Five Star, Dec 2003, 26.95, 240 pp.
Laila Mitchell was an orphan by the time she was fifteen. A few years later in 1893, Laila decides to join her grandparents living in la Grande, Oregon where she hopes to make a living from her medical skills learned nursing an elderly person for five years. In Boise, Laila meets widow Kate Boston who is crossing the Snake River to work as a housekeeper to a gold mine owner, Austin Corbett. When Kate is injured in an accident, she persuades Laila to cover for her on her new job until she can take over.
Across the river, the two women are shocked to learn that Ruby Gold is not a mine, but a peach farm. Austin welcomes the two women, but his father is nasty and abrupt. Austin warns Laila not to go down river, but she does anyway. There she is the only female besides an abandoned wild child. Austin keeps coming down to ostensibly see that's he is okay, but in fact has fallen in love with Laila. She reciprocates, but her need for independence threatens any future together.
HAVEN provides readers with picturesque view of life in a remote area (decades before Kneval's failed jump) during ironically that is so opposite to what is often seen in novels occurring during the “gay nineties”. The cast is fabulous as fans can see their movies especially the heroine's need to prove herself to herself. Fans of historical fiction with romance as a secondary subplot will take immense pleasure in this powerfully vivid description of a bygone era.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner