A Matter of Heart by Tracie Peterson is the third book in her Lone Star Brides series. I have not read the first two but I would assume that you would gain additional back story on some of the characters without taking away from each book's stand alone value. Let me start by saying that I liked this story but disliked the main character (Jessica Atherton) from nearly start to finish. I began to warm to her just as the story drew to a close. All the references to her selfish and shallow ways were a bit much. I don't believe anything she did or didn't do in this novel were very selfish but it seems as though sometime between the end of her schooling (1893) and her current age of twenty-one (1896) she behaved in a way to where she felt herself to be shallow and selfish and thought others viewed her as such. Perhaps more back story to fill in this time period would have enhanced this aspect of her character if the reader is to assume that she's rich, selfish, and shallow but trying desperately to change herself into a better person.
Although I found myself being critical of her character I enjoyed the story and how her friendship with the two suitors (Harrison Gable and Austin Todd) developed. Austin was my favorite character in the story and the way his story was written made his pain nearly palpable. I couldn't stop reading because as bit by bit of Austin's character was revealed I became interested in learning more. What had happened to his family? Why did he move so far from home? Harrison had the complete opposite effect on me and I immediately disliked him and wondered what was wrong with him. Even on paper I felt him to be untrustworthy. The other characters added so much to the story and it was easy to feel the love and gentleness of both Jessica's mother and father. They obviously adored her and wanted her to have nothing but the best in life. I wish we had gotten to "meet" Jessica's brothers. Since I haven't read the first two books I don't know if they make an appearance in those. If not I hope the author will share their stories with us in the future!
I received this book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.