Ballantine Books, 2002
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding
1870, American West
Della Ward's last written words to her husband Clarence were, "I hate you." Married days before her husband went off to war, Della found herself pregnant and left to the mercy of her cruel mother-in-law. Clarence's father was near death and his mother could never see Della as anything but a spoiled Yankee. Under threat of attack by the Union Army, Della was unable to deal with the crisis brewing on his parent's plantation. She wrote to her husband demanding he come home from the battlefield and help her. Clarence died with her rash and hateful words hanging between them. Banished from her in-law's home and unable to forgive herself for her last words to her dead husband, she lives in isolation on a North Texas farm.
James Cameron, the infamous bounty hunter, has run from the demons that haunt his soul long enough. Seeking redemption from his torturous memories of war, he finally plans to tell Della Ward that he was the man who killed her husband. For ten long years he has carried the half finished reply to her last letter to Clarence. Lacking the courage to deliver the letter and half in love with the beauty whose picture has filled his empty dreams, he forces himself to finally do something to make amends.
PRAIRIE MOON is a complex and emotional tale. Almost every plot point turns on the emotional journey of these tortured souls. Osborne's skillful characterization creates a touching, yet slow moving story, that pulls you into the pain and isolation of two very interesting people. Most of the drama takes place on a cross country trip with only a few minor secondary characters sharing scenes with Della and James. The tone is sometimes sad. I was quite surprised by the resolution to one of the story questions. PRAIRIE MOON is a tender and mature love story of forgiveness and second chances.
Maggie Osborne is an award winning writer of over fifty novels and former president of Romance Writers of America.
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