Ever-separated from her fiancé and her cousin, Zora decides to escape the strictures of Baltimore society by heading West. How can she face friends who don’t understand her continued mourning, family members who expect her to settle for a normal life after losing Amelia’s visions and Thomas’ healing touch?
Rather than allowing seventeen-year-old Zora to marry a widower and raise his children in some log cabin, her mother arranges for her to stay with Aunt Birdie and little Louella at their homestead in the Oklahoma Territory. Rattling westward by train and coach, Zora is jolted when bandits rob the stage just a few miles from her destination, smashing the luggage, and taking the locket that Thomas gave her.
Stranded by the highwaymen in a sudden thunderstorm, Zora trudges along the muddy wagon road toward West Glory and is rescued from a night alone on the prairie by Emerson Birch. Beside his rugged cabin in his lush garden, somehow Zora knows that his well is dug in the wrong place and can see silvery shimmers in the evening darkness that tell her where he should dig for water.
Aunt Birdie welcomes her the next morning, but is openly hostile to Emerson who jumped the gun to claim his land. Life is hard for the two young women and toddler Louella in the tiny sod house, hauling water from a distant well, making soap, trying to keep their crops alive in the dry plains winds.
When dandy Theo de la Croix arrives in West Glory to teach school, Zora wonders if he’d followed her from Baltimore. One kiss at a dance couldn’t mean that much… could it? Courted by Theo, yet drawn by Emerson’s vibrant connection to the land, she begins to finds pieces of joy in the midst of her mourning.
Her gift for seeing where the earth’s secret waters hide is precious in this dry land, so she hires out as a “springsweet” to tell folks where to dig wells. Not all visions are happy ones, and soon Zora must decide whether to tell unwelcome news or to hide her talents.
But how else can the little family get enough money to get through the bitter winter ahead? Should Zora accept Theo’s offer of marriage, or sneak away to see Emerson, or just run back home to a pampered life in Baltimore?
This companion volume to The Vespertine follows Amelia’s cousin Zora as she discovers her own psychic gifts and must decide whether she can truly live with the consequences that those visions may bring.
Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA – blogging young adult books beyond the bestsellers at http://BooksYALove.blogspot.com
Seventeen-year-old Zora is still in mourning for her fiancé Thomas. Not seeing herself ever loving anyone else again she goes to the wild frontier of West Glory, Oklahoma in the Oklahoma Territory to live with her aunt Birdie. Almost as far as you can move west in the 1890’s. Once there her stagecoach is robbed on her way to her aunt’s town and she is left to fend for herself on the huge prairie not having any idea where to go. Along comes Emerson an attractive man not much older than she is to her rescue. He offers her a place to sleep the night and then delivers her to her aunts ‘soddy’ the next day. This is just the start of the hard life that is in front of Zora but she thrives on the hard back breaking work and finds herself flourishing on the wild frontier. She soon finds out that she can find water underground and is called a ‘springsweet’ and is hired out to help the neighbors only to find that frontier life is rough and sharing her newfound ability may not be the best thing to do. Theo de la Croix having known Zora in Baltimore has followed her out to Oklahoma to make her his wife but she finds herself falling in love with Emerson and has to make a choice. The big question for Zora is - can she really leave the death of Thomas behind and pledge her love to another? Will she really be able to find a happiness that she truly deserves? With a little bit of romance and a little bit of paranormal mixed in a great historical fiction read this is a very enjoyable and fun book to read.
I loved this book and really enjoyed reading it. Anyone who likes historical fiction with a pioneer style story will like it. Plus there is just a small bit of paranormal and small bit of romance. A pleasant and relaxing read.
Recommended by: Joleen Waltman, Librarian, Idaho USA