by Ginger Simpson

May 2003
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Walt Williams is a young man anxious to start his own ranch on the rough untamed prairie. Cecile Palmer is the pampered daughter of the town banker. Despite their different backgrounds, the two fall in love at first sight. They marry and set out to build their life together.

Life on the prairie is rough for a city girl, and each day is a challenge for Cecile Palmer who has never had to do tough chores like milking cows and tending to barn animals. It only gets worse when Walt fails to return from a trip to town to buy supplies, and Cecile is alone and pregnant.

Her savior is Lone Eagle, an injured Sioux warrior and soon to be tribal chief who appears in her cabin. As Lone Eagle is nursed by Cecile, a woman he comes to call Green Eyes, he realizes it would be unsafe for her to stay alone in the cabin, especially when it is so near to winter.

Believing Walt is dead, Cecile, having no idea of her whereabouts and knowing no other way to survive, agrees to go with Lone Eagle to his village and to be his woman. She instantly feels at home with the Indians. Because she is Lone Eagle’s woman, most of the tribe embraces her warmly. There is one woman who looks at Cecile with intense hatred though... she is Spottted Doe, the woman who wants to be Lone Eagle’s wife.

But Lone Eagle is in love with Cecile, and Cecile, coming to terms with Walt’s death, gives her heart to him. Though their skin tones are different, their hearts speak the same language - the language of love, and the two are married.

Though she must learn to adapt to the way of the Sioux, Cecile is open-minded and an avid student. In no time at all, she is an active member of the tribe. Her life becomes even more fulfilling when she gives birth to a boy, Little Cloud. Although he is Walt’s son, Lone Eagle loves him and claims him as his own.

Cecile is content with her new life, and then a voice from the outside world brings news Walt is still alive. Looking at where she came from and where she is, she must now choose between the two worlds.

Pens raised for Ginger Simpson’s debut novel, Prairie Peace. I had tears in my eyes during the final pages.

Though there are some editorial mistakes and the writing sometimes strays on the monotonous side with a lack of variety in the sentence structure, this is still a fine read. Cecile’s smooth and interesting transition from a pampered young miss whose deepest thoughts involve a new dress to an independent woman capable of surviving in an uncivilized land is written quite nicely. I enjoyed watching Cecile mature into womanhood.

For the most part, I also liked the two men in Cecile’s life. Though they were so different, they both had their love for her in common. I couldn’t quite understand why Walt would leave spoiled Cecile in the wild by herself. I know there were animals to be taken care of, but he should have realized she was incapable of being out there alone. Thankfully, he does redeem himself near the end of the novel with an unselfish act.

Lone Eagle is the ideal man. He is kind yet strong and incredibly understanding. His deep love for Cecile brought tears to my eyes. If a man ever had to come into my home uninvited, let him be like Lone Eagle.

For a first novel, Ginger Simpson has done well with Prairie Peace. She has created an enticing web that readers will willingly fly into.

Reviewed in April 2003 by Natasha.

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