Fields of Gold
Since losing her parents, Guinevere Talbot must run her family’s hop farm alone, a difficult task for a woman in 1882 California. Kellen O’Roarke is trying to build a resort in the valley, and needs to build a railroad spur across Guin’s land for access. Since that would ruin her irrigation plan, she flatly refuses. But Kellen must have the spur, or the resort will fail, taking all his resources with it. Unexplained setbacks at the resort and farm cause Guin and Kellen to realize an outside party wants them both to fail. Can they overcome their differences and work together to save their dreams?
I liked the author’s choice of making the heroine ordinary-looking, instead of the expected blond/blue-eyed beauty. A secondary plot involving romance for Guin’s visiting grandmother was another nice touch. But there are problems: spots of 21st-century-sounding dialogue, and a rich-bitch rival for Kellen’s affections who has a rather unbelievable change of heart at the end. Most jarring was the way Kraft provided romantic complications by having Guin and Kellen be conflicted about their feelings for each other. Several times they change their minds with lightning speed, and it comes off as capriciousness, rather than indecision.