Newly qualified doctor Zoe-Esther Zundelevich must take her father, Yitzhak, west to try to cure his tuberculosis. But 1867 Colorado Territory is not very hospitable to women doctors, let alone Jewish ones. The only work she can find is practicing among the poor who live in tent cities near the mines. When saloon owner Jake Whiskey shows her a kindness, Zoe-Esther recalls the prediction of a matchmaker that her future husband will be named Yaakov. Should she comply with her father’s wish for her to marry fellow medical student Daniel Stein, or give in to her growing feelings for Jake?
I liked the novelty of Jewish main characters in a Western historical romance, and the romantic parts are passable. But some of the history generated a raised eyebrow. On their westward journey, Sundell has the Zundeleviches gathering wood for the evening fire on treeless plains. And a character uses the modern expression, “Yeah, right.” Capping that is a major plot problem—Yitzhak’s inadequately-motivated decision in the denouement. There’s potential here, but the book didn’t quite work for me.