Amethyst O’Shaunasy is commanded by her abusive father to go Dakota Territory in 1886 and bring her late brother’s son home to Pennsylvania. Once there, she discovers that Joel is not her nephew after all. She decides not to return home, takes a job at a boardinghouse, and becomes involved in the townsfolks’ lives. Severe blizzards kill most of the livestock and some of the human residents. The hardships they share lead her to have feelings for ex-Army officer Jeremiah McHenry. Should she become a partner in a beauty products business in Chicago, or remain in Medora and marry McHenry?
Amethyst’s opening sentence is bad enough to be an entry in the Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest: “Her father’s words itched worse than a burr in her camisole.” That conjures the mental image of a woman in her underwear, frantically pawing at herself, which doesn’t fit what the book purports to be, a serious Christian historical romance. Snelling compounds matters with even more bad analogies: “his heart chuckled,” “thirst rampaged through her like marauding foxes,” and “hair that insisted on partying with the wind.” Volume 4 of Dakotah Treasures contains many references to earlier volumes, confusing the uninitiated. Not recommended.