by Lauraine Snelling
Category: Fiction / Historical
348 pages; ISBN: 0764222201
Rating: 8/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Bethany House, 2005, $12.99, 348 pp.
In 1886 Dakotah Territory, fourteen-year-old Opal Torvald finds school boring and taking time away from working on the ranch of her brother-in-law. Cutting class, Opal goes swimming in the nearby Little Missouri River with little on when a drifter threatens her. Her friend Atticus Grady fights the stranger.
In Pennsylvania, Minister Jacob Chandler feels remorse over Melody who when she arrives at his home ailing informs him she no longer can take care of their seven year old son Joel before leaving the child behind with Jacob. Unable to face his flock Jacob accompanied by Joel head west getting off the train in the Dakotah Territory when they run out of money. He finds work as a ranch hand though he is not very competent at it.
Meanwhile the drifter incident has had repercussions with Atticus being beaten badly and a neighbor killed. Opal’s sister sends her to attend a New York school where she hopes the tomboy learns to behave more like a lady and to get her away from the drifter. A sad Opal wonders when she will be able to return.
Book three in the Dakotah Treasures series, OPAL, is an interesting Americana fiction that brings to life a bygone era. Readers who want a better perspective of two key secondary characters will be better off perusing the first two tales (see RUBY and PEARL) although this novel can stand alone. Opal better at ranching than the average male seems a stretch until the reader compares her to teenage golf and tennis sensations like Wie and Sharapova. Her trouble adapting to New York City and Jacob’s to ranching make for a fine taleand sets up another novel.
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