Tracey Bateman published her first novel in 2000 and has sold over 30 books in six years. There are two other books in the Westward Hearts Series, Defiant Heart (#1) and Distant Heart (#2) She became a member of American Christian Fiction Writers in the early months of its inception in 2000 and served as president for a year.
She has been married to her husband Rusty for 18 years, has four kids, and lives in Lebanon, Missouri.ABOUT THE BOOK
For the past seven years, Ginger Freeman has had one goal: find Grant Kelley and make him pay for allowing her brother to die. Growing up motherless with a father who leads an outlaw gang, Ginger isnâ€™t exactly peaches and cream. So when she finally tracks down Grant on a wagon train headed west, she figured providence had stepped in and given her the chance sheâ€™s been waiting for.
On the wagon train, finally surrounded by a sense of family and under the nurturing eye of Toni Rodde, Ginger begins to lose her rough edges. Sheâ€™s made friends for the first time and has become part of something bigger than revenge. Not only has her heart softened toward people in general, but God has become a reality she never understood before. And watching Grant doctor the pioneers, sheâ€™s realized she canâ€™t just kill him and leave the train without medical care. Putting her anger aside, before long, Gingerâ€™s a functioning part of the group.
But when the outlaw gang, headed by her pa, shows up and infiltrates the wagon train, she is forced to question her decision. Only self-sacrifice and her new relationship with God can make things right. But it might also means she loses everything sheâ€™s begun to hold dear.
Andrea’s Review: So in this novel, Batemen explains how your Typical American Woman wound up living before her time. That is, in an era where for a woman to act and dress like Ginger did would be on par with the behaviors of a confused and misled woman preparing for sex reassignment surgery.
Naturally, rather than accepting the creatures of their times for what they are, they are judged by the standards and ideals of ours. Personally, giving in to the urge to beat up on our ancestors is rather unwise as we have plenty of our own generational sins. Given how our laws now make human life innately disposable, do we really want future generations to judge us as harshly as we have judged past generations?
Okay, enough with my peeves. The character development of the main characters is spot-on, though new readers will miss out on much of the rich history of the side characters. But it’s the author’s right to decide what backstory is relevant to the current plotline. I just think she missed an opportunity to get new readers curious to read the earlier novels. New readers also might not understand why Ginger’s friend Toni makes a bitter comment or two about men that, while understandable if you know her history, weren’t exactly appropriate for polite company in their day.
Nevertheless, if you’re a Oregon Trail Romance girl, you’ll love this title.