By Vickie McDonough
Whitaker House, 2014
A young woman dreaming of freedom . . . Sophie Davenport feels like a prisoner in her own house. All her life, her overprotective parents have taken every possible measure to keep her from anything that might exacerbate her asthma - in other words, just about everything but reading and needlework. Yet Sophie longs for adventure…and for love. She determines to prove to her parents-and herself-that she can live a normal life, but she fears she may be relegated to the lonely life of a spinster.
A young man dreaming of a family . . . Josh Harper is far more bookish than his brawny brothers. he grew up helping at his family's stagecoach stop in Kansas but now works in the small town of Windmill, where he manages his uncle's bank and tries to keep up with his young niece and nephew, who live with him so they can attend school. Though the children are a handful and keep him busy, Josh yearns for a family of his own, but eligible females are not exactly plenteous on the prairie.
A reality that seems to stand in the way . . . When Sophie's aunt, a resident of Windmill, falls ill and requires help, Sophie volunteers. Despite his hesitation, her father finally relents and lets her go, as there is no other option. Her new role brings her into contact with the children boarding at her aunt's home - and with the handsome uncle of two of them. Is there a larger purpose in her coming to Windmill? Or will Josh Harper reject her, if not for her asthma attacks, then for the rocky nature of their relationship?
Call of the Prairie is book #2 in Vickie McDonough's Pioneer Promises series, stories set in 1870s Kansas that follow the lives of the close-knit Harper family. Aaron, Josh, and Ethan are brothers who help their parents run the Harper Stage Stop, one of the first stops on the Santa Fe trail for pioneers traveling west. As the railroad crosses Kansas and stage service dwindles, the Harpers are forced to make changes by investing in cattle in order to survive.
Call of the Prairie, set in the town of Windmill, Kansas in 1873. is the heartwarming story Josh, the middle Harper son, and Sophie. Those who have read the first book, Whispers on the Prairie, will have a better sense of family and setting, but this book easily stands alone. In fact, I wish we had seen more of the Harper family, especially Ethan and Sarah, who were only mentioned.
I was drawn to both Sophie and Josh. Sophie, a young woman suffering from asthma, had been protected to the point of being restricted by her parents. Finding herself responsible for children in her aunt's keep was both humorous and touching, as Sophie reflects, "There were no books on becoming the instant guardian of five children." Josh is the artistic Harper brother - a bookworm and giver of mercy. Their care and love for Mikey, a little boy needing a home, is one of my favorite parts.
I look forward to Aaron's story in the next book, Song of the Prairie, which releases in July 2014, and hope we see all of the Harper family again. Call of the Prairie is a light, but enjoyable read. Recommended to readers who enjoy cozy historical romances.
To learn more, visit Vickie's website at vickiemcdonough.com and the FIRST Tour post.
Thank you to FIRST Blog Tours and Whitaker Publishing for providing an ARC in exchange for my honest review.