From age eight, Allie Ford has borne the guilt of causing her mother’s suicide and depriving her younger sister of a mother’s love. Three years have passed since her father’s death in 1877, and the Oregon farm is in desperate need of repairs. Unable to do the work herself, she hires Jefferson Hicks, the former sheriff and town drunk. Jeff “died” soon after shooting a young boy, and he’s just biding his time until death claims him. Then he meets Allie, and his desire to live blossoms. Although the past imprisons both Jeff and Allie, their love offers them a chance to heal, but others have no intention of letting that happen.
Although set in the American West, there is little history in this story. That said, though, it is a good depiction of a small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business, and where the slightest scandal results in ostracism and ridicule. It also shows the psychological torment caused when innocent people make mistakes.
An enduring read for historical or western romance fans in search of healing love and who don’t mind if the history is more social than historical in nature.