May 29, 2012

Skip Rock Shallows by Jan Watson

Lilly Gray Corbett has just graduated from medical school and decided to accept an internship in the coal camp of Skip Rock, Kentucky. Her beau, Paul, is doing his residency in Boston and can’t understand why Lilly would choose to work in a backwater town. But having grown up in the mountains, Lilly is drawn to the stubborn, superstitious people she encounters in Skip Rock—a town where people live hard and die harder and where women know their place. Lilly soon learns she has a lot to overcome, but after saving the life of a young miner, she begins to earn the residents’ trust.

As Lilly becomes torn between joining Paul in Boston and her love for the people of Skip Rock, she crosses paths with a handsome miner—one who seems oddly familiar. Her attraction for him grows, even as she wrestles with her feelings and wonders what he’s hiding.

Jan Watson won the 2004 Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest for her first novel, Troublesome Creek. Her other awards include a nomination for the Kentucky Literary Award in 2006 and second place in the 2006 Inspirational Readers Choice Contest sponsored by the Faith, Hope, and Love Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Jan has published six novels. As a registered nurse for 25 years at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, she incorporates her nursing experience in the hospital's mother/baby unit into her novels. Jan resides in Kentucky.

Lilly is far from ordinary, and her choices in life are not always popular.  She became a doctor in the early 1900's, long before it was acceptable that women work outside of the home. She agreed to take a temporary position as the doctor in a little coal mining town, and was totally unprepared for the way she was treated by the locals.

The events and characters in Skip Rock Shallows are totally believable and captivating.  I love the  mixture of laughter along with the hard times, and romance right next to prejudice and mistrust. The mysterious stranger who arrives at the mine with an agenda all his own captures the attention and suspicions of everyone in Skip Rock, yet Lilly feels drawn to him in ways she can't explain even to herself.

This is a fantastic story of sacrifice, adventure and personal challenges, along with unusual and unexpected friendships. For a great journey back to a simpler time, I highly recommend this book.

Disclosure: Book received through the Tyndale Blog Network, in exchange for my honest review.

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