This Christian Historical Romance Fiction novel follows the journey of a couple, Drew and Hannah Anderson, as they travel from Cincinnati, Ohio to the newly created Arizona Territory in 1863. In their search for a new life, they encounter many dangers and joys along the way. They meet the governor of the territory and travel with his party, witnessing several historical events.
The story also follows Will Colter’s journey from Texas to the Arizona Territory when he is forced to leave his home. As this rancher drives his cattle across the wilderness, he and his men run into life-threatening situations. Throughout the move his dreams for his new ranch solidify.
Once the main characters arrive in the Arizona Territory, they must learn to adapt to wilderness living. Things are not exactly what they thought. Each character is challenged to rely on God to face dangers in a new, wild territory.
My take on this book:
Dr.Drew Anderson and his wife Hannah, lived a pretty comfortable life in Cincinnati Ohio, good friends and a thriving practice is everything they hoped for.When Drew's brother commits an act that turns the community against the them, their friends stop speaking to them, and Drew's patients stop coming to the clinic, Drew and Hannah know they are going to have to do something. When Drew notices an ad in the paper stating that doctors are needed out west he decides that the answer is to move west and start over where no one knows about his brother. Hannah knows they need to move, but doesn't want to move to Arizona. As the couple starts out on their wagon train journey, things are difficult for Drew, while a very competent doctor,he feels less than adequate when it comes to handling a wagon or managing the oxen, he doesn't even know how to shoot a gun. The tension between him and Hannah makes him continue to second guess whether he actually made the right decision, but from the start he felt as if God was leading them, and prays that once they reach their destination things will work out!
Will Colter grew up on his father's ranch in Texas,but knew that as the youngest son someday the ranch would belong to his brother. After the untimely death of his father, his brother Reuben gives him two weeks to leave the ranch. Even though Will had received half of the livestock and financial holdings, the ranch belonged to Reuben, giving Will no choice but to strike out on his own. The only regret is that he will have to leave his young sister Julia behind, but the will also stated that Reuben was to be her guardian, leaving Will no choice. After finding some documents belonging to his father about the Arizona territory Will believes God is leading him to Arizona, and while he knows it wont be an easy trip, his faith and the hope of establishing his own ranch propel him forward!
This story starts out as a story about the Anderson's, but also a story about Will Colter. Each story has its own issues, but each story has one thing in common, each character is facing a monumental move, striking out on the westward journey hoping for a new life. The trip west isn't easy by any means, and while we pick up a few new characters along the way, my heart also broke when one didn't make it, but honestly I imagine that is how the real move west was. The one thing that kept them going was their faith in God and the promise of a new beginning. The author does a seamless job of moving between the two stories, allowing the reader two views of a journey that culminates in the same destination. I loved the characters in this story, their emotions are so heartfelt, and their faith so strong, it literally jumps off the page. Even though this is a work of fiction, you feel as if your getting a bit of a history lesson as well,because some of the events that take place in the book actually happened.
For fans of inspirational fiction the author weaves a heart grabbing story of faith and love as well as loss and new beginnings. While it is an inspirational story it would easily appeal to anyone who enjoys reading the trials and triumphs of the westward journey. Even though the author wrapped the ending up quite nicely I hope she gives us a sequel, because several of the secondary characters seemed to be begging to tell their own story!
About the author:
Karen Baney, in addition to writing Christian historical fiction and chick lit novels, works as a Software Engineer. Spending over twenty years as an avid fan of both genres, Karen debuts her talents with "A Dream Unfolding", the first in a four book series set in territorial Arizona.
Her faith plays an important role both in her life and in her writing. She is active in the women's ministry at her church, facilitating numerous bible studies throughout the year. Karen and her husband make their home in Gilbert, Arizona, with their two dogs. She also holds a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University.