HEARTH STONE – Lois Greiman
Home in the Hills Series, Book 1
Near Hope Springs, South Dakota
After finally getting the courage to leave home and the constant criticism from her father and grandmother, Sidney Wellesey lands at the Lazy Windmill ranch in South Dakota. It's a slightly shabby place with people the likes of which she's never known. Sidney, you see, comes from a very wealthy background in Virginia, and though she never seems to please what family she has left, she's always had any material thing she wanted. Recently, however, after a painful riding accident, she's lost all that had meaning in her life, her career as an award winning equestrian and Olympic hopeful. She's been told she'll never ride again. On top of that she finds the marriage her father is forcing on her distasteful. After some time at the Lazy Windmill, she'd fallen in love with the valleys and the hills and decided to look around for a place of her own. She bought a ranch with possibilities where she planned to tear down the old house and build a new one, something Sidney can no longer afford because her father has cut off her funds and her credit.
Hunter Redhawk, a hunky half Native American, is back in the area and looking for work. That's what brings him to Sidney's place where she's cold and hungry and discouraged. She's also highly suspicious of this big stranger who won't leave—his truck battery is dead and it's obvious to him that this female can't cope alone. It's a clash of class and cultures; at least it seems so to Sidney, who has had little contact with the working class. He just thinks she must be a little crazy. Eventually they come to a tentative agreement, and she and Hunt start in to work at fixing up what's there.
Sidney is about to learn many lessons, not just about the world and people she's never known, but about herself. One of her challenges stems from finding a wild Mustang tangled in an old barbed wire fence. Against all advice to put the mare out of her misery, Sidney is determined to save her.
This new series is a spin-off of Ms. Greiman's Hope Springs novels that take place at the Lazy Windmill, and we'll meet many of the same characters. Can Sidney overcome her upbringing and make friends with her neighbors? Perhaps find a new family?
Readers will find trials and dangers, but also caring and humor and warmth in HEARTH STONE. If you like tales about realistic people meeting life, you'll very much enjoy it.