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Colorado Hope ~ Review with Excerpt

Colorado Hope
Front Range Series 2
By Charlene Whitman

Grace Cunningham and her husband Monty are headed to Fort Collins, Colorado, and a new life.  But in an instant everything they had planned and dream was lost.  Monty was caught in a sudden river flood and swept away along with all of their possessions.

Relying on the kindness of strangers Grace hopes and prays for Monty's safe return.  But Grace's hopes may all be for naught when a man who looks and sounds like Monty comes to Fort Collins. But this Monty doesn't know Grace and he is married to another woman.

Grace is determined to keep her hope for the future and for her son.  But how can she build a future with a husband who doesn't know her or the child they had eagerly anticipated?  With a few new friends who believe her story, Grace manages to keep a flame of hope that someday she may indeed truly have her husband back if only Monty can remember.

Monty is a man with no past.  He just can't remember anything before waking up on a muddy bank. The woman to whom he is married is a frustration to him.  She isn't what he could see himself being drawn to in his forgotten past, but his vows and promises mean everything to him.  But there is something about the dressmaker in Fort Collins that tugs at the hidden recesses of his memories, if only he could figure out why.

A seemingly impossible situation that can only end in heart-break, surprisingly and believably has a satisfying and happy ending that you won't want to miss.  Alone the way there are gossipy women, a gang of outlaws, and one woman who holds the key.

If you've seen the Greer Garson movie Random Harvest you'll want to pick up Colorado Hope as there are similarities that will appeal.  This book doesn't delve into a sappy nature, which is a pleasant bonus with this delightful and well-written book.

I was provided a copy of this book through PUYB in exchange for my honest review and tour participation.

About the Author:

Charlene Whitman spent many years living on Colorado's Front Range. She grew up riding and raising horses, and loves to read, write, and hike the mountains. She attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins as an English major. She has two daughters and is married to George "Dix" Whitman, her love of thirty years. Her latest book Colorado Hope is the second sweet Historical Western Romance novel in her Front Range series.

Connect with Charlene on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Book:

Title: Colorado Hope
Author: Charlene Whitman
Publisher: Ubiquitous Press
Pages: 412
Genre: Sweet Western Historical Romance
Format: Paperback and Kindle

1875 ~ Beset by a sudden spring storm on the Front Range, newlywed
Grace Cunningham watches in horror as her husband, Monty, is swept
downriver. Pregnant and despairing, she stumbles into Fort Collins and
tries to make a life for herself, praying that one day the man she loves
will walk into town and back into her life.

A year after Grace’s tragic loss, Monty enters the dress shop where
she works—with a beautiful woman on his arm. Shocked that he has no
recollection of her, Grace is determined to win back his heart. Somehow
she must help him regain his memories and his buried love for her—and
not just for her sake but for the sake of their infant son, Ben.

Monty, miserable in his marriage to a woman he hardly knows, is
inexplicably drawn to Grace. Every time he’s near her, memories
surface, but they are hazy and troubling. He’s torn between his vows
and the desires of his heart, for he cannot stay away from Grace.

Grace’s hope is sparked when Monty starts recalling glimpses of his past.
But when murderous outlaws come to town, she is thrust into grave
danger. Monty risks his life to rescue her, only to face even greater
perils in the treacherous mountains. Can she truly hang on to hope when
she is about to lose all she loves?

For More Information:

• Colorado Hope is available at Amazon.
• Pick up your copy at Barnes and Noble.
• Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Excerpt:

May 16, 1875

A fierce wind whipped Grace Ann Cunningham’s hair, yanking at the long
strands and pulling them free from their pins. She squinted through the haze of
the blustery day and stroked her bulging belly, trying to comfort her baby, who
seemed just as agitated by the sudden storm.

Her back ached from sitting on the hard buckboard bench all these miles—much
less comfortable than the plush sleeper car they’d enjoyed last week on the
train from Illinois to Cheyenne.

She frowned at the dark roiling clouds that had moved in and quickly blotted
out the sun.

What had been a pleasant uneventful morning was now turning into an ominous
and unsettling afternoon on the open prairie.

Grace sucked in a breath as the baby again kicked her ribs in protest. Her
sweet husband’s sun-browned face tightened in concern as he caught her
gesture. He pulled on the reins of the two draft horses—sturdy ones they’d
bought yesterday in Cheyenne. Surefooted, the seller had told them. And
Monty knew his horses, so she trusted his purchase and assurance that they’d
haul them without incident to Fort Collins. But looking at her husband’s face
now, seeing the subtle telltale signs indicating that he hadn’t expected this
squall nor felt at ease about it, gave her pause. And her normally talkative
husband had been too quiet this last hour, eyeing the sky and listening to the
roar of the nearby river, as if hearing their complaints and trying to suss out
nature’s intentions.

“The baby all right, darlin’?” He scooted over on the buckboard seat to look
her over, then took her hands in his.

Warmth from his gentle grip comforted her, but not as much as the love
streaming from his adoring gaze.

“I think so,” she told him, then smiled as he laid his hand firmly on her belly.

Grace thanked the Lord in a silent prayer for this wonderful man who’d
married her in a simple ceremony last September. All those years she’d lived
with her doting aunt Eloisa in the boardinghouse back in Bloomington, she
never imagined she’d be blessed with such happiness.

When Montgomery Cunningham had first stepped into the parlor to take a room
before starting college at Wesleyan University, she’d been a shy, giggling girl of
ten. Neither of them foresawthe love that would spark six years later when he
showed up again unexpectedly, about to head west to explore and survey lands

Monty closed his eyes, his hand still on the baby in her womb. She imagined
him communing with their baby, speaking to it the way he spoke to rivers,
to trees, to the land he traversed by boat and on horseback and on foot.
Something had happened to him when he returned from the Hayden
Yellowstone Expedition. He had changed from boy to man, yes—but it was more
than that. He had fallen in love with the West, and with rivers in particular.
Although he’d studied geology in college with John Powell, water captured his
heart, and he sought out trips that had him navigating whitewater. Nothing
made his eyes sparkle more than talking about the way water moved and
sang as it cascaded and carved the face of mountains and spilled into waiting
valleys. Well, except the way he looked at her.

Monty may have loved rivers, but Grace knew he loved her more. So much
more, for he gladly gave up his exploring to settle down and marry and start
a family. Although, Grace thought moving to the new town of Fort Collins,
Colorado, was adventure enough. She hoped he’d come to see it that way as
well and not be into the wild.