Many aspects of UNDER THE DESERT SKY are not commonly found in a historical romance. While the Arizona Territory setting might be the locale of a story taking place in 1900, having a career of raising ostriches is definitely unusual, especially when the owner is a woman. The hero is from South Africa, and his way of thinking is also not the norm for many folks living in the southwest at the turn of the twentieth century. Sara Luck vividly interweaves factual details with imaginative circumstances to create a heartwarming romance filled with genuine emotions.
When Phoebe Sloan had traveled to the Arizona Territory seeking employment, she ended up getting married and having a son. But when her husband is accidently killed on their ranch, she is the only one who thinks continuing to raise ostriches will eventually be profitable. With all her money tied up in the risky venture plus having the relatives of her husband make constant threats, Phoebe fears what will happen to her child if she cannot successfully sell the birds’ gorgeous feathers which are in high demand in the states and overseas.
After making sure several ostriches are safely transported from Cape Town to a buyer in Arizona, a South African named Christian de Wet ends up accepting a job offer and will stay in the area for a while. When he sees first-hand what a trying time Phoebe is having on her farm, he offers his assistance in getting things back on track. Though she desperately wants to prove her goal can be reached, if a profit is not made soon, then she may lose everything she cares about. Yet with the help of Christian, she just might have the life she has always wanted.
The predicaments women must face have greatly changed over the years, and Phoebe certainly lived through quite a few that were once all too frequent in her time period. I really liked how she stood up to anyone who tried to take away her choice of freewill, and she definitely did not give in without speaking her mind. She is a very devoted mother, and it was good to see how her son was always in her thoughts. When she meets Christian, she was fascinated but never dreamed they would ever be in a relationship because of so many differences. But sometimes unexpected connections turn into caring and perhaps even love. I enjoyed seeing how Christian and Phoebe would recall values they admire when thinking of another person and not be influenced by the opinions of someone else. Also, their past experiences draw them closer because of all that they have lost over the years, as they cannot help but feel compassion toward each other.
Sara Luck has truly done lots of research for UNDER THE DESERT SKY, where fiction comes across as particularly realistic. Many various factors dealing with the raising of ostriches are accurately depicted, and I found the information to be very interesting. There are also numerous remarks made about actual individuals who are known for making an impact during the timeframe of the story, thus adding convincing realism. From wars to discrimination and the places where decisive events took place, this story left me feeling as though I had traveled back in time and watched history in the making. UNDER THE DESERT SKY entertains with originality.
Copy received from publisher
Releases: March 29, 2016
Rating: 4 Stars