Comes the Winter by Samantha St. Claire
For those who dared to stay in Idaho’s Sawtooth Range during the harsh months of winter, there were avalanches, snow blindness and sheer isolation. These warnings seemed exaggerated to Lena Sommer coming from the city, but she would soon find out the truth.
In the fall of 1886, Lena leaves behind a life fraught with disappointments and loss only to arrive in Sawtooth City and find the man she’d pledged to marry has been killed. To return east is unthinkable; to stay is ill-advised, but she resolves to remain and manage the man’s lodging house despite the warnings. More than her stubborn nature influences her decision. From her first glimpse of this mountain valley, she falls captive to its wild beauty. Feeling she has at last found a hearth to call her own, she eagerly puts down roots. Sharing her love of literature with her lodgers before a warming fire, she builds a family of lonesome souls, where dreams awaken.
However, one man stands apart, disturbing her peace with ominous warnings to leave before winter comes. Evan Hartmann knows from personal loss that winter snows bring to these mountains both unimaginable beauty and death. He is also a man conflicted, because as much as he’d like for Lena to leave the mountains, his heart longs for her to stay.
Letting out a long-held breath, she settled back into the chair, the quilt tucked beneath her chin. High on the tallest peaks, a faint pink glow heralded a new day. As she held her breath, waiting, the sun spread its light down the face of the mountains, flowing like golden water into the high valleys. Lena listened to the songs of birds unfamiliar to her city trained ears, their songs announcing the morning as surely as the milkman on his daily rounds. But this was so different, quiet, and yet not. The longer she sat there absorbing the growing presence of day, the more she heard.
How unlike the gray skies of Chicago! How lovely! In the east, rays of gold fanned out along the horizon, chasing back the last shadows of night to foreign lands, far beyond the mountains in the west. Her breath caught as the sun emerged from behind the hills, drawing with it a canopy of pale blue. If anyone had witnessed this greeting between them, they would have seen Lena’s face aglow in sunlight. And had Evan seen her, his thoughts of her as an angelic being would have seemed confirmed.
Author Samantha St. Claire
Samantha St. Claire was born in 2016, the alter-ego and pen name of an author of historical fiction born a few decades earlier. She may have found her niche in western historical fiction, served up sweet. Never faint of heart, her signature female protagonists face the hazards of the frontier with courage, wit, and a healthy pinch of humor.
The road from college graduation led due west where teaching in a small Arizona town fulfilled childhood fantasies on multiple levels. Hiking and backpacking the canyons and desert fed her imagination with the landscapes she would use later in life as an author. A few years passed before a change in jobs took her to California where her love of western history was further fed and her first novel of Russia’s Fort Ross Colony came to life. But Idaho sparked her interest in the history of the magnificent central mountain ranges and Samantha St.Claire began her first series, The Sawtooth Range.
Follow www.samanthastclaire.net to read more about the research that has helped develop the characters, towns and stories of the Sawtooth Range Series and now Whitcomb Creek, Montana.
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