Twenty-six-year-old Katie Macauley has placed all her hope in Hope Springs, a small town in the 1870 Wyoming Territory. But if she wants to return home to Ireland to make amends with her estranged family, she'll need to convince the influential Joseph Archer to hold true to his word and keep her on his payroll as his housekeeper despite her Irish roots. The town is caught in an ongoing feud between the Irish and the "Reds" the frontiersmen who would rather see all the Irish run out of town and the Irish immigrants who are fighting to make a home for themselves in the New World. When Joseph agrees to keep Katie on as his housekeeper, the feud erupts anew, and Katie becomes the reluctant figurehead for the Irish townsfolk. As the violence escalates throughout the town, Katie must choose between the two men who have been vying for her love though only one might be able to restore hope to her heart.
I liked this one. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but overall I liked it. Our heroine, Katie, has a lot of spunk. She has had a very hard life and is pretty hard on herself. She has moved to Wyoming to try and earn enough money to move back to Ireland to help out her estranged family. Once there she finds a new family and friends who love and accept her. With their friendship she really starts to warm up and open her heart to letting people in. Her sad story is a constant part of the story and you can’t help feeling sorry for her and rooting for her to find peace.
When she arrives in the small town of Hope Springs it stirs up an old rivalry between the Irish and non-Irish. I know these prejudices existed, but it was sure hard to read about. I have never been able to understand how people can be so cruel to one another, especially over something as stupid as where they were born. It is especially hard to read about supposedly Christian people who would hate someone just because of their nationality. And it’s sad that their preacher would encourage this kind of discrimination. He should know better.
So, aside from Katie’s sad past and all the turmoil with the townsfolk, I think what I had the hardest time with was the love-triangle. I am just not a fan of these, as many of you know. While I loved both Joseph and Tavish, I always feel this plot distracts from the courtship. Both guys are hard working, charming and care a great deal for Katie. I liked that they put her first and were always doing things to support her and make her feel welcome. I'm think I'm on Team Tavish, but I sure hope there is someone for Joseph. Since this is the first book in the series, hopefully it will end with everyone getting their own happily ever after.
It did seem like the first in a series, where there is a lot of set-up and back story, but not a whole lot happens. I look forward to continuing the series and seeing where things go. If you like historical fiction I suggest picking it up, Ms. Eden is a great storyteller.