Thursday, 29 November 2012

At Every Turn - Anne Mateer

With an almost childlike enthusiasm for her religion, Alyce Benson stands up in church pledging $3,000 to aide a missionary couple working in Africa. Not only that but she also promises that the town will match the generous offer.

But it's 1916 and how does a privileged woman earn that amount of money? With her father's refusal to support all things regarding the church, Alyce only has a few weeks to raise the promised funds. All her fundraising ideas she passed over to Mrs. Tillman of the Women's Missionary Auxiliary.

With her secret passion for cars, the impulsive young woman finds out that her father has sponsored a race car - a car that will compete in upcoming events where the driver will be compensated. Taking their mechanic Webster, into her confidence, they collude for her to train and enter the races.

As the pressures mounts and the lies increase, Alyce's trust of Webster comes under scrutiny. Will she be able to win the money for those deserving African children, is Webster who he really is and what will happen when her father finds out she's (been) racing his car?

In a world where a woman is bad luck to be seen on the race tracks, Alyce's bold move to race the car is a dangerous. But her determination and fierce belief in God's guidance drives her to achieve her ambitions. The author has created a vibrant and thrilling story about early 20th century racing. Her descriptions of the cars and tracks are vivid and exact adding a certain amount of realism. Although the story is focused on Alyce's obsession/passion with driving, her developing feelings and subsequent confusion over two suitors as well as her continued faith in God is a likable subplot.

I found Alyce's impetuousness a little grating yet it's this zealousness to do good that makes her who she is. All the characters met are well defined, and Mateer has written a good novel. I'm not an avid fan of racing but her details in the sport caught my interest. The burgeoning romances was sweet adding an extra bit of intrigue. Overall, it's an easy read for anyone interested in historical fiction and a love of cars.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House publishing. The opinions expressed are my own and I am not required to give a positive review.

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