My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Valley of Dreams by Lauraine Snelling is the first in the Wild West Wind series and follows the life and struggles of the main character, Cassie Lockwood.
Cassie is the star rider and sharp shooter in a wild west show that had been owned by her now deceased parents. When her parents died, the show was left in the care of her honorary uncle, Jason. However, Jason isn’t business saavy and likes to drink too much which leads to the demise of the show.
When the show collapses, Cassie heads south in search of her late father’s “valley of dreams”, 400 acres of land that he had purchased with the hope of owning a ranch out in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She is joined by Chief, a Sioux indian that has been with the show for years and a wrangler by the name of Micah. On their way they encounter an injured indian woman, Runs like a Deer, whom they nurse back to health on their journey.
Living off the land is much different for Cassie and she must learn to use her shooting skills to kill animals to provide meat for her makeshift family. Gone are the days of being pampered and having everything done for her. Under the guidance of Chief she must learn a new way and how to do things for herself.
We are also introduced to another family that is already living in the valley of South Dakota. The Engstrom family consists of Mavis, her two boys-Ransom and Lucas and her daughter, Gretchen. Mavis’ husband has died some years back and the boys are struggling to keep it all together. Their importance in this story becomes more apparant towards the end of the book. I really enjoyed reading about Ransom, especially. Though Lucas has declared upon seeing Cassie that he is “in love” I am really hoping that she ends up with Ransom instead. I guess I’ll have to pick up book two to find out!
I have only a few complaints about this book and they’re minor. I found some of the situations unrealistic. In the early 1900s, outside of the wild west show, I’m not so sure that folks in the towns would have so accepting of Cassie while she was wearing pants and accompanied by two indians. Everything just seemed to fall perfectly in place for her and I found that unrealistic for the time period. I also had a small complaint that the end of the book offered no reference to the next book. Without a title listed for a future release I think that may discourage future readers who may not be an avid follower of the author or perhaps doesn’t follow sites like Goodreads.
Otherwise I enjoyed the book and I look forward to reading more of her stories!