Top positive review
A worthy successor to the magnificent Calder Saga! FIVE GLOWING MONTANA STARS!
Reviewed in the United States on February 28, 2021
WHAT A SURPRISE! When I read the blurb for this book, I couldn't believe my eyes. How could Joe Dollarhide possibly be the hero? Didn't he die on Benteen Calder's first cattle drive to Montana, when cattle "trampled him into the ground" during a stampede? That's what we were led to believe in This Calder Range. (A few spoilers ahead, but I won't reveal the ending.)
It turns out that Benteen--more concerned about rounding up his cattle than searching for a 16-year-old wrangler--just assumed he was dead. So Joe was abandoned, lying half-buried under his dead horse and barely alive. But Joe miraculously survived, and the story of his next twelve years is filled with western adventure, danger, romance, and a burning quest for revenge against Benteen Calder--the wealthy Montana rancher who'd left him to die in a muddy wash on the Kansas prairie.
Joe is determined to reach Montana, but his goal is strewn with obstacles. He digs himself out of the wash, only to be captured by three outlaws who force him to learn "the family trade"--stock rustling. Two years later, Joe is badly wounded when the rustlers attempt to raid a cattle drive. Close to death, he's taken to Ogallala, where his life is saved by Sarah Foxworth, a medically skilled young woman who hopes to become a doctor. (I loved Sarah, a strong, resilient woman who never gives up despite the grief, poverty, shame and disappointment in her life.)
Inevitably, Joe and Sarah fall in love, but she's finally been accepted by a medical school in Chicago, and he's determined to build a ranch of his own in Montana. After one glorious night of passion, Joe leaves Sarah and rides north in a quest for wealth and long-awaited vengeance against the man who betrayed him. Will Joe achieve his goals? Will he and Sarah ever get back together? I'm not saying.
As a big fan of the old Calder Saga, I enjoyed returning to some of the familiar places and characters in that beloved series. But this new book has a gripping plot and memorable characters of its own, and it's all wrapped up in the descriptive prose, immersive scenery, and realistic dialogue that make Janet Dailey's books so special. I loved Joe Dollarhide's rags-to-riches saga, with its second chance romance, secret baby, and a heartwarming conclusion with an astonishing twist I never saw coming! I can't wait for the next book in this exciting new series. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!