Vestige of Hope by Sara Blackard

Vestige of Hope by Sara Blackard
Vestige in Time Series, Book 2
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Historical, Inspirational, Paranormal
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

A special ops soldier in a situation he’s untrained for. A woman struggling just to survive. When dangerous enemies won’t relent, will they find hope in each other and overcome the threats?

Thrown out of his element into a time not his own, Hunter must overcome his doubts to save the life he never knew he wanted.

Soldier, Hunter Bennet, is always in control…
…control of his missions.
…control of his life.
…control of his emotions.
Until he hesitates on a rescue mission, which leaves a child orphaned and his brothers-in-arms in peril. Chased by the demons of failure, he falls into a time and place where he has no control.

When her world begins to fall apart, Viola finds help in the most unexpected person.

Viola Thomas’s idyllic life in the new state of Colorado is in turmoil. Her father fails to return from winter trapping, and a stranger tumbles into her life from the future. When an unwanted suitor turns his advances into threats, everything she holds dear is at risk. Can she find hope in a man from a world far from her own?

Hunter must reach through the shadows of doubt to save his future, but will he fail in the most important mission of all?

Have you ever read a book because of another book? I read Discovering Rafe a while back and I mentioned in my review that I really needed to ‘meet’ Hunter, their fellow soldier who kept up their morale with biblical wisdoms during stressful missions. Well, I did it. I found Vestige of Hope and get this, it’s a time travel Christian romance series! Who ever heard of such a thing? Not me. Not until I started reading Ms. Blackard’s books. I’m not fond of time travel stories but the reason and methodology that accomplished the time travel simply blew my mind. Not only that, but it made sense. Like, it could happen, even now! Yeah, I sat back and blinked a few times when I read that section. The fact that I could conceive such a thing as possible, based on a couple of tiny sentences in the Bible, and add in the faith one would need to believe? That just sent my brain into a spin of wonder. So very cool.

Now that I got that amazing nugget out of way, I can get to the fun stuff – the romance. Hunter is about as good a hero as the books in the other series led me to believe. He’s honorable, smart, mostly in excellent physical condition, and he defines the word, hero. Now, I say mostly excellent health because he had a bit of a run-in with a wild cat. He’s at a disadvantage for a good portion of the book because of his injuries, but that made me like his character all the more. He’s not an over-the-top super man with Jackie Chan reflexes, a Chuck Norris attitude and a Captain America complex…although there was a scene or two that led me to believe he might have had the sculpted body of Captain America…that was a nice bit of info. But his drive to protect the women who save him, one being Viola, the heroine, is what I liked because Hunter wasn’t overbearing or demeaning. He didn’t talk down to them just because he was a soldier from the future, and they were backwoods women from the more primitive past in our country. In fact, Viola and her sister, Beatrice, were more than capable of taking care of themselves, and that includes hunting for food. Watching Hunter come to terms with the reality that he truly did travel back in time, was entertaining and interesting. It was kind of fun seeing Viola and Beatrice’s reactions when he respected their skills and the knowledge both women had. They didn’t expect that from a man; it was almost unheard of.

Like I said, the two sisters could take care of themselves, but they usually didn’t have to. They had their father and brother to help out. Except, something bad happened and they were left to handle things on their own. You know what that means, right? Plot conflict. A woman alone is considered “easy pickins’ and an onery villain has the clever idea that he can force Viola to marry him, thereby gaining the farm and all the land. What he didn’t expect to find was, Hunter. Ooh, the classic scenario, and very satisfying to read.

I did say this was an inspirational romance, too, right? Hunter’s relationship with God is a tangible thing. It’s important to him as a man, and actually pertains to a lot that goes on in the novel. It’s not preachy, it shows how strength can come from faith, even in the worst-case scenarios. Viola and Beatrice are of like mind, but they didn’t have quite the same level of experiences. Perhaps it’s because, as a soldier, Hunter has faced situations in the past that, without faith, would crush another man. There are no sparkly rainbows in this story. It’s gritty, realistic, and hard, yet at the same time, optimistic. There was the time, however, where I totally and completely understood Hunter’s reaction when Viola proceeded to ‘prepare’ the herbs for the poultice. I guess if it works… The other fun part is when, even in sleep, Hunter sought to protect Viola. That scene gave me the giggles. This is a clean romance, so nothing happened to change that, but like Beatrice said, “It’s kind of sweet.” There were a lot of delicious looks that bounced between Viola and Hunter, and plenty of blushes to go with them. The romance is simply delightful.

There is drama and a bit of suspense when the bad guys pay a visit. From that excitement, comes a revelation. Oh, and then there’s a complication with a friend of the family. He sure sounded interesting. I wouldn’t mind if there was a story about him!

There is so much that goes on in the book. It’s a character driven romance story with plenty of fun dialogue, action, secrets and an absolutely wonderful happy ever after wrap up in the epilogue. Vestige of Hope was an awesome read and I’m so very glad I looked up Hunter’s story. It was well worth it.

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