This is going to be one of the first truly negative reviews I’ve ever given. I hate to do it, but have to be honest, so….
I might as well just say it and get it over with – I was disappointed with Lauraine Snelling’s “Whispers in the Wind”, the second book in her Wild West Wind series. I really wanted to like it, and I was hopeful that the painfully slow buildup in book one would lead to a dynamic and compelling story in book two, but it was not to be. “Whispers in the Wind” resumes the plodding saga of Cassie, a jobless trick rider from a Wild West show and her assortment of friends who have arrived in the valley that Cassie’s deceased father was part owner of. As in book one, Cassie remains a flat, emotionless character that the reader will have difficulty connecting with. She seems to revolve like a hamster in a wheel around an inner dialogue of wanting a real home, feeling inadequate to provide for “her” people (all of whom are far more competent than she is in taking care of themselves), and is pretty much always uncertain about what she should do – whether that’s go to dinner where she’s invited, attend church, buy supplies, or travel to a nearby town to meet with a sponsor. When I first picked up “Whispers in the Wind” I was certain that there would be major relationship developments between Cassie and the Engstrom brothers, Ransom and Lucas. These were the most well-rounded characters in book one, and their conflict with one another and struggle to keep their ranch going made “Valley of Dreams” a worthwhile read. In “Whispers in the Wind”, however, there is almost no conflict between the brothers, and the ranch now appears to be flourishing. Indeed, the author spends a lot of time describing the bounty on the table…along with Cassie’s many thoughts of inadequacy and helplessness when it comes to preparing meals. The reader who expected a budding romance will be let down in that regard as well. Although Lucas, the younger brother, is supposed to be “smitten” with Cassie and set on marrying her, Cassie is completely oblivious and has no emotional response whatsoever to any of his attentions- which the author doesn’t really elaborate on anyway. What frustrated me was that there was no believable reason why this 20 year old, healthy, pretty girl would not be attracted to a handsome, attentive young man. While it still seems clear to me that the author intends to develop a romance between Ransom and Cassie –don’t hold your breath, it’ll probably be book 6 at the rate things are going- it’s not at all believable by this point. There’s simply been no engaging between the characters except between Cassie and Mavis Engstrom, the ranch matron. The book is almost entirely from the point-of-view of someone’s internal monologue with themselves or God, and any actual dialogue is awkward and stilted.
Final thoughts: if you read book one, and you’re one of these people who want to know the rest of the story (like me) you’re probably going to want to read book two…just prepare yourself. It’s not just a leisurely read, it’s downright sluggish. It’s sure to leave you hoping for a miracle in book three.
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.