What happens when the realization of a dream isn't what you imagined... and the secret you've spent a lifetime guarding is finally laid bare?
Determined to become one of the country's premier newspaper photographers, Elizabeth Westbrook travels to the Colorado Territory to capture the grandeur of the mountains surrounding the remote town of Timber Ridge. She hopes, too, that the cool, dry air of Colorado, and its renowned hot springs, will cure the mysterious illness that threatens her career, and her life. Daniel Ranslett is a man shackled by his Confederate past, and he'll do anything to protect his land, and his solitude. When an outspoken Yankee photographer captures an image that appears key to solving a murder, putting herself in danger, Daniel is called upon to repay a debt. He's a man of his word, but repaying that debt could reveal secrets from his past he would prefer remain buried.
Forced on a perilous journey together, Daniel and Elizabeth's lives intertwine in ways neither could have imagined when first they met from a distance.
My Ranking: 6 out of 10
Ages: 14 & up
This was my first book by Tamera Alexander. I was fascinated by the gorgeous cover and was eager to begin reading. Sadly, the book did not meet my expectations. That being said, I still enjoyed the book and read it from cover to cover in only a couple days.
The fact that Elizabeth was a photographer was one of the reasons I was anxious to read it. I too am a photographer and thought it would be cool to read a book where the main character had the mindset of one. In this area, I was pleased with the book. Elizabeth was full of life and vigor, though I must say plainly that she was quite stupid at times. I was shaking my head at her abundance of pride and lack of common sense repeatedly as I read the book and actually felt bad fro the hero at parts because Elizabeth was being as stubborn as a mule and not trusting the advice of someone who knew what he was talking about. Though the character's hair color was red, I think blonde might have been a better choice. ;-p
It was easy to connect with Daniel, the hero, and his scarred past from being in the War Between The States. While I wasn't a big fan of Daniel himself and didn't much like his personality, I found that I was still able to feel the heartache of all that he had been through.
My favorite character and the only one who had any common sense, in my opinion, was Josiah - Elizabeth's hired help. The former slave was awesome - caring, considerate, kind, protective; almost like a big brother to Elizabeth. I instantly liked him and he was the highlight of the book.
There were a few things that I need to point out in this book; the most prominent being that on a very cold night during Josiah, Daniel, and Elizabeth's journey through the mountains, while their sleeping in the cave for the night Daniel noticed that Elizabeth didn't bring thick enough blankets. Apparently this granted him being able to "share" a blanket with her, which she allowed him to do...even after they were falling very much in love. I was infuriated when this happened, because while nothing bad took place, it would have all been spared if Daniel had had enough sense to check her supplies, as he knew she didn't know much about the mountains, or give his blanket to her and share with Josiah. This was the biggest downfall in the book. I lost all previous respect for Daniel when this happened. Of course, it didn't make me put down the book as nothing "improper" happened(as if that isn't improper enough), I was disappointed that this was included. I think Alaxander could have made her hero seem a lot more heroic if he had given her his own blanket and shared with Josiah.
The only other thing to point out is that Elizabeth has a lung problem, which I thought was a nice twist, but I believe it was twice that she had a problem and Daniel had to cut open her dress to get her to breath. Of course, she had a corset under it so it wasn't a big deal for people reading it now, but back then seeing a woman's undergarments like that was like, well, seeing a woman's undergarments today. He also sees a little skin on her shoulder or chest or something - I don't remember exactly where - but it was just mentioned and not dwelled on. He has to hold her against him in the water, which is part of the procedure to get her breathing regularly again. All the time Elizabeth is out cold and it is from Daniel's perspective - who is falling more in love with her by the second.
While there were a few things to point out, overall it was a fairly clean book. The part in the cave wasn't terribly bad or anything; it was just a major disappointment to me when it could have been prevented by some common sense from the two characters.
Overall, I would encourage the reading of this book to anyone who enjoys a sweet romance that takes place in the beautiful Rocky mountains. Purchase it here!