In untamed Oregon country, one young woman fights to keep her familys afe.
Grace Martindale has known more than her share of hardship. After her parents died, raising her two younger sisters, Hope and Mercy, became her responsibility. A hasty decision to head west seemed like an opportunity for a fresh start but has instead left Grace in a precarious position. When missionary Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife agree to let Grace and her sisters stay at their mission for the winter, Grace is grateful. Until they hear from their uncle In Oregon City, the three sisters have nowhere else to go.
As Grace adjusts to life in the West, she meets a fur trapper named Alex Armistead who intrigues and infuriates her in equal measure. But when a measles outbreak threatens live at the mission and among the native Cayuse who live nearby, it is Alex who helps Grace use the natural healing remedies she learned from her mother to help where she can, despite Dr. Whitman's disapproval. As the death toll rises, so do tensions between the settlers and the natives, and Grace soon finds herself and those she loves in more danger than she imagined possible.
Don't let this ethereal cover art fool you. As gorgeous as it is, it doesn't begin to reflect the emotional turmoil found within the pages of this compelling book. Peterson has built a fascinating tale around an alarming piece of American history. It's a story rife with angst during a tumultuous time when settlers made their way West in hopes of a better life.
Grace only wants two things. To keep what's left of her family together and use her healing gifts to serve others. Going west seems to be the way to do that. But Grace and her sisters aren't prepared for the hardships they must endure in the untamed wilderness. Heart breaking, gut-wrenching times are ahead for these sisters and it will take every last ounce of faith they possess to make it through.
Fur trapper Alex has reasons for his mostly solitary lifestyle but they stop making sense once he meets Grace. There's lots of clashing wills and strong opinions as these two butt heads. But admiration soon grows into something deeper -- a bond that is difficult to sever no matter how hard they try!
Breathtaking historical details bring all the complexities of this time period to life. And it's interesting to read with the benefit of 21st century knowledge. Settler and Native relationships are volatile -- and with good reason. I'll admit to cringing a time or two over White arrogance and ignorance when it comes to the Natives and their way of life.
A gripping read that puts me in mind of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman even though Grace isn't actually a physician. And bonus -- this is just the first in the Heart of the Frontier series so there's much more to look forward to.
Book providing courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications.
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