Mariah Malone is a 23-year-old woman trying to make a go of her ranch after her father's death two years ago. She is also responsible for taking care of her grandmother and her younger sister Amanda who is blind. She is also foisting off the marriage proposal of the local town dandy. She is barely making ends meet when a stranger appears at her door. Slade Donovan shows her proof that her father stole some gold, shot a man and left him for dead. That man was Slade's father. Slade has proof that the mine where the gold came from belonged to his father. Slade wants the ranch and the land it sits on as Mariah's father used the gold to purchase it. In order to save her family's name, Mariah agrees to sign over the deed to the ranch. Slade agrees to let Mariah and her grandmother stay in the house until his mother and sisters arrive from Galveston.
As Mariah and Slade are forced to interact due to the running of the ranch, they begin to become more comfortable with each other. Mariah has a deep faith in God, but Slade has given up on God. Slade's father was an alcoholic and an abuser. Slade prayed for his dad to stop, but in Slade's eyes God didn't answer his prayer. Slade and his family grew up very poor and he blames Mariah's dad for this. Mariah and Slade fall in love, but neither think the other capable of forgiveness in order to move forward in their relationship. Can Slade see past his own bitterness to God's provision and blessings?
This is a lovely romance set in 1882 in the Wyoming Territory. The main theme is one of forgiveness and trusting in the Lord for provision and answering of prayers. This book is easy to read, the chapters short and the plot easy to follow. This is the first novel I've read by this author and I'm looking forward to see what she has in store for future novels. Maybe the next one will continue the Donovan story, but it will center on Buck (Slade's brother) and Amanda (Mariah's sister).
Just when things couldn't get any worse for Mariah Malone, in rode trouble. Tall, dark and handsome Slade Donovan was about to change Mariah's life in an unbelievable way. After losing her father, she has managed to attempt to hold down things at her father's cattle ranch the best she could, but after fighting a losing battle after two years of profits she wasn't prepared for what Slade had on his mind.
In response to her letter advising him that she had recently been made aware of her father stealing half of the gold between her father and Slade's, she wanted to make things right. She wanted to offer him a cut of her cattle in hopes of mending the broken fences that kept the two families at odds. Only Slade wanted more than simply a pay off from Mariah. Armed with proof that the mine that both men found gold in was in his father's name only, anything bought with that gold was his, and he wanted to make sure that he got back what he believed he was entitled to and that meant the ranch and everything on it.
Believing that God had an answer for this shocking revelation, Slade's brother Buck was able to convince Slade to allow Mariah and her aging grandmother to stay on the ranch until his family finally came to settle in, and would pay for her upkeep of the house and meals for him and his brother. Mariah knew that the only way she and her grandmother could hope of traveling back to Philadelphia was to accept Slade's offer and save everything she could.
But soon Slade discovers the reason why the ranch hasn't been turning a profit and believes that Mariah's mismanagement of the cattle sales to pay for her sisters school in Philadelphia is something she has long overlooked. Without giving her a chance to explain, he immediately shuts down any attempt she makes and keeps his opinions to himself. Mariah concedes to sign the deed to the cattle ranch over to Slade as long as he promises he will keep the real reasons for the sale private to keep her family name intact in town. Will the two of them be able to work together long enough for them both to benefit or will the anger that Slade has in his heart drive her away forever?
I received Claiming Mariah by Pam Hillman compliments of Tyndale House Publishers and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions contained in this review are strictly my own. I love how Pam wrote this story from the hearts and perspectives of both Mariah and Slade. Mariah's faith keeps her strong in spite of the circumstances that threaten to leave her homeless and with nothing, while Slade keeps fighting the faith that Mariah has to keep God out for the unanswered prayers he had as a child. He loves what he sees in Mariah but can't see past his own hard heart for the answers to peace and happiness. Where as his brother Buck who is facing his own challenging odds keeps God in perspective and realizes that nothing that happens is God's fault. It will take an act of faith to bring Slade around. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars! Pam Hillman is now one of my must have authors! I am completely addicted to her western novels.
In this story Pam Hillman takes us out west to a town named Wisdom located in Wyoming Territory. Wisdom is a quiet town that is filled with God-fearing, hardworking folks. Mariah Malone's father, Seth was one of those decent and respected citizens; everyone will be shocked if the truth comes out of how he bought his ranch.
Mariah Malone has a hard time believing her father's death-bed confession of a terrible offense he committed as a young man. Seth had partnered with Jack Donovan in a goldmine and it seems Seth did some dishonest things. After hearing this news Mariah helps her father write a letter to Jack Donovan asking forgiveness.
Months later when Slade Donovan and his brother Buck arrives, Mariah is shocked to hear there was a lot more to the story than her father told her. Slade tells her he is there to claim the ranch that was bought with his father's money and he wants her out of his house and off of his land!
Slade never thought he would find a beautiful young woman running the Lazy M Ranch, in fact he hadn't thought about anything but the life-long hatred he's had for Seth Malone on the long trip to Wisdom. Now the only thing that matters is taking what rightfully belongs to him, and if that means Mariah and her grandma are left homeless then so be it.
After Slade shows Mariah the deed to the goldmine; which doesn't have her father's name on it, she feels she has to do what he asks. What will she do? Where will she go and how will she explain to her elderly grandmother that her son has caused them to lose the only home Mariah had ever known?
After having a talk with his brother Buck, Slade has a change of heart and tells Mariah that she can stay on as a hired cook until his mother and sisters come. What a life changing decision that will be! Does God have a plan to bring peace and forgiveness to the hearts of these two people who have been hurt by their fathers?
This is the first book I have read by Ms. Hillman and what a pleasure it was. Being raised in a home with a dad who loved Westerns this book was just like a trip down memory lane for me. There are cowboys, cattle and of course your run-of-the-mill cattle rustlers, and let's not forget the wonderful romance thrown in. The story line was so good it had me when I read the blurb on the back. Ms Hillman is certainly a talented writer and I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this story especially how she dealt with the hurt and unforgiveness in both Mariah and Slade's life. It served to remind me that when you hold on to unforgiveness you only hurt yourself. Thanks Ms. Hillman for an absolutely fantastic read!
Claiming Mariah, by Pam Hillman, is a marvelous novel. Set in Wisdom, Wyoming, in 1882, it tells the story of Mariah Malone and Slade Donovan. Their tale demonstrates our desperate need to stop and pray for God's will before jumping into action on our own.
Mariah is certain that she is doing the right thing in sending a letter to Jack Donovan from her father asking forgiveness for past deeds. But months later, after her father's death, Jack's son, Slade, arrives demanding her ranch and wanting no part of forgiveness. Shocked at the turn of events, Mariah signs the ranch over to him, unsure of the future for her grandmother, blind sister, and herself. Slade finds the ranch in need of attention, dealing with both repairs and rustlers. And in spite of themselves, the two find themselves drawn to each other.
I enjoyed this book. I was inspired by Mariah's faith in following God's will, no matter the cost to herself and her family, as well as Slade's journey through anger and injustice to peace with God. Secondary charactersâ€”Buck, Cookie, and Grandmother Maloneâ€”added a great deal to the story.
I would recommend this book to all who enjoy historical fiction set in the old west.
I received this book free from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.
I had no expectations going into this book, because Pam Hillman is a new author to me. I will definitely be reading more books by her! I really enjoyed this book. Once Slade established his place at the Lazy M ranch, the plot started moving. There were some parts that slowed it down a bit, but they were necessary to set up and establish the romance between Mariah and Slade. Red's parts gave us some insight into what was going on to cause the ranch to be in such dire straits. The plot, overall, was exciting and the story line was very well laid out.
The romance between Slade and Mariah was phenomenally portrayed. It was not rushed; the characters did not fall in love in two days. They had to overcome a lot of emotional baggage and the author did a great job, especially on Slade's part, at developing the characters. Slade's transition from revengeful to forgiveness seemed natural and not rushed. I really enjoyed that about the story.
The message was expertly weaved into the entire book. It's all about forgiveness. When we don't forgive, we become bitter because we're blaming others (especially God) for things that have happened in our lives. You won't have true joy and happiness in your life until you learn to forgive others, yourself, and most importantly let God forgive you. Overall, this was a great book and I would recommend it to everyone who enjoys a good Christian romance.
**Thank you Tyndale Publishers for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.**