Sophia has her life all planned out-but her plan didn’t include being jilted or ending up in Dakota Territory.
Sophia Makinoff is certain 1876 is the year that she’ll become the wife of a certain US Congressman, and happily plans her debut into the Capitol city. But when he proposes to her roommate instead, Sophia is stunned. Hoping to flee her heartache and humiliation, she signs up with the Board of Foreign Missions on a whim.
With dreams of a romantic posting to the Far East, Sophia is dismayed to find she’s being sent to the Ponca Indian Agency in the bleak Dakota Territory. She can’t even run away effectively and begins to wonder how on earth she’ll be able to guide others as a missionary. But teaching the Ponca children provides her with a joy she has never known-and never expected-and ignites in her a passion for the people she’s sent to serve.
It’s a passion shared by the Agency carpenter, Willoughby Dunn, a man whose integrity and selflessness are unmatched. The Poncas are barely surviving. When US policy decrees that they be uprooted from their land and marched hundreds of miles away in the middle of winter, Sophia and Will wade into rushing waters to fight for their friends, their love, and their destiny.
I was eager to read this book after I looked at the cover. When I read the back I really wanted to read it! I finished it a couple of days ago and enjoyed most of the book. I really loved Sophia. I felt Catherine had gone to a lot of trouble to give her depth and a complete background. To me she felt well-rounded and real. I especially like the fact that she is Russian, Russian Orthodox and was not born in America. Having Sophia American without being typically “American” in her background was really refreshing. Having her work alongside the Indians gave a beautiful contrast to the Missionaries (except Will) who are trying to Americanize everyone around them who is different.
I found the interactions between the Agency officials in charge of Indian’s Welfare and Sophia, Will and one or two more characters really relevant to our culture today. Seen through our modern eyes, the ways and methods of evangelizing people of different cultures and religions back then was totally dehumanizing and it did more harm than good. Why must we change every aspect of a person or group who is different from us? These are questions for another time, but Catherine dealt really well with the plight of the Ponca Tribe and how unjust their treatment was.
For me I loved the depth of the characters and how Catherine depicted the struggles of Missionaries and the people they are serving but I felt like the book was missing a climax. I kept waiting and waiting for the action in the story to really come to a head but it never quite got there. As a result I was left wanting more from this story. Even in the romance department, I felt that Catherine got Will and Sophia got so close to the right romance pace but didn’t quite give me what I was after – even though things ends happily.
However, this book was engaging and well-written for almost all of it so I can overlook my need for a complete climax – which is just what a good author can achieve!
Jess is a mum of two children and married to the calmest man alive. She loves to bake and go for walks. A writer of contemporary romance, Jess write stories about the heart and where love is worth the journey.