By Vickie McDonough
Whitaker House, 2013
The last thing Sarah Marshall wanted was to leave Chicago and travel the dusty Santa Fe Trail, but when her uncle demands she go to help her feeble aunt, who took her in when her parents died, she has no choice. She hopes to get her aunt to her new home then return to Chicago.
Ethan Harper’s well-ordered life is thrown into turmoil when an uppity city gal is stranded at his family’s stage stop. Now his two brothers and every unmarried male in the county are wooing Miss Priss. When one brother proposes, Ethan is in turmoil. Is it because she’s the wrong woman for his brother—or the right one for himself?
Whispers on the Prairie is book #1 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 in order to survive.
With good use of humor and conveying a vivid sense of the Kansas prairie with her easy-flowing writing style, Vickie has created an interesting narrative built around a family that I enjoyed getting to know and look forward to spending more time with throughout the series.
Ethan and Sarah are enjoyable characters, with good chemistry between them. Ethan, youngest of the brothers, carries guilt over an accident two years earlier that caused the death of Aaron's wife and he therefore tends to be over protective. Sarah, in spite of being a city girl from Chicago, proves to be a hard worker and quickly adapts to life on the prairie.
Sarah loves wildflowers like the yellow star grass
It's so funny to see the way Ethan, Josh and Aaron react to Sarah's presence. "What was it about the presence of a woman that caused grown men to turn on those they cared about?" Ethan wonders. Or better yet, in Mr. Harper's words: "What do you expect to happen if you put three stallions in a corral with just one mare?"
The Harpers have a deep-rooted faith, evidenced in one way by their welcoming of Sarah and her aunt into their home. It's sweet to watch the relationship between these two families grow, and Sarah's eyes are gradually opened to a different view of God than she had known in the past.
Whispers on the Prairie is simply a sweet, cozy prairie romance with a Gospel message, one that fans of this genre will enjoy. I would have liked to see the ending stretched out a little more, but I trust that we will see more of Sarah and Ethan in the next book, Call of the Prairie, which has just released. Recommended to those who enjoy inspirational romance.
"I love reading, and that love eventually led to writing. Visit my website at vickiemcdonough.com to learn more about my books.
"I'm a wife, mother of 4 grown sons, have a lovely daughter-in-law, and the most precocious granddaughter alive. I write Christian romances, because God is the inventor of romance and this is what He wants me to do at this time in my life. I love collecting quilted wall hangings and stain glass."
This book was provided by Cathy Hickling and Whitaker House in exchange for my honest review.