Sunday, April 18, 2010
Melinda and the Wild West by Linda Weaver Clarke -- Book Review and Giveaway
A sweet historical romance is what you'll find in Melinda and the Wild West, the first book in Linda Weaver Clarke's A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho series.
It is 1896, and elegant, naive Melinda Gamble decides to give up the comforts and pleasures of the east to become a schoolteacher in the untamed Wild West. Paris, Idaho is everything that Boston isn't: peaceful, simple, and dangerous.
Melinda loves teaching. When she takes Jenny Roberts under her wing, she opens up a world to the child that Jenny's former teachers never cared enough to share. Jenny begins to blossom and Melinda is happy to see she is having such a positive impact on her students. Dealing with Jenny's father, however, frustrates Melinda to no end.
Gilbert Roberts has been raising Jenny by himself since his wife died in childbirth. Running his cattle ranch and providing for Jenny have left him too busy to consider courting. And even if he had the time, the secret that has plagued him for years, quells any desire he might have to marry again. He resents Melinda's initial accusations that he is neglecting his daughter. As they get to know each other better, Melinda's self-willed nature leaves him shaking his head more than once.
Can two people who are so different truly have a future together?
Melinda and the Wild West is a great start to what I hope will be a wonderful series. Five books are now available in A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho series. The others are:
Edith and the Mysterious Stranger
David and the Bear Lake Monster
Elena, Woman of Courage: A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho.
The strength of this book lies within its well-developed characters. Melinda is self-willed (a term she despises), with an elegance one would expect of a well-bred young lady. Melinda certainly doesn't see herself giving up teaching to get married and take care of some man for the rest of her life. She is frustrated by Gilbert, which makes her attraction to him that much more difficult to bear.
Gilbert, on the other hand, has dealt with the loss of his wife alone. He keeps more than busy raising Jenny and operating his cattle ranch. He's not prepared for someone like Melinda, and he certainly can't understand his attraction to her.
Melinda's Aunt Martha and Uncle William, who she boards with in Paris, Idaho, are not complex characters, but the story wouldn't be the same without them. Martha is the matchmaking half of a couple that has been married for many years and remains as in love now as they were back then. They provide a sense of belonging to Melinda in her new home. They are sweet and funny, and are the perfect surrogate parents for Melinda.
Several true experiences from Clarke's family members and ancestors make their way into the book. She lists them in a note at the end of the book. Clarke also does an excellent job of dropping the reader right into the time period with many historical details.
Memorable characters, an engaging plot, and the heartbeat of the untamed west combine to make Melinda and the Wild West a book that historical romance readers will enjoy.
Title: Melinda and the Wild West
Author: Linda Weaver Clarke
Publisher: American Book Publishing
Now that you've read all about Melinda and the Wild West, I'm sure you'll want to add it to your historical fiction collection. The author has generously agreed to allow The Book Connection to offer a giveaway. Find the details below on how you can enter for your chance to win a copy of this wonderful book.
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This giveaway will run from today until 11:59 p.m.(Eastern) on April 30th. A winner will be announced in early May.
* This contest is open to all residents of the United States and Canada.
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