Reviewed by: Linda Tonis
Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team
The story begins in Wolf Creek, Nebraska, 1915, and Will Brandt waits at the train station for his son, Shadow, to return home from the East. Shadow has been gone for six years at college and Will anxiously awaits his return home. While waiting, Will thinks back to what brought him to where he is now. The book flashes back to 1880.
Karl Augustus Dietrich Wilhelm von Brandt arrived in Wolf Creek, Nebraska all the way from Germany. The day he stepped off the train, he literally bumped into Johnny Moon a half-breed. That very moment would be the beginning of their life together. As a half-breed, Johnny has known nothing but sorrow. Belittled by other children as child, and as an adult ignored for the most part by other adults. When he meets Will, the first thing he does is shorten his name, he is now Will Brandt. There is little doubt his full name would not go over well in America.
The two men hit it off almost immediately. When Johnny advises Will that the ranch he bought is nothing but a rundown shack with a broken down barn surrounded by sand, Will is shocked but not deterred. Even after seeing his ranch, Will is confident he can make it work especially with help from Johnny. The only things Will brought with him from Germany were his friend, Hans, and his horses, horses that he will breed. One of his horses actually belonged to the Emperor. Will actually stole away to America with horses to which he had not rights. Although they belonged to his father when he died, he owed debts due to his gambling, a problem that caused him to take his own life. That is why Will ran to America.
Will left behind the woman he loved, Gretchen, but as soon as he had enough money he would send for her. With Johnny by his side, Will was able to make a go of the ranch, and his horse was in great demand for breeding. Just when everything was perfect, or so he thought, a letter would change everything. Gretchen died. Now Will had no reason to stay a virgin. He also decided to marry Silent Summer Woman, a Pawnee. He wanted a woman the total opposite of his beloved Gretchen so her memory would always remain pure in his mind.
Will came to love his wife, but she never reciprocated his feelings. She was civil and carried out her obligations to him, and when she gave birth two months early he just took it without question. He never knew she was pregnant when he married her. That was the reason her father, who hated the white man, agreed to the union.
Over time, Will would try everything he could to get his wife to at least accept and like him, but it just never happened. Then he had a blessing when his daughter who he called Gretchen was born, now Gretchen is still with him in a way. But, tragedy would enter Will’s life in ways he could never have imagined. He would face, betrayal, lies, and death.
This book moved me in many ways, it was joyful at times, sad at times and heartbreaking at times. Will and Johnny were wonderful characters who faced many challenges and didn’t always win. Summer loved her son’s father and was unwilling to open her heart to a man who gave her everything, especially love. There are moments in this book I can’t seem to get out of my mind, that is how gripping they were. There is a great deal of history about the times and if you love historical books, western books, and romances this is the one.