When I received this book I was glad to see the name Kim Vogel Sawyer. In her previous books, “Where the Heart Leads,” (reviewed April 25) and “My Heart Remembers” (reviewed Aug. 22) she wrote satisfying stories. I was looking forward to more of the same in this book. I don’t feel disappointed.
It was not always easy waiting five years until you see your intended bride, and then to find out she is not willing to make the adjustment. She is not what you expected. You left a free spirited person in England. Your understanding was that she would join you in America and you would get married. But originally you had promised one year and it has taken you five years to set things in place. Surely she would understand that. So you agree to give her until spring to adjust and either marry you or return to England.
“Less than fifteen minutes and she would step off this train into a new life. For nearly eight weeks she had traveled, dreading the moment and now it was upon her.”
And why dread it? “It hadn’t been her idea to leave Yorkshire County in England — it was Father’s. Mother hadn’t wanted her to go, either. But Father had insisted it was best, and when Father insisted, everyone had to agree or be made to feel miserable.”
She has a hope. “If perchance he should fail to recognize her, would she be allowed to return to her beloved England? Every night since Father had made his announcement that Great-Uncle Hedrick would accompany Emmaline to America to become, at long last, the bride of Geoffrey Garret, she had prayed fervently. Prayed for release from the arrangement made when she was too young to fully appreciate the consequences. Prayed for understanding from Father. But Father had never wavered in his resolve to send her away”
It is 1874, women had no rights. Their future was determined by the Father. Their future was to be a wife and do what the husband said. All the woman could do was go along with the plans that the Father deemed right for her.
Sawyer develops the characters. Emmaline grows up and finds strength in herself. She finds she is made of sterner stuff. She does not need a man to define herself. Geoffrey finds what a rare person he has in Emmaline.
Life on the wilderness and the hardships she encounters develops in her independence. Such is the way of life. Most people need to be put under pressure to have what is inside of them come to the surface. It is not easy to run a sheep ranch in Kansas with the grasshopper season and the snakes and death in the flock during birthing time. Maybe if she could bring a bit of England to the wilderness, she could manage to survive.
There is foreshadowing of the answer to Emmaline’s wish when earlier in the story she is in the bedroom of the parsonage after the abortive wedding. “She hadn’t realized the walls and ceiling were papered in a cheery floral pattern of lavender and green. She let her gaze rove slowly, the previous day’s melancholy easing with the sight of delicate morning glories climbing the walls and coiling across the steeply pitched ceiling.”
This book is part of the historical fiction series put out by Bethany House.
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