by Pam Hillman
Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko
About the book:
In light of her father’s death, Mariah Malone sends a letter that will forever alter the lives of her family. When Slade Donovan, strong willed and eager for vengeance, shows up on her front porch, Mariah is not ready to hear his truths: her father’s farm, the only home she’s ever known, was bought with stolen gold. With Slade ready to collect his father’s rightful claim and force Mariah and her family out on the streets, Mariah must turn to God for guidance. Though Mr. Frederick Cooper, a local landowner, promises to answer her financial woes if she agrees to be his bride, Mariah finds herself drawn instead to the angry young man demanding her home.
With the ranch now under Slade’s careful eye, he will unearth more than he ever imagined as a devious plot of thievery, betrayal and murder threatens more than the well-being of the ranch, endangering the lives of those who hold it dear. With days dwindling until the rest of the Donovan clan arrive to the Lazy M ranch, Mariah and Slade must rise above the resentment of their fathers and see their true feelings before greed alters their futures forever.
When we begin this story, we cannot help, but be drawn to the lovely, hardworking Mariah. She is trying to do what is right, but when Slade comes charging into her life, demanding his rights to her ranch, she does the honorable thing and hands it over in confusion. I imagine you would feel helpless in that situation, she had to earn money for train tickets, support her grandmother and worry about her blind sister away at school.
The characters in this story are real. They each have pain they are dealing with. The romance is light, not too detailed, but the pain is more raw. Slade- guilt and pain from blaming himself for his brother’s injuries as well as dealing with the anger from the things his father, the townfolk and others put him through. Mariah- blaming herself for her sister’s blindness and wondering why she did not know about her father’s issues.
The other characters that are secondary, like Buck, I would love to see a story about him. You could not help but like him. Injured by a wild mustang, he loves animals and had just a gentle heart.
Ms. Hillman makes you finish the book, and want more from her. She makes the story just real enough that you relate to the story in a personal way, without making the story so real that you don’t want to read it.
I look forward to reading more of her books as she writes them! -Martha