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Maggie’s Journey by Lena Nelson Dooley
(McKenna’s Daughters, Book 1)

Realms, 04 October 2011

Near her eighteenth birthday, Margaret Lenora Caine finds a chest hidden in the attic containing proof that she’s adopted. The spoiled daughter of wealthy merchants in Seattle, she feels betrayed by her real parents and by the ones who raised her. But mystery surrounds her new discovery, and when Maggie uncovers another family secret, she loses all sense of identity. Leaving her home in Seattle, Washington, Maggie strikes out to find her destiny. Will Charles Stanton, who’s been in love with her for years, be able to help her discover who she really is?

Maggie is a likeable heroine.  Wide-eyed and innocent, with a passion for dress designing, she easily slips into your heart.  Upon her eighteen birthday, she discovers that she isn’t who she thought she was.  This turns her world into turmoil.  As a result, she looks upon her family and the world with a new set of cautious and insecure eyes.
Maggie’s parents have always provided for her abundantly, but for the most part, she’s been unable to satisfy her mother.  In a bid to find a sense of belonging, Maggie travels over the Rocky Mountains to Arkansas to visit her Grandmother.  She hopes to find a connection there she hasn’t felt with her mother.  The journey itself makes for wonderful imagery, and it was intriguing and entertaining to share with the characters their long and difficult travel by rail.  I always enjoy historical fiction that helps me understand what life was really like during the period.
Florence and Joshua – Maggie’s parents, seek to redefine themselves, their marriage and family.  This makes for an interesting and heart warming sub plot.  
And then there is Charles Stanton.  A man just making his way in life, he’s known Maggie since they were kids.  His journey takes him from his arrogant youth into a mature understanding of God’s plan for his life.
This is a novel that deals with love, restoration, belonging and truth, and it does so gently and unobtrusively.  A quiet romance whispers throughout.  This is a lovely, relaxing read which goes beautifully with a nice cup of tea or two 🙂  I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

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Helen’s favourite genre is historical fiction with a strong romantic element.  She also enjoys contemporary romance, chick-lit and YA.  She’s not caught up in the spell of fantasy fiction, despite The Faraway Tree series being a strong influence in her childhood.
Helen is currently working on her first book, a Christian young adult novel set between two opposite but equally fascinating places in Australia.