Refining Fire by Tracie Peterson {review}

[I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.]

Twenty-two-year-old Militine Scott is in training at the Madison Bridal School in Seattle, yet she has no intention of pursuing marriage.  What respectable man would have her?  But she has found the school provides the perfect opportunity to keep her unsavory past hidden.

Thane Patton, though fun-loving and fiercely loyal to his friends, hides a dark secret, as well.  He finds himself drawn to Militine, sensing that she harbors a haunting pain similar to his own.

Will they allow God to make something new and beautiful from the debris of their past?

I'll be honest--I wasn't expecting to like this book very much.  I expected it to be yet another cliched Christian fiction romance, with a mediocre love story and a boring plot.  And to some extent, it was.  But in another sense, it was totally redeemed by the secondary characters.

I didn't really care very much about Militine and Thane.  They were just kind of…there.  I didn't find myself enthralled with their stories at all, nor their romance.  I suppose I should have, given their horrific pasts, but I just…didn't.

The supporting cast, however, was awesome!  Abrianna Cunningham is absolutely a delightful character:)  She was my favorite person to follow throughout the book.  I LOVED her infectious enthusiasm about everything, and the way she spoke and thought ("I am deeply and profoundly wounded").  And hers and Wade's relationship was sweet and entertaining.  The aunts were also cool characters--each fleshed out fairly well and given unique personalities.

Priam Welby and Pastor Walker made slimy but acceptable villains--not terribly complex, but sure as heck fun to dislike;)

The added plot line of human trafficking was another plus.  It reminded me of Broken Trail (always a good thing) and it added slightly more depth to the story.

And then, of course, Tracie Peterson is a pretty talented author.  I found, back when I was reading CFR more regularly, that her trilogies/series tended to go downhill a bit the more of them I read, but her writing itself continued to be good.  She has a nice knack for turn-of-phrase, which I like, and her dialogues of Abrianna were, as I said, immensely enjoyable and well-crafted:D

So, overall, it was a pretty entertaining read, when I actually mustered up the self-discipline to sit and give it a chance for longer than a few minutes.  The "main" pair of characters were almost distractions from the story, in my opinion (I think I'd have preferred a tale centered more on Abrianna and those around her), but the distraction wasn't enormously overbearing, and I was still able to enjoy the other plot lines.


  1. I don't think I could read a book with human trafficking in it. That topic hugely bothers me and freaks me out. If that ever popped up in a book I was reading, don't think I'd be able to finish it!

    1. Oh, trust me--if it had been at all graphic, I don't think I'd have been able to finish it, either! But the worst of it in this book is a man asking his "supplier" to "send a little pleasure" to his hotel room (which freaked me out, but that was all that was said, really). Mostly, it was just one of the characters rescuing a group of Chinese girls from a basement. But I definitely agree--the subject is hugely disturbing. I can't handle it very well.

    2. Yeah... any stuff like that that involves torture to innocents is really hard for me to stomach. Those kinds of things make me literally ill and my OCD mind has trouble getting those images out of my mind, it becomes a caged thought that just continues to torment me. It is the worst when kids are involved. Started this one book once and had things like this, only children...and was greatly detailed. I immediately got rid of the book! It is a shame, because I really liked the plot, and that disturbing side of it really wasn't necessary. I will still say...books need to have a visible rating system on them like movies!

    3. As well it should! I understand; it is really hard to get out of one's mind! Oh my goodness, yes. That is awful! I'd have stopped too, most likely! I think I ran into a book like that once--there was this one character who was just extremely sick--molesting people right and left, including children...needless to say, I skimmed that book and decided to pass on it. Isn't it irritating when a book or movie has a great plot, but then an element that's wholly unnecessary and disturbing?! YES, we need a visible rating system! Maybe someday it'll happen.


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