One Plus One Equals Trouble
By Sondra Kraak
Trail House Publishers, 2015
Humiliated after her broken engagement, Claire Montgomery flees her comfortable life in San Francisco for a teaching position in Pine Creek, Washington, a dot of a town nestled in the rugged Cascade Mountains. She’s determined to succeed—for once in her life—only to discover, upon her arrival, that success will have to be won. Thanks to a school board error, two teachers have been hired.
When scandal forces Professor Barrett Clarke from his position, he returns to Pine Creek where his uncle, chairman of the school board, sets forth an irresistible offer: teach one year in return for ranchland. For this would-be rancher, nothing is more tempting than resurrecting his childhood dream, and nothing can deter him from earning that land.
Except perhaps Claire Montgomery. Losing the battle for the classroom means losing the ranchland, but winning may mean losing Claire’s heart.
One Plus One Equals Trouble is a creative title that reflects the essence of this entertaining debut novel by Sondra Kraak. “One plus one” applies to Claire and Barrett, two gifted teachers competing for one position at the one-room schoolhouse in Pine Creek, Washington. And with both equally committed to being chosen for the job, “trouble” is almost a guarantee.
Sondra does a great job at conveying a sense of the rural community and its people. There’s lots of lively banter between Barrett and Claire, and it was fun to see how the competition forced them to be creative in their teaching methods. I especially enjoyed the character depth of not only Claire and Barrett, but several of the students as well.
Claire and Barrett are appealing lead characters, both with a past that contributed to their need/desire to prove themselves in the teaching position. Claire had lived with failure, feeling that she had always competed against her sister, only to come in second. Barrett had experienced the wounding effects of gossip firsthand and needed a fresh start. Sondra weaves spiritual gems seamlessly into the story and what begins as a competition gradually grows into forgiveness and self-sacrifice.
Reading One Plus One Equals Trouble was a pleasure and I recommend it to all who enjoy historical romance.
A native of Washington State, Sondra Kraak grew up playing in the rain, hammering out Chopin at the piano, and running up and down the basketball court. Now settled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children, blogging about spiritual truths, and writing historical romance set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
She delights in sharing stories that not only entertain, but nourish the soul. Her debut novel, One Plus One Equals Trouble, was an ACFW Genesis semi-finalist (2015) and the winner of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Unpublished Women’s Fiction Award (2015).
Thank you to Sondra Kraak and Celebrate Lit for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.