Old maid Clara is an educated 22 year-old from a wealthy Bostonian family. Fed up with being pursued by businessmen her father’s age, she answers an advert for a mail order bride and heads off to the Alaskan Territory.
Unbeknown to Clara, the man she is set to marry dies in an accident, and his sister, Callie, writes to stop his bride setting off. The letter crosses with Clara on her journey, and the two women find themselves in an unusual situation. Callie insists Clara goes home, Clara is determined to stay and live her adventurous dream.
Clara and Callie are strong, independent women with distinctive voices and very strong wills. They both have a secret they have never revealed, and both have a determination to ‘make it’ in a man’s world, whatever the cost. Their characters clash, yet they are both intrigued and infuriated by the other. As they adjust and compromise, we watch a very slow burn romance unfold, beautifully crafted and befitting the era of the novel.
D Jordan Redhawk has created an interesting set of characters between the more refined Bostonian family and the roughneck frontier folk. She has used the vocabulary of the era to give authenticity to the dialogue and cleverly makes the voices very distinct with tone and language.
The setting of the gold rush era in an Alaskan town is well drawn, with new businesses appearing weekly, and a wide set of society on display. The beauty of the landscape and the harshness of the lifestyle play an important part in the background of the story as we witness Clara’s transformation from Boston debutant to gun-toting frontier homesteader.
I really enjoyed this story and hope there is a sequel, as we can certainly have more of Callie and Clara’s lives together. Excellent writing, unusual setting, passionate characters and very well done realistic storyline. While the attraction is obvious, it is drawn with enough twists to make it interesting and enough humour to entertain, while at the same time the women literally fight to survive in a world where an unscrupulous man can take whatever he wants.
(publisher review copy received)
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