My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Beginning with a raid, the cry, “Indians! Indians!” and death on the trail, Keta Diablo drops the reader right into a harsh environment. Aside from being introduced to rather a lot of names in this opening scene, it was a gripping introduction to what is an entirely sweet story.
Our Heroine is Rory, a young woman who is accustomed to shouldering responsibility and receiving the love of family. She is close to her sister and is a good aunt to her nieces and nephews and the reader gets a sense of her inner life as the story moves forward while the family settles into a new community in Minnesota – which, we are told in the preface, is taken from Dakota Sioux word for “sky tinted water.”
It’s a lovely title!
The author settles her heroine in and then sends her on a walk where we meet The Hero, Dawson. A man who is apparently washing up in a stream. Rory finds him and is taken aback by his partial nudity and her own visceral response to it.
The tension is palpable, her nerves charming, and the situation appropriate for this kind of romance.
Their first actual encounter happens at a barn raising and I very much enjoyed the author’s touching on details without overwhelming us with them. The focus here is the romance and how families are affected by external conflict (such as wars) and she does this with a careful hand.
Dawson’s pursuit of Rory is not unnoticed, but it isn’t universally accepted, either. There are villains afoot and there are silent heroes about and they play their roles in this romance before the story’s end.
I don’t want to give away how the author brings the couple to their wedding or how the Civil War intrudes on their happily ever after, but I will tell you that bad things happen to good people, heroes are heroic whether silent or vocal, and that you can’t keep a good woman down for long.
After the initial rough beginning (too many names were confusing, as I indicated) and the story started rolling past the midwifery, I was enthralled with the story and bent over my reader, captivated until the very last page.
I look forward to reading the sequel, Sky Dance, which is due out this spring!