This book had me hooked from the beginning – a real page turner. I was eight chapters in before I realized it. It tells the tale of a young woman, Catherine Martin, who returns home from abroad at the request of her ailing uncle. She had been gone for five years after suffering heartbreak from her first love, who had cast her aside for another.
Upon her return she finds herself embroiled in a turf war between cattle and sheep barons. One is a Civil War veteran now squaring off with Catherine’s former beau, and as they lock horns over rich grazing land, Catherine struggles to protect her uncle and their home. But being a female in those times meant her opinion did not hold much strength.
Catherine’s advantage and part of her appeal is that she’s not just another pretty face looking to be married off and settle down. After leaving five years earlier, she received a solid education and in the interim she also found her own voice and strength. She grew fierce and independent in herself, and that becomes evident as she moves to become less affected by the warring factions and starts acting.
In the end she really did her part to secure everything her uncle worked for in his life, and did all of this in a time when a woman’s voice was never taken seriously, let alone respected.
I quite liked that the two protagonists really underestimated the female heroine, and even though Catherine repeatedly shows them, she still manages to surprise everyone, including her own family. They never realized just how smart and resourceful she really was, which is not at all out of character for women in the golden era of the west who also carved their own destinies.
The storyline keeps your attention through the twists and turns of the dusty trail of the west. The romance with two very different protagonists keep you on the edge of your seat waiting to turn the next page. At various points it made me sad, happy, wistful and infuriated. There were just enough steamy parts to keep you on the edge, but not distasteful.
In the end Catherine’s tale does not disappoint.
It’s simply an enchanting tale that keeps you wanting more, an original romantic adventure set in the western era. I highly recommend this book to romance readers everywhere!
Final rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars