I have read and enjoyed many of Kim Vogel Sawyer's books over the years, and they just seem to get better and better.
Twelve years ago, Tarsie Raines along with her Great Aunt Vangie arrived in New York from Ireland to start a better life. It is now 1880; the only family she has is her best friend Mary Brubacher and her children. And then there is Mary's husband Joss, whose drinking and gambling prevents him from being the husband and father he has the potential to be. Mary's health is failing and Tarsie helps take care of her and the kids, when she isn't busy working as a seamstress.
When Tarsie discovers a copy of James Redpath's Handbook of Kansas on a New York street she picks it up and begins to dream of a different life for herself and Mary's family in Drayton Valley. Joss doesn't care for the idea at all, but when his gambling debts come due, he changes his tune in a hurry.
They travel by train to Des Moines, Iowa, and than by wagon, heading to the state of Kansas. Joss's rough edges begin to be shaved away throughout their journey, beginning with the decision to join a wagon train in which the wagon master and the others in the train were black. It is during this time that the reader sees glimpses of the kinder, gentler Joss. But as they continue their journey to Drayton Valley, Mary's health deteriorates, and before Mary dies, Tarsie promises to care for her children and help Joss find faith in the Lord.
Their arrival in Kansas wasn't actually what they expected and Joss's search for work is difficult. Eventually, he finds a job working at a vineyard for Simon Foster, a black Christian.
As Tarsie tries to keep Joss from returning to his sinful ways, she realizes that she is falling in love with him.
I love the way that Kim is able to bring her characters to life. Her ability to write an enduring story with such memorable characters and how she walks them through their trials to a relationship with Christ is amazing.
Even though I have read the final page and have closed the cover, the characters will live on in my imagination. I loved both Simon and Ruth Foster and would love to read more about them and have a peek into Joss and Tarsie's life further into their future, but if there is never another word written about these characters the enjoyment of the book will be enough.
About the Book:
A dream of a better life...
A tragedy aboard a wagon train...
A tentative agreement...
Will it lead to love for two seeking hearts?
Hoping to escape the poor conditions of 1880 New York, Tarsie Raines and her friends Joss and Mary Brubacher and their two children set off for Kansas aboard an unusual wagon train. But when tragedy strikes on the trip across the prairie, Tarsie is thrown into a partnership with Joss that leaves them both questioning God and their plans for the future.
As their funds dwindle and nothing goes as planned, will they give up and go their separate ways? Or will God use their time in Drayton Valley in a way they never expected?
Would you like to read an excerpt?
Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of nineteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and six grandchildren. She invites you to visit her Web site for more information.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas,