The Land of Promise is set in 1889, and the U.S. government is forcibly restricting the Cherokees to reservations within the Oklahoma District, infringing on land that had once been established by treaty as Indian Territory. Naturally, this doesn’t make the Cherokees happy, and some of them want to fight. In the middle of all of this is Britt Claiborne, the United Cherokee Nation Chief of Police. He must maintain order and obey the U.S. government despite his Cherokee ties (he’s a quarter Cherokee). Meanwhile, settlers converge on the Oklahoma District, enticed by the promise of land. The book focuses on three major settler families, the Beldens, Ackermans, and Parkers, as they struggle with rattlesnakes, wind storms, and angry Indians to claim their land.
This book begins with an interesting premise. However, the dialogue quickly quashes any expectations of a good read. I was surprised, since Al and Joanna Lacy are bestselling authors. The characters speak almost robotically, and seem to have very little in the way of personality. Much of the dialogue is preachy, unrealistic, and often repetitive. Because of these factors, I was unable to emotionally invest myself in the characters, which made the reading experience less immersive than it could have been.
On the bright side, this book is filled with spiritual content. Most, if not all of the characters, are religiously motivated. There is some conflict with a vocal atheist settler that opens the door for some common and useful arguments for the existence of God. Unfortunately, the scene in which this happens seems a little forced, like many other passages in the book that contain spiritual content. Again unfortunately, the Christian characters aren’t flawed enough to be relatable. In the end, the spiritual thrust of the novel feels more like a hammer by which the reader is constantly beaten over the head.
The writing style of the novel is very detailed with many beautiful descriptions. For example, “The sun had already tipped the eastern horizon rosy red, and the open land toward the south lay fresh and colorful in the morning light as the travelers were about to climb into their wagons.” The authors choose descriptive words well, and the scenes are usually easy to envision. I feel that the authors truly succeeded in this area, despite other missteps.
In the end, the bad dialogue and preaching gets in the way of a good reading experience, despite other aspects of quality the book has. Thus, I cannot recommend The Land of Promise as well-written literature. However, this work is perfectly suitable as a piece of clean Christian fiction. – Peter Semple, Christian Book Previews.com
Britt Clairborne, United Cherokee Nation Chief of Police, and his sweet wife, Cherokee Rose, face challenging times. It’s 1889, and the Cherokees are being moved onto reservations within the Oklahoma District. The remainder of the land promised to them decades ago is being opened for white settlers to homestead. Of course, the Cherokees are unhappy. Some are outraged and want to stand and fight–despite Britt’s warning that they will be punished swiftly and severely by the U.S. Army.
Before long, white settlers converge from all directions. Lee and Kathy Belden and their two children come from Texas, where they lost their farm after years of drought. Martha Ackerman, newly widowed, arrives from Kansas with her three young children and her parents. Craig Parker, fresh out of prison and cleared of a bank robbery he didn’t commit, travels with his loyal wife, Gloria, from Missouri. And so many others. They all come for land and a new beginning, yet face so much that is unexpected: fraudulent sooners, funnel clouds, rattlesnakes, even oil. And of course, unexpected kindness and God’s provision.