo bank hadn't taken their farm away, her parents would be alive and she wouldn't have a noose in her future. Besides the crooked judge and sheriff in Rocky Creek lied about her. She never actually took part in the robbing and she never killed anybody.

She wants to run away and leave the preacher to deal with his own fate. But, how can she? The man doesn't even know how to start a fire, for crying out loud. She figures she can stand his trying to make a lady out of her long enough to get him to the Texas border before she takes off. But, when they run across a burned out wagon train and find the only survivor is a small baby, she realizes it will definitely take a miracle to keep the baby alive.

When God delivers a miracle to save baby Elizabeth, Sarah begins to think the preacher may be right after all. Dare she risk going back to Rocky Creek with him? Can he truly save her from the noose? How can she abandon the baby to a man who can't protect his own self, let alone Elizabeth?

Conflict, conflict, conflict.  Now what's not to love about that?

I highly suggest reading A Lady Like Sarah. I haven't finished it yet, but I give it five stars out of five.

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