Of Peaks and Prairies by Vivi Holt
Book 1 in Paradise Valley series
ARC, eBook, No page count
Black Lab Press
July 13, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance, Western
Source: Received for review from the author (I also was a beta reader for this book too)
She's married to a man she doesn't love, and didn't agree to marry. The scoundrel dragged her to the altar, and now everything is going to change. In a split second decision, she runs away, and stows aboard a chuck wagon that's leaving on a cattle drive, heading north to Montana Territory. She doesn't know where she's going, or what she'll do, she only knows one thing - she has to escape from Fort Worth, Texas.
Thomas O'Reilly's finally got the chance to prove himself to his Pa. After finding gold in Montana Territory, he travels to Texas to buy a herd of longhorns to take back north with him, where demand for beef is high. Everything is going his way until he discovers a beautiful, young woman asleep in the back of his chuck wagon.
A woman on the trail is bad for business, especially in a group of rough and rowdy cowboys. Will she ruin everything he's worked so hard for? Or will she be the one thing he really needs?This is my favorite book from Vivi Holt thus far!
Follow their journey, from Texas to Montana Territory, where challenges lurk around every corner, and love is forged in the heat of battle.
Important reading note – while this is the first book in the Paradise Valley series, it continues the story of Bill and Sarah that is told in Holt’s book, The Strong One, which is part of the Cutter’s Creek series. You can read these books in either order, Of Peaks and Prairies certainly stands on its own, but I think it will be more enjoyable to read The Strong One first and read Bill and Sarah’s origin story first.
The majority of the historical westerns that I have read fall into one of two categories: those that revolve around mail order brides coming from the east to marry men on ranches in the west OR life on an established ranch. Of Peaks and Prairies is different in that everyone who exists within these pages already lives in the west, but the majority of the story takes place along the trail while cattle are being herded from Texas to Montana. This was a refreshing change of pace as we encounter the variety of troubles that could come along with life on the trail that kept things exciting.
Genevieve is desperate to get away from her home – it’s not really much of a home anyway and her step-father and new husband are just terrible men – and setting out on the trail seems like a better plan than staying home, regardless of what tribulations come with it. She doesn’t expect to fall for the handsome trail leader, especially since she is married, but that is what happens and provides quite a bit of trouble on the trek and between her and Thomas. Thomas is a good man on a tight schedule – he doesn’t really have the time to deal with the problems an unmarried woman (as far as he knows) on the trail will bring as he races the coming winter to get home. The romantic moments between the two are sparking, sweet, and at times infuriating (in a good way!). It’s a clean romance, but the tension between the two and the small moments are rewarding and fulfilling for the reader.
I was super excited to return to the story of Sarah and Bill from The Strong One. I didn’t know that they would be part of this story before I started reading it and I quite literally cheered out loud when they returned to the scene. While mostly a sideline story, it still moves forward and they serve as a good foil/inspiration for Genny and Thomas. I also enjoyed seeing more of Sarah’s native lifestyle that we were briefly introduced to at the beginning of The Strong One.
The book left me with a desire to read more books that will hopefully come in this series. I enjoyed all the characters and fell for Genny and Thomas – I can’t wait to see what will happen at Thomas’ new ranch (I enjoyed getting to know some of the cowboys and hope to see more of them). I also have a feeling that we are not done with the native side of Sarah’s story. Holt keeps the plot exciting while advancing the romantic threads of the various relationships at play here. The trail life blossomed from the pages and I felt like I was right there with them all and the hundreds of head of cattle. Well written, fast paced, and enjoyable all around.
Buy the Book: Amazon
Also by Vivi Holt:
Mail Order Bride: Christy
[Review Coming Soon]
Mail Order Bride: Ramona
Mail Order Bride: Katie
The Strong One (Book 2 Cutter Creek Series)
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