“You know, when you showed up demanding the entire ranch, I told Mariah the land legally belonged to you and your family, and we just had to accept that fact. But in my heart, I questioned why God would let something like this happen to our family,” Mariah’s grandmother explains in Pam Hillman’s novel, "Claiming Mariah." Second book by this author, this tome targets readers who enjoy historical fiction during the late nineteenth century in America’s Wild West. With no profanity, little violence, and wholesome romance, the three hundred and seventy-four page Christian-themed paperback includes the first chapter of her first book along with acknowledgements and the author’s biography. When Slade Donovan rides into the small town of Wisdom in Wyoming Territory with his brother, he focuses on claiming land that should rightfully be his family’s since the gold that purchased it was stolen from his father by his partner, Seth Malone. But when he learns Seth has died and his daughter, Mariah, is left to maintain the cattle ranch, he questions his purpose. Determined to be stoic and unwavering, Mariah Malone agrees the land deed was bought with Donovan’s gold and is heartbroken when she is told her father shot the man over it. Bitterness, shame, guilt, and unforgiving others grab hold of Slade and Mariah as the newcomer takes over the ranch and the woman prepares to leave. With no money and no place for her grandmother and her to live, Mariah prays to God if she should accept a neighbor’s marriage proposal for her own comfort and security. When Slade gets wind of the idea, he not only has reservations about the land owner’s motives, he realizes he has feelings for this stubborn woman. As Slade looks into why the ranch is doing so poorly, he must shed the animosity and hatred toward the Malone family for what has happened to his father as he seeks inner peace. Finding unanswered irregularities, every time he approaches Mariah, the communication breaks down and they cannot divulge their true emotions. Hillman’s writing style makes for a quick read as one ponders the “why” in life when something goes wrong. With the Old West backdrop, the era enhances the storyline of forgiveness and redemption as one relies on God, no matter what the outcome. Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for furnishing this book in exchange for a review of the reader’s honest opinion.
Oh, I soooo hope this is the beginning of a series!!!! I'm already so attached to the characters (including ones who have yet to make an appearance!) that I'm not ready to let them go. Hillman has woven a riveting Western tale complete with an unsolved mystery to figure out. Fast-paced and packing an emotional punch, I just couldn't put it down and finished it in a day. Slade's struggle with forgiveness and the desire to extract his own vengeance has defined him since boyhood. Being a party to this chivalrous, decent, compassionate hero's conflicting struggle made for a fascinating read. He's such an enigma. Mariah is spunky and determined but oh so stubborn and she clashes with Slade from their first meeting. Understandably since he's determined to uproot her family from the only home she's ever known but that stubbornness doesn't help her cause. Watching their attraction develop and grow amidst all that conflict makes for a roller coaster read! There are some swoonworthy romantic scenes within these pages as well. In fact, I'll never look at a glass of lemonade the same way again. Blissful sigh. I can't say enough about this wonderful book. Claiming Mariah is a definite candidate for your virtual TBR pile.
[Hillman is] gifted with a true talent for vivid imagery, heart-tugging romance, and a feel for the Old West that will jangle your spurs.