“Treasures of the North” by Tracie Peterson

Set in the 1890s in the early stages of the Alaskan gold rush, Treasures of the North begins by following the life of Grace Hawkins, the daughter of a wealthy family with a high social status. When Grace’s father sets her up with an arranged marriage to an abusive, controlling man in order to pay off a great debt, Grace’s governess, Karen Pierce, makes plans for Grace to accompany her and her aunt Doris to Alaska to meet up with Karen’s father. While problem after problem presents itself, their faith in God protects them and provides for them beyond their wildest dreams on the barely civilized Alaskan shores. As their lives move forward in their new home, one thought continues to nag Karen – Paxton is a very powerful, determined man. Would he ever stop looking for Grace? What had happened to the Hawkins family? Could he find her here? And what would they do if he did?

I’m not going to spoil the book because I definitely want you to read it, but I loved this book. Though their lives and stories are so very different, Grace and Peter had the most effect on my reading experience. As her relationship with God grows and shines a light brighter than Karen had ever imagined, Grace finds herself falling for Peter, a man who believes God exists and yet would rather trust in himself to see to his and his family’s needs. Troubled by how much pride Peter takes in his family’s trust and how heavily he relies on being their guide, Grace admits her fear for Peter to him in their conversations and leaves Peter troubled and bothered by all that she says.

The following excerpt is what I believe to be the most important exchange in the entire book and will therefore end my review with words far better than I could write. This conversation is absolutely what I needed to read at this point in my life and it has shown me so many things that God has been trying to do. I really hope you take the time to get this book off the shelf and read through it – there is so much more wisdom than what I’ve been able to portray in this review. Without further ado, the closing excerpt:

“People do fail,” Peter said, nodding, “but we must listen to the counsel of those who are wiser. Surely even your Bible would support this.”
Grace nodded. “The Bible indeed tells us to seek wisdom, but God’s wisdom—not people’s. God’s job is His own.”
“Meaning what?”
She blushed and looked away. “Meaning that you should not attempt to take that position in the life of your family. Otherwise, what happens when you fail them?”
“I won’t fail them,”
he replied indignantly.
“Everyone fails,”
Grace replied without a hint of apology. “God I the only one who never fails. You have put yourself in the position to be a god to your family. You ask them to seek you for their counsel and direction. You would preorder their steps, but God has already seen to that task. I fear you family might suffer far more than they would ever need to suffer if you continue to fight God for first place in their lives.”
“This is a ridiculous conversation,”
he said, taking a long drink of coffee…there was such a peaceful, purposeful manner about Grave. She wasn’t ranting and raving at him like a lunatic. She was simply and calmly explaining her beliefs. Her calm only served to unnerve him all the more.
“I don’t see this as a ridiculous conversation,”
Grace finally said. “One of these days, I fear something will happen. Your family will seek you for help—for salvation—and you will fail them. When that happens, I can’t help but wonder what will happen to their vision of God. Or, for that matter, their elevated vision of you.”

Treasures of the North by Tracie Peterson, pp. 232-233.

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