Will they allow God to make something new and beautiful from the debris of their past?
Read an excerpt HERE.
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1. Why did you choose to write Refining Fire?
This is Book 2 in the Brides of Seattle series. This series shows the ongoing lives of the women who lived at the Madison School for Brides (a bridal finishing school). I chose Seattle as the setting, and the year is 1889—a year that forever changed Seattle when most of the downtown area burned to the ground. I found the real history fascinating and wanted very much to share it with my readers.
This story focuses on Militine Scott, who comes to the school without references or any background information. She’s running from her past, desperately afraid it will catch up with her. Thane Patton is a young boat builder and volunteer fireman who falls in love with Militine. The story shows the difficulty Militine has with issues of trust and believing herself worthy of love. There is also the ongoing story of Abrianna Cunningham, whose aunts run the finishing school. Abrianna is determined to care for the poor of Seattle, and with the help of her dear friends, she actually accomplishes this for a time. Laced around Abrianna are the villainous Priam Welby and Wade Ackerman, the boy-next-door who loves her.
3. How were you able to use the history of the Great Seattle Fire?
I chose the late 1880s to show Seattle before the fire, and then at the time of the fire, and Book 3 will show the time following the fire. I was so impressed with how the people of Seattle handled the fire and the rebuilding. Seattle was much like any other town that had grown up in a hurry. The streets were poorly planned, the water system badly designed and maintained, and the buildings put up without thought to the hazards. It was a perfect storm waiting to happen. The fire changed everything for Seattle.
4. What about the spiritual aspects of the story?
Learning to trust God when life has never given you any real understanding of trust is what Militine’s character is up against. Thane also is dealing with a bad past and trust issues. Both are wounded, and terrified of letting someone into their heart—especially God. The story is about coming to understand that despite the disappointments and truly horrific things that sometimes happen in our lives, God is always with us, always faithful, and always watching over us. It’s also about realizing that until we learn how to trust God, it’s impossible to have a relationship with Him. It’s the same for our relationships with other people. Trust is vital.
Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 novels. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Belgrade, Montana. Learn more at www.traciepeterson.com
I believe what draws me to this author is the strong female leading characters set in historic times when women were expected to be passive, silent, and weak. Refining Fire did not disappoint. The female characters of Militine Scott and Abrianna Cunningham are unique, and at times quite funny as they relate in their surroundings, a bridal finishing school, a place where both seem quite out of their element.
I enjoyed Abrianna’s ministry to the destitute of Skid Row in Seattle, through discouraging remarks and impasse from her family. She is a role model without even realizing the strength inside her.
Militine arrives in this series as an unknown, running from her heritage and race. She desperately attempts to hide her past from everyone, especially from handsome, Thane, who has a past of his own, which he is hiding. I completely connected with this facet of this novel, and believe many others will as well. We are born, and evolve, into situations for which we have no control, yet become strong despite or because of them. Militine and Thane’s romance will delight you!
The title alludes to the 1889 fire which burned the downtown area, but also describes the fire of life and Christ, which refines our inner being and resolve. This author’s books are a guarantee page turning thrill from start to finish. I know you will enjoy Refining Fire completely!
Tracie Peterson’s series are woven together, yet can stand alone. The historical content, well formed characters, and intense plots will draw you back again and again.
Thank you to author Tracie Peterson and Bethany House for a free copy in exchange for my honest review.