A Port in the Storm

Written by Judy Genandt
Review by B. J. Sedlock

Boston socialite Margaret Ward jounces over the Wyoming landscape in a stagecoach in 1885. A scandal has led her father to send Margaret to his friend’s remote ranch to teach school. But the Randalls, unconcerned with Eastern gossip, welcome her as another family member. Margaret grows to enjoy the frontier: eldest son David Randall courts her, and Tee Spencer, the ranch foreman, also shows interest. And there’s that wonderful man Phil she left behind in Boston. But Margaret’s new life is interrupted when the ranchers pursue cattle rustlers, and Tee disappears during the conflict. As months go by, Margaret discovers the depth of her feelings for him. Is he dead? If not, why is there no word?

Genandt includes some welcome humor and some colorful descriptions, such as Margaret’s view of the homey ranch house. But the author goes overboard in other passages: “emerald jade green crystal eyes sparkling…” Does the reader need that many words to understand she has green eyes? Margaret’s transition from socialite to frontier woman is awfully facile. But the book’s biggest problem is that an important fact about a character is revealed only in final pages, in a way that left this reader feeling cheated.