Prairie Song

Written by Cheryl Anne Porter
Review by Jane Steen

Kate Chandler flees New York City for the wilds of Oklahoma and the Great Land Run, hoping to escape a dark and dangerous past. Her path crosses with Cole Youngblood, hired gun newly saddled with his orphaned nephews and niece. Problem? Kate learns a single woman can’t stake a claim, while Cole knows the life he leads doesn’t lend itself to being a father. The solution seems simple: they marry, and Cole claims land for Kate while she takes care of the little ones until he can find a permanent home for them.

But her secret and his new assignment will make their lives more complicated than either could possible imagine.

That this Western romance held the attention of one who normally shuns this sub-genre says much about its appeal. The tale is unique in both setting and characters. The Land Run of 1889 is not often used in Western romances, and Ms. Porter does a wonderful job of setting the reader firmly in the time and place with her historic detail without overpowering the story itself. Cole may carry Indian blood, and Kate may be from back East, but neither character falls into the usual patterns of “half-breed” hero and rich city girl heroine. Indeed, Kate is from the lower classes. Both are fully written, empathetically flawed human beings, and watching them work through their own traumas to fall in love is a touching journey for any romance fan. In fact, the emotional love story Ms. Porter pens is so strong, the physical consummation should be one of the high points of the book. Unfortunately, the consummation is ill-timed to point of seeming extraneous, and takes some of the warmth out of the feeling the reader could have for the romance up to that point. However, despite this drawback, the story as a whole should please Western and romance readers alike.