A Life Once Dreamed - by Rachel Fordham (Paperback)
$10.19 when purchased online
About this item
About the BookA schoolteacher in the Dakota Territory must face her past--and her shameful secret--when a familiar doctor arrives in town and threatens to unlock the heart she's guarded so tightly.
Book SynopsisSix years ago, a shocking secret sent Agnes Pratt running in search of a new start. She found it in Penance, a rugged town of miners and lumberjacks in the Dakota Territory, where she became Miss Aggie, respected schoolteacher and confirmed old maid. But the past has a way of catching up with people.
When childhood friend and former sweetheart James Harris accepts a position as the town doctor, Aggie's pleasantly predictable days suddenly become anything but. James wants to know why Agnes left behind the life they had dreamed of creating for themselves--but he is the one person who can never know.
In the shadows of the Black Hills, can a healing light be shed on the past? Or will the secret Agnes can't seem to outrun destroy her chance at happiness?
Fan-favorite Rachel Fordham brings to life the dusty streets of an 1880s frontier town in this story that affirms where you come from matters far less than where you're going.
From the Back CoverWhere you come from matters far less than where you're going
Six years ago, a shocking secret sent Agnes Pratt running in search of a new start. She found it in Penance, a rugged town of miners and lumberjacks in the Dakota Territory. In the shadow of the Black Hills, she became Miss Aggie, respected schoolteacher and confirmed old maid--despite being only twenty-four. But the past has a way of catching up with people.
When childhood friend and former sweetheart James Harris accepts a position as the town doctor, Aggie's pleasantly predictable days suddenly become anything but. James wants to know why Agnes left behind the life they had dreamed of creating for themselves--but he is precisely the one person who can never know.
Can a healing light be shed on the past? Or will the secret Agnes can't seem to outrun destroy her chance at happiness?
"Rachel Fordham has crafted a tender tale of compassion and grace that authentically depicts a mother's heart and touches on questions of family and identity and the nature of real love."--Carolyn Miller, award-winning author of the Regency Brides series
Rachel Fordham is the author of The Hope of Azure Springs and Yours Truly, Thomas. She started writing when her children began begging her for stories at night. She'd pull a book from the shelf, but they'd insist she make one up. Finally, she paired her love of good stories with her love of writing and hasn't stopped since. She lives with her husband and children on an island in the state of Washington.
About the AuthorRachel Fordham is the author of The Hope of Azure Springs and Yours Truly, Thomas. She started writing when her children began begging her for stories at night. She'd pull a book from the shelf, but they'd insist she make one up. Finally, she paired her love of good stories with her love of writing and hasn't stopped since. She lives with her husband and children on an island in the state of Washington.
Dimensions (Overall): 8.4 Inches (H) x 5.4 Inches (W) x .9 Inches (D)
Weight: .65 Pounds
Suggested Age: 22 Years and Up
Number of Pages: 336
Genre: Fiction + Literature Genres
Publisher: Fleming H. Revell Company
Author: Rachel Fordham
Street Date: August 4, 2020
Item Number (DPCI): 247-35-2623
Origin: Made in the USA or Imported
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Estimated ship dimensions: 0.9 inches length x 5.4 inches width x 8.4 inches height
Estimated ship weight: 0.65 pounds
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More to consider
4.4 out of 5 stars with 7 reviews
Review from Rambles of a SAHM
4 out of 5 stars
Fitzysmom - 4 years ago
I love the title because it encapsulates the story perfectly. Aggie and James have known each other practically forever. Somewhere along the way they fell in love and expected to marry and live happily ever after. But an unknown factor makes that dream unattainable. We pick up the story after Aggie has moved to the Dakota territory to take a teaching job. She's been there about six years and made a nice life for herself. But that life has limits and it is definitely not the one she had envisioned. When James unexpectedly turns up to take the position of town doctor everything is once again turned upside down. If you've ever planned something for your life only to have it change by circumstances beyond your control you'll be able to relate to Aggie . . . and James for that matter. In Aggie's mind she felt like leaving was the loving thing to do for James. But it left James feeling betrayed. A Life Once Dreamed is a good reminder that we need to communicate with those we love. Even when it is difficult. Especially when it is difficult! When we communicate it allows all involved to make their own decisions. I thought this was a wonderful story filled with heartbreak as well as hope. If you enjoy historical romance I would recommend you give this story a look. Rachel Fordham is an accomplished storyteller that will have you wanting more after the last page. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
5 out of 5 stars
Betti - 4 years ago
‘Is independent the same as being a spinster?’ - Tommy, her student, at school one day. The author has once again penned a story that will make you laugh, perhaps tear-up a little and generally just enjoy the time spent reading. It’s 1874 in the city of Buffalo, New York. Agnes (Aggie) Pratt has grown up as a member of the upper class or high society, with all the perks and privileges that go with it. Her dear friend from childhood, who lived next door becomes not only a best friend but also the man she loves and hopes to marry one day. But suddenly she leaves Buffalo for parts unknown leaving a heartbroken James behind. Teaching in Penance, Dakota Territory is a far cry from having everything done for you, but Aggie excels at it and her students and the town people love her. After 6 years, a new doctor shows up in town.....James! How will they ever negotiate their way through secrets and heartache? A sweet story of second chances and new opportunities to learn to accept people regardless of their past. This digital copy was received through NetGalley, Baker Publishing Group and Revell. The impressions and comments are my own and were in no way solicited.
5 out of 5 stars
Connie Saunders - 4 years ago
This is such a lovely book and it definitely convinced me that Rachel Fordham is an author that I need to follow. A Life Once Dreamed is set in 1880 in the Dakota Territory and Fordham paints a vivid picture of the small mining town of Penance, with its one room schoolhouse and saloon, and the rugged men and strong women who live there. Agnes "Aggie" Pratt is a teacher who truly loves her students and she has made a huge difference in their lives but she's resigned herself to always being their "spinster school teacher". It is when the new doctor arrives that Aggie realizes that her future may be forever altered. James Harris is a man from her past who stirs up feelings that she had tried to bury and Aggie finds herself wondering "What if?" as her neat, tidy life is turned upside down! I loved learning about the Aggie and James as they once were and I enjoyed seeing how they had changed over the six years they were apart. There are some other characters who add so much dimension to the story: the irrepressible student Tommy Smith, who can't understand why Aggie is an old maid, Hannah and her daughter Ruby, and of course, baby Freddie. Not to mention Sam, who grabbed my heart and left me wanting another story just for him! A Life Once Dreamed is a tale of sacrificial love, second chances, and a sweet romance that all of us would like to experience. There is also the mystery behind Aggie's decision to leave her affluent life in Buffalo and an inspiring faith message that is woven throughout the story. If you enjoy historical fiction and Christian romance, you will want to read this book! This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group/Revell through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
(no review title)
5 out of 5 stars
- 4 years ago
This is Rachel Fordham’s third book and she still astounds me! They all get better and better! This is a sweet story of impossible love, love against all odds, sacrificial and selfless love, and love thriumphant over prejudices, labels and judgement of who you are by where you come from! Agnes Pratt flees from a comfortable life in Buffalo and a promise of marriage and forever love from her childhood secret after discovering a devastating secret that shatters her world. She decides to travel west to Southern Dakota to a small town named Penance, where they need a school teacher. She knows she can teach Penance’s children, but how to survive on her own, she’s not too sure. But Penance is a welcoming town, and with her kindness she slowly wins everyone’s heart. Her contract doesn’t allow her to be married, and she loves her job and children, so she convinced herself she doesn’t mind to remainder a spinster..., That is, until James Harris, the childhood sweetheart she so desperately left without an explanation, arrives in Penance as the new so needed town doctor! James wants to know why Aggie left, his heart is still attached to hers, but Aggie can’t tell him her secret. It would only hurt him and put him in the most difficult position of choosing between her and his family, and she doesn’t want him to lose his family, position in society, etc. I don’t want to reveal any spoilers... This secret is part of the intrigue that will keep you captivated until the end. What could have happened that could make Aggie leave the love and dreams of her life? Is it a secret so big and shameful that James wouldn’t really be able to overcome? The story flows with the never boring life in Penance, full of unexpected events that will keep them occupied, while they sort out what their new realationship should be... I really couldn’t stop reading and kept wishing I had enough leisure time to finish the book in one sitting! That could not be, but still, I enjoyed it all the more and was eager to get my hands on this beauty of the book again and again. The characters are wonderful: Aggie is a selfless and kind woman with a heart of gold, and James is just her match, so loving, patient (most of the time) and with a big heart that slowly comes to love this dusty town and unique people. I loved his devotion to helping others and to do his best to save lives. Aggie was his best supporter, and she was always ready to help too. There were some secondary characters that made the story more engaging: Mc Henry with his elderly wisdom, Tommy with his endless and hilarious questions, and orphaned Baby Freddie with his babbles... It’s a very complete story, and so well described that you feel right there among them! I loved the name of the town by the way! I can’t recommend this book enough! It left me with a sigh and wanting to know more of their story and other characters of the town... There should be another book based on Sam in my opinion. That’s another sweet and kind character that melted my heart... Don’t miss on this treasure of a book! It’s full of inspiring messages, especially about being loved by who you are, and not where you come from, and about knowing that if God loves you as you are, and that He loves our heart above anything, others should do the same, because our worth is not given by our earthly origin, but by how God sees us, and by what we treasure in our heart.
Sweet historical romance
4 out of 5 stars
MJSH - 4 years ago
"Because I don't know what's ahead and neither do you. But when we get there, to whatever it is that is next, we have to be ready to welcome it, not scrambling to catch up." This is my first book by Rachel Fordham and I can't believe it's taken me this long to read one of her books! What a sweet historical romance full of second chances and adventures in the untamed territory of the west. The author's writing style is easy to follow and she will naturally lead you into the heart of Penance, Dakota Territory where you'll root for the success of the town and the people who make up the growing town. If you enjoy historical romance set in the west, you will definitely enjoy this book. Aggie is a spunky, independent, stubborn, compassionate schoolteacher who fled her wealthy lifestyle back East to devote herself to teaching the children out west. She has a secret and a great love from back home she's fleeing from. James, her next-door neighbor from Buffalo and her almost-fiance, comes to Penance to reclaim their love while serving as a doctor in a community desperate for medical help. I enjoyed how Aggie and James both grew emotionally and spiritually during the book. Aggie learns to trust more in the sovereignty of God and James learns what true, sacrificial love means. My favorite character, though, was Sam - a lovable, down-to-earth, plain-spoken logger who is sweet, tender, thoughtful, and honest about his dreams and heartbreaks. I received a copy of the book from Baker Publishing Group (Revell) and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
A Dream of a Book
5 out of 5 stars
Lucy Reynolds - 4 years ago
This was a beautiful blessing to read as it touched all those special spots in your heart that has you immersed in the story. It deals with the shame and disgrace of illegitimacy in the late 1800’s and it had tears running down my face on several occasions. Agnes is such a strong woman that loves so deeply she sacrifices her own happiness to not bring her stigma upon the man she loves. Is running away ever the answer? Can God bring healing and reunite the broken? Can being transparent bring restoration? You must read to find these answers and so you can meet these characters and not want the story to end. Ms. Fordham is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to heart touching, though provoking, and books filled with grace and forgiveness. This book goes deep into the strength of a mother’s love and how unfathomable it is whether by blood or not. I will put this on my keeper shelf of favorites for 2020. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher/author. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
Inspirational and Enjoyable!
3 out of 5 stars
Rebecca Maney - 4 years ago
"This was her life. Colorful and simple. Comfortable and predictable." But did it always have to be that way? For, forever is an awfully long time. Agnes Pratt left her former life behind, including all of its comforts, following a heartbreaking discovery and a long anticipated proposal. Now Aggie spends her days behind a desk in a one room schoolhouse, tucked away in the Dakota Territory mining town of Penance, where no one from Boston could possibly find her. Until he did. Dr. James Harris could never figure out why his beloved ran away without a trace. Aggie had never even said good-bye. When he learns that the people in Penance desperately need a trained physician, James knows in his heart that he and Aggie have been given another opportunity. If only she believed the same. This second-chance-at-love story includes numerous pit falls, for we all know that secrets distort the very truths they seek to hide. In spite of a good number of stops and starts, coupled with some fairly awkward conversations, the plot finally zeroes in on one critical truth; every life has significance, for "the least of these" should not be judged on their beginnings, but rather afforded every opportunity to be loved unconditionally until their end. Readers will appreciate this author's ability to write a sweet, satisfying story. I received a copy of this book from Baker Publishers through Interviews and Reviews.