Written by Lauraine Snelling
Review by Viviane Crystal

Fourteen-year-old Opal Torvald is taking a break from work in the Dakota Territory in 1886. A tomboy, she reacts to a stranger’s threats with what she thinks is a clever idea, but which later leads to the beating of a friend and the murder of a neighbor. Opal is banished to New York, where it is hoped she will escape further harm, but she deeply yearns to return to the West and her dream of becoming a horse trainer. At the same time, Jacob Chandler, a minister, has a tortured soul with a past memory he cannot release. When he is forced to begin a new life with his son, he heads west to find acceptance and peace. In this story, character development takes precedence over historical fact, and Opal is portrayed as being older than she really is, but all in all, Opal is a quick, inspirational read about the western world of the nineteenth century.