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June 5, 2024

Riveting Tale of Frontier Life: I Paint the Sky by Laura Kemp

by Susan Roberts

She came west to start a new life... But what is she running from?

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book cover of historical fiction novel I Paint the Sky by Laura Kemp
June 2024; Lost Meridian Press; 979-8869396679
ebook, print (342 pages); historical fiction

I read a lot of historical fiction but very little of it has been about settlers moving to the Western United States.  This time period was very interesting and I want to read more books set in the mid-1800s as wagon trains moved west and ran into problems with the weather and the American Indians who had owned the land for centuries.

Emily was young and naive.  She was 19 years old and worked at her parents' shop in a small town in Michigan but she longed for adventure.  She married a man that she barely knew and because of the way he treated her. she grew up real fast and regretted her decision to marry him.  She finds out quickly that he is an angry controlling man.  He keeps her away from her family and really gets possessive when Emily gets pregnant.  She takes a big chance and escapes to head West to the Black Hills on the Oregon Trail to live with her aunt and uncle.  Daily life on the wagon train is tough - especially for a pregnant woman.  When she gives birth, she is helped by Caleb who had helped deliver other babies when he lived at home.  As she and Caleb spend more time together, they find out that they are beginning to develop feelings for each other.  When Emily finds out that her husband is tracking her, she knows that he will kill her and take the baby.  She has support from other people on the wagon train - especially Caleb and his sister - but will it be enough to keep her and her baby safe?

Laura Kemp has written an outstanding book.  Her descriptions of life for the people heading west are very well done and make you wonder how they ever survived.  Her characters are well written -- Emily especially as she grows from a young naive girl to a woman willing to do what she can to keep her baby and her new love safe from harm.  The plot is outstanding and there are parts that were so tense that I had to keep turning pages quickly to find out what was going to happen.  As Emily's husband gets closer to the wagon train with his wife and baby, the storyline gains more tension as I hoped for Emily's safety from the evilness of her husband.

This book is a well-written story of good and evil, love and forgiveness, and friendship as people head west to new lives and leave their old lives and problems behind.  This book had it all -- good guys, bad guys, gunfights, and a mystery, plus female friendships and a great love story.  I highly recommend it

Buy I Paint the Sky at Amazon

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.   


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