Like the first novel, These Is My Words, (review here) I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am definitely looking forward to finishing the trilogy with Star Garden next.
Book Summary (from Goodreads):
In 1906, the badlands of Southern Arizona Territory is a desolate place where a three-year drought has changed the landscape for all time. When Sarah's well goes dry and months pass with barely a trace of rain, Sarah feels herself losing her hold upon the land. Desperate, Sarah's mother hires a water witch, a peculiar desert wanderer named Lazrus who claims to know where to find water. As he schemes and stalls, he develops an attraction to Sarah that turns into a frightening infatuation." "And just when it seems that life couldn't get worse, Sarah learns that her brother and his family have been trapped in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. She and her father-in-law cannot even imagine the devastation that awaits them as they embark on a rescue mission to the stricken city." Sarah is a pioneer of the truest spirit, courageous but gentle as she fights to save her family's home. But she never stops longing for the passion she once knew. Though her wealthy neighbor has asked her to wed, Sarah doesn't entirely trust him.
Like the first novel, this book really did capture what life must have been like for the pioneers that made their way into the territories and carved a life for themselves. This part of Sarah's journey was filled with hardships - tornadoes, earthquakes, death, a crazy lunatic, a challenging nephew, among other things.
Nancy E. Turner just has a way with words, and reading her novels makes you feel like you are the characters and you can see everything unfolding in your mind without much effort. Her writing style is so impressive, it almost seems effortless reading it.
This novel had me sitting on the edge of my seat a number of times, but as always, Sarah's common sense and keen understanding of people and life keep her plugging right along. She is the kind of character we all envision our ancestors to be because she forges ahead despite any obstacle. She has a love of family that should be a model for ALL people.
I am very excited to start the last book in the series, and can't wait to find out how Sarah's story ends. It is already difficult knowing that I will only be experiencing her life for one more novel.
"I can stand anything but standing still."
"I still wear my wedding band. Someday I'll take it off I reckon. A callus keeps it in place. Whether it is the one on my finger or the one on my heart, I couldn't say."
"One thing I know about living with Jack is that war, any war, stains a man deep, and nothing can get that stain out."
"Maybe we all have to go on fighting our wars to stay alive. I reckon my war will be over when the boys plant that marble stone over me and six feet of dirt."
"I used to think she was addled when she changed the subject; now I'm wondering if she's just clever."
"Three in the morning had never come my way without some blessing attached to it."
"Good neighbors were worth keeping. I should have done more."
"Yesterday, I just about met myself coming the other way I was so busy."
"Willie, a man is known by two things, the people he rides with and the value of his word."
"You know, your aunt Savannah says sand and sin are one and the same. Tolerate a little, and soon it'll become a lot."
"That's the trouble with lawyers. It's not like they shoe a horse or hammer you a single blessed nail; you have to pay them just for thinking."
"Most half-grown boys have got the size of a man, trying to act as grown as they look, and the heart of a five-year-old, all emotion and no sense until they hit at least twenty."
"Burying someone you know will set your mind down some distant trail, as the one you're really on is too painful to view."
"The best cure for sadness is doing something."
"I've come to believe that it's a good thing to stay on first-name terms with your Maker, in case you bump into Him unexpectedly some afternoon."
"I'm just about fed up with men right now...it's just trouble, always trying to figure out what one's got caught in his craw that he isn't telling."
"I always thought through raising them that I was leading my boys...truth was, I was just following them, holding up the lantern."
"His words were few, but they always held something good as a drink of cool water in them."