Valley of Dreams is the first book of Lauraine Snelling’s Wild West Wind Series- so prepare yourself- it will end before you’re ready, because it was clearly written with book two in mind. This is the story of Cassie, a skilled trick rider and shooter in a Wild West show, who faces dramatic life change when the show that she has been part of all her life suddenly shuts down. Cassie has known no other life, and she quickly finds out just how ill-prepared for any ‘normal’ life she is. With her deceased parent’s wagon, two unlikely friends, and an assortment of show animals, Cassie sets out to find the valley of her father’s dreams. It’s a plodding journey, though not uninteresting. It is, however, fortunate that author Lauraine Snelling also begins developing what will surely become the central theme of the second book in this series; the relationships and circumstances of the family that already lives in Cassie’s valley –particularly the two brothers, Lucas and Ransom, who are struggling (often with each other) to keep their ranch going. Cassie’s protracted wagon journey is a time of self-discovery and maturation, but there’s not a lot of interaction between her and her traveling companions. So it is the frequent change to Ransom Engstrom’s perspective and the much more interesting events and relationships in his life that keep this story appealing and give it a sense of momentum.
Overall, I enjoyed this book; the flatness of Cassie’s character and the events surrounding her is compensated for by the much more dynamic Engstrom family and the development of their story. I also enjoyed the build-up; the reader knows that Cassie will meet Lucas and Ransom, and that an exciting and uncertain turn of events is coming- and we are certainly left hanging in the wait.
The true test of a series’ book’s worth is this: does the reader impatiently anticipate the next book, and snatch it up as soon as it hits the market? I’m going to venture the guess that few readers will be impatiently waiting for book two, but once it’s released the majority will come back for more.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.