By Ginger Simpson
Eternal Press, March 2009
With the death of her parents, Sarah is faced with the loss of her home unless she gives in to the banker’s demand of marriage to prevent repossession. Marrying a man she finds repulsive not being an option, Sarah joins a wagon train heading west to California. When Indians attack the train, Sarah and her friend Molly are the only survivors. Molly is wounded and although Sarah does all she can, Molly doesn’t make it. Alone and terrified, Sarah decides going back to one of the towns they’d traveled through is the wisest course and after gathering what few supplies the war party had overlooked, she heads out on foot.
When Sarah first meets Wolf, he’s injured and thinking he’s part of the war party who attacked the train, she leaves him to die and steals his horse. Unfortunately without a saddle, she can’t mount the horse and leads him until finding a rock to aid her. Not seeing the rattlesnake sunning itself on the rock, Sarah is bitten. Wolf regains consciousness and goes looking for his horse. He finds Sarah and nurses her back to health. After hearing her story, he agrees to take her back to Independence where he’s purchased land in hopes of starting a cattle ranch.
Sarah and Wolf are deeply attracted to one another, but being the son of a white man and an Indian woman, Wolf has faced prejudice and hatred his entire life. Regardless of his feelings for Sarah, he can’t see a future for them.
This story begins right after the wagon train is attacked, so it immediately grabbed my attention and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. There are some pretty graphic descriptions of the aftermath of the attack, so if you’re squeamish about such things, you may not like that part. The author does a wonderful job portraying the hardships of the time period, and both Wolf and Sarah are likable characters. Their romance is beautifully told and I was sympathetic to their plight. I wanted badly for things to work out for them. I did find some of the dialogue a tiny bit too modern at times, but Ms. Simpson is a great storyteller and I recommend this book to anyone who loves historical love stories. The ending was surprising and I’m not sure how I feel about it…I didn’t take anything from the review rating for this because other readers will have to decide for themselves.