Cassie Lockwood grew up in a traveling Wild West Show, she is an amazingly skillful trick rider and sharpshooter. Her parents have both passed away and she has continued to travel with the show with "Uncle" Jason, her father's best friend and partner, continuing to manage it. Too late Cassie finds out that "Uncle" Jason was a very poor manager and he's run the show into debt and it's about to be taken by the bank. All of the money she let him keep out of her pay is also gone, except for a roll of bills he hands her when she confronts him after he announces to everyone that they are on their own, out of a job. Jason does let her keep her horse Wind Dancer and the Wagon as her father had owned those, he also lets her keep some of the animals including George, the old buffalo.
Two of the crew go with her, Chief and Micah, in search of the valley of her father's dreams. He talked about the valley in Argus, SD all of the time. They leave very early the morning after the announcement and find themselves in the middle of a blizzard and staying in one spot for several days, they get robbed, and find an injured Indian woman, Runs Like a Deer, along the way.
They reach Argus and meet with some acceptance and some resistance, the community is experiencing some cattle rustling which hasn't occurred for years. Will they be blamed for this, after all they are new in town and their group includes two Indians? Some people are friendly and a few try to chase them out of town because of the Chief and Runs Like a Deer.
Oh Lauraine! You really did leave me hanging at the end of this book. I got the second book in the series, Whispers in the Wind, to review for Bethany House but did not want to read it until I read the first one so I bought it, and boy am I glad I did. I had a hard time getting into the book, it took me until about the 8th chapter, but was so glad I continued, and people, DON'T read this series out of sequence! The way Lauraine ends Valley of Dreams, you absolutely have to continue reading.
I've read so many Lauraine Snelling's books, all of the Red River of the North, Return to Red River, Daughters of Blessing, Home to Blessing and Dakotah Treasures series and have loved them all. I think this series will be worth my time also, she has not let me down. Keep up the good work Lauraine and I would suggest if you like her writing, do NOT pass this series up.
Lauraine Snelling in her new book, "Valley of Dreams" Book One in the Wild West Wind series published by Bethany House brings us into the life of Cassie Lockwood.
From the back cover: When Cassie Lockwood's mother died, Cassie began travelling with her father's Wild West Show. Along the way, she became an amazingly skillful trick rider and sharpshooter, likened by some to the famous Annie Oakley. When her father passed away, she continued to work with the show, having nowhere else to go.
Now Cassie has discovered that "Uncle" Jason, the show's manager, has driven the show into debt, and he's absconded with what little money was left. Devastated, Cassie decides to try to find the hidden valley in the Black Hills of South Dakota where her father had dreamed of setting down roots. She has only one clue. She needs to find three huge stones that look like fingers on a giant hand. With Chief, a Sioux Indian who's been with the act for twenty years, and Micah, the head wrangler, she leaves the show and a bundle of heartache behind and begins a wild and daring adventure.
Will they find the valley before winter closes in on them?
In "Valley of Dreams" Lauraine Snelling has given us a quest. The life that Cassie Lockwood knew is over. Her father's traveling Wild West Show, that she grew up in, is over as the show is bankrupt (at least that is what she has been told). Cassie's father had always told her of a ranch that he was half owner of is S. Dakota so she teams up with Chief and Micah, her friends from the show and they set out on their long journey to find this land to make it their new home. Along the way they encounter a young Indian woman named Runs Like A Deer and she joins this little team. How do four individuals who have never had a real home learn to deal with each other? Along the way this little team encounter all sorts of adventure that serve to draw them closer to one another as they learn that they need each other in order to survive. "Valley of Dreams" is all about a blended family as the four of them join forces with Cassie taking the role of leader and mother. All the characters are so easy to fall in love with and Ms. Snelling is such a wonderful writer that we easily get caught up in everyone's life. These are wonderful people and we wish that we had these kind of people for our neighbors. There are no car chases, nothing blows up however "Valley of Dreams" is exciting, interesting and will keep you flipping pages as these characters work to deal with their new set of circumstances. I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the last one to know how everything is all going to work out.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
When I read the back cover copy for Valley of Dreams, I was intrigued. A story about a young girl in a Wild West Show who is a trick rider and sharpshooter? That's my kind of story! But the publisher didn't word the back cover very well - the Wild West Show part is only in the first couple of chapters. Then it's a book about a girl, Cassie, who knows nothing outside of life in the show who has to hit the road and find the valley her father bought long before Cassie was born.
Once I got over my disappointment that there was going to be no trick riding in the rest of the book, I became interested in the "road trip" aspect of the story. Cassie and her little band of travelers are a quirky bunch, from a buffalo named George to an Indian woman who is confused about why Cassie asks what her dog's name is - it's Dog. It was interesting to see how Cassie reacted to one new experience after another, growing up even more on this trip. Then there is the other story woven in, another family that you get to know and root for. I spent the last third of the book wondering what would happen when the stories collided.
While I don't usually like endings that don't wrap things up but are prompts to get you to read the next book, this ending did indeed make me wonder what will happen next. (This is the first book in the Wild West Wind series.) If you like Lauraine's other historical fiction, you'll probably like Valley of Dreams.
(Note: I was given a copy of the book in return for an honest review.)
This book was quite a departure from Lauraine Snelling's previous books, and it took me a while to shift gears from the Bjorklund family and the people of Blessing. I am looking forward to the next book in this series.