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My Heart Belongs in San Francisco, California: Abby's Prospects Kindle Edition
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Abigail Effingham was not a typical person traveling out West in the 1850's. For one, while she was not traveling alone by train, wagon train and coach, she was accompanied by her household's butler. Her objective was to meet up with her mother in the Oregon Territories where her mother was visiting her sister. Abigail missed her and wanted her to return home to Philadelphia, a city they were well settled after their immigration from England. This trip gave Abby a close-up look at all the frontier had to offer, including the flooding that diverted their path away from Oregon. With a new found determination, Abby decided against Neville's advice to return to Philadelphia, but to visit San Francisco to wait until the flooding receded in the Spring and her mother could come to her. She couldn't realize how much this side trip would change her life's course.
The people in the heyday of San Francisco were uncivilized, thrill-seeking and out to find their fortunes. Some of them were optimistic, starry-eyed with hope of striking it rich. But if they stayed too long, they often became jaded, swindled, crushed, and hard-drinking gamblers. They were not what Abby was used to. But soon, she inevitably discovered ways to influence a few of them, and being a young person herself, began to improve what was around her. Eventually a young man, Sam (good old reliable Sam), became her protector in more ways than she understood. They developed a strong friendship while she and Neville stayed at the Inn owned by his father. Sam's family housekeeper, who traveled to California with them years before, became the cook at the Inn. Her food was legendary and she was popular all throughout the city.
What I enjoyed so much was the complete makeover of the young lady we know as Abigail, to the self-sufficient woman that emerged as Abby. Her world was turned upside down. We get to watch the sometimes comical change-up as she learned to pluck chickens, make cherry pies, wash dishes and wait tables for the first time in her pampered life.
Another valuable part of Abby's life was her integrity and strong will. That included her spiritual life. She knew what she believed and why she believed that way, yet she never viewed herself as better than anyone else. She made friends with those who were like minded and they encouraged each other in their faith. She was always willing to consider a different viewpoint and learn new things, especially learning about God's character. That part of one of my favorite sections of the book and the best part of the character development that is done so well. If you like historical fiction from a woman's point of view, then you are sure to enjoy this book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the Barbour Publishing as a member of the Review Crew. I was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
I found myself skimming through each page to find the relevant information for the story and moving past everything else. I felt that since this was a historical fiction, I would learn some history about the gold rush and San Francisco at this time period. Maybe a little bit about the search for gold and some of the historical figures as possible characters included in the story. Instead the author focused on the rowdiness of the people living in San Francisco and their drunkenness, their paltry ways, carousing, and the lack of ladies and culture. This is a Christian fiction novel so I believe she was trying to portray the possibility of redemption and change and refinement in a sense and that all can change from their actions and become a better version of themselves. But for me it was too preachy and too much focus on those vices.
There are good characters that Abby finds herself surrounded by. Characters who take her in and help her as she is waiting for two points in her life to converge. Abby was hard to connect with because I felt like she didn't really show growth. Ok, yes there is growth there that the author shows but I felt conflicted in the different circumstances. That may not make sense but I'm having a hard time finding a way to describe her. She was sweet and good and not afraid to work hard and try new things in order to survive and help her new friends. Yet, maybe she was too trusting. She had a couple moments that awakened her to different circumstances in her life and that she was a little blind to what was happening. I felt like it didn't quite match up.
But as I said at the beginning of my review, I think this will be one that many other readers will enjoy a lot. Especially those who love Christian fiction. One character does quote scripture verses quite regularly so if you don't quite enjoy that in your reading then be aware it is in there. There is a lot of talk of trusting God and allowing Him to guide and direct you, to pray for help and understanding, as well as talk of allowing Him to heal us and offer forgiveness.
This is part of the My Heart Belongs series and I believe is book 8 in the line. With more to be released. I'm enjoying the series and have the next one waiting for me to read soon before its release in May.
Content: Clean. Religious talk, which I mentioned in my review. Some rowdy scenes in a saloon and talk about drunkenness, a male character spending time with saloon girls and such. But nothing graphic, just talked about in the sense that it was the environment in San Francisco at the time.