Summer Steadman finds herself stranded in a small Mennonite town in Kansas in the late 1800’s, after her husband and four young children die of typhoid. When Summer tries to find a job in the town, widower Peter Ollenburger is the only person, it seems, who is willing to extend her any kindness. He shows up at her hotel to ask if she would stay on his property and tutor to his nine-year-old son. With no family to turn to and determined to stay near her children’s gravesites, she accepts his offer.
There seems to be no attraction between them at first, yet Peter’s neighbors are convinced they are living in sin, even threatening to cast Peter out of the community if he does not send the woman away. Peter refuses to force her to leave, gently but firmly standing up to the suspicious townspeople. Meanwhile, Summer feels deep resentment toward God for refusing to answer her pleas to save the only people in the world that she loves. Peter is determined to show her that God still loves her and has her best interests at heart.
Kim Sawyer turns in a fine writing performance with her strong, deep characters and gentle story. She uses a great depth of insight in treating her subject matter with deftness and truth. Though she is true to the feelings a bereft mother would naturally experience, at no time does the novel sink into despondence. Summer’s reluctance to trust God again, her fear of his answering “no” to all of her prayers, will resonate with anyone who has gone through a tough time.
I highly recommend this insightful story to all romance readers. It will strengthen your faith in God and leave you remembering the characters fondly, like friends with whom you would enjoy spending more time. – Melanie Dickerson, Christian Book Previews.com
All alone on the Kansas prairie, Summer Steadman has few options. With her husband and children lost to illness, she has no desire to continue on farther west to where she and her husband planned to build their future. Instead, she seeks employment in a small Mennonite community in order to be near the graves of her family.
Widower Peter Ollenburger, the local gristmill owner, needs someone to teach his young son. When he hears of a "learned woman" in town, he believes she is the answer to his prayers. He soon discovers, however, that helping this outsider may have troublesome consequences.
There is little this father will not do for his son, but as the boy begins to look at Summer as more than a teacher, Peter must make a choice. Does he marry this woman to give his son a new mother, or does he marry only for love?
Will Summer's broken heart ever be able to love again?