Sarah's Secret: A Western Tale of Betrayal and Forgiveness
Follow the paths of Sarah and Will (or Sam) as they tell their stories of trust, secrets, and betrayal on the frontier in the old West. Their pioneer spirit helped to fuel the expansion into the Western territories of the United States. The two are historically on their separate journeys, yet they remain intimately connected. Through the fictionalized Western frontier tale of Sam and Sarah, the author, Beverly Scott, was inspired to reveal rumored secrets from her family history.
In 1878, Will is on the run after killing a man in a barroom gunfight. He escapes the Texas Rangers by joining a cattle drive as a cook headed to Dodge City. He struggles with the dilemma of saving his life or attempting to return to his pregnant wife and five children. Just when he thinks he might be able to return home, he is confronted by a bounty hunter who captures him and plans to return him to Fort Worth, Texas to be hanged.
Although Will changes his name to Sam, he remains an irresponsible, lonely and untrustworthy man on the dodge from the law who abandons the women he loves. He ultimately seeks redemption and marries Sarah.
In 1911, Sarah, a pioneer woman, and a widow with five children, struggles to find the inner strength to overcome betrayal, loneliness, fears, and self-doubt. Her husband, Sam, thirty years her senior, died with a mysterious and defiant declaration, "I won't answer!". Despite poverty and a crippling illness, she draws on her pioneer spirit to hold her family together and return to Nebraska to be near her parents and siblings.
When Sarah returns to Nebraska she receives staggering news which complicates her efforts to support her children. She is shocked, angry and emotionally devastated. Since she is attempting to establish herself in the community as a teacher, she believes she must keep her secret even from her own family. Will Sarah find forgiveness in her heart and the resolve to accept her new life alone?
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"It opens in 1911 New Mexico, where Sarah's husband Sam is dying, leaving her alone to manage five children with no means of support, and evolves into a decision to leave the sandy, rattlesnake-infested world Sam has brought them to for a wagon journey back home to family roots in Nebraska. From skinning rabbits to finding safe crossings during the journey, Sarah faces quicksand bogs and many dangers as she tries to keep her family together. Scott could have kept the focus on Sarah's perspective and trials; but her book's second section focuses on Will, a "sod buster" who gains employment on a cattle drive as he searches for a way home, guilty about abandoning his children and wife even as he dodges the law and becomes involved with another woman. How these disparate lives come together makes for a Western story of struggle, redemption, betrayal, and family ties that winds its way through hearts and minds as deftly as it moves through early America's rugged landscape... (The story) goes well beyond well-researched history or leisure adventure to closely examine the far-reaching significance of individual lives. Readers of Western fiction who enjoy a solid blend of history and psychology, and who seek more than just a frontier flavor in their fiction, will find Sarah's Secret a revealing and absorbing read."--D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
"In the flash of one moment, the trajectory of a man's life and of those who loved and depended on him changes forever. Set against the backdrop of a post-Civil War nation, when thousands headed west to escape their past, disappear into the horizon, and remake themselves, this biography is a rich study of pioneer ethos and the risks faced every day."--Craig and Patricia Neal, co-founders, Heartland Inc. Authors, The Art of Convening
"The separate and intertwined stories of hardship, struggles against the harsh climate, and efforts for family and settlement encountered by Sarah and Sam in the late 1800s and early 1900s as they traveled from the Midwestern prairie through the West from New Mexico to Wyoming, captivated me so completely that I read the book in one sitting. Scott skillfully uses words to bring to life not only the physical dangers pioneers faced but also the more subtle, emotional crises that women pioneers encountered through childbirth, widowhood, and the vulnerability of being alone and keeping a family together, in the face of poverty and betrayal!"--Sue Rosser, San Francisco State University
"Sarah's Secret is the gritty, heart-warming story of a widow, Sarah Martin, who travels from New Mexico to Nebraska with five young children in 1911. Sarah shows herself to be smart, resourceful, and even a little cunning as she confronts dangers such as quicksand and thieves along the way. However, the biggest shock comes when she finally makes it home and discovers that her late husband was not the man she thought she knew."--Martha Conway, author, Thieving Forest
"What began as a self-described genealogical journey to uncover the details of her grandparents' lives, Sarah's Secret ended up being a magnificently-crafted saga that speaks to the heart of all of us. Using the hardscrabble early 20th century Midwest as a backdrop, the author spins an epic narrative of love and hate; life and death; free-will and fate; and, finally, redemption. If you enjoy authentic, dramatic and wonderfully written prose, you'll love this book. I was blown away." Dennis Koller, author, The Custer Conspiracy