Review: BREATHE [and] SING [and] CLAIM / by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Breathe: a novel of Colorado / by Lisa T. Bergren (Homeward Trilogy, 1).

Sing: a novel of Colorado / by Lisa T. Bergren (Homeward Trilogy, 2).

Claim: a novel of Colorado / by Lisa T. Bergren (Homeward Trilogy, 3).

Adult (HS)     Rating: 5

In this historical fiction series, author Lisa Bergren tells an engaging story of 3 siblings sent to Colorado by their father in the 1880s.

In Breathe, the oldest sister is deathly ill from consumption, a disease that killed four younger siblings.  Odessa is joined by Moira and Dominic.  While being nursed in a local sanatorium, Odessa witnesses the murder of a patient.  When he wills his silver mine to another patient and leaves the clues to mine’s location in a poem to Odessa, both are in danger.

The sheriff becomes Moira’s rejected suitor and plots revenge. She just wants to sing opera professionally.  Dominic, on the other hand, is resistant to his father’s plans for his life.  Within days of their arrival, he lands in jail for fighting, leaving Moira prey to the sheriff’s attentions in exchange for Dominic’s release.   Moira and Dominic take their inheritance and leave Colorado to pursue of their dreams.

In Sing, the siblings endure major challenges.  Odessa’s husband faces devastating losses to their cattle herd, due to the severe weather.  Dominic, a boxer who loses the wrong fight, is shanghaied and bound for South America.  Now an opera singer, Moira is stranded in Paris when her manager robbed her, leaving her few options.  Penniless, she turns to a businessman who wants to promote her as a saloon singer.  As Moira and Dominic try to find their way back to Colorado, a former menace reappears, bent on revenge.

In Claim, Dominic arrives in Colorado, dead broke. He relinquished his anger but is still not at peace.  Meanwhile, Moira is living with Odessa, and tries to recover after being severely burned in a fire.  Both Moira and Dominic come to terms with the past — and present –in order to face their future and understand how much  God loves them.

One is reminded of the prodigal son (and daughter) in these books.  Moira and Dominic wandered far from God and made poor choices costing them their inheritances.  All of us have been prodigals at one point; the overwhelming theme that God lavishes his love on us, even while we were prodigals, runs through these books without being preachy.

There is excellent character and plot development.   Bergren is an expert storyteller, blending descriptive narrative with a winning storyline.  The books include an interview with the author and group discussion questions.

Recommended for teen and adult collections in public and school libraries.

–reprinted with permission from Christian Library Journal,   August 2010.

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

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