Posted first on The Romance Reviews
Lacy Butler and her sister Mattie have been traveling with their gambling father since their mother died. When he happened to win a cabin in Harperville in a card game, he immediately moved his daughters in and then disappeared. Mattie had moved into town for a job and to help feed the minors while Lacy was just fine up on the mountain by herself. She is a natural healer and when she had not been able to heal her own mother, she withdrew from both God and man. She is stubborn and contrary, and has gained a reputation for being quite ornery. She wears men's clothes and had learned to take care of herself.
When she tries to sabotage the new water flume for the mine, she runs into more then she bargained for.
Royce Darnell is in charge and he is determined to not let the damage of their food stuffs scare them off from the job they are doing. As he begins to track the guilty party, he heads into the night determined to make them pay. He does not anticipate the weather and finds himself deep in trouble. He lost his way and frost bite begun to set in. He prays that he will be safe. As he loses control and slides down a slippery slope, he temporarily loses consciousness. Upon awakening, he finds himself being dragged to safety by a small man, muffled against the weather. Making it to the cabin in the woods and settled into the warmth of a bed, Royce only vaguely remembers his night. A tingling warmth, a flash of light and then a deep and resting slumber.
Awakening in the morning, he finds that not only is his rescuer a woman, but the very woman who sabotaged the camp. Before he can delve any further, a rescue team shows up, and he assures Lacy that he will not turn her in; she had after all saved his life. There is something about Lacy that intrigues him, and he knows that something happened during his night in her care. He has healed too rapidly and the frost bite should have left some ravages, but there is nothing. He is determined to find her secret and get to know her better. She is not what she seems and with all her bravado on the outside, there is more to her that she keeps hidden away.
As the war on slavery breaks out in the East, the factions for both sides are settled here in this small mining town. Anger, fueled by fear and alcohol, pit townsman against miner, and it will take Lacy and Royce working together to soothe the savage feelings and save their home. It will take all that Royce can do to get Lacy to let God take some of her burden and offer her the strength to heal those most in need. Will they be able to save this small mining town, or will the war on the East coast cause a rift that will tear the town apart?
Tanya Stowe had created a small historical town in the midst of the gold rush in California. She has peopled it with characters and personalities familiar to that time and place in history. The personalities of her cast of characters are alternately charming or just plain mean. Lacy and her sister have been adopted by a few of the elderly ladies of the town and have been well cared for. Lacy is a stubborn young woman and wants no part of what she considers her curse.
When she meets Royce and is forced to save him during a blizzard, sparks begin to fly between them. They are both stubborn, but deeply caring people. While they fight the attraction between them, it is a bright and glowing thing. Lacy had given up on God, and has found that people do not understand her healing power. In the past, some of those close to her turned away, considering her a freak. She is afraid, because if Royce ever sees this part of her, she knows that he too will look at her differently.
As they are thrown together more frequently, Royce realizes that this is the woman for him. As he begins to court her in earnest, he soon finds that she has a secret. Will he learn what that secret is, and will he be able to still see her as she really is. Will this be the deep and abiding love that they both dream of? As danger strikes and Lacy's very life is at stake, will love find its way, and will their faith see them through?
The love is a strong and steady heat, flaring up throughout their courtship; Lacy has finally realized what she may have been missing all these years as she hid herself away in the mountains. Royce is learning that appearances can be deceiving, and has learned he needs to look beneath the surface to find the heart and depth of love.
This is a marvelous and heartwarming story set in a time and place in history, with just enough background to make it fun. The beginning of war on slavery while being fought in the East has a long and dangerous effect on each and everyone set in this sleepy little town in California.
This book was recieved as a free e-book through the Romance Reviews. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the the material.