In 1779, Roxanna Rowan is aging into spinsterhood, having been jilted by her betrothed. She bravely, and desperately, seeks to join her father at a remote fort on the western frontier in Kentucky. What she'll soon learn is that her father is dead, and she'll take his place as the scrivener--secretary--of the fort commander, Col. Cassius Clayton McLinn. What she'll later learn is that McLinn, with whom she slowly falls in love, keeps a secret about how her father died. Frantz (The Frontiersman's Daughter) manages to neatly tie and untie a tough plot knot, and Roxie and Cass are both well-characterized. The message is Christian and redemptive, but it's not piled on with piety, and the romance is sensual enough within Christian fiction constraints. Frantz has also done her historical homework, building a setting that shows how the times were not easy. Some of the minor characters are less well-drawn (the mute child Abby is more plot device than character), and the pace can plod as the clouds of battle gather But these flaws don't detract much from a satisfying and surprisingly subtle read. (Aug.) Copyright 2011 Reed Business Information.