American Dreamer by the exceptionally gifted author, Theresa Weir, is the heart-wrenching story of a down-on-his-luck divorced young Iowa farmer, and a traumatized, innocently vulnerable, recovering rape victim.
Unaffectedly beautiful, Lark Leopold is desperate to begin a new life. Even if it means leaving the security of her California home and her over protective parents. Coming to Metamora County to study the contentment of livestock for the federal government seemed like a good idea and a place to start. But, when she first approaches the farm of Nathan Senatra, who unbeknownst to her is suffering from a horrific hangover, her immediate reaction is to quit. Nathan, incredibly hostile, doesnít want anything to do with the ridiculous study or any of her feeble attempts to explain it. He demands that she get off his property and cruelly insults her knowledge of farming period. But, what Nathan doesnít immediately understand is why. From the first moment he saw Lark walking across his land, an emotion, something deep inside him began to stir.
Upset and holding back tears of humiliation, Lark marches back to her car. But on the way, to her horror, she stumbles across a dead body lying in a pool of water. Nathan hears her screams and comes running. Horrifyingly enough, the body, floating on his property, is his ex-wife Mary Jane. The woman who efficiently cleaned him out financially after their divorce, with the exception of fifty acres and an ancient tractor aptly called a widow maker. Worse, the whole community knew his desperate circumstances, and labeled him ďcrazy.Ē Crazy for stubbornly trying to make a go of his farm and crazier still for his innovative farming techniques. The local sheriff hates him and blames him for his sisterís mental breakdown. Nathan dated her once in High School, until she became obsessed with him. So, heís not surprised when the guilty party for Mary Janeís death is pursued, and fingers are pointed directly at him.
Despite everything, Lark canít stop coming back to Nathanís farm, even when she believes he may be guilty. There is something about him, besides his rugged good looks, and soulful blue eyes. Something she needs. And Nathan canít stop wanting Lark, even though he realizes she believes he may be a murderer. He was drunk that night, and canít remember a thing. Perhaps he did murder Mary Jane.
This sweet, inspiring romance demonstrates the true healing power of love. Overcoming obstacles real or imagined and learning to trust your heart. Itís a fast read, a little too fast, and my only complaint. Some depictions were underdeveloped. Secondary characters are colorful, but I must say for the most part, unlikable. Consequently, this dislike forces the reader to focus their attention, affection and loyalty to the hero and heroine, who are both endearing and loveable. Hence, all the makings of a wonderful story. Theresa Weir, such an underrated talent, is now writing under the pseudonym of Anne Fraiser.