Broken-hearted after losing the only woman he ever loved to another man, Reverend Joshua Holmes returns to England. But after thirty years, he is summoned to Willow Creek, Arizona. His rival has died, and his deathbed request is for Josh to marry Amanda and keep her safe from harm. But he fears she will not accept his steadfast love.
Fearing for her life, Amanda Gregory, or Golden Lady to the Apaches amongst whom she has lived, is forced to flee the white agents infiltrating the reservation. Amanda seeks refuge until Joshua arrives from England. Once she sees him again, her heart reawakens, and she believes true love could happen a second time around. But just as she becomes Joshua’s wife, she worries she will again be made a widow by the enemies from her past.
Arizona in 1895; a marriage that might have met with disapproval by some, a question of loyalty, of love and commitment after death, and the impact of a a long-ago love all lie at the heart of this novel.
Amanda Gregory, widow of an Apache chief, is part of a family that includes her ‘sister’ Rising Sun, and son Gabriel, as well as the larger community around them on the reservation. Mutual respect is shown, but there is no denying that they, as a whole are victims; especially the women.
The violence is mostly delicately handled but a part of the life; as well as a motivation for Amanda to reach for help into her past.
Far away is a man who loved her long ago…and might yet. Josh Holmes is the sort that any reader will love: steadfast, believable and sure. However, things between them cannot progress as we might hope. There is Amanda’s loyalty, and the disapproval of some, including her son. From the first page, we are never able to predict quite how this will turn out.
Indulging in the over-dramatic, at times, lack of credibility interrupts what is otherwise an engaging tale. The background is well done and it is beautifully written and quite heartfelt.
Although this is book 5 of a series, it is a whole story unto itself: one can read it as a stand-alone.
Return to Willow Creek delivers exactly what you’d expect. I do think fans of the time period will enjoy this romance.