In Book One of the Westward Hearts series, orphans Fannie Caldwell and her two young siblings have spent the last three years as indentured servants under a cruel master. Desperately wanting a better life for her brother and sister, Fannie devises a plan to secretly join a wagon train heading west. Her plan immediately runs into trouble when the handsome yet bullheaded wagon master Blake Tanner refuses to allow an unmarried woman on the train. But Fannie's determined – she'll escape and go west with or without help.
As life on the trail tests everyone's endurance and faith, Fannie soon realizes the perils of being a single woman on the frontier. Witnessing Fannie fending off one scare after another, Blake slowly recognizes how much he cares for this alluring young woman. Will Blake sacrifice his own dreams and guide Fannie to safety? Or will Fannie's stubborn independence keep her from finding true love?
Westward Hearts follows three strong women as they struggle to survive on the rough wagon train and lose their hearts to unlikely heros along the way.
rating: 4 of 5 stars
The book ends very abruptly to me it seems, but... I have the sequel on my bookshelf, so I'm okay. Fannie's life has seen rough days, she has lost both of her parents, left to take care of her younger twin siblings and sold by her supposed loving step-father immediately after her mother's death in childbirth to a stillborn. The man the three children were indentured to let the year of the contract end date come and go and the future looked bleak for nothing would change for Fannie and her dear brother and sister. Living in their small sin-filled town Fannie decides to join the next wagon trail headed west out of their Kansas town. It proves to be more difficult than expected. First denied, then accepted, and while taking the journey west is difficult enough Fannie, her new friend and ex-Fancy woman Tori shares the fate of being chased by a man that believes his ownership of her work and body. From a plausible new love when Fannie vows that all men are alike and want one thing, to a near drowning, then a tornado, will they all get through this alive? And when Fannie and her siblings ever be free? What of Tori and her future, will she get a second chance on life or always be ruined? All these questions and more are answered and leaving you thirsting for more from Tracey Bateman's new series. And of course, God works his ways in many ways, but this is not an overbearing preachy book. It's just wonderful. And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to finish the second in this series...
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