This is an Official Review by an Eye On Romance Official Reviewer
for To Have and To Hold
Date of Review: 09/20/13
Official Reviewer for Eye On Romance
The west is never a hospitable place especially in 1865. Wagon trains were plagued by numerous hardships including the weather and Native American attacks. Leigh Greenwood brings us on the journey of one wagon train as the pioneers leave their small town in Kentucky on their way to Arizona. We travel with these men and women as they try to make their way safely across the country.
Naomi Kessling doesn’t know why they had to leave their small town. No one seems to be talking, but Naomi suspects her nightmares about blood have something to do with why they fled and are avoiding other people on their trek west. Naomi travels with her two younger brothers and her father, who is the town’s doctor. Their community is close knit with almost everyone being related in some way. Naomi isn’t sure she is ready for the hardships of the west or the dangers that they face. When their wagon train is attacked by Native Americans, Naomi knows she is going to face challenges she can only imagine.
Fortunately for Naomi and her community, Colby Blaine just happens to be traveling behind the wagon train when he hears the attack and rides to their rescue. Colby is on his way back from fighting with the Union Army in the Civil War. He has seen too much in battle and it has made him long for a simple life traveling and living off the land. When he sees how needy the wagon train is, Colby decides to travel with them and to lend a hand in whatever way he can. Colby doesn’t expect to find himself so drawn toward Naomi or to have her reject him without giving him a chance.
The intertwining lives of these two individuals makes for some interesting interactions. Both Naomi and Colby have baggage that they bring to a relationship. Naomi still isn’t sure what her bloody nightmares mean or what happened in Kentucky. Colby’s parents died when he was an infant and he was raised by people who never should have had children. They have to work through their own pasts before they can build a life with someone else.
I greatly enjoyed this story. The details about what life is like traveling by wagon train made the story feel real and me very thankful that I will never have to do it. I liked the build-up of the romance between Naomi and Colby. She doesn’t immediately fall for him and they live happily ever after. Instead Leigh Greenwood allows the relationship to grow. At the beginning Naomi does everything she can to avoid Colby and only slowly does she start to get to know him.
There were several passages where Naomi or Colby were off by themselves contemplating their pasts and their futures. These passages seemed to drag a little and I just wanted them to move faster. Fortunately, these passages are infrequent and most of the story moves at a good pace.