It was 19-year-old Summer Kuykendall's mother's deathbed wish that her daughter return to the ranch of Sam McLean, who had promised to take care of her, so she and her 8-year-old brother expected Sam to be waiting for them. Instead Sam's son, Slater, honored his father's promise. Installed in a house on the McLean ranch, Summer soon found herself in the midst of a feud between Slater McLean, his uncle's wife, Ellen, and her son, Travis. Ellen wanted Summer to marry Travis, but Summer found herself drawn to the enigmatic Slater, who believed that Travis was responsible for Sam's death in an ambush that left Slater's face scarred. Then violence erupted, and secrets came to light that would change Summer's life forever.
Dorothy Garlock is unparalleled at evoking a landscape and good solid characters. I like her a lot. Good historical context
Loved this book - you'll be swept away...
This story has an interesting plot line. It opens with Sam McLean and Nannie Kuykendall, mother to Summer's and John Austin. Nannie's husband is away fighting and Sam and Nannie seem to be in love with each other.
When the story resumes, it is many years later and Nannie has just died, leaving Summer and John Austin orphans. Nannie has given Summer a letter from Sam McLean encouraging them to come back to the Piney Woods. Nannie assures Summer that Sam will take care of them.
When John and Summer arrive, things are not as they expected. Sam is dead and there are new people in the mix; Ellen McLean and her son Travis, owners of the Rockin' S. Ellen is the widow of Sam's brother and Travis is a dangerous, though handsome, womanizer.
Nannie has a piece of land (shaped like a long strip) that was intended to be joined to Sam and Slater's home (called McLean's Keep) when Summer married Slater. This strip of land is midway between Ellen's and Slater's land. Ellen wants her son to marry Summer and thereby get Nannie's land joined to their Rocking S.
This is just one of the several sup-plots that drive this interesting story. There is so much going on that I found it difficult to set aside.