Kernan’s debut novel is hampered by an annoying heroine, a not-so-heroic hero, and poor writing. In 1835, after a winter in the Rocky Mountains following her husband’s death, Cordelia Channing is rescued by friendly natives and turned over to widower and trapper Thomas Nash. He agrees to take her back to civilization. Cordelia constantly endangers herself by disobeying Nash’s instructions to stay put. Nash calls her an idiot, thinks about wanting to “shake her until her teeth rattled,” and worst of all, reads her private journal over a sustained period. The awkward prose is interspersed with frequent info dumps, occasionally offset by lovely descriptive passages, but the frantic pacing and kitchen-sink plotting soon tired this reader out. In addition, Cordelia’s internal conflict is spelled out ad nauseum. There are some nice touches: Nash sews a deerskin outfit for Cordelia, while she develops some courage and shows some ingenuity. While I can’t recommend this book, the author shows great promise. I hope her next book proves me right.