This book was one that I had a hard time putting down. It was compelling. Mattie's voice rings true. She is someone you like. The story is set in the pioneer days. Mattie and her husband Luke head to the Colorado frontier to build a home and farm. Mattie records her journey, thoughts and life in a journal. Her story is told through this journal.
So often the journals and stories of pioneer women are softened and the difficult times glossed over in favor of espousing faith and hope. While there is nothing wrong with this sentiment, it is refreshing to see that Sandra Dallas hasn't glossed over every difficulty of frontier life, but has still managed to show that faith and hope were an everyday occurrence, and that people managed to form churches and meet together.
At times the novel is raw and uncomfortable. There is no softening of the difficulties and hard times that these frontier women suffered. Unattended childbirth, the death of infants and children, disease, Indian raids, murder and even spousal abuse and betrayal. But, through it all, Mattie's is a stalwart. Though her marriage is, at first, one of convenience and she and Luke are practically strangers, ultimately she finds friendship and love where she least expected it.