Title: Roses for Mama
Author: Janette Oke
Published: May 1990 (Bethany House Publishers)
Summary: She's cared for her siblings as best she could . . . but is it enough? Instead of the new life she and her family expected to forge out west, seventeen-year-old Angela is thrust into the role of caring for her three younger siblings after the death of their parents. With the help of her older brother, and trust in God, Angela is determined to raise the children as her mother would have wanted. As the youngsters grow, the questions and challenges intensify. Angela feels trapped and overwhelmed. Surely no man will ever want a woman who comes with three children in tow. Is this the plan God has for her life? Will she ever find a way to balance her own dreams with the promises she made to her mama?
My Review: I probably never would have picked this book up on my own. For one, the copy at our library is so mangled and tape-covered that it just makes me sad. For another, I did not think I was in a Christian historical romance mood. Lucky for me, my friend Lynne is absolutely crazy about Thane, the older-brother's-best-friend-turned-love-interest in this book. She reminded me that I should read it. So I picked it up. I'm so glad I did! I adore Oke's Love Comes Softly series to death; I grew up with my mom reading them to the family, and I just re-read them all last year. In a weekend. Oke tends to read rather quickly. Roses for Mama was no different. It seemed to fly by in an instant! However, in that instant, I grew attached to the characters, laughed and teared up with Angela, and fell head over heels for the amazing Thane.
Where do I start on Thane? He seems to just be this nice, normal boy next door. But there is this quality about him that makes you smile any time he is near. He is funny and sweet and sensitive and wonderful and good with children. He definitely made it onto my list of fictional crushes!
On the other side of the coin, we had the horrible guy who was in competition for Angela's affections. Carter. Uggh. That really about covers it. He was horrible, and I really wish we would have had fewer scenes with him and more with Thane. He calls her a "the most sincerely selfless little creature" he has ever met. Condescending, much? Excuse me while I hurl.
I enjoy Janette Oke's writing. She doesn't get bogged down with unnecessary details. If she wants to skip over two months in a sentence, she will go ahead and do it. This approach has positives and negatives, but she pulls it off. The book got a little preachy at times, but as it's Christian fiction, I can let it slide.
Just one quote today, but it's a great one:
❝She had seen a number of young women from town watching Thomas. Some were quite bold in their nods and smiles. Angela felt sure that her mama would not have approved of such forwardness.❞I know this is period and genre-appropriate, but I almost doubled over laughing. Fabulous.
Also, since this is one of Lynne's favorite books as well as being a Christian book, I am going to pretend there were no incredibly blatant incestuous themes. Except that there totally were. Or maybe it's just me. It was a very similar situation to that in Forbidden, so I was probably influenced by that. Whoops.
All in all, this was a quick, touching, cute read! I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical Christian romance.