Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, a genre I head toward when I want a good meaty story, with enough information to make me feel the story is real. I love history and learning so this is a match made in heaven for me.
Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson is a story based off the Whitman Mission massacre, which I was unfamiliar with. After reading this book, I did a little research on this event and found that the author did a nice job of using the facts of the event and creating a story that wove in the details as they could have happened to this family. To me, that shows a historical fiction author's ability to write. She also created a fictional character and wove a story around the real event in such a way that made you believe the whole story was true. THAT's what good historical fiction does.
The main character, Grace Martindale and her two sisters set off with her husband to go and be missionaries to the far West. Grace's husband, from their loveless marriage, dies on the trail. Grace manages to sell off enough supplies to fun their trip to the Whitman Mission, who allows the women to stay during the winter, until Grace can contact her uncle, who lives in Washington.
Grace is a skilled healer, being taught the skills from her mother and grandmother. Dr. Whitman will not allow Gracie to practice her craft, until the neighboring Indian villages and their own mission is struck with the measles and many people began to die. The Indians were told by Mr. Lewis, a fur trader, that Dr. Whitman was poisoning their families and wanted them to die. When the chief's child dies, he comes to confront Dr. Whitman and in the end, starts a fight.
Grace happens to be away from the mission when the fight breaks out. Her two sisters, however, are there and witness the horrific acts that take place during the massacre. Grace hears about the massacre and in her fear, tries to get back to the mission. With the help of another trapper, who Grace is in love with, and a half breed Indian, Sam, the two girls are reunited with their sister, but not before awful things happen to the oldest sister. They leave the fort and go to where Grace's uncle lives, but not before they are able to make contact with him.
The rest of the story tells about the struggle to heal from the Indian raid, Grace's reluctance to marry again, even though she's met the love of her life, and reconnection with family. The story was wonderfully told, the characters either delightfully lovable or easily despised. The descriptions were a bit lacking, I would have liked more details about the food, the wagons, the scenery, the mission, and the fort. The descriptions of the uncle's house were adequate.
This is a series, and Book 2 about Grace's sister Hope, is coming out in July 2017. I plan to buy it, I am very interested on how Hope deals with the rest of her life.