Will their dreams fall apart when confronted with all that is stacked against them?
Delphinium Nielsen and her sisters have accomplished much in the past year, traveling west and settling in Nebraska. They are on their way to building a garden in dedication to their mother and working against the forces of nature to make their farm thrive. However, none of that can mask their concern that they are quickly running out of money. Del's work teaching in their booming town offers hope, not only to support her sisters financially, but also to better her students' lives. Not all of the town sees it that way, though, with the rebuilding of the schoolhouse continually neglected and her brightest student's father demanding he work the farm instead of attend class.
When their brother Anders arrives with his war-wounded and heartbroken friend RJ, Anders sees the strength of the sisters' idea to start a boardinghouse and decides to invest in it. Del finds RJ barely polite and wants nothing to do with him. But despite Del and her sisters' best-laid plans, the future--and RJ--might surprise them all.
"Snelling's thorough research pays off in her vivid evocation of frontier-era Nebraska . . . The result is a transportive historical worth getting lost in."--Publishers Weekly
Snelling returns to 1860s Salton, Neb., in the immersive second entry in her Leah's Garden series (after The Seeds of Change). With the Civil War over, the four Nielsen sisters have plans to expand their garden and open a boardinghouse, but for now, Del supports her sisters with her teacher's salary. After grasshoppers nearly destroy their garden, their older brother brings them plants from his home in Ohio. He's accompanied by his friend R.J. Easton, a former Union Army engineer. In pain after losing an eye to a bushwhacker several months earlier, R.J. is often in a foul mood and makes a poor first impression on Del, but after a new treatment works wonders easing his pain, he takes an interest in her. He volunteers to help with building a schoolhouse, and when the structure comes together, Del's reminded that "Nothing was or is or ever will be impossible with God." R.J. and Del grow closer, but standing in the way is Del's teacher's contract, which forbids her from marrying. Snelling's thorough research pays off in her vivid evocation of frontier-era Nebraska, which comes through in such small details as the haberdashery and millinery in town, and the attention to historically accurate marital clauses in teaching contracts. The result is a transportive historical worth getting lost in.