Category: Historical Fiction, Coming of Age, Book Review
Gardiner MT, just outside Yellowstone National Park, Winter, 1933.
Three people—each with the toughness and desire to survive whatever adversity fate throws in their path. But will that be enough to overcome a financial Depression in its third year with no sign of abating or the brutally cold wilderness that is Yellowstone in winter?
Fourteen year old Millie Chase had never known her father, he’d been killed in battle just before she was born, so it had been just her and her mum…until Roger Fitzgerald had come into their lives. Now Millie was standing watching as her mother’s coffin was lowered into the ground.
Millie was eleven when her mother married Roger after a whirlwind courtship and at first all seemed good, even though they had moved for Roger’s convenience, but it didn’t last. Millie intensely dislikes and is afraid of the controlling bully Roger has shown himself to be, and now she was alone with no friends or family near.
Millie walked to the closet and sat on the floor, scooting back until she was surrounded by the scent of Momma that clung to her clothes. She unbuckled the patent leather shoes and kicked them off, then pulled Momma’s favorite fur coat from its satin hanger and made a sort of nest for herself. Downstairs she could hear her stepfather laughing, and someone was playing Momma’s grand piano — the only thing that Roger had agreed to let her bring from the house in Chicago.
Nate and Ginny Baker live in an isolated cabin in Yellowstone Park where Nate is a winterkeeper, one of a small group of men who make sure the buildings in the park are maintained, cleared of snow and kept watertight throughout the winter season. On his rounds one day he discovers something totally unexpected.
Set in the third year of the Great Depression, this is a tale of survival, hope, avarice and love. The main characters and their relationships are wonderful. Millie — resourceful, smart and courageous, Nate — reliable, kind and trustworthy and Ginny —selfless, motherly and down to earth. Each one easy to like and care about. And there’s a villain for those of us who like to have someone bad to balance things out.
The Yellowstone setting is fabulous, the descriptions conjuring vivid imagery of the snowy landscape and the potential dangers lying in wait for the unwary. The narrative is written beautifully, in accordance with each of the characters’ chapters and involve the reader immediately. I enjoyed the book very much.
Anna Schmidt’s historical novel, THE WINTERKEEPER, received a Five Star rating from Reader’s Favorites. Reviews for the story have been strong including one from the Historical Novel Society that raved: “The storytelling and scene building are masterful and create an immediacy that keeps the reader turning pages. This is a writer who feels words as well as thinking them.” Anna is a three-time finalist for the coveted RITA award presented annually by Romance Writers of America. In addition she has been a four-time finalist for the Reviewer’s Choice Award from Romantic Times magazine—an award she has won twice. Her latest novel RENEGADE is the second in her new series: Cowboys and Harvey Girls and is available now. Publisher’s Weekly hails the series as: “Easygoing western romance readers will cheer for this good-hearted heroine to achieve all her dreams.” Anna splits her time between Wisconsin and Florida, noting that, “I am blessed to have a career that travels well!”