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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Book Review: The Strong One by Vivi Holt

The Strong One by Vivi Holt
Book 2 of the Cutter’s Creek Series
ARC, e-book, 105 pages
Amazon Digital Services
May 14, 2016

Heat Rating:

Genre: Historical Fiction, Western, Romance

Source: Received from the Author for Review
Sarah Songan is a woman on the run.

In an attempt to find peace with their neighbors, the Apsáalooke chief has promised her hand to a soldier at Fort Smith, and Sarah’s determined not to be traded or bartered like an ornament. She strikes out on her own, leaving behind everyone and everything she has ever known.

However, a woman travelling alone in 1866 Montana territory can fall prey to unscrupulous men. Sarah must confront her fears and draw on an inner strength she didn’t know she had, as well as a new-found hope in God, if she is to survive.

Bill Hanover is a tired and lonely cowboy. After four long years fighting in the War Between the States, he returns to his family ranch in Montana only to discover it’s no longer his home. He heads south to Cutter’s Creek, where he encounters a beautiful woman whose feisty spirit takes his breath away. But she’s hiding a secret, and her past is about to catch up with her. Bill turns to God for help and guidance, and encounters a new kind of love.

Set in beautiful, wild, and untamed nineteenth century Montana, this novella will take you on a journey back in time to the perilous life of a pioneer on the western frontier.
I have read several western set novels and novellas lately and almost all of them have involved some sort of mail-order bride scenario – and Vivi Holt does write these types of books too – but this novel in the Cutter’s Creek series is a little bit different. Both of our main characters, Bill and Sarah can be considered long-time residents of the west, but they are also new to their surroundings. Sarah is the child of a Native American and a white soldier who has grown up with her mother’s tribe. She sets out from her home upon hearing some less-than-favorable news about her future to make her way in one of the nearby towns. After running from a few scary situations with local men, she finally finds a place with a nice couple (Sam and Estelle) that are willing to give her shelter for a while. Bill has been away fighting a war that his family didn’t support and are unwilling to let him return to their home and he must set out to make a new way for himself.

There was a lot of action in this story for the length and it started out fairly quickly from the first few pages. I appreciated the pacing of the story as it was always moving it forward and it never felt stagnant. This actually made the story feel much longer than a short novella.

There was also a lot of character growth and development. They are both in a fish-out-of-water situation, especially Sarah as she tries to navigate the waters of life in a town and the differences in some customs. Bill was an excellent hero, but Sarah wasn’t always a damsel that needed rescuing – she had her own strength too. There were a few times where I became frustrated with Sarah and her blindness in some scenarios with regards to Bill, but she ultimately redeems herself in the end (with just a little bit of pushing from Estelle). I would also have loved to have had the ability to have a little more backstory for both Bill and Sarah – and that might have been due to the length. I want to know why Bill went to the war when it wasn’t his family’s fight (not just that he did) and I would love to know about Sarah’s life being a child of a mixed relationship but living in the tribe (not just that she was).

This is a sweet romance novel, so nothing untoward happens here, it’s just a sweet relationship growing over time.

Buy the Book: Amazon

Also by Vivi Holt:

Mail Order Bride: Christy

Mail Order Bride: Ramona

Mail Order Bride: Katie
[My Review]

Of Peaks and Prairies (Paradise Valley #1)
[My Review]

Find Vivi Holt: Amazon Page | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

Other Books in the Cutter’s Creek Series:
The Cutter’s Creek series is a loosely interconnected series of novellas that all take place in Cutter’s Creek, Montana, each written by a different author.

The Healing Touch by Kit Morgan (Book 1)

New Beginnings by Annie Boone (Book 3)

A Lily Blooms by Kari Trumbo (Book 4)

Copyright © 2016 by The Maiden’s Court

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