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Melinda and the Wild West    by Linda Weaver Clarke order for
Melinda and the Wild West
by Linda Weaver Clarke
Order:  USA  Can
Bedside Books, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Kim Atchue-Cusella

Melinda is overjoyed when she receives a letter from her aunt offering her a teaching job in Paris, Idaho. It is a big change from Boston, Massachusetts but she welcomes the change. Her mother objects to her heading west deeming it a wild place to be and urges that her suitor is a reason to stay, but Melinda, who is not in love with James, goes anyway.

When she arrives, she is overcome by the beauty of the place and the differences from Boston. No one is worried about the next ball or social event. At her first day of school, she changes the rules when she discovers a little girl who has been banished behind the bookcase for being naughty during class. She learns the child is the daughter of Gilbert, the widower she met accidentally one day.

Melinda faces many challenges in her new home. She is almost attacked by a bear but saved by Gilbert. The first time she ventures into town to set up a bank account, the bank is robbed, and winter also proves to be a bit more difficult in the west. But she loves her new job and new surroundings. She also finds herself falling in love with Gilbert, but doesn't know if he feels the same way.

Linda Weaver Clarke crafts a beautiful romance set in the late 1800s, with some events based on her ancestors' lives. Gilbert and Melinda seem to clash at first but slowly develop feelings for each other, with a gentle push from Melinda's aunt. Melinda and the Wild West is a heartwarming, tender love story, one of four in A Family Saga. I look forward to reading the other three.

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