This novel, first published in 1951, is set in New York City and the Arizona in the 1930s. Amanda Lawrence, a sheltered young woman, meets Jonathan Dartland on board the Bremen returning to America from Europe. Amanda’s father died of a heart attack sometime after the 1929 stock market crash, and she can’t afford to return to Vassar to complete her studies. Jonathan, a mining engineer, is on his way home from a mining job in South Africa. Jonathan is different than the carefree playboy types Amanda knows. His mother is part Apache Indian, and Amanda’s family is somewhat scandalized when she falls in love with him. Amanda and Jonathan marry and head off to Lodestone, Arizona where he has a new position as mine foreman at the Shamrock Mine.
In spite of her love for Jonathan, Amanda has difficulty adjusting to being poor, to the loneliness of the town and its’ rustic conditions. “Dart” works long days, there are no other women her age in town, and the older women are put off by Amanda’s refinement. Dart has troubles at the mine because of his disagreements with the mine superintendent. Amanda is being pressured by family to divorce Dart and marry her wealthy ex-boyfriend. All these stresses take a toll on the marriage. When Amanda hears an Apache legend about a lost gold mine, she becomes obsessed with searching for it, thinking that this will be the answer to their difficulties. Much adventure ensues.
Amanda is immature, but likable, and I found myself rooting for her and Dart and the survival of their marriage. But this is not just a story of a marriage; it’s also a beautiful evocation of the Southwestern landscape and Native American culture and a great adventure story. A very good read.