Refining Fire (Brides of Seattle #2) by Tracie Peterson

There was no easy way to move a dead body.

From this opening sentence, Refining Fire was an entertaining journey to Seattle at the end of the 19th century. The story returned me to the Madison Bridal School and the quirky characters I’ve come to adore.

Militine Scott and Thane Patton both have secrets from their pasts that they’d rather keep hidden. Because of this, Militine has no intention of marrying, but enjoys the friendships at the bridal school. When Thane expresses his desire to court her, Militine is hesitant. She has her reasons not to trust men. Meanwhile, Abrianna Cunningham’s idea of starting a soup kitchen to feed the poor and homeless may end up putting both young women in danger, especially when Abrianna agrees to court the wealthy Priam Welby if he will provide a larger building for her charity. It’s up to Thane and Wade Ackerman, the long-time family friend, to keep them safe.

While Militine and Thane are supposed to be the main characters, they share a good portion of their book with Abrianna and Wade. I liked having the multiple points of view, but Militine was in the shadow of Abrianna’s strong and independent personality. I would have liked to see a little more of Militine.

The majority of the characters were introduced in the previous book, Steadfast Heart, and I’d recommend reading that one first, as there are some plot threads that are continued from that story. I enjoyed this story more than I did the first book of this series. Instead of a couple falling immediately in love, the characters in this story have known each other and been friends for a while. Their relationships have blossomed slowly over time. I love the moment when the characters start recognizing their feelings.

There were a few things that weren’t resolved in this book, which I’m sure are leaving a set-up for the third book, but I felt like it needed a little bit more closure. As for the spiritual threads, I enjoyed the conflict between Abrianna and the new Pastor Walker. I liked how the author used Abrianna’s actions to show Christ’s example rather than the man that should have been the religious leader. This is definitely categorized as Christian fiction, with many discussions taking place between characters on spiritual matters.

I’d recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction and heroines who speak their mind and don’t conform to society’s expectations in those days. It was enjoyable and had plenty of action and antagonists to keep the story interesting.

I’d give this book 3.5/5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.