Here is a book which takes us back to the Wild West we used to see in old movies, where men are tough and uncouth and women are there for their pleasure. Into this setting comes Lily Wright, running away from abuse and tragedy, looking for a new life in a boomtown during the gold rush in Colorado. Intending to open a dry goods store, her plans are in disarray after she loses her money and belongings. Without any assistance she struggles to make a living despite the fates being against her.
Lily is an insecure but brave and determined woman, with whom the reader becomes intimately involved. She learns a valuable lesson from Alice Durand, a wizened old woman whose life story could make another book! We experience Lily’s suffering in intense detail and cannot help wishing that her knight in shining armour will appear. However, Lily must make her own destiny.
The hypocritical residents of the ironically named Clear Springs include evil villains, honourable citizens and a hoard of dysfunctional individuals trying to make a fortune. It’s the perfect setting for life-changing drama. This could have made the story too predictable but this is far from the case. Lauren Gregory’s characters are real and vibrant. They come with back stories which give them substance and their actions make for a dramatic plot. There are the seeds of a saga in this novel.