I think the premise of the book is good, but it projected too much of a modern perspective back in time. It didn’t accurately portray the time frame or the ideals of the period. Every situation was focused on women being oppressed instead of recognizing that women were often respected for the important roles they played.
Having never read anything by Carolyn Twede Frank I didn't really know what to expect. I do love this time period and books located out West, and the description was intriguing. I can't say as I was 'romanticized' by the Colorado high desert and had I been the heroine of this book, I probably would have climbed right back inside that stagecoach and travelled back to New York City as fast as I could get!
Katherine Donahue has some guts. She abandons her privileged, comfortable lifestyle all because she has a traditionalist fiancée, and parents that don't want to support her dream of becoming a doctor. I did wonder as I got further into this story, how she came to be in medical school in the first place, and how her parents 'allowed' it or why they allowed it, not having any intention of letting her practice. It is a bit odd, didn't seem to add up and I don't recall this being explained.
She has funds and a means to provide for herself until she is established. However, she arrives in Craig and is immediately shocked to see this town is not all she was led to believe. In a town where the men far outnumber the women, it is easy to see that she is going to have a challenge on her hands convincing them she is not there to find a husband. In fact, with her recent romance failure she has no intention of even thinking about marriage.
It is clear to see that the women of this town are in need of a female doctor. The town already has a doctor, who also serves as the Sheriff. As Kate befriends the citizens of her new home, gradually we see that she is needed, and she keeps plodding onwards to establish herself.
Of course, Kate attracts the attention, even unwanted from the prominent men in the town. One of whom will do whatever it takes to snag Kate for himself. Thinking he is above the law, it does not take long for her to see his true colors. Though she has sworn off men, she cannot deny the connection she is beginning to feel towards one man. Lucas McCurdy is an Irish immigrant who has been in Craig for some time. He came original with a dream to own his own land, and run a sheep ranch. Abandoned by his wife, who took his young daughter with her a few years earlier, he keeps to himself. Though his short visits in to town and crossing Kate's path are enough to convince them both of the undeniable chemistry that is growing.
Believing that he is still married and therefore off her radar - Katherine vows to stay focused and on target for the reason she came out here in the first place. As the danger increases, and the circumstances to her survival become more risky, Kate faces a never-ending emotional battle to resist writing to her mother for help, ending her dreams of independence and returning back to the civilization she has always known.
I loved this book, and the original story. I appreciated the author notes, that tell us how she came about this place and the history behind the book. There are some inconsistencies, like the Sheriff tells Kate early on that there is not enough people to not only provide the patient base for him to be a full time doctor, but also the inability to pay, hence his reason for taking on the job as Sheriff on the side. Yet later on in the book, she can be fully supported (even though some of those residents are sticking with the male doctor) by patients and their payments. We find out later on that there is also a midwife in the town, though she is aging and now can't continue in her work. None of these things are deal breakers, but enough to keep me from giving this a full 5 stars. I look forward to reading more from this author!
Thanks to Netgalley & Covenant Communications for the eARC. This is my honest review.
Heart of the West is a gentle story a woman determined to blaze her own path and live the life she wants. Kate Donahue might get knocked down a time or two but she doesn't stay there long. I loved her kindness and admired her bravery. Kate was a great representative of girl power- for herself and for the other women around her. She encouraged women around her to expand themselves, find what they love and do it, and encourage their men to be better all while staying feminine and kind. It was awesome.
I think the thing that made this book for me was the cast of characters. The story itself is nothing heart pounding or overly gripping but the characters are the meat and potatoes of it. Each person came alive with personality and it was so easy to picture them in my head. I loved the sense of community with the small town setting. A good, gentle western fiction!
Content: clean, some kissing. Mild peril.
- I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.
I enjoyed this story of strong women surviving in the Old West. Kate shows gumption and fortitude when she abandons her high society parents and fiancé and travels to Colorado so she can practice medicine and provide doctoring services to a new boomtown. I admired that she followed her heart and dream in spite of the difficulties. There is a variety of characters in the townspeople and ranchers she comes across, and I especially liked how she warmed to the women and wanted to help them improve their situations. Lucas is also a great character with his warmth and twinkle in his eye, but for some reason I had a hard time picturing him at first. He and Kate definitely have chemistry and it was sweet to watch their relationship slowly develop. I loved the setting and experiencing it through the eyes of a pioneer.
(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
I love reading a story about a woman paving the way for others in history. Kate is passionate about practicing as a doctor, even if it means leaving her family to do so and heading out west to a tiny little Western town in Colorado.
Kate's fortitude and determination really brought her to life, especially through the events she had to endure. and it's no secret--she's a big advocate for the underdog, which delivered a whole slew of trouble to her doorstep. I admired her character, wondering if I would have possessed her qualities if I were in a similar situation. I'm a scaredy cat, so I don't know, but I would like to think that I could step up as she did.
One of the things that endeared me to this book the most was the unlikely friendships that formed. I love it when people can rally together in tough times and when others can overlook preconceived notions and judgments to find the heart of a person.
Of course, I'm always a huge fan of romance and this one is gentle and sweet--a perfect contrast to the wild roughness of the setting of the book--and I love what a little love can do to hopeless situations.
Content: mild romance (mild kissing); mild violence
*I received a copy, which had no influence on my thoughts and opinions.*
I loved this book! I loved the characters, the setting, the plot line. I really didn't want to put it down until I had finished the whole book. And I read this one really quickly too!
Let me tell you about Kate. She's a young woman of privilege in 1895, she grew up in New York City and I'd say she kind of tricked her parents into letting her train to be a doctor. She didn't tell them until she'd finished. By that point she was engaged and her fiance wanted nothing to do with being married to a doctor. So, she defied her parents, broke up with her fiance and headed for nowhere Colorado by herself. I love the pluck she shows. Not only does she head there by herself, but she figures out how to set up a business in a town that starts out wanting nothing to do with a female doctor and she makes it work. I can't tell you how much I love her character!
Then there's the men of the town. You don't see any of the story through their perspective, but it's fun to mention a few she meets. There's Stanley Jones, she meets him right away. He isn't terribly nice and he pretty much thinks he's the best thing around.
There's Logan Jones. I love the way Kate meets Logan and doesn't really know who he is. And when it's revealed, I love the way she treats him. She's kind and generous and helpful, which she pretty much is to everyone. But Logan deserves it more!
And last of all Lucas McCurdy. I love the kindness he shows constantly to Kate. He helps her with things and he's there when she needs him the very most.
And there's countless other characters in this one that I love! I really hope for more books by this author about them! I'd love to see a story about Susannah, Sunny, and Rosie and maybe even Ronald Smith. And if she needs to, maybe Stanley Jones as well.
This is not your normal romance set in 1895. I love the way the plot is quite a bit different from what you normally see. It left me wanting more!
Kate Donahue defied those she loved to fulfill her dreams. Now "out west" she questions her decision. Nevertheless,she is stubborn enough to not give up.
This is set during the late nineteenth century when it was still unacceptable for women to have careers deemed fit for only men. In the more uncivilized areas of the U.S. had women who had become "tough" and were more open to women taking on more professional responsibilities.
This was a very tender, enjoyable story of a woman's determination and of romance. The tale "flowed" well and steadily moved into various adventures and situations.
The characters were well developed and felt real to the reader. The scenes were described in a way they were easily visualized.
The Cover and Title were both well-chosen.
I rate this with a strong four stars.
*This book was gifted me with no request of a positive review. This is my honest review.
Heart of the West is a very enjoyable, fast read, with a spunky main character. My favorite leading ladies are those that don't fit the mold, and Kate was exactly that. She's a well-bred Eastern lady who longed to be a doctor. Her socialite parents were financially supportive through her schooling, but when the time came for her to setup a practice, they were very much against it. Her fiance also wasn't supportive, and she came to realize that he was only marrying her for her family's wealth and social standing. She emptied her savings and fled Long Island for Craig, Colorado, with hopes of becoming the growing town's doctor. She quickly discovered that most Westerners weren't open to the idea of a female doctor, and becoming accepted was a huge uphill battle.
Lots of minds were changed in this story, and it was refreshing (especially in quite a few townspeople once they were given a different option).
I also really enjoyed how several characters gave nearly all they had to help others. And how small acts of kindness made a huge difference in people's outlook.
I was curious about how things ended up with Kate's family (they were mentioned several times throughout the story, but we didn't get closure with them). Heart of the West was very entertaining, and I can see myself reading it again.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.