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Monday, January 25, 2010

Counting the Cost by Liz Adair - Book Review

Title: Counting the Cost

Author: Liz Adair

Publisher: Inglestone Publishing

Published Date: 2009

ISBN#: 978-0-9778814-6-8

From the cover: "A love story as poignant as it is beautiful."

Liz Adair, author of The Spider Latham Mystery series and The Mist of Quarry Harbor, has written a memorable story, inspired by her own family history, about two people willing to give up what they know for love.

Counting the Cost is a fitting title at the beginning of the book, and even more so by the end. It is the story of Heck and Ruth, their lives and their love.

Heck Benham's simple and steady cowboy life is disrupted by the arrival of the lovely Mrs. Ruth Reynolds. Heck does his best to stay out of her way, but after a violent incident involving her husband, Ruth leaves with Heck, both of them knowing that their actions will cause them to be shunned and outcast. After the death of Ruth's husband, she and Heck marry and live happily until circumstances make each of them aware of what they have given up to be together, and what more they will have to sacrifice to stay together.

Liz has told an endearing, honest story. Her characters have depth and feeling, and are easy to care about. The tale flows in a natural, believable course through the characters' lives, including the full spectrum of events from the mundane to the blissful and tragic. The reader learns about the history and geography of the New Mexican locales through conversation and description that never feels forced or lecturing.

While I didn't find Counting the Cost to be an intense page-turner, I looked forward to picking the book up again every time I had to put it down.

Well done, Liz.

What worked for me: I loved Heck right away with his laid-back cowboy style and thoughtful ways. All of the characters were well written, including the minor characters that were present for short times throughout the story. Sometimes I wished Ruth didn't want so much, but having experienced a more "advanced" lifestyle I could understand her desire to have certain things in her life. Sometimes I wished Heck wouldn't sacrifice so much of himself, but I could understand how much he loved Ruth and what it is to have someone love you that much. I cried twice; and not just a tear or two, either.

What didn't work for me: I almost wish there was a short epilogue or summary at the end of the story so I could know a little more about how things ended up in the future.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (definitely left an impression on me)
Would I read it again? Eventually, once I feel like my heart could take it
Would I recommend it? Yes, just keep a couple of tissues handy
Would I read more of Liz Adair's books? Yes. I thought her Spider Latham Mystery series was enjoyable, too

FTC FYI: The copy of Counting the Cost that I reviewed was borrowed from my local library.


  1. Wow, Shanda, what a great review! Not great as in favorable to the book (although I do thank you for your kind words), but as in well written. Can I borrow part of that for my 'elevator speech?'

  2. I love a book that can make me cry. I need to read this one!

  3. Great review, Shanda. I've heard so many good things about this book, I definitely need to read it.

  4. Having read Counting the Cost, I can agree with this review whole heartedly. It's a story that helps you define your own life and the effect that your choices have had on it.
    Terry Deighton

  5. An excellent and thorough review. You won't regret any time spent reading this book.