Genre

Historical Fiction / Romance

Audience

Adult

Author’s Worldview

Catholic

Year Published

2021

Themes

faith, love, theology of the body, friendship, gossip, conversion, intrigue, politics, suicide, grief, family, slavery, American history, post-Revolutionary War

 

Reviewed by

Lisa Theus

Life isn’t easy in post-Revolutionary Boston for a single woman. Orphaned after the death of her father, Molly Chase struggles to find her way while overcome with grief. She is blessed when the Robbs, family friends and former servants, open their own home to her, but it sets into motion a series of misunderstandings. Everyone notices how handsome and eligible Josiah Robb is—everyone except Molly, until she’s forced to face rumors of impropriety. 

How can a girl in this age quell the rumors and remain friends with her best friend, who is, of course, in love with her? 

The plot sounds simple in summary, but the book is a rich presentation of an engaging cast, each with their own struggles and themes. It’s set mostly in the lively port town of Boston with a cast of characters who hope that brewing European conflict doesn’t ruin their new lives and country. In Pieces shows both ‘slice of life’ interactions and larger political intrigue. 

Molly has to struggle with the grief of losing her parents; the rumors about her virtue; and the decision of whether to earn her own living or to go hunting for a husband. Her best friend and main love interest has his own journey, in addition to whether or not he’ll get the girl: should he continue with his current career or become involved in politics, with a cameo of no less than first president George Washington? Should he remain in his current church, or risk breaking his mother’s heart to follow a path towards the Catholic Church? How can he best atone for previously trading in slave-produced sugar? Several other characters round out the book and help the reader dive deeper into the time period as well as universal questions such as retaining virtue in the face of gossip, the nature of men and women, and what makes a good marriage. 

I highly recommend this book for fans of romance and historical fiction, particularly Christian readers. The treatment of the different Christian denominations was appropriate to this era of American history, with its tiny Catholic population. Catholics—especially converts—will have a special appreciation for Josiah Robb’s struggle with wanting to reject Rome but feeling drawn anyway. I have heard from converts with a similar struggle! Secular readers are likely to enjoy the overall plot, but there is an emphasis on listening to God and searching for religious truth that may not appeal to them. 

I can be a little cynical about the romance genre, and still I only thought the action dragged a little near the end. My biggest complaint is simply that this is the first of the series, so while the plot ends satisfactorily, there are still some larger threads of the plot that only a sequel will address. Expect some minor frustration until we get another volume! 

If you don’t like period pieces or romance, avoid this book, but Ortiz’ In Pieces has broad appeal for readers who enjoy drama, adventure, and a happy ending. I eagerly await the sequel.

Get Catholic Books & eBooks for as little as $1 to FREE

All in Good Time by Carolyn Astfalk

A truly healthy romance that will STILL leave you up at night

Island of Miracles by Amy Schisler

When she finds out her husband had a whole other set of wife and kids Kate starts over in a small beach town.

Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang

This two part graphic novel tells its story from 2 sides China’s bloody civil war: A Boxer Rebel & a “traitor” Christian-Convert.

For Eden’s Sake by T.M. Gaouette

Life is precious whether it’s planned or not.

Lance and the Veil by Kevin Rush

She was Christ’s comforter, he, his executioner. Can the two find love in each other’s arms?

Stay with Me by Carolyn Astfalk

Can Rebecca get out from under her domineering father and find love with the forbidden Catholic boy determined to win her heart?

Rightfully Ours by Carolyn Asfalk

When Paul & Rachel discover a hidden treasure they wrestle with the responsibility of it– even as they face similar questions in their relationship.

Our Lady of the Roses by Janice Lane Palko

Could Rome spark romance between a fashionista and an inventor-engineer?

Feel-Good Books For Pandemic Summer

Book Therapy to chase the blues away

Saint Michael: Above the 38th Parallel by Shanti Guy

The true story of St. Michael, the original punch-communism-in-the-face superhero

My Brother’s Keeper by Bill Kassel

What if you were Jesus’ protective older brother? Could you navigate the courts of Rome & Jerusalem to save him?

Murder in the Vatican by Ann Margaret Lewis

Sherlock Holmes teams up with Pope Leo XXIII to solve crimes in the Holy City.

A Fisher of Women: The Tale of the Forgotten Healer of Galilee by Catherine Magia

Before she and husband were Saints, Peter and his wife struggled just to heal themselves

Saint Magnus: The Last Viking by Susan Peek

A young Viking Prince evades a warlord while finding his own harrowing path to sainthood.

Good to the Last Drop by Declan Finn

Marco thought his problems were over when he took on the vampire council, until he gets bit by a werewolf. Will this ruin things with his vampire girlfriend?

The Gift Counselor By Sheila M. Cronin

If you’re a fan of Hallmark Channel’s cozy lineup of holiday Rom-coms, this book is definitely for you.

I Hope You Find Joy By Eliza Mae Albano

Can Emma find joy with the man who hurt her?

Live and Let Bite Review by Declan Finn

The battle with the demons of San Francisco left Marco broken and now Amanda isn’t answering his messages.