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The Winds of Autumn

Winds of Autumn by Susan Rounds is an epic love story set against the backdrop of the construction of the greatest railroad in American history and the fight between the native tribes of America and the white man. After her sister’s death, the story’s heroine Mariah is married to Nathan Lawton, who she hopes will be her true love. The book shows the fragile place of a woman in society. Even though Mariah is born into privilege, her fate is tied to the men in her life. Her husband is living a secret double life. His mother, a Cherokee, was raped by a soldier, and he was the resulting child. This has inflicted a great wound on his psyche, causing his anger and grief to manifest in cruelty, hatred, and violence. Even though it is evident in his own way he loves Mariah, he is incapable of showing her love and building a relationship with her. Instead, he resorts to violence to get what he wants from her and subdue her.  

She meets Julian, an old family friend who harbors an unspoken love for her. Yet, despite her feelings toward him, she remains a dutiful wife as she is made to leave her home and make the journey west on the Oregon Trail toward Nathan’s new army posting. The book explores their fateful journey and the unraveling of her marriage. Julian, led by his love for Mariah, sets out West to find news of her as he fears she is in danger, and the fates of the three become intertwined with deadly consequences.  

I enjoyed this book. It was full of action, twists, and turns into an epic story of heartbreak and love. The characters are well-written and convincing. The writing captures the brutality of the trail west and the hardships emigrants and other travelers suffered as they tried to forge new paths ahead. Nathan’s relationship with Mariah is heartbreakingly portrayed as her innocence is destroyed by her marriage to him when she is still incredibly young.

I liked the historical fiction aspect of the novel. The construction of the transcontinental railroad provides a perfect backdrop for the story. The descriptions of the brutal landscape on the open plains match Mariah’s emotional turmoil as she journeys away from her home for the first time and deals with her husband’s wrath. I liked the story of Julian and Mariah as forbidden lovers. There were enough romantic scenes in the later part of the novel to keep romance lovers interested.  

Winds of Autumn is an emotionally riveting story that captures life during the western expansion days. For those who enjoy a historical romance novel with more than just a love story and will have them guessing about the direction each twist and turn brings, this book delivers.

Pages: 322 | ASIN : B0BQR1BTFQ

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