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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Unless she can trust God's love to cast out her fears, Ada may lose the heart of a good man. Ada Wentworth, a young Bostonian, journeys to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, in the years following the Civil War. Alone and nearly penniless following a broken engagement, Ada accepts a position as a lady's companion to the elderly Lillian Willis, a pillar of the community and aunt to the local lumber mill …

Beyond All Measure

by Dorothy Love

Overall Book Review:

In Beyond All Measure, author Dorothy Love welcomes readers to the “peaceful and close-knit town” of Hickory Ridge. Now that the Civil War has ended, townsfolk eagerly participate in pastimes like ladies’ quilting circles, church pageants and holiday picnics.  The novel’s rich, vivid and detailed imagery will leave readers wanting to pack up and move to a small Southern town! Yet Hickory Ridge has its share of dark secrets. Tensions have escalated between the town’s blacks and whites, all while the Ku Klux Klan terrify and carry out grisly deeds.

In the midst of the turmoil, Wyatt, the town’s golden boy, finds himself falling for beautiful newcomer, Ada.  Scenes involving Wyatt were some of the best — he is the epitome of a true Southern gentleman. Ada’s complicated actions and mysterious past made this book a page-turner.  The couple’s sweet, budding romance also helped lighten the story’s heavier themes.  Beyond All Measure was noticeably well-researched and I loved catching a glimpse of life and love in the postbellum South.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Thomas Nelson

Content Analysis:

Beyond All Measure is Christian historical fiction, so it is fairly conservative.  There is frequent discussion about God and His role in the characters’ lives.  There was no profanity.  The word ‘negro’ is spoken by characters; it was commonly used during this time period. 

Attacks conducted by the Ku Klux Klan are briefly stated and include
hanging, shooting and burning crosses in lawns.  Moderate violence occurs when a main character is threatened, beaten by the Klansmen, and tied up.  The character subsequently soils herself.  There is mention of a Civil War battle but this is not graphically detailed. A character dies of old age. 

Kissing occurs between the main characters.  There is a slight reference to being unfaithful and having a child out of wedlock.

Mature Subject Matter:

Mature themes include the racial tension of postbellum Tennessee and the motives behind the Ku Klux Klan.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


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About the Reviewer

My mother was the one who sparked my love of books. Long before school instruction, she sat me down and taught me to read. My childhood was filled with trips to the library and bookmobile to find great books. My first loves were The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Pippi Longstocking series by Astrid Lingren. Now as a mom and speech pathologist, I am constantly looking for good, clean books to use at home and in therapy. I enjoy reading many different genres, but my favorites are usually historical fiction. I married my best friend, the “boy next door”, and we have a beautiful little girl who we often find sprawled out on the floor, flipping through picture books. Together our family likes to swim, run and play tennis. Besides reading, I also love to bake, garden and travel.