A HOPEFUL HEART
SAWYER, KIM VOGEL
Can she turn her second-best chance into a golden opportunity?
Dowryless and desperate, Tressa Neill applies to the inaugural class of Wyatt Herdsman School in Barnett, Kansas. The school's one-of-a-kind program teaches young women from the East the skills needed to become a rancher -- or the wife of one. But will Tressa have what it takes to survive Hattie Wyatt's hands-on-instruction in skills such as milking a cow, branding a calf and cooking up a mess of grub for hungry ranch hands?
Abel Samms wants nothing to do with the passel of potential brides his neighbour brought to town. He was smitten with an eastern girl once -- and he got his heart broken. But there's something about quiet Tressa and her bumbling ways that makes him take notice. When trouble strikes, will Abel risk his life -- and his heart -- to help this eastern girl?
THIS IS SUCH A FRESH LOOK AT THE MAIL-ORDER BRIDE STORY LINE. I LOVE THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF A HERDSMAN SCHOOL. HOW BRILLIANT IS THAT?! AND 'AUNT' HETTY NEARLY OUTSHINES THE HERO AND HEROINE. SHE'S JUST SUCH A SOLID, COMFORTING, NO-NONSENSE BUT COMPASSIONATE WOMAN. AND HER FAITH IS UNSHAKABLE. SHE'S THE ANCHOR IN THIS BOOK.
TRESSA NEILL IS A HEROINE AFTER MY OWN HEART. SHE STARTS OUT SO TIMID, COWED BY EMOTIONAL EVENTS FROM HER PAST WHICH HAVE MADE HER LOSE SIGHT OF GOD. HER LACK OF CONFIDENCE MAKES HER A SCAPEGOAT FOR SOME OF THE OTHER GIRLS AT THE SCHOOL. THE GROWTH IN HER CHARACTER IS SOME OF THE BEST I'VE EVER READ. IT WAS SO NATURAL AND PLAUSIBLE AND REALLY PULLED ME IN.
ABEL SAMM'S PREJUDICES AGAINST THE EASTERN WOMEN AND HIS BATTLE WITH HIS ATTRACTION TO TRESSA IS INFURIATING, FUNNY AND ENDEARING. HE HAS SOLID REASONS FOR NOT BEING INTERESTED IN AN EASTERN BRIDE -- OR ANY WOMAN FOR THAT MATTER AS HE STRUGGLES TO HOLD ONTO HIS RANCH. AND TO MAKE MATTERS WORSE, THERE'S A CATTLE RUSTLING MYSTERY THAT NEARLY COSTS ABEL HIS LIFE AND LIVELIHOOD AND PUTS TRESSA IN DANGER.
THE INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE OF PUTTING YOUR FAITH IN GOD IS INTRICATELY WOVEN THROUGHOUT THE PLOT. IT FLOWS NATURALLY AND BEAUTIFULLY AND MAKES THIS AN ENJOYABLE, UPLIFTING READ.