Synopsis: A mistaken identity has Patience kidnapped, but she managed to escape only to find herself lost in the Colorado Mountains. Searching for shelter, Patience finds safety in a mining dugout and an orphan boy, Wilson. The boy convinces Patience to claim the mine because it is rumoured to have gold. The only problem is that no one wants to work for a woman or in a “haunted” mine… no one except Jay Longer.
Setting: This novel takes place mostly in the Colorado Mountains at the Mule’s Head mine. Near the mine is a dugout, which passes as a home for Patience and Wilson.
Plot: The storyline was far more interesting than the previous two novels about these mail-order brides, but didn’t fulfil its full potential. All the correct elements are there, yet just miss out on captivating the reader.
Writing Style: For this book, Lori didn’t do her research… on her own work. The novel opens claiming a scene from Glory’s book but filling it with a character from Ruth’s book. From that point on, the reader looses faith in the rest of the novel.
Pacing: Similar to the other books in this series, Lori has a tendency to lead up to a moment and pass over the expected scene to a point later in time. For example, Jay is badly injured and the only scene between that and recovery is a couple moments with the local healer rather than any details about his recovery that had potential for character growth.
Character: Gamey O’Keefe is the man said to haunt the Mule’s Head mine for the past thirty-some years since his death. He causes accidents with mining tools, cave-ins, and other hauntings. He managed to scare away most prospectors, but Jay suspects he’s a man trying to jump claim on the mine.
Romance: When the Denver Sheriff went looking for Patience, you knew it was he who would capture Patience’s heart rather than the kidnapper. Patience fell in love too easily and Jay should have realized he was in love sooner because it had already smacked him in the face, so the relationship felt a little convoluted for the sake of the plot line.
Character Development: There wasn’t much growth in the three main characters of this novel. Patience became more stubborn; Jay found renewed hope in life and God; Wilson learned about God and about family. There was potential for more, but the end result fell a little flat.
Quote: Wilson rounded the bush a third time, flinging his arms and screeching. The convict threw him a practical glance. “The boy has a rooster after him.”
The Verdict: The second trilogy in the Brides of the West series falls short of the first set. This book was better than the previous, “Ruth”, but not quite matching “Glory.” If you start this mini-series, do read it, but if you don’t plan on reading the previous two, don’t bother.