I’m a huge fan of traditional stories with a twist. Silver Thaw delivers on the same elements that first earned Catherine Anderson a place on my favorite author list with Baby Love a traditional story with a twist.
In Baby Love, Maggie Stanley who is desperate to escape her abusive step-father grabs her baby and rushes into the night with only the clothes on her back. When she struggles onto a boxcar, only barely managing to get aboard, she meets the hero, Rafe Harrington. Rafe has walked away from his family, his friends, his ranch and his wealth in the aftermath of a tragedy. Having vowed to live alone he’s become a hobo riding the trains from place to place, working enough to survive in various places where the train stops.
With Baby Love, I was captivated by the idea of a boxcar hobo as the hero. As I wondered how the author would make a hero who had no job, no future, no solidity, and nothing material to offer into a worthwhile hero. I wasn’t disappointed with Baby Love.
In Silver Thaw, I was again captivated by a clever meeting between characters. This time what drew me in was the idea of the heroine’s desires, despairs, and fears, written on pink pieces of paper and released into the isolation that surrounds her and then those pink pieces of paper becoming trapped in the hero’s fences and shrubs and providing an introduction of sorts for the characters.
From The Cover:
After years of living in fear of her husband, Amanda Banning has left him and moved to Mystic Creek, Oregon, for a fresh start. But she’s having a tough time providing for herself and her six-year-old daughter. Writing her secret yearnings on slips of paper and sending them into the wind helps her cling to the hope that things will get better…and that she can find happiness again.
Jeb Sterling has no idea that the handwritten messages he finds scattered across his land are the first hints that his life is about to change. Nor does he understand why he feels so compelled to help Amanda Banning and her daughter when a cold snap leaves them temporarily homeless. Maybe he’s inspired by Amanda’s courage or perhaps by her beautiful brown eyes. Either way, the man who once renounced love suddenly finds himself willing to do anything for the pair. Amanda seems to have given up on her dreams, but Jeb refuses to quit until he makes her every wish come true.…
What I Like About Catherine Anderson’s Books
Openings With A Twist
I like that many of her books start with a twist. The boxcar hobo hero in Baby Love. The poignancy of the heroine writing down wishes, dreams, hopes, sorrows and releasing them into the night not thinking they’d be read or that she’d be recognized in Silver Thaw. In Cherish, the heroine Rebecca Morgan survives an outlaw attack and she’s rescued by Race Spencer, a man whose gunslinging days are over, but whose fearsome reputation still remains.
Sweet & Yet There’s Some Grit Too
One of the things that I’ve come to expect, and which I really like about most of Catherine Anderson’s books is that though the books are sweet and many of them are even almost inspirational in tone, there is some grit as well. While the characters themselves are often Christians the worlds in which they live and the external conflicts the characters experience are realistically described. When the characters face abusive step-fathers, abusive husbands, and outlaws the descriptions of events show the ugliness of the situations that the characters find themselves in. It’s not white-washed or prettied up to fit the sweeter overall tone of the book which creates a nice poignant mix between the sweet characters and the gritty situations in which they find themselves.
A Slow Pace To The Finish Line
Authors worry a great deal about pace and as a result, sometimes create stories that feel like the hero and heroine are rushing headlong for the finish line. One of the things that I like about Catherine Anderson’s books is the slower pace. She tends to take her time building the relationship between hero and heroine slowly, brick by brick. In Silver Thaw there was a period of time early in the book when both the hero and heroine had been introduced to the reader but not to each other. During this time the hero found the notes on the pink paper that the heroine had released into the night because they helped her hang onto hope that her life would somehow get better. Through these notes, he began to get to know her even though he hadn’t met her yet. When they did meet she was in dire straights with no heat in her rented house with thirty below temperatures, a power outage, and her pipes burst. She needed a rescuer…and Jeb stepped up in heroic fashion, but there wasn’t yet trust. Catherine builds that slowly scene after scene as she knits the characters together creating space for each of them in the other’s life. This is something that seems to be a constant in Catherine Anderson’s books. It’s one of the things that I like.
Silver Thaw had everything that I have come to expect and to seek from Catherine Anderson’s books. I enjoyed it and recommend it to those who like sweet, poignant stories with a slow build up to sexual intimacy.