Times are hard in Gallatin Valley, Montana Territory in 1866. Grace Bidwell is the sole owner of Bidwell Farms after the death of her husband a few years earlier. Her ill father lives with her and between him and the farm chores, she is too busy. So, she puts a notice in the mercantile for hired help. While there she sees three raggedy children eagerly staring at some peppermint sticks and decides to purchase on for each.
The children are in town with their father Robert, who is looking for work to tide them over until the can move on. Finding Grace’s notice, Robert is able to secure the job, although he keeps the existence of the children a secret. They set up camp a little way from the farm, but on the farm property. When Grace finally learns of the children she is offers them a place to stay while Robert is working for her. She had always wanted a family, but was childless in her marriage. She loved caring for the kids and learned to care for their step-father too.
Reading this story showed just what a heightened sense of pride, hurt, and anger can do. It takes special people to overcome all of this and to make good the life that they have. Revell has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book, “Trusting Grace” by Maggie Brendan.
“Montana Snowfall” by Caroline Fyffe was a very good read. In her novel, Ms. Fyffe portrays a young St. Louis girl from a big family who is desperate to leave. She concocts a story about visiting her sister and husband in Y Knot, Montana, even though she has not let them know that she is coming. Her reason for going away is to spare her family the shame she feels for the predicament she is in. Personally, I think her refusal to let her family help her is misguided. However, it does make for a good storyline.
Sally travels to Montana by train and stage and at one point during the journey, the stage overturns and she rides for help on one of the mules. She is caught in a blinding snowstorm and just manages to find a hunter’s cabin where she takes shelter. Also caught in the storm is Roadie Guthrie, a ranch hand for the McCutcheon family who is more like a son to the patriarch and his wife. All of their children and families live in or near the main ranch house and are protected by each other. Roadie finds the hunter’s cabin and he and Sally are forced to remain together for three days waiting out the storm. Roadie and Sally form a friendship, and Sally’s predicament causes Roadie to come to her rescue again.
I thought this story was well-thought out and I loved the characters. Roadie was a kind and gentle person and Sally, although misguided, was a lovely girl caught up in circumstances beyond her control. I think you’ll like this book.
MK McClintock’s Montana Gallagher novels are very good reads. I’m glad Ms. McClintock keeps the series alive with new stories about the inhabitants of Heart of the Mountain ranch. In “Journey to Hawk’s Peak”, she writes about Amanda. Amanda helped her father out in their mercantile in Iron City, until his murder and a fire destroyed her life. She had to run for her life and hitched a ride with a wagon train going west. Alone and scared, she made herself indispensable to the families of the train by cooking and watching their children. She found work in a saloon when she was discovered there by the Gallaghers and offered a job on their ranch.
Even though she was happy and content with her new life, she was in constant fear that her past would be discovered and her happiness shattered. Before escaping Iron City, she had been falsely arrested for setting the fire that stole her livelihood. A sympathetic deputy helped her escape and she’d been on the run until she reached Montana. This story becomes very involved and I enjoyed reading about the mishaps, troubles and the solutions that the Gallagher’s find for Amanda.
I enjoyed this book very much and hope to read more stories from this series. I will also be looking for books in her other series. I think Ms. McClintock has a wealth of plots left for us to enjoy.
I received a Kindle copy of this book from NetGalley.com in return for my honest review.
“That First Montana Year” by Donna L. Scofield traces the story of a young couple and their shot-gun marriage and subsequent travels to a new life in Montana.
Beatrice Anne has gone and done it…she has gotten pregnant…and she’s not married. The father of her child is someone whom she has loved almost all of her seventeen years. The fact that he broke off their relationship when a new fancy girl came to town broke her heart. Go back to one night during a blizzard where the two have holed up in an old cabin to keep from freezing to death. Will Carter is reluctant, but resigned to do the right thing and marry B’Anne. Neither of them is happy with the arrangement, but it’s the only thing to do.
The story continues as the young couple finds their way to a new life and a life together. Will they find true love along the way? I enjoyed reading this story because of its simplicity and the portrayal of all the hard work that settlers on the plains had to go through.
I purchased a Kindle copy of this book from Amazon.com. No review positive or otherwise was required – all opinions are my own.
A novel set in 1917, just before the United States’ entry into the Great War, “A Love Transformed” by Tracie Peterson tells the story of a young woman living in New York. Clara Vesper has just been informed that her husband Adolph has been murdered in an apparent mugging. With two young children, she is stunned to find out that she does not inherit her husband’s estate. She has been the silent designing partner in a jewelry firm specializing in sapphire pieces which she designs and her husband and brother, Otto pass off as their creations. In order to get away from her domineering mother and pushy brother-in-law, she flees to Montana to live with her aunt and uncle on their ranch where she spent wonderful times as a teenager. Also at the ranch is her first beau. He is recovering from an accident and she is coerced into caring for him.
After a while, sinister things start to happen. Not only does her mother find her, but travels to the ranch to pressure her to return to New York and marry Otto. Otto is involved in another trade…espionage. He and his cohorts are smugglers and are involved in treason against the United States with Germany. I enjoyed the book from this prolific author. Ms. Peterson has written many novels, a few of which I have read. I have liked each one.
I received a print copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in return for my honest review.
Cassandra Michaels is a new writer of romance novels. I read “The Barren Bride” along with four more of her stories. I would consider these short stories instead of full-fledged novels. Because Ms. Michaels is new on the scene of fiction writing, I gave her a lot of margin for accomplishment as I read her works. However, I really must say that although I think Ms. Michaels has potential, I felt as though these stories were written by someone with less education in the art of writing than she has. The other aspect of some of these stories is the intimacy that occurs upon a first meeting. I would not characterize these stories as “clean romance” with the scenes as depicted. I would suggest that Ms. Michaels re-write these stories with a better regard for more descriptive writing and concentration on the complexity of the characters. I think that readers would be more drawn to this author if that were present.
I purchased a free e-copy of this book from Amazon.com.
Rosanne Bittner has written many novels and I have read quite a few of her works. In fact, I wonder that she can come up with new story lines. However in “Desperate Hearts” she has done just that. Although it’s a classic tale of a runaway heroine trying to escape the clutches of a depraved relative, there is enough action and adventure in this novel to keep you interested to the last page.
Elizabeth Wainwright runs from New York to a little hole-in-the-wall gold town of Alder, Montana. Most of the people in Alder are running from something or someone. The town sheriff, Mitch Brady, is also a vigilante in Montana and the only law for miles around. Elizabeth is coming into town on a stagecoach when outlaws attack and she is the only one left alive. Mitch arrives just in time to save her virtue and her life.
The story continues as the townspeople surround Mitch and Elizabeth with caring concern in the wake of many attempts on both Mitch’s and Elizabeth’s lives. Along the way, the two come to trust each other enough to be able to share whatever is lurking in their pasts and preventing them from going on with life.
I truly enjoyed reading this book and found it to be a good old western novel. I was sent a free print copy by NightOwlReviews.com in return for my honest review.