On a cold and still night, a frightened woman makes a frenzied escape down a wooded mountainside. Fear is her only companion. Silence is her only salvation.
Anna Nicholson had lived all her life under the shadow of prejudice in the remote village high on Mount Louis whose reclusive people were considered as wild and primitive as the wilderness from which they lived. So when she awakes one morning to find herself in a stranger’s barn with a rifle to her face and no memory of how she got there, she is overcome with a gripping fear. Yet, instinctively knew it did not arise from the big and burly cowboy standing directly behind the Winchester rifle or the other nine fierce cowboys who called the ranch home, but instead from a memory she could not recall. One, she feared, in which she was the source. Mistaken for a mute teenage boy, Anna is able to hide unseen and unheard from an evil she could not recall.
Wade Haddock is the rough and tough but lonely cowboy who finds a frightened Anna in his barn. Convinced the isolated wilderness was no place for a woman, he allows Anna to hide away on his sprawling Rocky Mountain ranch believing her to be a mute teenage boy. While gradually succumbing to the bond growing between them, the wall around his guarded heart begins to slowly crumble. Only to discover Anna’s deception. And a memory that could destroy their love.
Publisher and Release Date: Peggy Ann Craig, June 2014
Time and setting: British Colombia 1889
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 1
Reviewer rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Vikki
What a remarkable and compelling story! The intensity of the first scene took my breath away and had me sitting on the edge of my seat, feverishly reading to see what happened next. I had no idea what to expect with this book, and after the opening scene, it became a real page turner for me. The location of this history is unique, set somewhere on Mount Louis in British Colombia, and it’s refreshing to read a book set in a different area of the world than the usual fare. A deep shadow of mystery hangs over the tale, which keeps the pacing fast, and I had a really hard time putting the book down.
The story begins with Anna running away, trying to escape from something that has her terrified. She makes it to a barn and hides, only to be found by the rancher. He thinks she is a mute, teenaged boy and she lets him continue to do so, believing it will keep her safe.
Wade Haddock takes her under his wing, allowing her to live and work on his ranch. When he eventually finds out she’s a young woman, he is shocked, but it explains his attraction to her. He allows her to continue hiding out on the Circle H as a house servant instead of a cowhand, still keeping her secret from the other cowboys. Now that Wade knows Anna is a woman, will he give into the growing attraction between them, or will he deny it?
Ms. Craig describes the scenes and surroundings in great detail without going too far. At times, I felt as if I were right there in the scene experiencing what the heroine is seeing. There is deep emotion in her writing and I always love that. When the mystery unravels and reveals Anna’s torment, I sat in shock. Ms. Craig wrote of a horrific situation in such detail it immobilized me. I had to put my Kindle down and take some deep breaths because it was quite painful and truly heart-wrenching to read.
The main reason I haven’t given this book a 5 star rating is because of the disparity in the ages of the hero and heroine – he is forty-four and she is twenty-four. I did not see the need for there to be such a large age difference between the pair, and found it a bit distasteful to have him old enough to be her father. Wade could have been ten or twelve years older than Anna and it would not have affected the premise of the story in any way.
Despite this misgiving, I enjoyed the book. If you are looking for a suspenseful, yet amazing love story then this is a book you will not want to miss. If you choose to read it, you will not be disappointed.