This was a wonderful American Frontier Historical about the settling of Estes Park Colorado and set in 1875. The story primarily focuses on Henrietta “Etta” Schodde and Collan Wallace, but there are MANY other characters that are both fictional and actual persons that contribute to the story.
Etta is living with her sister’s family after the sudden death of her husband Charles, she loves her family, but wants some time alone. She sees an ad about Estes Park and decides to go for a visit. Once there, she falls in love with the area and makes friends, days before she is scheduled to leave, she is given the opportunity to buy an established claim share and jumps at the chance. Much to her family’s dismay. But Etta longs for independence and feels like this is her way to achieve that. Her first days alone are a reality check, but she doesn’t give up.
Collan Wallace is a life long friend of Etta’s family and has been wandering for years, when he travels to Denver, he meets Abner and learns about an opportunity in Estes Park, he decides to give it a try, he writes to Etta’s brother Herman and tells him of his plans and askes to buy some cattle. Herm writes back quickly, yes he will send cattle to him and while he is in Estes Park, will he please look in on his sister Henrietta? Etta was his childhood friend and there is no one in the world he likes to tease more than her. He realized too late that Etta was the girl for him years ago when she met her husband Charles. Back then he didn’t acknowledge what he felt for her, but seeing her now, all those feeling come rushing back. But it is clear that her feelings are still engaged with her late husband. He tries to stay away from her and establish himself.
These two will have to face many trials and tribulations before they finally get their HEA – there will be a surprise pregnancy, greedy Englishmen, fire, abductions, good friends, some laughs, some tears, feelings of guilt and a lot of baking. But in the end, these two will finally realize they are meant to be together.
I thought this was a great story, but it was really more of a historical fiction novel vs a historical romance. The romance in this book is very understated and the steam level is nil. Added to that is the fact that there are a lot of historical facts interspersed in the novel, sometimes to the detriment to the story. The facts are interesting, but in most cases, don’t really add to the story and make the book seem a bit wordy.
I did enjoy the book and would be happy to recommend it, but be warned, if you are looking for a romance novel, this isn’t it. However, if you are looking for an interesting, well written historical fiction novel with wonderful characters and an engaging story – read this book!!!