Along the way, Emma reconnects with a childhood friend, Randall, who she finds suddenly an attractive man. Like her, he is from the East and is sophisticated and educated, and they enjoy each other’s company. When Emma takes a fall off her horse and is rescued by Lucas Rawlings, the local veterinarian, she finds the handsome widower alluring, but she cannot imagine herself with the cowboy. Two suitors, each very different.
This is a story of change and choices, of resisting the plans of others to pursue your own dreams, your own life. While Lucas knows what he wants, he must face the ghosts of his past to have it. He still carries great pain from the loss of the first wife who died in childbirth. Emma, on the other hand, is too often manipulated into doing what her parents and others want instead of having the courage to defy them to pursue her own dreams. I loved Lucas (what woman wouldn’t?), but at times I wanted to shake Emma when she caved to her parents’ manipulations and said nothing. She was too concerned about what everyone else wanted for her.
Whitman takes a leisurely pace (400+ pages) to show us the West as it was a decade after the Civil War with tensions over Indians somewhat dissipated but prejudice still very much alive. We meet a town full of interesting characters, some wonderful and some not so, as one might expect. Whitman does a great job of fleshing them out and bringing life to a small Colorado town.
The story has an inspirational bent, too, particularly as regards the faith of the hero in the second half.
One could have wanted a faster pace, but still it’s a great tale and a wonderful love story, well worth the read. I would definitely want to read more by this author.
|The fields around Greeley, Colorado|