Refiner's Fire in Refining Fire

"Refining Fire" by Tracie Peterson is the second book in her Brides of Seattle series. Like the first book of the series, Steadfast Heartthe description of the book features one couple, but I felt the main focus lies with Abrianna Cunningham and her endeavors.  Per the description, Refining Fire is about Militine (cross between Milicent and Christine) and Thane, who both struggles with their frightening and painful  past, and together, learn to trust each other, and especially God.

I really enjoyed Refining Fire and how it can be read as a standalone book, as well as be able to connect to
Steadfast Heart so seamlessly.  With repeat performance of characters as the 3 ladies of Madison School for Brides, Wade and previous subjected couple, Kolbien & Lenore, we are thrilled to continue our journey in 1885 Seattle.  Ms. Peterson has made me truly be immersed in the character of Abrianna, who I've found out will be the subject of the final book in this series. With two books as a strong (and sometimes felt like a main) supporting character, we grew to know and even like Abrianna, for her forwardness and for her love of the Lord.  She brings excitement to the plot with her many adventures and her knack for being in the heat of action. 

With the main couple of the story, Militine and Thane, we see how they grapple with accepting God because of all the pain and evil they encountered, even part of the plot of the book.  With their struggles, and with the responses of characters in the book, we see how and why Ms. Peterson is indeed a leading author in the field of inspirational / faith-based fictions.   Understanding, forgiveness and trust are difficult when your heart are marred by pain and even physical scars and nightmares as constant reminders.  Sometimes when bad things happened, we just don't know why.  Believing in God does not mean bad things will stop happening. Let Him be your source of comfort.  "All we can do is trust Him and believe" (loc 3541). I enjoyed reading how two unbelieving and somewhat resentful individuals came together to trust God and to seek Him.

One aspect of this novel that I respect is during the early parts.  Early on, we as readers (as well as Abrianna in the book), received a humbling message. "God only desires that you see to your own soul and pray for others. He wants you to seek Him and know Him for yourself.  Then, by this knowledge you must live a life that reflects His mercy...Be a living witness of Jesus, not just a vocal one" (loc 193, 195). Together with the message of trusting God, I am reminded of an old song from Vineyards, sung by many, and popular during praise time before service.  Coincidentally, the title is "Refiner's Fire".   Some of the lyrics to this song:
Purify my heart
Cleanse me from within
And make me holy
Purify my heart
Cleanse me from my sin
Deep within

Refiner's fire
My heart's one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for You, Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You, my Master
Ready to do Your will
It truly speak volumes.  We need to constantly refine our hearts, purify it from sin, and to choose God.  Thank you, Ms. Peterson for a novel that feels true to heart on many levels, and a great storyline that was unexpected.

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NOTE:  I received a complimentary proof copy of this e-book from the publisher, Bethany House, through Net Galley for an honest review. 



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