Full of resolve, young widow Willow Peterson decides to pursue her dreams to be an artist as she settles into a new life in the growing mountain town of Cripple Creek. When she lands a job working as a portrait painter with handsome entrepreneur and photographer Trenton Van Der Veer, the road before Willow seems to be taking a better-than-anticipated turn.My take:
With questions tugging at several hearts in town, including the Sinclair Sisters’ beloved Miss Hattie, change is traveling down the tracks as several unexpected visitors make their way out West. Will the new arrivals threaten the deep family bonds of the Sinclair sisters and the roots of love that are just taking hold for Willow?
Filled with the resonating questions that all women face, this romance awakens hope against grief, love against loss, and dreams against life’s unexpected turns.
Definitely a historical romance as opposed to historical fiction, so this certainly was "fluffier" than I usually go for. I had not read any of the other books in this series, and there were certainly moments where I knew I was missing something because I wasn't familiar with the characters from the other books. However, I do believe this stood on its own.
The plot was fairly predictable. There were a couple of details that caught me off guard, but the overall story panned out pretty much as expected. That isn't to say I didn't enjoy the story. I certainly did. One thing I loved was a certain realism from a relationship point of view. Most relationships I see involve people assuming things about the other person, but eventually talking it over and realizing they were reacting on assumptions. The characters in this story tended to do that as well. It was refreshing to have characters behave like adults at points where I expected there to be some huge, drawn-out blow-up over something that had been misunderstood.
A main theme had to do with loss -- widows missing their husbands, daughters missing their parents, mothers missing their babies, people coming to terms with the loss of a dream.
The historical touches were nice too. I don't know a lot about Cripple Creek, though I did work up there once upon a time. Certain aspects really rang true, though, and my favorite part was reading the far-too-brief historical notes that came after the story.
I probably will look for the other Sinclair Sisters novels, primarily because of the "home" connection.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for this review.