Set in 1890 in the Wyoming territory, Lacy Williams transports her readers into the lives of her characters and into the hardships faced by those trying to make a living in a difficult place. What results from this journey is a story about love and the sacrifices one makes in order to find love.
Jonas White runs a homestead in the country. He takes care of his cattle and his crops with the help of his seven adopted sons and his daughter. The kids are the highlight of his life and he will do anything he can to prevent them from suffering the torments and struggles he had to go through. Jonas knows what it is like to not be loved and gives his children as much love as he can. They may not have money, but they do have each other.
Penny Castlerock comes from a different world. As the daughter of a banker, she is used to the finer things in life. Her father sent her to Philadelphia to finishing school and she wears the latest fashions. With this lifestyle comes her father’s desire that she marry his business partner, a man that Penny simply can’t stand. Fortunately for Penny, her grandfather writes to ask for help on his homestead. This provides Penny with the perfect opportunity to escape an unwanted suitor as well as to relive some of the happiest moments of her childhood. Jonas is Penny’s grandfather’s neighbor and as these two get to know one another, the feelings become more than just neighborly.
Everything about this story was delightful. I challenge anyone to read about Jonas’ hardships and love for his children and to not fall in love with him. He is the perfect man. He cares for all those around him, he is honorable and he is kind. Given his background, he is also just a little bit vulnerable and doesn’t believe himself worthy of love. This belief is something that he has to work on if he is going to have a relationship with Penny.
Penny has her own issues. She wants to be a strong woman, but struggles with how much she can live her own life given the strictures of society. She can’t do or say all that she wants to. Penny also is surprised by how difficult living on a homestead can be and all that she doesn’t know about taking care of a house. Can she give up her finer things in order to live out in the country away from everything? Can she take on a man and his eight children?
An added aspect to this story that was intriguing was that Jonas’ daughter has epilepsy. The lack of understanding that people had about this condition and the ways in which they tried to treat it are handled quite well in this story. We really see the difficulties that this condition imposes on both Jonas and his daughter.