Book Review: Ann Tatlock’s Travelers Rest

I thought this book might be based on a location near me after they kept referring to some places not too far from that area. Tatlock brings a novel that was unexpectedly better than I thought it would be, but also still lacked some depth for me. I didn’t feel tremendously sad, nor happy at spots I probably should have felt those things. Then again that could just be me.

Jane is spending time with Seth in a place she didn’t expect to. Seth has been injured in war, and is now recuperating at a veterans hospital, but he is facing being paralyzed the rest of his life. Seth doesn’t believe that Jane has fully grasped what this means, but Jane is determined to fulfill her idea of getting married. Along the way though she meets several people who guide her into a healthier view of life including, a retired doctor seeking to accept his inability to receive forgiveness, and a man who went blind at a young age.

While I appreciate the route this novel attempted to take I couldn’t seem to find myself liking Jane. Her fiancee, Seth, has just been injured in the war, and all she can think about is how her chances of being married stand. When she is faced with the prospect of living without Seth it isn’t “Am I not going to be with the man I love?” that she asks instead she is saying “what if I don’t get married?” How self conceited! This guy is being faced with not walking the rest of his life, so if she loves him why isn’t she there to show that instead?

The thing is I was hoping that Jane would realize this about herself, but she never does. It doesn’t seem that it’s ever wrong for Jane to want to be with Seth because she is afraid of not getting married. The other characters were interesting, but fell a little flat for me. They seemed to be in the story just to advance Jane, or give her something other to do than just pine after Seth. Seth was perhaps the most well-rounded character to me. I would have enjoyed reading more about him, and where he was from, but he seemed to also end up being a ploy for Jane’s story.

Travelers Rest has a good story to it, but there are some things lacking that could make it a tad stronger. I think the hugest issue is that I just didn’t like Jane. Though she has moments where she cares for others everything seems to revolve around her own wants that are pretty meaningless when her fiancee is facing not walking again.

Rating 3 of 5.

This book was provided by Bethany House in exchange for a review. 

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