It's 1876, and 20-year-old Mattie Flynn is determined to make a fresh start after fleeing from her sinister boss in the gambling house where she was employed as a singer. Mattie travels to Deadwood, South Dakota, in search of her younger brother, who went ahead of her in hopes of making a fortune in the gold mines.
All Mattie wants is a safe and respectable life for the two of them, but that doesn't seem to be her destiny as she faces more heartache and trials. Will the suspicious bottles of gold dust from her brother's claim be the key to her future...or does the handsome street preacher, who is always turning the other cheek, truly hold the answers to her deepest longings?
Deadwood. The name sounds hopeless and depressing (and it brings to mine the TV show). Only the promise of gold could bring people out to the prairie wilderness. Two women are out on the prairie with different personalities trying to survive. I felt that the book starts off a little slow. It took me a while to get into the story as well as fully relate with the characters. For a majority of the book, I didn't feel connected with Mattie at all. Instead I found myself drawn to Swede more. In fact, I actually preferred reading Swede's story over Mattie's. Her story could have been a different book in itself. Mattie's background makes for the more interesting story for herself. The villain that comes after her is a good one, not type casted or stereotyped for the day and age. The historical details about the time period was well researched and portrayed well. The time period was a harsh time to be a woman, and for a single woman especially it would have been a struggle just to survive. While it does portray a lot of myths from the west (ie gunfighters, saloon fights, miners) I felt they were all shown realistically and added color to the story.
I felt though that the romance story was lacking in this book. The characters didn't really interact or at least the romance took place in the background when we weren't looking. Swede's romance was more out in the open and even then I felt was more romantic and interesting. Still I'm a fan of Stephanie Whitson's books so I enjoyed this one overall. If you're a fan of her other books or the West in general, you'll like this one too.
A Claim of Her Own by Stephanie Grace Whitson is published by Bethany House (2009)