A Claim of Her Own by Stephanie Grace Whitson
Bethany House Publishing, 2009
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥ (4 out of 5 stars)
Walking down the main street in Deadwood is like stepping onto hell’s front porch. It’s frenzied and filthy, and it’s the last place on earth a man would want to bring any woman he cared about.
In a desperate effort to escape a very bad situation, Mattie O’Keefe travels to Deadwood, South Dakota in search of her brother, a hard-working gold miner. What she finds in Deadwood is a shock – there are no ladies (though there are “plenty of women”) and the place is small, dirty, and full of “vile men”, mostly miners looking for ways to spend their gold.
A lone preacher with a questionable past, an unlikely freighter with a heart of gold, and a man with a hook for a hand – all are in Deadwood and will impact Mattie’s life. Whether for good or ill, you won’t know unless you read the book! ;-)
I gave this book four out of five stars for the heart, the memorable characters, and the plot. Sometimes we come across supporting characters that we love and want to know more about and that was the case here. I cared just as much about what would happen to some other special people in Deadwood (I don’t want to give anything away) as I cared about what happened to Mattie.
Mattie as a character was very well-done. There are some changes that had to occur in her if she wanted to survive in a place like Deadwood, and I felt that they came about realistically. We learn enough about her background to understand why she is the way she is, and I think that is important in a character.
The description of Deadwood was rich – I had a clear view of what it would be like as a woman to live in that dirty old mining town, trying to avoid the rough men, working on looking tough and not like a helpless woman, making my way through the mud and grime that made up the “streets” of Deadwood. I especially enjoyed learning about gold panning with Mattie as she prepared to work her brother’s claim.
My one disappointment with A Claim of Her Own is the love story. I felt that her soon-to-be love was kind of flat through the book and kept thinking that someone else would show up and sweep her off her feet. There just was never much to that relationship. In spite of this, I think the book would even hold up well on its own without a love story and so it doesn’t really matter.
A Claim of Her Own is definitely a worthy read, and another wonderful release from Stephanie Grace Whitson!