Whispers on the Prairie is book #1 in Vickie McDonough's Pioneer Promises series, stories set in 1870s Kansas that follow the lives of the close-knit Harper family. Aaron, Josh, and Ethan are brothers who help their parents run the Harper Stage Stop, one of the first stops on the Santa Fe trail for pioneers traveling west. As the railroad crosses Kansas and stage service dwindles, the Harpers are forced to make changes in order to survive.
With good use of humor and conveying a vivid sense of the Kansas prairie with her easy-flowing writing style, Vickie has created an interesting narrative built around a family that I enjoyed getting to know and look forward to spending more time with throughout the series.
Ethan and Sarah are enjoyable characters, with good chemistry between them. Ethan, youngest of the brothers, carries guilt over an accident two years earlier that caused the death of Aaron's wife and he therefore tends to be over protective. Sarah, in spite of being a city girl from Chicago, proves to be a hard worker and quickly adapts to life on the prairie.
It's so funny to see the way Ethan, Josh and Aaron react to Sarah's presence. "What was it about the presence of a woman that caused grown men to turn on those they cared about?" Ethan wonders. Or better yet, in Mr. Harper's words: "What do you expect to happen if you put three stallions in a corral with just one mare?"
The Harpers have a deep-rooted faith, evidenced in one way by their welcoming of Sarah and her aunt into their home. It's sweet to watch the relationship between these two families grow, and Sarah's eyes are gradually opened to a different view of God than she had known in the past.
Whispers on the Prairie is simply a sweet, cozy prairie romance with a Gospel message, one that fans of this genre will enjoy. I would have liked to see the ending stretched out a little more, but I trust that we will see more of Sarah and Ethan in the next book, Call of the Prairie, which has just released. Recommended to those who enjoy inspirational romance.
This book was provided by Whitaker House in exchange for my honest review.
Vickie McDonough has done it again--written a great story. This one starts in 1868 Kansas with a tragedy involving Ethan Harper. Then it moves to 1870 Chicago where we meet Sarah Marshall, our heroine, her Aunt Emma and Uncle Harvey. Aunt Emma is a wonderful person, but that's not true of Uncle Harvey. When Sarah is forced to go with them to Santa Fe, New Mexico, she is bound and determined to go back to Chicago. Well...circumstances conspire against Sarah's plans. She and her aunt end up staying with the Harper family (mother Karen, father Nick and 3 sons, Aaron, Josh & Ethan) at their stage stop. Ethan is the one made for Sarah, and has feelings for her that confuse him, but he has his two brothers to contend with, especially Aaron who needs a mother for his two children, Corrie and Toby. You know Sarah will find her happy ending, but it keeps you wondering how it will come about. I loved all the characters in this story--Aunt Emma loves Sarah and wants the best for her; Karen loves her family and has such insight into her sons' feelings; Nick is a wise and loving father; Aaron, Josh and Ethan are handsome and strong men , yet caring and gentle. You can't help but love Corrie (age 6) and Toby (age 4) with their ability to play and have fun, but also do the chores required of them. I can hardly wait for Book 2 and 3 of this Pioneer Promises series. I want to see who Josh and Aaron will find for wives because all three Harper sons deserve to live happily-ever-after with women who love them. I'm grateful to Vickie McDonough and her publisher for providing me with this book to read and review. I expected a wonderful story and I certainly wasn't disappointed. I enjoyed it from beginning to end.
Do you enjoy Janette Oke's books? If so, then Whispers on the Prairie by Vickie McDonough is the book for you! Seriously, I haven't read a 'prairie' romance that I have enjoyed more than this one. From the beginning, I was entranced by this story. I did not want to put it down. It's not a long book but it is overflowing with rich characters, deep spiritual themes, and lots of good old fashioned romance.
Emotionally captivating seems like such an inadequate way to describe how this story drew me in but I can't think of another description. I felt so sorry for the way that Sarah's uncle treated her and yet she remained a precious and devoted companion to her aunt. Ethan carried such a heavy burden about the death of his sister-in-law, even though it was misplaced. While these two come together under unusual circumstances, Vickie brings about the sweetest and most gentle of romances that totally warmed my soul, leaving me to imagine it might actually have happened.
Anyone who is a fan of top quality Historical Fiction will become fully enthralled with this story. It's a lovely beginning to a new series. I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes only. I was not required to write a positive review, only give my honest thoughts on the book.
I've only read one book of Vickie's - The Anonymous Bride, and really enjoyed her style. Books 2 and 3 of the Boardinghouse Brides are on my shelf, but have you ever seen my shelves? My TBR (to-be-read) pile only gets taller and taller by the day (last check...124 books and counting - and that's just on my living room shelves, didn't even bother checking my 'upstairs' books)! Anyway, it's hard to choose when I have breaks between review books!
So...I had a chance to review Vickie's newest book, Whispers on the Prairie, and that meant a book of hers went to the top of the TBR pile!
Vickie's style was as enjoyable as I remember! I didn't really think Sarah was Miss Priss - never felt much of her 'citified' history to make a good foundation for that argument. She seemed willing to pitch in with wagon train and household chores and was a good cook (something sophisticated girls in historical books can't seem to do). She just seemed like a sweet girl who had many things go wrong in her young life.
I loved the tension of the three brothers with one pretty girl in the house. Who will win her heart? And, I loved that Mrs. Harper seemed to know just which son liked Sarah, and encouraged him without being pushy.
I did think the ending was a bit hurried - not in the exciting don't-let-her-get-away way, but I didn't expect Sarah to yell to - I won't say which brother! - and declare her love... She didn't seem the type to be so forward, when she didn't think he liked her!
Regardless, Whispers on the Prairie was sweet and tender, with some fun and seriousness - just the kind of western-wagon-train-prairie-settlers romance I enjoy! I hope the rest of Vickie's Pioneer Promises series deals with the other 2 Harper brothers! I liked that whole family and want to hear more!
*I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine.*