Author: Catherine Anderson
Publisher: Signet 2013. (First published 1994)
Format: Paperback 408 pages
Summary from Back Cover
1864, Colorado: Born and bred in Boston, Laura Cheney was used to civilised society. She never dreamed she would wind up in Colorado wilderness with her newborn son - widowed and very much alone.
But her fragile allure and amber eyes hide a spirit to be reckoned with - and a mother's fierce protectiveness. When her son is kidnapped, Laura turns to a man feared by many and trusted by few.
Raised as a Cheyenne, Deke is considered a renegade to his own kind. But his steely reserve is no match for Laura's beauty. And to win her trust and devotion Deke will stop at nothing....
Firstly I really enjoy Catherine Anderson's books, and always expect to like them! As this has been a book that has been long out of print, it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to read one of her earlier works.
I liked the main characters very much. Laura is a woman with guts and spirit. When the reader first meets her, she has lost her trust in men, her father was a cold, egocentric man and her husband a poor specimen of mankind. Deke is outwardly tough and at first unwilling to help Laura when she is desperate. However as they begin a journey through a tough countryside, they also begin a journey into letting their walls down. Through many challenges they come to realise what is of value and importance to each of them.
I especially found fascinating the time spent in the Cheyenne village. Catherine Anderson says she spent quite a bit of time on research, so I am trusting that the customs she shared were from that era. Life there could be harsh, but also filled with family, love and wisdom. As I read this part I was reminded of Dances With Wolves, and although that movie was about a different tribe, I felt the same sadness for a people who had such little chance against the inexorable movement of the white people in the nineteenth century.
This story is a western, it reminded me of some of the Zane Grey novels I read years ago when they were all I could find to read. This story was full of adventure, action, mystery, humour and romance. It spoke of choices - a choice for a hard, difficult way of living or a genteel, wealthy, safe way of living. Boston or Colorado. Safety or love and the values of intimacy and joy in the seemingly simple things in life.
Personally I think there were places where the story was a little too drawn out, a bit more editing here and there would have sharpened it up. Still a worthwhile read.