The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham
The people of Azure Springs, Iowa find a young lady dying from a gunshot wound, and they save her life. Sheriff Caleb Reynolds tries to get to the bottom of Em’s story, but she knows little and she’s reluctant to share what she does know. Seven years before, Em and had come to Iowa on an orphan train and been taken in by a recluse who neglected her, and she’s desperate to find the little sister who was adopted in another town. At first, Caleb doesn’t think much of Em, who is thin and plain and odd. But as they work together to find the men who shot her and killed the recluse – and are committing other crimes – a friendship develops that surprises them both.
The Hope of Azure Springs is a delightful debut novel. Rachel Fordham draws a sympathetic character in Em, who grows – and also causes growth in those who come to know her. Caleb is a wonderful hero, strong but flawed, and the romance between Caleb and Em is unique and intriguing. What sets this novel apart is the refreshing message – what is true beauty and how do we perceive it? I highly recommend this novel and look forward to more from this author!