Chasing the Sun

Elena left the ranch she grew up on with the new owner’s brother, Jack Wilkins for San Francisco and an operation that may fix her hip. She underwent the surgery on to learn that the damage was too much to fix and that because of the damage she could never be a true wife. With that knowledge, she joined a local abbey to become a nun. Now, after three years she is going back to the ranch to say good bye to everyone before she takes her final vows and heads to a leper colony in Hawaii.

Daisy Etheridge loves to sing. She was singing in a saloon when she met Jack Wilkins. She knew that he was very depressed and drinking way too much but he always treated her right. Though it was not her practice, Daisy let Jack into her bed and into her heart. After he joined a schooner for Australia, she learned she was pregnant with his child. Kate is almost two when Daisy earns the opportunity of a life time, to study music under a world famous singer and tour Europe but she can’t do that and watch Kate. With few options, Daisy heads to Jack’s family’s ranch in New Mexico hoping to get enough money to hire a nanny.

Jack arrives in San Francisco to see if Elena has given up on becoming a nun only to learn she is heading to the family ranch. He quickly makes arrangements for his things to follow him as he makes his way home, a home he doesn’t want. Jack loves to travel and wants to see the world and he wants Elena to come with him.

He’s forced to examine his feelings towards both Elena and Daisy once he does make it to the ranch but he’s not the only one needing to figure out what they truly want in life. Can he figure it all out before they both leave? Will they even care as they both have plans of their own that do not include Jack?

Jack’s brothers, Brady and Hank are thrilled that Jack has come home. Things are a bit tight at the ranch as a loan is coming due and the money is not there. Brady decides to sell all his horses including the breeding stock to make the payment. Hank wants to tell Jack what is going on and hopes he will offer the money the brothers have been putting aside for him. The older men are good at keeping a secret but what will happen when that secret gets out? Their wives are in the dark too and they aren’t going to be happy!

This is the third and final book in Ms Warner’s Blood Rose Trilogy. While if helps if you have read the first two books, it is not necessary to read and enjoy this book. The characters from the first books are in this one and followers of the series will be able to catch up in their lives but all the background information you need to know about this story is given in it.

The characters are done very well. Jack is believable as the world traveler. He even brings home a shrunken head! Daisy and Elena are also believable. Elena, while she loves Jack, she loves him as a brother or close friend. She has problems imagining a world without him in it. Daisy is scared about her future. She desires to sing on stage more than anything but she also truly cares about Jack. Her first duty, though, is to her daughter, Kate and instead of making things easier, that only makes things more complicated.

Historically this book is awesome. When it was decided to base US money on the gold standard, silver did become almost useless. This did affect more people than just the miners. Peoples lives changed overnight. This story is able to present how this one decision changed the lives of one family, one town and those not directly working the mines.

It also shows how life on a ranch was over a hundred years ago. It was hard work and there were hazards. The work was hard but for some satisfying. Breaking away from a family ranch was hard as every hand was needed. Still, for some, it is so worth it.

After reading all three books, I was thrilled that there was an epilogue. I always want to see what next but I almost wish this one wasn’t there. While I did learn what happened to every character in the books, it felt as if their lives stopped at the end of this story, no more children were born and few major changes happened. This was very disappointing. Still, I guess I’m glad to know what did happen to those that were already in the stories.

This was the perfect story for Jack. He had to grow up and he had to become his own man. It didn’t have to be easy and his brothers didn’t have to accept it. As he struggled with his life, I became a little cheering section. I knew he wanted to do the right thing but wasn’t always sure what that was. I wanted a happy ending for everyone but again, wasn’t sure how that was going to happen. So, I kept reading and cheering until it all straightened out.

I am somewhat sad to be leaving the Wilkins family and their ranch but I was thrilled to see the first few pages of a new book by Ms Warner. Her writing takes me into the old west and brings history alive with her interesting characters and realistic situation.

Book Blurb for Chasing the Sun

Daisy Etheridge always dreamed of singing on a real stage, rather than in a smoky San Francisco saloon. But along the way she fell in love, had her heart broken, and bore a child to a man who loved another. Now she has a second chance to develop her singing talent. With no other way to get the money she needs to support herself and her child during her training, she and her daughtertravel to New Mexico Territory to seek help from the wealthy family of the man who abandoned her.

Jack Wilkins, a carefree adventurer, has always wanted to travel the world, rather than stay home to work the family ranch with his brothers. He thought he'd escaped three years ago when he followed his childhood love to San Francisco, only to find that his devotion wasn't enough to keep her. Now, he's back, trying one last time to win her-when out of the blue a woman from his past shows up with a baby who has eyes like his.

Caught between his feelings for his old flame, his attraction to Daisy, and his new role as a father, Jack does the honorable thing and offers marriage. But Daisy refuses. Although she has never stopped loving Jack, she's unwilling to risk her dream for a man who might still love another, or who would rather chase the sun west than settle down with her.

But Jack won't give up. As spring drifts into summer, tensions build, and the Wilkins family is strained to the breaking point when old enemies and financial ruin threaten the ranch. Then a violent storm brings everything to a head, forcing Daisy and Jack to make hard choices about which dreams are worth fighting for, and what they want out of their lives-and out of each other.

Night Owl Reviews Dec, 2010 4.75