The Chapel Car Bride
by Judith Miller
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: April 4, 2017
Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
With her penchant for seeing the best in everyone, Hope Irvine sees a world full of good people in hard places. When her father accepts a position traveling in a chapel car as an on-the-rail missionary, she is determined to join him in his efforts and put her musical skills to good use by serving the mining families of West Virginia, saving their souls, and bettering their lives.
Luke Hughes shares Hope's love of music and her love of God, but as a poor miner he knows he can offer her no future. When she begins to travel with the mine owner's son to neighboring counties, Luke can hardly suppress his jealousy. It isn't until he begins to suspect these missions of mercy might be a cover for illegal purposes, though, that Luke feels he has the right to act to protect Hope.
The Chapel Car Bride is a historical novel set in 1913 in West Virginia. At the beginning of the story, we get an overview of how chapel cars worked and what they looked like. The coal mine existed only to explain how the poor conditions and pay motivated some workers to do an illegal side business to feed their family. This illegal activity was the motivating focus of the story.
The main characters were nice people. Hope assumed the best about everyone and wanted to help people. Luke had the unfortunate tendency toward self-sabotage when it came to his dreams. He wanted to become a preacher and immediately fell in love with Hope. Hope returned his regard, but the son of the mine owner offered to help Hope reach out to the children in surrounding towns. Luke assumed that this made him a rival for Hope. When this man's true character was revealed and Hope and Luke declared their love, the author apparently felt it'd been to easy. A previously nice character suddenly turned nasty and got in the way. Yet the obstacle didn't really exist and the solution was so obvious that this just irritated me.
The Christian element was references to their holding services, praying, and care for the poor. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this book.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.