Friday, November 13, 2015

Alphabet Soup Challenge: Peggy L. Henderson - Yellowstone Heart Song

Nurse and avid backpacker Aimee Donovan is offered the opportunity of a lifetime. She encounters a patient who tells her he can send her two hundred years into the past to spend three months in the rugged Yellowstone wilderness at the dawn of the mountain man era. The only requirement: she cannot tell anyone that she's from the future.
How did a white woman suddenly appear in the remote Rocky Mountain wilderness? Trapper Daniel Osborne's first instinct is to protect this mysterious and unconventional woman from the harsh realities of his mountains. While he fights his growing attraction to her, he is left frustrated by her lies and secrecy.
Daniel shows Aimee a side of Yellowstone she's never experienced. She is torn between her feelings for him, and exposing a secret that will destroy everything he holds as truth. As her three months come to an end, she is faced with a dilemma: return to her own time, or stay with the man who opened her eyes to a whole new world. When the decision is made for her, both their lives will be changed forever.

Comment: I've known about this book through KristieJ's blog because she did talk about the author with conviction and I wanted to know what this was about. I eventually managed to get this first book and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to read, so... this month it happened and I'm glad I did.
I also thought it had the perfect title for the Alphabet challenge and it's my Y letter.
This is the story of Aimee Donovan, a contemporary nurse who meets an old man promising her a time travel back 200 years to the Yellowstone are, where she can be in the wild on her own and see how life used to be in the region. Aimee accepts but finds herself both surprised and delighted it worked.
She has a little misstep though, but the old man's son, Daniel finds her and helps her. The two of them become closer as time goes by and Daniel helps Aimee to survive the wilderness but she knows her time will be up. How will she deal with separation if everything she ever wanted is right here, 200 years before her time?
I've finished this book only last night and I ended up reading almost until 2am. I was certain this would be a practically perfect book but the way it ended made me feel slightly bittersweet - a trait that usually accompanies me in time travel stories. Despite everything, I can't help but having been engaged in this romance, so simple at times but so beautiful...
I loved the story's premise, a special artifact sort of concocted by an ancient native tribe or xaman or something and now Zach Osborne can travel in time. He uses it mostly for medical care, so much more difficult to get in the nineteenth century. It was in the hospital he met Aimee, she's a nurse, and sold her the time travel story. The book starts with Aimee already in 1810, walking through Yellowstone in all its natural beauty and she is rescued by Daniel and his tribe brother. The book focuses on the relationship between Daniel and Aimee, the difficulties they have because they have different backgrounds, the problem Aimee has because she can't explain how she ended up there and, of course, the attraction between them.
I think this story is, before anything, sweet. This reminds me of the simple romance stories of older days, where the romance and its challenges was the most important thing to deal with and how invested we can be in the main characters.
I really loved Daniel and Aimee's developing relationship, the small steps they took, the slow motion of their attraction and battling feelings. I loved the magic of some scenes and things Aimee did that proved her to be someone Daniel could love. Their connection was about more than physical attraction and it was so wonderful to see a romance focusing on that and in the simplicity of such a relationship.
I liked both character's personalities. Both Aimee and Daniel seem simple but hard working people, the sort of heroes we like to see triumph. I think some background information about their pasts was purposely left out, not only because it didn't exist but because it didn't really matter to this story and I really liked the author didn't complicated things, didn't insert more stuff just to make this extra dramatic.
The secondary characters were simple too, no geniuses or exaggerated types of people here, most of them were there to fit a role but sincerely I didn't mind because they added to the story the necessary element, it didn't feel fake or staged.
My biggest - probably only - issue with this story was the end. Of course we, the reader, had to expect some conflict, especially when the main couple comes from different times, but I felt the way the solution happened wasn't very smooth. There's some drama, which I actually liked and even made me sad but then something happens, then another drama, then another solution, I don't know, it felt a bit out of control and although I can't say it didn't fit the type of story or even the "feel" of the book so far, I still couldn't help but feeling the problem was dragging in a not so delicate way. Then the epilogue is sweet, not completely innovative but it made me think about what happens when the things we know just stop being there. It's not easy to deal with changes and separation. It made me feel moody and bittersweet because Aimee and Daniel were happy but away from Aimee's familiar world and society.
Despite my personal little issue, I still consider this an amazing story, it brought me back to the time when romances were simpler but cute and focused on the relationship. Nowadays so many romances focus on so many plot things, the couple's love seems secondary. Anyway, this is a winner for me and I'll try to read the second installment to see if my attraction remains. As soon as I can, I'll try to get it.
As for this one, if anyone likes time travel romances, it's a great story indeed.
Grade: 8/10

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