Becoming Lucy, by Martha Rogers (Realms, 2010)
When seventeen-year-old Lucinda Bishop’s parents are killed in a carriage accident, she must move west to live on her aunt and uncle’s ranch. The year is 1896, and the developing territory of Oklahoma is much different than the wealthy area of Boston she’s known as home.
Lucinda will come into her inheritance on her 18th birthday, but leaving Boston may not be enough to protect her from another uncle, who wants the money for himself and who may not stop at murder.
Life on the ranch brings many adjustments, and one of the strengths of the novel is in its portrayal of ranch life in that period of time and space. The narrative never stops to dump information, but we experience the setting through Lucinda’s eyes.
The title comes from her struggle with how much to embrace this new life. To belong in a culture where everything is less formal, including people’s names, can she trade Lucinda for Lucy without losing herself?
Aunt Mellie, Uncle Ben and the cousins are loving, faith-filled people who embrace Lucinda as her own. She’s a proper young lady, obedient to her elders and possessing a faith that seems to not have doubts. She’s strong, though, and determined to adapt to all that life has thrown at her.
Novels being what they are, life throws more at her before we reach the end. A deep attraction sparks between her and one of Uncle Ben’s handsome cowboys, Jake. But Jake doesn’t share her faith, and she knows that means she can’t encourage his attention. On his part, Jake doesn’t dare entangle himself. He’s on the run from the law.
This is a gentle prairie romance with characters who are for the most part kind people. The plot is well-woven and the setting rings true.
Becoming Lucy is Martha Rogers’ first novel. You can watch the book trailer for Becoming Lucy here. The next two in the Winds Across the Prairie series are Morning for Dove and Finding Becky (releasing September 2010). You can learn more about Martha Rogers at her website.