In Pieces by Rhonda Ortiz

by | Aug 26, 2022 | Historical Fiction, Romance

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

Books for Lent

Deepen your Lenten reflection with these stories of repentance and forgiveness

The Table by Dennis Lambert

A table built by the grandfather of Jesus Christ survives the darkest moment in history to bring peace to a widowed musician

The Book of Jotham by Arthur Powers

Experience Christ through the eyes of Jotham, his disabled disciple.

By Violence Unavenged by Annette Young

A Catholic Historical Epic to Rival The Sound of Music.

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 Michael: Above the 38th Parallel by Shanti Guy

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

The Grace Crasher by Mara Faro

The Grace Crasher is the ecumenical romantic dramedy that everyone who has ever had family members in split churches needs to read.

Feel-Good Books For Pandemic Summer

Book Therapy to chase the blues away

The Academy Saga: Book 1 By C.J. Daly  

A thrilling, yet clean, high school romance.

Ornamental Graces by Carolyn Astfalk

A great romantic drama about how authentic love can restore life to two people who have been hurt in the past.

How Sweet the Sound by Courtney Guest Kim

Annette makes all the wrong decisions for her love life—but through Grace finds true wisdom.

A Life Such As Heaven Intended by Amanda Lauer

A chance encounter with an amnesiac soldier leads Brigid to discover the realities of the Civil War.

Unclaimed, Nameless, & Vanished by Erin McCole Cupp

Jane Eyre re-imaginged in a world where cloning, and genetic manipulation have returned us to a class system.

Freeing Tanner Rose by T.M. Gaouette

Hollywood Starlet meets Kung Fu Country boy with a God obsession.

Anyone But Him by Theresa Linden

What if you woke up one day and didn’t recognize the person you were sleeping next to?

Heavenly Hosts: Eucharistic Miracles for Kids by Kathryn Griffin Swegart, O.F.S.

Teach your children about the real presence through these short bedtime stories.

A Distant Prospect by Annette Young

Lucy has been broken by the horrors of polio and the war for Irish Independence. Can Australia offer her a new life and a new home?

From Afar by Roger Thomas

Three astronomers follow the stars in a search for order and meaning. An action adventure based on the three wise men of the Gospels.

For Eden’s Sake by T.M. Gaouette

Life is precious whether it’s planned or not.

Elfling by Corinna Turner

Serapia Ravena is on a mission to find and keep her father, but he has transgressed a boundary that no creature has the right to cross. Only the mercy of God can resolve this tension.