Spring of My Love
Spring of My Love is Book Three in Aiken’s Christian fiction Silver Hills Trilogy. It is 1894 in Hartville, Colorado, and the town is under a severe drought. The ranchers in Hartville turn their attention (and it is not welcome) to eighteen-year-old Angel Rogers, sole resident of her family’s sheep farm and possessor of the only creek in town. Rancher Jeremy Johnstone is the first to approach her with an offer to buy her ranch, but she is offended and indignant. They strike up a wary friendship when he assists in the birth of her lambs, and he is stricken with guilt after finding her and her dog attacked and her lambs slaughtered. Angel finds comfort in God and her friends while the bitter ranchers hold secret meetings to conspire how to wrest her land from her. Events come to a head when she is accused of killing another rancher’s cattle, and Jeremy must come to her rescue.
Aiken ably evokes the Wild West where hanging is considered frontier justice and Angel is pigeonholed as an unnatural woman because she wears pants and not dresses. This book could have been half its length if Angel and Jeremy had not prolonged their will-they-or-won’t-they dance of mistrust, then attraction, then misunderstandings leading back to mistrust. This dance becomes wearying. Angel is plucky and Jeremy is gruff but tender-hearted, and their relationship is as clichéd as it sounds.