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Mar 20, 2013

Love In The Balance by Regina Jennings

Love in The Balance
Faith, romance, intrigue blended into a terrific story!
Love In The Balance by Regina Jennings
Paperback, 360 pages
Bethany House Publishers, March 1st 2013
Review copy provided by LitFuse, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating: 4.5 stars- Highly Recommend!

Molly Lovelace dreams of a life without cares in Lockhart, Texas. She also dreams of handsome wrangler Bailey Garner, her ardent but inconsistent beau. The problem is, with Bailey's poor prospects, she just can't fit the two dreams together.

Then mysterious stranger Edward Pierrepont sweeps into town--and her life--and for the first time Molly wonders if she's met the man who can give her everything. But he won't be in Lockhart long and while he talks about their glorious future together, she can't quite get Bailey out of her mind.

What's a girl to do with all these decisions when love is in the balance?

I really enjoyed Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings last year, so I knew I would want to read her second novel, Love in the Balance. I was surprised that the main characters from Sixty Acres could be found as side characters in this telling, which was a treat. Love in the Balance features Molly Lovelace and Bailey Weston (cousin to the Weston in the previous novel) who truly adore each other, but society and etiquette stand in their way of happiness. If I'm recalling correctly, Molly was the self-centered one in the last novel, and so now I want to go back and read Sixty Acres all over again!

With skillful storytelling, Jennings portrays these characters as warm-hearted sensitive individuals who only want to do what is right for their families. Molly's family is struggling financially, and she feels a duty to help save her ailing father's sawmill. When an opportunity presents itself with Edward Pierrepont, Molly rushes towards it without realizing its implications. Bailey watches the love of his life slip through his fingers, but will he do anything to stop it?

Intriguing side stories are included, from a thieving employee at the sawmill to another death at Anne Tillerton's ranch. For some reason, it felt there was a lot more of a western feel to her previous novel, but this story was very much character and faith driven. One line from the book "How could she be godlier yet less accepted than before?" illustrates the turmoil that Molly was going through, with Bailey noticing her sweet virtues yet having to hold back; an example of how the novel was tenderhearted and introspective.

Another favorite quote, coming from a lonely widow regarding our main character, Bailey, "That Bailey Garner carries himself above the fray. People may betray him, they try to drag him down, but he's got his eyes fixed on Jesus."

I was able to see past Molly's shortcomings, but Edward Pierrepont was easy to dislike, as well as the execution of the story line as far as the relationship between Edward and Molly goes. I can't explain further without giving the plot away, but that was pretty much my only complaint and thus the half star deduction. I loved how Bailey and Molly's on again and off again courtship was portrayed; Bailey was a fantastic character to root for. The previous novel had an obvious biblical correlation, but this story focuses on themes from redemption to grace to forgiveness. I would highly recommend Love in the Balance to most Christian historical fiction readers who enjoy great writing and storytelling - as long as you can get past Molly's poor choices you should enjoy this story of renewal, and of love conquering all.

Purchase a copy here. Read an excerpt here. Thank you to LitFuse for providing me with a free review copy in exchange for my honest review of the book.

Regina Jennings is as doll: