Sweetwater Run

Written by Jan Watson

Newlywed Cara Whitt finds herself suddenly alone in the eastern Kentucky mountains in 1893. Her husband Dimmert has been jailed for stealing back his own mule, which had strayed onto neighbors’ property and they claimed as theirs. Unbeknownst to the family, Dimmert’s lawyer Henry Thomas has designs on the Whitt land, which used to belong to his grandfather. Henry is doing his utmost to keep Dimmert in jail so that the family will default on the taxes. Wedding Darcy, Cara’s sister-in-law, would bolster his claim to the land. Darcy becomes dazzled by Henry’s charm and his money, which leads to having to take the consequences of a questionable choice of action. Meanwhile, Cara relies on her friends and her faith in her quest to get her husband back.

Watson won an award from the Christian Writers Guild for her first novel, which began the Troublesome Creek series and featured different characters. I liked the nonstandard plot points in this book, such as Henry turning out to be not quite the cardboard villain he seemed at first. The book features two equally important relationships going on at the same time, though Darcy’s story was more compelling than Cara’s. Watson also includes authentic details of the time and region. I had a little trouble keeping track of which minor character was which and/or related to whom, but that might have been less of a problem if I had read the others in the series first. An enjoyable inspirational novel.