In 1896 Melinda Gamble a very elegant, very naÃ¯ve young woman from Boston decides to give up her life of monotonous comfort for the turbulent uncertainty of the still untamed Wild West. Driven by her intense desire to make a difference in the world, Melinda takes a job as a schoolteacher in the small town of Paris, Idaho, where she comes face-to-face with a frightening bank robber, a vicious grizzly bear, and an intense blizzard that leaves her clinging to her life. But it is a ruggedly handsome and very mysterious stranger who challenges Melinda with the one thing for which she was least prepared love. ... Read more
Customer Reviews (11)
Sweet Historical Romance
It is 1896, and elegant, naive Melinda Gamble decides to give up the comforts and pleasures of the east to become a schoolteacher in the untamed Wild West. Paris, Idaho is everything that Boston isn't: peaceful, simple, and dangerous.
Melinda loves teaching. When she takes Jenny Roberts under her wing, she opens up a world to the child that Jenny's former teachers never cared enough to share. Jenny begins to blossom and Melinda is happy to see she is having such a positive impact on her students. Dealing with Jenny's father, however, frustrates Melinda to no end.
Gilbert Roberts has been raising Jenny by himself since his wife died in childbirth. Running his cattle ranch and providing for Jenny have left him too busy to consider courting. And even if he had the time, the secret that has plagued him for years, quells any desire he might have to marry again. He resents Melinda's initial accusations that he is neglecting his daughter. As they get to know each other better, Melinda's self-willed nature leaves him shaking his head more than once.
Can two people who are so different truly have a future together?
"Melinda and the Wild West" is a great start to what I hope will be a wonderful series. The strength of this book lies within its well-developed characters. Melinda is self-willed (a term she despises), with an elegance one would expect of a well-bred young lady. Melinda certainly doesn't see herself giving up teaching to get married and take care of some man for the rest of her life. She is frustrated by Gilbert, which makes her attraction to him that much more difficult to bear.
Gilbert, on the other hand, has dealt with the loss of his wife alone. He keeps more than busy raising Jenny and operating his cattle ranch. He's not prepared for someone like Melinda, and he certainly can't understand his attraction to her.
Melinda's Aunt Martha and Uncle William, who she boards with in Paris, are not complex characters, but the story wouldn't be the same without them. Martha is the matchmaking half of a couple that has been married for many years and remains as in love now as they were back then. They provide a sense of belonging to Melinda in her new home. They are sweet and funny, and are the perfect surrogate parents for Melinda.
Several true experiences from Clarke's family members and ancestors make their way into the book. She lists them in a note at the end of the book. Clarke also does an excellent job of dropping the reader right into the time period with many historical details.
Memorable characters, an engaging plot, and the heartbeat of the untamed west combine to make "Melinda and the Wild West" a book that historical romance readers will enjoy.
Welcome to the Wild West
Ugh! One morning, several months ago, we woke up earlier than usual, about 5:30 AM, to the worst smell imaginable. What was it? It smelled like a poisonous gas of some sort--was it chemical warfare? In my groggy state I imagined all the worst scenarios. While I checked my daughters in their rooms upstairs, my husband checked my son downstairs--all were sleeping peacefully--as we continued to feel suffocated by this toxic scent. Would we survive? My husband and I could hardly breath and could not fall back asleep, so we ventured outside several minutes later to investigate, and soon realized what must have happened. Our dog had been sprayed by a skunk outside in the early morning, bringing the overpowering smell inside the house. We couldn't tell what the smell was, initially--skunk smell changes as time passes--only that it was disgusting beyond belief and words.
I bring this up not to relive a morning I'd rather forget, but because in Melinda and the Wild West, there's a chapter entitled Skunk Oil.
"Instantly the room filled with the most putrid, foul, disgusting, detestable odor that Melinda had ever breathed in. The smell was so nauseating and repulsive that it could not be described in words."
~Melinda and the Wild West, Linda Weaver Clarke
Having lived through our skunk ordeal, I know that author Linda Weaver Clarke describes the indescribable quite well. The odor of skunk oil is indescribably awful. But this chapter is humorous and has a lighter tone than some of the other chapters which depict Melinda's experiences in the wild west, among them an encounter with notorious bank robbers and with a grizzly bear.
Published in 2006, Melinda and the Wild West is set in 1896, based loosely on the lives of her great-great grandparents, Gilbert and Sarah Weaver, who were pioneers. The book tells the story of Melinda Gamble, a young woman of 26 who is not yet married. She leaves her hometown of Boston to live with her Aunt Martha and Uncle William in Paris, Idaho, to pursue a career as a teacher. Melinda is a modern, independent, "self-willed" young woman who wants to make a difference as a teacher. She's also interested in love and marriage, but doesn't want to give up too much of her independence, or her career as a teacher. While out strolling one day, she wades in a stream and meets Gilbert Roberts, a rancher and widower, who's also the father of one of her students, an unruly girl named Jenny. Melinda reaches out to Jenny at school and helps her to behave in class and love learning. But she is not sure about Gilbert, because although there's an undeniable attraction between them, they're very different from each other and always seem to misunderstand each other. I won't say much more because I don't want to reveal too much about this book.
Engaging historical fiction reels me in. From this book I learned, among other things, that Idaho gave women the right to vote in 1896, and that Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863. Reading Melinda and the Wild West was very enjoyable. Linda Weaver Clarke blends fact and fiction and brings the story to life through wonderful descriptions, of the characters' thoughts and emotions and of the untamed landscape. I felt as if I was surrounded by the vast wilderness of Idaho, experiencing the story firsthand. Although this book is set in the past, the romance in this story is beautiful and passionate and timeless. I want to know what happens next and look forward to reading more of the books in this series.
Sweet & Wholesome
This is an interesting little book, full of excitement and romance for the young teenage girl. My granddaughter (age 13) has read it three times.
As an older person, I would have preferred it to be more historically accurate.
An enjoyable book that makes you smile throughout!
This is a story of Melinda, an independent and educated woman from Boston who lives comfortably, but feels there is more she can do with her life. She decides to take a chance and moves to the untamed west. She becomes the new teacher in Paris, Idaho, a rugged wilderness area that is filled with dangerous animals, outlaws and weather that can be extreme in all seasons. She struggles to adapt at first, but comes to love the area and people. She meets a mysterious rancher that she never imagined would some day be a part of her life.
I absolutely loved this book. Now, I may be biased that I adore late 1800's and anything to do with Wild West areas, but this story just amazed me. Creating a story based upon an independent, educated and strong women character, brings to light the type of women that helped make this country what it is today. Melinda learns to keep her guard up when she needs to, but letting it down can bring happiness in to your life.The themes of family, love, communication and friendship can be found throughout the book.
If you want to read a book that makes you smile at the end, this would be one of those books.
Sweet and Wholesome
It is tough to find a sweet, clean romance. I enjoyed finding a book without anything inappropriate, yet it still had sweet love scenes between the characters.I love reading love stories with some adventure and that is what the author has done in this book.I really worried when Melinda got caught in the blizzard, but it turned out to be one of my favorite parts.This book is fun to read over and over because it leaves you with "warm fuzzies"!It is a great book that I would not be embarrassed to recommend to a friend or anyone.
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