"Ruby Torvald hasn’t seen her father since her mother died giving birth to Opal, some ten years earlier, and receives a letter beckoning the sisters to travel into the frontier to see him before he dies. In Lauraine Snelling’s Ruby set in 1882, we are launched into Ruby’s life as she leaves the relative comforts of New York City where she worked as a governess, and begins a new life as the proprietress of Dove House, formerly a house of gambling, drinking, and “soiled doves.”
"Once in the Dakotah territories, her father’s dying request is that she take care of “the girls,” and she promises not knowing who or what that entails. Ruby is shocked to discover the real business of Dove House, and immediately changes it into a dining room and hotel. The girls are asked to stay on as waitresses and housekeepers, and they struggle to pay debts left by her father.
"At once noble and naïve, Ruby constantly asks herself what her former employer, a lady, would do. In unlikely scenarios for a lady, Ruby wades through decisions and discomforts in a struggle to be moral, responsible, and strong. The relationship between Ruby and Opal is more that of mother and daughter, with Opal’s innocence and unbridled excitement providing a child’s view of their adventures. A source of conflict within the house is Belle, the main woman of the house before Ruby’s appearance. As Ruby learns to deal with Belle, and subsequently trust in the Lord, her confidence gradually grows. But we continue to wonder about Belle, where her loyalties lay, whether she is undermining Ruby, and if she is stealing from Dove House.
"Can it possibly be without romance? Of course not. Two eligible men cross Ruby’s path, one a rancher named Rand Harrison, the other an army officer, Captain McHenry. Right away Ruby takes a disliking to Rand because he insults her plans to convert the house to a hotel, and from that point on she simply tolerates his presence. The Captain, however, becomes a friend to both her and Opal when he offers riding lessons to the sisters, and tries to help in the success of a Dove House event. Overall, Ruby does not even consider romance with her business burdens weighing on her thoughts, so don't look for emotional encounters here. Instead, find a young woman coming to terms with her new surroundings and lifestyle, while trying to be an example to those around her.
"In this first of a series titled “Dakotah Treasures,” the reader is drawn into the varied characters, wanting to know the future of Dove House and, of course, Ruby and the girls. It is well written, offering honest dialog balanced with interesting settings, and a believable plot. The only downside to this wonderful story is waiting for the sequel!" -- Stacy Oliver, Christian Book Previews
"Twenty-year-old Ruby Torvald gave up long ago on hearing from her father. Then in 1882, Ruby is called to his deathbed in Dakotah Territory, where an inheritance awaits her. She assumes Dove House is a hotel, but is appalled to discover a saloon and brothel plopped in the middle of a beautiful, untamed land. 'Take care of the girls' is her father's dying request. Oh Lord, how? She trusts God to help her transform the saloon into a hotel—and soiled doves into cooks and waitresses—hoping to win the respect of the townsfolk. Now if only that arrogant, skeptical rancher would stop annoying her with his attractive presense. In Ruby, Lauraine Snelling creates a memorable character with courage, determination and honor." -- Romantic Times, Aug. 2003
"From its beautiful cover through to the ending, Ruby does not disappoint. I generally stay away from series books because it seems that every story is left unresolved, and by the time the next book comes out I have forgotten what is happening. There is resolution in this novel, and you can feel good about the story even if you don't pick up the sequels. Enough threads are left for anticipation of book two, titled Pearl, which I eagerly await. Ruby leaves you feeling uplifted, and is a treasure readers should mine from the choices available." -- Bookloons.com
"My dearest daughters,
...While I had hoped to be able to send for you before now, the sad news is that I am dying. I have enclosed tickets for the two of you to come and claim your inheritance, and God willing, if you come quickly, I will have a chance to see your sweet faces before I pass on into the next life…."
Ruby Torvald sets out on a daunting journey with her young sister, Opal, to hopefully see their long-lost father once more and claim the promised inheritance. But instead of the treasure they expected, the sisters discover something most shocking.
Ruby's bold determination in the face of scandal is the only way to redeem her father's legacy. Does she have it in her?