This is a fun read. It starts off with a bang - literally! - with a stagecoach robbery, introducing Abigail to the perils of the untamed West. This new series is off to a great beginning with this book about Abigail. I love her care and concern for Charlotte. I could also relate to her character; how many times have I predetermined I am not going to like something, only to discover that either it's not what I expected at all or my tastes begin to change the more I learn about it? I look forward to reading more about Charlotte and a third sister in upcoming books.
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The first of Amanda Cabot's Westward Winds trilogy focuses on the middle of three sisters - Abigail, the practical (though sometimes impulsive) sister. A teacher in a girls' school, Abigail decides to travel out west during her vacation to Fort Laramie, Wyoming, to visit her older sister, whose letters have not left Abigail satisfied as to her health and well-being. Because of Charlotte's pregnancy, Abigail puts off her return to school and her almost-fiance, and in doing so spends more time with Lieutenant Ethan Bowles, a man desperate to solve the mysterious thefts plaguing the fort.
Cabot has a nice pace to the novel - it takes place over several months, and one can feel the time passing without the story dragging. The relationship between Ethan and Abigail (and Abigail's waning feelings for Woodward), Ethan's struggles to improve the morale of his troops and lower desertion rates, the increasing audacity of the stagecoach robbers - such things are not resolved instantly, but take time. Each feels better developed and more realistic thanks to their timing over the course of the story, without any losing its freshness and becoming a bore.
Probably my favorite part of the novel is how Ethan and Abigail's relationship develops - first as friends, since Abigail is practically engaged to another man and Ethan has no intention of ever marrying, and then slowly over the course of many suppers, horseback rides, and walks with the dog, their friendship deepens into love. I also really like that Abigail cares so much for Ethan's spiritual state and relationship with his grandfather, and she knows when to broach or back off those sensitive subjects. They are not perfect - occasionally they hurt one another - but they are quick to forgive and ask for forgiveness, modeling a very healthy relationship.
Besides being a lovely historical read about the latter days of Fort Laramie, the story also sports a mystery as to who is behind the stagecoach robberies, and the clues point to several possibilities. It wasn't until near the end that I was sure who the villain was. An excellent read! 5 out of 5 stars!
Lets start with the good stuff: Lots of talking with God, prayer and a great conversation about Jesus and salvation.
The research on fort and frontier life was great. I loved the descriptions surrounding these aspects.
Now for the not so good stuff: the characters. Abigail seemed to irritate me on several occasions. One minute she's brave standing up for herself and the next she can't do certain things because it's not "lady like". This type of behavior reoccurred throughout the story and it was annoying.
Ethan, for being in a army lieutenant, seemed not as strong as he could have been.
The plot lagged in several places throughout the book and I had trouble focusing on it. I wish that there had been a bit more action as far as finding the bad guys, I think it would have helped move the plot along.
Summer of Promise by Amanda Cabot weaves the tale of Abigail Harding and her journey west to Fort Laramie, Wyoming to spend the summer with her older sister, Charlotte. While en route her stagecoach is attacked by bandits. Fellow passenger Lieutenant Ethan Bowles comes to their rescue.
Abigail intends to return to her teaching position in Vermont and her beau once the summer ends. But the longer she resides in Wyoming, the more she is attracted to its rugged beauty, and a young soldier who draws her attention. When summer ends will she decide to return to her responsibilities in the East or forge a new future in the West?
I found Amanda Cabot's book to be a delightful and intriguing read. I enjoyed reading about a part of our Nation I've never visited before. It is a book I recommend.