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Book review: 'Borrowed Light' is an egaging tale of romance, faith and adventure

By Danica Baird

For Mormon Times

Published: Tuesday, May 31 2011 6:00 a.m. MDT

"BORROWED LIGHT," by Carla Kelly, Cedar Fort, $8.99, 408 pages (f)

Carla Kelly's “Borrowed Light” poignantly weaves an engaging story of romance, faith, hope and adventure, and the inspirational theme will resonate with readers.

Set in 1909, "Borrowed Light” follows the adventures of Julia Darling, who is from a devoted Mormon family. She is engaged, yet unable to silence the doubts of her love. After her younger sister marries, Julia decides to call off her wedding, and in a spontaneous moment to sort out her feelings, she answers a newspaper help wanted ad from “Desperate Rancher” seeking a housekeeper and a cook at a Wyoming ranch.

When Julia arrives at the Double Tipi Ranch, she quickly realizes that she is in over her head. Her boss, Paul Otto, appears to have a checkered past and intimidates everyone he encounters. The kitchen is a disaster, and she believes Wyoming, in comparison to her Salt Lake City home, is too rustic. However, Julia is determined to put her degree from the Miss Fannie Farmer Boston School of Cookery to good use and begins her work.

Julia is tested at every turn: The ranchers aren’t used to her fancy cooking, and she is constantly questioned about her religion. To her amazement, she doesn’t have the answers to their questions and, with her testimony shallow and untested, realizes she’s been living on borrowed light.

As Paul encourages her to gain a personal testimony, Julia slowly discovers her impressions of Paul were wrong and that he is a man she respects and could even love. But, when the ranch is threatened by natural disasters, Julia is challenged in more ways that she can imagine. Is her testimony and growing love for Paul strong enough to see her through the storm?

"Borrowed Light" is beautifully written and touches upon faith in a way that will have a lasting impact. The loveable characters, inspiring message and exploration of faith all blend into a tale that readers will adore.

Danica Baird lives in Pleasant Grove, Utah.

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