James Gentry had a dream, and to that end he sold his home in Maryland and brought his wife and children to California before the gold rush, before statehood, when land was cheap.  His eldest daughter Marin is the spirited, independent one and she lands herself in quite a pickle when she sips a bit too much champagne and ends up in a room alone with just jilted and very drunk Vail Severance.  Disinherited by his father for dueling and supposedly with no memory of his drunken night with Marin, Vail leaves for parts unknown.

Tragedy strikes shortly afterwards and her parents are unable to run the Gentry ranch. With her brother off to the goldfields, Marin must take up the difficult reins – but she soon realizes she needs a man to help her and thinks Vail’s brother Stuart is the one for her. Wrong.  The Gentrys soon move to the now booming  town of San Francisco and Stuart tries his hands at politics in the new State government but Marin wants more out of life than babies and sewing and becomes a merchant, raising a few eyebrows along the way. The family’s fortunes ebb and flow with the tides of California’s see-saw economy as well as the constant fires and rebuilding – a time when fortunes could be made and lost in a day. 

All in all a fairly decent, albeit slighty flawed saga of two star crossed lovers who take forever (of course) to find the path to true love, and if you’re one who likes tales set in old California you might want to give this one a whirl.  The book could easily have lost 200 pages as well as a few extraneous characters (I swear I should have taken notes at the start to remember who was who)  and better developed the main characters – that might have turned a good novel into an awesome one. Vail’s constant saving Marin in the nick of time in the first half of the book wore a bit thin, but that finally settled down as well. There were some fun moments (loved what Stuart’s pa did to him when he was caught diddling with the wrong woman :)) along with the very sad ones, all in true soap-opera like fashion. Billed as an historical romance, there is very little sex in this book and much of it is left to the reader’s imagination, so if you’re looking for a sex filled romp, this is probably not the book for you.  3/5 stars.

FTC, well if you must ask. I mooched it, satisfied?

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