Book review: Stansfield finishes 'Shadows of Brierley' series with flourish

By Melissa DeMoux

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Jan. 14 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

"IN THE VALLEY OF THE MOUNTAINS: Shadows of Brierly Vol. 4," by Anita Stansfield, Covenant Communications, $16.99, 237 pages (f)

Popular Mormon author Anita Stansfield closes her “Shadows of Brierley” series with a tale that brings lives from two continents into complete harmony. “In the Valley of the Mountains” unites characters from the lush beauty of rural Scotland with pioneering settlers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Salt Lake Valley.

Following Ian and Wren’s momentous trek from their Scottish home to the United States in search of a budding Mormon community, they nestled their family into a Salt Lake City home. Years have passed and their oldest daughter, Gillian, has grown into a beautiful woman who is also an incredible support to her parents' large family.

Yet despite her physical beauty and loving temperament, Gillian has never found a husband to share her life and love with. Wandering into her mid-20s, Gillian is beginning to wonder if she will ever have a family of her own. But things are about to change.

Without warning, Gillian finds herself torn between two men who are competing for her hand. Hugh Montgomery is a faithful and kind friend of the family who Gillian has trusted and confided in for years. While he can provide security and strength, he does not thrill Gillian’s heart.

Newly arrived from Ian’s beloved home in Scotland, Jamie MacBrier is impulsive and passionate. He holds no favor for the Mormon beliefs that Gillian embraces, but his presence compels her to face feelings she has never experienced before.

Gillian is forced to choose whether to grasp a relationship that is safe and comforting or whether she should risk her heart on a man who is not what he seems and who could bring deep romance to her life.

This book is reminiscent of Stansfield’s previous romance novels with humble characters facing everyday concerns and struggles. It is faster paced than the other books in the series and is showered with dramatic moments.

The Brierley family is endearing and loveable and Gillian’s suitors each hold impressive merit, leading readers to love them both. The powerful climax to this romantic competition is heart-rending in the sweetest way.

Stansfield’s final offering in this series is sure to please her fans and leave readers smiling.

Melissa DeMoux is a stay-at-home mother of six young children who lives in West Valley City, Utah. Her email is mddemoux@gmail.com and she blogs about her adventures in motherhood at demouxfamily.blogspot.com.

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