It seems lately when I pick up this author’s books; I fling around words like ‘epic’, ‘amazing’, ‘gripping’, ’emotionally draining’, ‘triumphant’ and ‘saga’ and I don’t feel like I’m hyperbolizing one little bit. This was a grand, sweeping western saga that was twelve years in the making. Their love lasted through coming of age, greed, interference, sorrow, war, misunderstanding, the disappearing wild west, and the grand dream of the transcontinental railroad. I don’t care what you have to do (yes, a price tag can be put on your first born child- and yes, I was hyperbolizing this time), but if you love western historical romance sagas, just do it (sorry Nike, I needed to borrow your catch phrase).
The story opens when Colt Travis, a half breed scout is hired to guide the wealthy Landers’ party west from Omaha to scout the future path for a transcontinental railroad. Colt is a simple man who loves the wildness of the Great Plains. He can’t imagine a railway through some of the toughest, rugged land imaginable, but a few powerful men of wealth like Bo Landers believe it can be done. Colt has decided opinions about the people he is guiding, but unfortunately he can’t make the sweet, curious and brave Miss Sunny Landers fit the slot of spoilt, whiny, rich girl. Even at the dawn of womanhood, she is beautiful and he is attracted, but he doesn’t need the rumblings from her overprotective father to remind him that she is not for the likes of him. Still, the journey is fraught with danger and he has the opportunity to show his heroic qualities and earn the lasting respect of the Landers before he parts ways from them.
Sunny Landers will forever be changed by her western adventure and time spent with one Colt Travis. No man can ever measure up in her mind. But she is destined to help her father achieve his dream no matter what it takes. She is an heiress worth millions and Colt owns the horse he rides and the clothes on his back. Their situations are too different. Sunny accepts this and allows her father to mold her into what she needs to be even as they secure the support of other businessmen like Dr. Thomas Durant and Illinois senator, Abraham Lincoln. They race to get congress to approve the bill even as the clouds of civil war threaten to sideline their railroad dream. Family dissension, personal tragedy, and loneliness face Sunny and in her darkest hour, it is Colt who is her dearest solace and comfort.
The years and circumstances separate and bring them together over and over, but they carry their memories, their disappointments, sorrows, hopes, and dreams through to the finish of the twelve years leading to the rolling thunder of steam locomotives across the plains and right on through to California.
Honestly, I have nothing, but praise for this book. It’s huginormous, but I still read it in two sittings. I laughed, sighed, and cried. Lots of crying so don’t grab a tissue; grab the whole blame box if you are an emotional reader. It’s not a typical historical romance. I mean this seriously because it is twelve years in the making with lots of hazards and missed chances, wrong-headedness, interfering others, and pretty much anything else stepping in between them. However, these are two very passionate people when it comes to each other- soulmates if you will and the tension and waiting is oh so very worth it when they do come together.
The historical backdrop is some of the most exciting and authentic one can find. The heart of the western frontier is probably the real main character of this one. American history between the early 1850s through late 1860s is well represented when it comes to the transcontinental railroad and how it affected several groups of people from the Native Americans to the power brokers in government of that day.
In summary, get the book and thank me later, western historical lovers. I will be feeling this book for quite a long while, I do believe.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.