Jane Catherine Rozek
Books of Life Publishing House (2022)
Reviewed by Sacha Fortune for Reader Views (11/2022)
A slow-burn unique romance, “Purity Found” follows Kate as she distances herself from a troubled past in Oregon in the U.S.A. and stakes her claim in a rural backwoods community in British Columbia, Canada. A long way from home, she finds herself charmed by the “old-fashioned” slow pace but hardworking life — exemplified in the man she meets who will change her future, whom she describes to her mother as the strongest man she’s ever met, both mentally and physically.
As her friendship with Dave and his son blossoms, the attraction is undeniable, but Dave’s personal history presents a legal barrier as well as — more importantly — a religious and spiritual barrier. However, Kate soon becomes intrigued and inspired by his devotion to his religious beliefs. The emotional struggle leads her to question her own beliefs:
So, if there wasn't a future for their growing attraction, wouldn't it be better for her just to pull up stakes and move on before either of them got really hurt? Maybe she wasn't right for Dave. She didn't want to convert to Catholicism and pray to Holy Mary on her knees every night. And she failed to speak in tongues after she was baptized, and the Pentecostal people had prayed for her. She didn't feel she belonged in any church or the community. So, what [was she] doing here?
But in her darkest moments of despair, she finds solace in her new environment that seems to protect her and encourage her to stay the course:
She was needed by him, and he had a purpose for her. She didn't have to leave. She just had to love. She was a tool, a vessel designed to hold enough love to flow outward to those God cared about. Something big was happening, and she was a huge part of it. God needed her to get it done!
This story was easy to read and fall into the main character’s mind, experiencing every daily struggle as she acclimatized to the weather, the bone-weary work, the warmness of the community, and the new experiences of teaching and caring for children. A willing, good-natured woman, Kate is easy to love as a protagonist, and we see her rise to the occasion many times even when she is not sure that she is capable. I also appreciated the descriptions of the environment, as it was easy to picture the vast nothingness of the outdoors and the quiet, loving, rural community.
The romance is a unique one, as it seems to happen in the background at times, because the “great outdoors” itself becomes its own character, particularly coming down to the end when Dave has to throw himself wholeheartedly into manual labour to get the job done — there’s no time for romance when the stakes are literally life and death. Kate’s relationship to Dave’s son was heartwarming, and at times I enjoyed this even more than the romance.
Overall, this was a great, enjoyable read. If there’s anything worth mentioning, I must admit that perhaps I was hoping for a more heightened point of action before the climax, but this may be because it is part of a series and there are still more books to come. I would recommend it to all romance readers, but particularly those who enjoy rural small-town stories, as this would definitely fit the bill. I look forward to reading more about these characters in future books in the series, and would also love to read more by this author.