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'I Miss My Pa The Most!’ by Raymond Cook is a 388 page story about Christopher and Shannon Rose O’Shea who lived in Marble, Colorado in 1898. The couple have a daughter, Emma, aged eight. After a stove pipe fire erupts downstairs, everyone must escape out a small window to the roof and jump down. Christopher dies in the fire and Shannon suffers burns on the right side of her face, neck and arm.
Emma is devastated over the loss of her father. Shannon and her daughter are taken in by their neighbors, David and Pamela Liley. It takes months for Shannon to heal from her burns however, accepting the loss of the man she loved and the father of her daughter will take longer. When spring arrives, Shannon remembers that her husband has an older brother, Lance in Garnet, Montana. He agrees to take her and her daughter in.
With the help of the town’s parson, Thomas O’Malley, townsfolk’s raise the funds needed to help get Shannon and Emma to Montana. But the last leg of her journey won’t be easy, to say the least. Indians, grizzly bear, cougar, highwaymen and rancher who betrays her will whittle away at the last bit of hope Shannon has for them to reach Garnet alive. When they finally reach Garnet, she learns her husband’s brother, Lance is dead too.
Now they’re camped at the edge of town and believe there’s no hope left. She feels that no man will ever want to marry her and that she’ll have to raise her Emma alone. The town’s reverend introduces her to Kenneth Buchanan who’s agrees to take them both into his home. But the women of Garnet don’t like the fact they’re living together and fight her. So the reverend marries the couple, ‘out of convenience.’ Can Kenneth and Shannon stay married but be just friends or will he see beyond her scars and see the love she has to offer him? And what about Emma? Will she finally bond with Kenneth and call pa again?
Book Review: “One part of this book, took 5 Kleenex's, I was almost sobbing, it was so emotional. The story just kept going along with this family from one drama to the next. I kept thinking this is enough for these poor farmers. it showed how lawless a lot of the West was in the 1800's.” Reviewer: Sue A. Hanke, Amazon, Feb. 28th, 2016
I Miss My Pa The Most by Raymond Cook is a western tale from the late 1890’s. The author writes with sincere passion and authority about the West.
Christopher O’Shea, his wife Shannon and eight year old daughter Emma manage to survive all the perils on a covered wagon trip from Nauvoo, Illinois west and set up ranching in the outskirts of Marble, Colorado. This tight knit little family has faced “cholera, smallpox, Indian attacks, drownings, injuries, dust storms, wildfires, tornadoes, rattlesnake bites and mountain avalanches”.
There are many beautiful descriptive written scenes that are set off by breathtaking photography. Here are three of my favorites, but you will have to read the book to see the photos.
"As they walked through knee high wet grass the sound of rushing water got louder and louder. When they walked as far as they could go, they stopped and stared at the large creek that made a slight bend to their left. The sky was still mostly blue with patches of white clouds drifting south. It was a wide, deep and winding creek, sure to be filled with Rainbow, Brown or German trout Christopher thought."
"Brush and young saplings lined the edge of the slow moving creek. Leonard followed a deer trail along the creek making his way down to the lake. When the lake came into sight, everyone was startled as a large bald eagle swooped right passed them and grabbed a fat trout just below the surface."
"As it flew off with its meal Emma excitedly pointed and said, “I wanna catch a trout that size pa!” Suddenly everyone laughed. Now and then the family saw trout jumping out of the water though none were big fish. Finally Leonard called out and said, “Well let’s make our way back up to the cabin folks."
The O’Shea family homestead on small piece of land containing old cabin and barn where they set out to make this country their home. Like all new settlers they have to live off the land and defend their property from both wild and human dangers. They are settling into their new life, enjoying the new friends, local community, a church and Emma even goes to school.
Little did they know that their worst nightmare would be a fire. Christopher gives his life to let his wife and daughter escape the fire engulfing their cabin. Grief stricken Shannon sets out with her daughter for Montana where Christopher’s brother will take them in. The journey is rugged and dangerous and it is up to this strong woman to protect her daughter.
Amidst the struggles comes so many heartwarming and beautiful moments between a father and his daughter, husband and wife and mother and daughter. There are new friends and a new beginnings. The characters, dialog and story are realistic to the time. There are nineteen breath taking photos throughout the story which show the beauty of the land and the abundance that is harvested from hard work.
This is book 19 out of 24 Western Family Saga’s that you can enjoy through Kindle. Revisit the Wild West in its beauty and tragedy as Americans forge their way to a new life.
Let me address a side issue. As a published author myself, I always read the reviews before I purchase a book. It is not unusual for readers who have never written a book to be over judgmental. I found the grammar and voice in this book to be consistent with the region of the country and time period. There are a couple of line spacing issues that in no way affect the story. If you like family stories of the Wild West, you will enjoy this book.
Raymond Cook’s bio clearly states that he is a “62 year old disabled veteran”. We thank him for his service to our country and encourage him to keep on writing heartwarming stories like this.
Cold Coffee Press/Cafe endorses ‘I Miss My Pa The Most’ by Raymond Cook. We reviewed this book from Kindle/PDF format. The review was completed on May 8, 2016. For more information please visit Cold Coffee Press http://www.coldcoffeepress.com
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