For fans of A Knight of Silence and Read My Lips comes a YA historical western full of grit and heart…
In 1874, Ivy Steele’s deafness is more than a handicap. It’s a disease. Surrounded by a family that doesn’t understand her, she’s learned to cope and find solace where she can. Then, the unexpected happens. Her aunt dies, and her uncle sends her away to rejoin her father’s family in Montana.Left to fend for herself, after the companion hired to escort her abandons her, sixteen-year-old Ivy faces continual hardship and danger. Several men see an unaccompanied Ivy as a flower ripe for the picking, and things only get worse when masked men hold up their stagecoach.
Barely scraping through, Ivy makes it to Montana with her nerves shaken and what little money she has in her boot. Expecting a peaceful if not affectionate welcome, Ivy finds herself in greater hardship than she’s ever known.
Surrounded by a stepfamily that hates her, and flung into a life where hearing is vital, Ivy finds solace in a handsome cowboy named Remy. But things with her new family are not what they seem. And Ivy is about to find out that the danger she faced on the journey west, has followed her to Montana…
Bethany Swafford dazzles with her stunning young adult debut, introducing a strong heroine, the hardships of frontier life, shocking twists, and a slow-burning romance that will leave you wanting more.
Third place winner of the 2018 Rosemary Award
For as long as she can remember, Bethany Swafford has loved reading books. That love of words extended to writing as she grew older and when it became more difficult to find a ‘clean’ book, she determined to write her own. Among her favorite authors is Jane Austen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Georgette Heyer.
When she doesn’t have pen to paper (or fingertips to laptop keyboard), she can generally be found with a book in hand. In her spare time, Bethany reviews books for a book site called More Than A Review.
Ivy became deaf after coming down with an unknown sickness during her childhood. Half of her family died because of the illness, and she was sent to live with her aunt in the city. That’s where she has been for the last ten years, but then her aunt dies and she has to go back to living with her father and brother. At first, she thought that things were going to go well. She thought that she would fit right in with this new family. Then, she meets her stepmother and stepsiblings. For some reason, they hate the fact that she is deaf, and believe that she is completely useless. Ivy is determined to fit in with her new family, but she doesn’t think that she can. What secrets are they keeping from her?
I never knew what happened to people who were deaf in the past, but this book really delves into that difficult world. Ivy can speak if she needs to, but she prefers to talk with her hands. That means that she only really gets to talk comfortably with those who have learned sign language, and her new family hasn’t even tried to learn. She was determined to still find happiness in life, but her stepmother just wants to marry her off to the first guy that offers.
I honestly did not know why her stepmother hated her so much at the start of the novel. I understand, they felt as if they could be burdened, but Ivy was not a burden. She was determined to be useful to her new family and pitched in wherever she could. By the end of the story, I knew some reasons. But in some scenes, she just seemed evil just to be evil. I didn’t mind this much but don’t go into the book looking for a long “reconciling” scene.
I think that the stepsister Anna definitely had the largest character shift. At the start of the book, I thought that she might be the one to break away from the mother and support Ivy, but she seemed to be the worst out of the bunch. I won’t spoil anything, but I was definitely surprised by some of her actions near the end of the novel.
Ivy’s brother and Remy were always nice to Ivy, and I was happy about that. Even as her father sided with the stepmother and only paid attention to his daughter’s needs later on, the brother and cowboy always side with Ivy. I wish that there was more story time spent on their relationship with Ivy! I would definitely want a sequel just to see their lives in later years.
My only complaint is that the novel was that the ending was a little bit rushed. If it had been stretched out a bit more, this would have been an absolutely perfect read.
I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a great historical fiction novel.
I received an advance copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars