Where the Road Bends

Written by Rachel Fordham
Review by Beth Kanell

This frontier novel suggests that prayer and strong motivation to reform can rescue the homeless and impoverished from a hard life and turn them into well-off and significant residents of a growing Western town. Taking views from both the prizefighter turned property owner Quincy Barnes, and the naive, gentle, and orphaned Norah King, the story presents lives of hardscrabble pain and possible salvation.

In Where the Road Bends, Fordham delivers the inspirational romance for which she has already built a reputation in four previous novels of love and faith in 19th-century America. Norah King, left penniless after her father’s death, is about to enter marriage with an older man in order to save the ranch her father’s built. When she brings home a gravely injured man and nurses him, despite possible scandal, she discovers that she is giving up her chance of love with a soulmate, in entering such a bargain for her ranch. But to honor her father, she feels she has no other choice.

Quincy Barnes, in turn, staggers away from Norah’s home to save her reputation, knows he’s walking away from true love, and determines to remake himself, in thanks for Norah’s lifesaving assistance—and another gift that she has no idea she’s provided for his future. He assumes she’s made that marriage by the time he reaches a town where he can start fresh, and he chooses actions that echo her kindness and Good Samaritan efforts.

When the two finally reconnect, frontier evils threaten both, as well as what they’ve tried to save. Each has consequences to face; whether that can allow them some happiness won’t be resolved easily.