Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review: Faithful by Janet Fox

Faithful by Janet Fox

Sixteen-year-old Maggie Bennet's life is in tatters. Her mother has disappeared, and is presumed dead. The next thing she knows, her father has dragged Maggie away from their elegant Newport home, off on some mad excursion to Yellowstone in Montana. Torn from the only life she's ever known, away from her friends, from society, and verging on no prospects, Maggie is furious and devastated by her father's betrayal. But when she arrives, she finds herself drawn to the frustratingly stubborn, handsome Tom Rowland, the son of a park geologist, and to the wild romantic beauty of Yellowstone itself. And as Tom and the promise of freedom capture Maggie's heart, Maggie is forced to choose between who she is and who she wants to be.


Yellowstone National Park is like a second home to me and when I first heard about this book I knew I had to read it. Not only was this book set in Yellowstone, but it was set in historic Yellowstone. I love historical fiction so this book seemed like it was going to be perfect. While it didn't completely live up to my expectations plot and character wise, the historical elements and setting were fantastic and Janet's writing truly transported me to Yellowstone in the early 1900s.

Maggie was a character that I had a hard time connecting with. I understand that Maggie had lived a rather sheltered life in Rhode Island-- spending time with people who cared more about fancy clothes and rich husbands than anything else-- but I wish she became more likable. Maggie's mother disappears and her father brings her out west to the beautiful Yellowstone National Park. While I understand Maggie's trepidation at first, it seems she never really became the brave and likable character I had hoped for. She did have some incredible experiences and proved herself several times in difficult situations and I applaud her for certain decisions she made, but I never felt that connection with Maggie I had hoped for.

The setting was marvelous and it is apparent that Janet Fox is very familiar with the park and did quite a bit of research. As someone who has been to Yellowstone many times I can attest to how incredible it is and I can only imagine how interesting it must have been to be a visitor to the Park in the early 1900s. The plot, while occasionally stunted by too many flashbacks, was very fast moving and Maggie experienced all kinds of adventures in the Park and met a variety of interesting people. Seeing how different characters viewed the Park and its animal inhabitants was a part of the book I especially liked and it was nice seeing Maggie begin to appreciate the wild animals and the beauty of every aspect of the Park.

There were quite a few unique secondary characters and some particularly stood out to me, while some fell a little flat. I never truly felt the appeal of Tom, even though he did share a similar view with me on the Park and was a very adventurous and kind guy. I think for me, I didn't fully understand his and Maggie's relationship so that turned me off from his character a little bit. Kula is one character I am particularly interested in hearing more about (and I know the sequel to Faithful, Forgiven, follows Kula so I am looking forward to that).

All in all, Faithful was a very well-written novel that took place in the wondrous Yellowstone and tackled a variety of social issues, but the downfall for me was the characters. I will definitely still give future books by Janet a chance because I like her writing style and knack for picking out intriguing settings, but Faithful ended up not living up to my expectations.

Overall: 3 out of 5 stars

May 13, 2010/Speak/336 Pages/Young Adult/Book One

Source: Bought
Other books by this author: Forgiven


  1. Too bad about the characters, the setting alone would get me to read this book otherwise. :P

    Thanks for this review.

  2. Shame about the characters, I can't bring myself to read a book if I know I won't connect with them :( The review however is excellent


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