Thursday, March 10, 2016
Montana Sky: Amanda's Rancher by Caroline Clemmons
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
REVIEW By Mary A. Adair
AMANDA'S RANCHER by Caroline Clemmons
This story begins in a small Georgia town in 1887.
Mara O’Sullivan is awakened from sleep by a barely discernible rustling sound. Her life is about to change.
Mara was raised by her mother, a town prostitute. The fact that Mara’s mother had sheltered her daughter and that Mara herself had never taken up the trade made no difference to the town folk. Though she faced the disdain of the “proper” people, she, as her mother had been, was a kind and generous person who valued right over wrong. When she witnessed a bank robbery she did the right thing, she identified the outlaws to the sheriff. This act put her life in danger and threw her into a desperate flight to find safety.
On this fearful journey she encounters a half-sister and a niece she never knew she had. She learns about her father that was devoid of fatherly love toward any child not born a boy. It was easy for her to love her half-sister, Amanda Eppes, and her own sweet and intelligent niece, Iris Grace.
Mara learns Amanda is on her way to Montana Territory to become a mail-order bride. Mara takes no time at all to make up her mind about what she wants to do. She is faced with a chance to have a real family. Changing her own destination, Mara is thrilled with the notion they can live close to one another and be a help to each other.
The two sisters make plans for the future and look forward to a family neither had ever known. Sadly, their plans are interrupted when Amanda, the sister Mara had only begun to know, dies suddenly. On her sister’s deathbed, Mara promises she will take Amanda’s place. She will pretend to be Amanda and Iris will become her daughter. She prays the plan is solid and the men who want her dead will never find them.
Her plans become salvation not only for herself but for her niece, now daughter, as well. She determines she will marry this unknown rancher. She will be the best wife and mother she can be. Most of all, she will keep Iris close and provide for her a safe and happy home.
Mara and her new daughter continue on the journey to Montana Territory where she will meet Preston Kincaid for the first time. She marries this man she does not know and soon realizes the deception she thought would keep herself and her daughter safe has become a threat to all she holds dear.
I just couldn’t put this story down. I love the way Ms Clemmons weaves a story together. These characters will wiggle their way into your heart, especially little Iris. If you are a sweet romantic at heart, with a bit of daredevil and adventurer mixed in, you will love this story.
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