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A Life Once Dreamed

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C.F. Leach is a writer/blogger with a degree in Business Management. An avid reader, who enjoys different flavors of literary soup.


I am not a fan of historical romances and this is the first book by Rachel Fordham I have ever read. When first seeing the title, I thought it was more of a spiritual journey, akin to the type of books I normally read. And to some degree this book is. Set in 1880’s Dakota Territory, Agnes Pratt must’ve had strong faith and phenomenal courage to leave the comforts of New York. Not only did she leave her creature comforts behind, but her childhood sweetheart, James Harris and their dreams of marriage. Heading west to an unknown frontier with a devastating secret that compels her to do so. Will she find a second chance in the shadow of the Black Hills?

“She wouldn’t lose faith—not now, not ever. Faith was the only way to make any sense of the pain. She clung to the unwavering belief that the good Lord had a plan so big and profound and beautiful that it could explain even the most exquisite pain. That his love could right any wrong.”

A Life Once Dreamed is a good book if you like the typical Lifetime stories. For 328 pages, it is lofty, and light—an enjoyable layer cake. It draws you in to a degree, but at times leaves you scratching your head. I found some of the writer’s points moot, predictable and quite exasperating. I like a book that flows and although the overall idealogy is not lost, sometimes the lack of emotional fortitude is implied, but not written. However, the more you get into this book; the more you see faith woven throughout the storyline.

The verbal creation of Penance (what a play on words) and its colorful towns people I discovered to be quite interesting. Especially, how they came together as a community during the harsh and difficult times. When they celebrated good times, you found a true spirit of comradery and love. Something we really need today.

Fordham painted picturesque and relatable characters. Realistic with frailties and flaws just like we have—which is another interesting quality of this read. I especially liked Aggie’s students who brought some comical questions to the pages.

I found Aggie to be forthright and a woman of integrity… Yes, Aggie’s secret could be considered sacrificial love to a degree, but isn’t it better to tell the ones we love the truth? Can’t we trust the ones we love and the ones who love us to allow love to conquer all? What will James do?

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The one point this book drove home to me is you cannot run from your past no matter how far you go, or how many adventures you find—it will always catch up with you. Will Agnes be locked in her past or walk into a brighter future with James? You’ll just have to read the book to find out.

We give A Life Once Dreamed

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This book is provided to me courtesy Revell of The Baker Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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