I've been reading several books on what life was like in the 19th Century. I wish I could read them faster and retain everything I've read. I have so many ideas for book reviews, but just can't seem to keep up to date on my reading.
My current favorite book is, Love Untamed, Romances of the Old West, by JoAnn Chartier and Chris Enss.
Some of the real life love stories in this book are tragic with no happily-ever-after-ending, however there are several that end on a happy note and these stories are my favorite.
In these pages you'll meet a soiled dove who longed for a fairy-tale romance but instead fell for an ailing miner; a quiet schoolmarm who risked life and limb for her adventuresome husband; a spinster who refused to reveal the secrets of her heart despite a proposal from a dashing, prominent rancher; an actress who found her true love when she needed him most; and a rich couple who lost everything except their intense dedication to each other.
The romances of thirteen couples are explored in this book and represent the variety of relationships and love affairs that added color, controversy, and commitment to the unmatched days of the Old West.
Since HEA are my favorite endings, I want to tell you about two of the romances which I adore. The first one is about a couple madly in love with one another and leave their families and friends after their wedding with all their wedding gifts and all their clothes and set off on a ship to Honeymoon on the east coast.
However, as they near the southeastern coast of the U.S.A, a hurricane pops up. The storm takes their ship. Row boats are lowered into the water and women and children are the first to board. As the new wife boards another boat, she watches as the lights from the boat her husband is on sinks deep into the blackness of the ocean during the darkness of the night. Heartbroken, she sails to their destination point a new wife turned grieved wife.
When her ships docks, she disembarks. News at the harbor suggests that another rescue boat boarded all the men from the sinking ship she and her husband had sailed on. Trying not to get her hopes too high, she begins looking for her husband. In the distance, she discovers her husband is looking for her. Together at last, they embrace grateful God had spared their lives. Together, they owned not a stitch of clothing nor any of their gifts had survived. But together they cherished the greatest gift of God...love. The couple went on to live their life to the fullest, which included a home of their and children they adored.
My next favorite story is about teenage love. A young man took a fancy to a young woman. He escorted her to a town social. At the party, he became jealous of his best friend's attentions toward this young woman. The young men challenged each other to a pistol duel. Our young man shoots and kills his best friend. He runs away leaving the young woman heartbroken, yearning for his love.
As the years pass, the young woman had many men interested in her, but refused their attentions. She determined if she couldn't have her young man than she wouldn't marry at all.
The young man left the east coast and headed for the mountains in the mid-west. He learned how to survive on nature alone...becoming a sort of mountain man.
The woman heard stories of a wild man whose personality resembled her one true love, but as she made inquiries she soon discovered that this man had died.
Fifteen years had passed and the young woman's father loads up the family and travels west. As they near Colorado they are watched by angry Indians.
Miles away the young man turned wild man hears of some travelers who are being stalked by Indians. When one of the witnesses remarks about the traveler's last name the man assumes his one true love is one of them. He and his friends rides to save the family.
As they arrive, the Indians attack, killing the father. The wild man chases off the Indians and returns to the wagon. There he finds the girl of his dreams, the love of his youth, the reason he never could allow himself to marry. The woman who held his heart.
Together, they took the family to their destination and then they married, living happily-ever-after.
I think what really amazes me about that story is how ironic it is for a man who loses himself in the woods in middle America to pop up in the nick of time to save the woman he left behind on the east coast.
Sometimes real life is better than fiction.