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Two of W. Dave Free's stories here on CTRstories have been published by Leatherwood Press and available through Deseret Book.

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Submitted by lindaclarke on 10 December 2006 - 3:28pm. | |

Below are some reviews written about Melinda and the Wild West. For chapter one, go to Heading West.

BOOK REVIEW by MELYNDA GASCOYNE for The Amherst Bee Newspaper: Buffalo, New York

HEAD TO THE FRONTIER FOR ‘MELINDA AND THE WILD WEST’:
For anyone who likes to read classic-styled romance novels that also have a drop of history, this is the book for you: “Melinda and the Wild West, a Family Saga in Bear Lake Valley, Idaho.” The story is set back in 1896 in Montpelier and Paris, Idaho, in the Bear Lake Valley area. Melinda Gamble is the new schoolteacher and has relocated from Boston to teach in the community where her beloved aunt and uncle live. Being termed “headstrong” by her parents, she decides to take the job offered by her relatives in the Western frontier as a way to escape from the city and the life they have forged for her. This sets about a plan to help others by teaching. From the start, Melinda learns from her new surroundings. Right at the very beginning she comes face to face with Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch in a bank robbery. What a way to start your new life in the wild frontier. From one of her students coming to class with skunk oil that explodes, to her encounter with a black bear, there’s always something for the imagination in the book. The characters grow in their complexity as the story unfolds. From Melinda’s relationship with Jenny, (the daughter of her widowed neighbor), to Gilbert, Jenny’s father and the gentlemen who steals Melinda’s heart, it is very easy to picture the scene you are reading.

Clarke was able to write about love in a soft fashion, not full of the same type of sexual writing of most romance novels. I was impressed with the eloquence in which Clarke spun her story. It was dramatic in some spots and yet contained simply placed bits of humor. I would recommend this to anyone. Melinda is the first in a four-book series, “A Family Saga in the Bear Lake Valley,” written by Clarke. I’m hoping that the other stories are just as interesting as this one. Age range for book: 16 and older.

BOOK REVIEW by Diana Broadhead for The Senior Sampler Newspaper: St. George, UT

Melinda and the Wild West… despite the wild, untamed nature of the Bear Lake Valley… Ms. Clarke has succeeded in presenting to her readers the beauty of the area. The scenery is portrayed so vividly that you can see each and every color. You can feel the crispness of the air in winter or smell the flowers in the field in spring. You can feel the peace Melinda feels while walking through the woods or feel her fear when she comes face to face with a bear. And amidst such a beautiful portrayal of life, you see a love story unfolding like no other. Melinda’s spirit is fiery, but her tenderness touches those she meets. Ms. Clarke is a talented author!

BOOK REVIEW by Debra Gaynor for “Reader Views”

From the first page I was captivated by this book. I had to continue reading, rushing to turn the page, I had to see what next adventure would catch up with Melinda. The plot is interesting: mixing history with fiction, adventure with romance. Melinda is an endearing character and you can’t help but see things through her eyes. Gilbert is strong and courageous. I like this book! This is good Christian fiction. It is a great honor to highly recommend this book to readers of historical fictions and romance. Ms Clarke, this is a piece to be proud of, well done!



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