In this epic and unforgettable love story, set in the wilds of Missouri and the glamour of high society Boston at the dawn of the Gilded Age, one woman’s life changes forever the day that a stranger turns up on her doorstep.
Missouri, February 1874: The last thing struggling homesteader Ginny needs is a scandal on her hands. But when a badly injured drifter arrives at Snow Farm in desperate need of medical attention, Ginny’s kind nature and good upbringing means she has no choice but to treat his wounds and care for him until he’s back on his feet, no matter the danger he might pose.
Ginny’s been running the farm and looking after her fourteen-year-old sister Mary-Lou since their papa died two years ago, each morning pulling on his old leather coat and pushing her feet into stout boots that come up to her knees, before heading out to tend to the cattle. She’s determined to hold onto the one thing that connects them to memories of their parents – whatever the cost. And when their uninvited guest – Lex – is well enough he offers his help, and she surprises herself by accepting it.
But not long after Lex moves on, Ginny realises that her heart has gone with him. And when the farm’s fortunes take a turn for the worse, she faces her hardest test yet. Can she save the only home she’s ever known, and everything she holds dear? And what if doing so means risking a chance at love and happiness she never expected to come her way?
Imogen has shared an extract with us today so you know the drill – coffee/tea, comfortable chair and enjoy.
*****beginning of extract*****
This is part way through the second chapter. Mary Lou has brought an injured man to their isolated rural homestead. Ginny is concerned that her 14-year-old sister doesn’t understand the danger this man might bring them, given it is just the two of them who live there.
Snow Farm, Missouri—February 1874
Ginny lifted out a screw-top jar and some bandages. “This is comfrey and elder salve. It will take down the swelling.”
The man nodded his approval and Ginny massaged the milky-colored gel into his ankle. The astringent smell filled the room.
He looked up at her, as if remembering there was a second young woman in the room. “Not for a few days.”
“I’ll get you something.” Mary Lou glanced at Ginny for approval to return to the kitchen and Ginny nodded.
She turned back to the man’s foot and began to wrap a bandage around it.
“Whoa! Does it have to be so tight?”
Ginny paused, doubting herself. “I think it best to keep the foot and ankle fixed.” She continued to wind the fabric.
When she’d finished, she gently lowered the foot to the floor so she could stand up. The man leaned forward, taking his weight on the arms of the chair to rise.
“No, no, no. You’re gonna have to rest that foot up for a while. Sit back down and put it on that stool.”
“Yes. I’m sure that trying to move too soon will make it worse.”
He sat back in the chair with a heavy sigh.
“No use fightin’ it,” Ginny said.
Mary Lou returned with a bowl. “Chicken stew. To be honest, it’s mostly vegetable stew, but if you dig around a bit, you should find some chicken.”
The man took the bowl and spoon and devoured the first few mouthfuls before pausing to savor the taste. “Miss, that’s the finest thing I ever tasted.” He scraped the bowl clean and handed it to Mary Lou with what Ginny thought was a smile, but it was hard to tell under the beard.
“What now?” Mary Lou whispered to her sister.
Ginny slid her eyes over to the window. The sky was the dappled purple of late afternoon. It would be dark soon and the wind was blowing harder. There was nothing for it; they were stuck with this stranger in their home. A tremor went down her spine.
*****end of extract*****
About Imogen Martin –
As a teenager, she took the Greyhound bus from San Francisco to New York. Over those three days of staring out of the window at the majestic mountains and endless flat plains, stories wound themselves into her head: tales of brooding, charismatic men captivated by independent women.
Since then, she has worked in a coffee-shop in Piccadilly, a famous bookstore, and a children’s home. She has run festivals, and turned a derelict housing block on one of the poorest estates in the UK into an award-winning arts centre.
During 2020 Imogen was selected by Kate Nash Literary Agency as one of their BookCamp mentees, a mentorship programme designed to accelerate the careers of promising new writers.
Married with two children, Imogen divides her time between Wales and Sardinia.
She hopes her books will bring you the tingle of a new love affair whilst immersed in a different time and place.
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.