Author: Janette Oke
My Rating: 5/5
What is it about?
16 year old Ariana lives in a small western town with her loving parents. She has a relatively normal life working as the local schoolteacher- a job she enjoys immensely. Until one snowy day after classes have finished Ariana's life is turned upside down and she is abducted by two burly outlaws. With no idea why she has been taken prisoner Ariana spends her days in a locked up shoddy cabin in a camp full of men fearing for her life, only finding solace in her Bible.
Charged with guarding the prisoner, Laramie is the son of the outlaw leader. Disturbed and worried when his father brings a young girl into the camp, he suddenly finds himself in an unlikely position.
This book is my favourite Janette Oke book so please bear with me as I have a little rant about it. Firstly I love this novel, Ariana is kind, sweet and so inspiring. In Ariana, Janette has built a strong but vulnerable character, she reacts to the frightening situation that she is in just as any 16 year old would be expected too. I love that Ariana cries and that she has normal fears. She is a great heroine who develops and matures throughout the novel.
Laramie is handsome, strong, kind and caring. He is a such a great hero, his compassion for people can be seen from the start however throughout the novel with God and Ariana's help he is able to break the ties that keep him down and truly become the man he was destined to be. Laramie is also a man of great honor- he is just wonderful.
The storyline is one of the best I have read, it surprised me and I really didn't see what was coming. I enjoyed it so much I literally could not put it down- I stayed up most of the night to finish it. The book has a real "Lorna Doone" feel to it especially within the camp of the outlaws. The only problem that I have with the novel is the ending, I can't quite put my finger on what I didn't like- perhaps I felt it was too rushed. Also I cannot help but wish that the novel was longer.
This book really is my favourite book of Janette's and is must read for any of her fans.
UPDATE (27/09/2012): Also if your interested in this book you may want to check out the post I wrote detailing the movie adaptation of this book here.