Sarah Andrews is a white woman living on the New Mexico frontier, miles from the nearest town, when a small band of Apaches attack her home, killing her husband and kidnapping her son. Toklanni is a scarred, half-breed Apache warrior who finds himself caught between the Indian and white worlds. He took part in the raid on Sarah's home and was sent to kill her as a test of his loyalty to his people. Instead, he took one look at the lovely woman, and was not able to lay a hand on her, because she reminded him so much of his mother. He tricked his fellow warriors into thinking he had done the deed, and instead chose to protect this woman who was now all alone.
With few supplies and no horse, Sarah was in danger of dying herself, until baskets of food began to mysteriously appear on her doorstep. Sarah wondered who her Good Samaritan could be, until one day she caught sight of an Indian watching her from a distance. Knowing in her heart that he is her protector and hoping that she might be able to persuade him to help her find her son, Sarah approached him, but he disappeared before she could get too close. She was surprised when the Indian later showed up on her doorstep, badly beaten and injured, but she gently nursed him back to health. Having been quite lonely, Sarah is grateful for his company, and Toklanni is just happy to be near this woman who is rapidly capturing his heart. Together they build a beautiful friendship while breaking down the barriers to fall in love, but the one thing that still stands between them is Sarah's missing son. When Christmas approaches, Toklanni wishes he had something to give Sarah, and knows in his heart the one gift he could give her that would surpass all others.
Loving Sarah is a sweet, tender story about two lonely people finding love and acceptance in a place neither would have expected, each other's arms. Toklanni is a somewhat tortured but sympathetic hero as a half-breed who doesn't quite fit in either the Apache or the white world, and who is very self-conscious about a scar that runs the length of his face and body. He is a very gentle hero though, who protects and provides for Sarah when she is left alone due to an Apache raid on her home. I thought Sarah was realistic as a former city-dweller who isn't fully able to provide for herself when left alone and miles from the nearest civilization, yet she exhibits a quiet strength of character through her faith and persistence after her husband is killed and her son is kidnapped. She also has a very forgiving heart to be able to love and accept Toklanni after the attack by his people in which he played a part.
This story is very simple, things happen rather quickly, and it lacks some of the depth I've read in other books, but in my opinion, there was a certain beauty within it's simplicity that some full-length novels can often fail to capture. I found it to be an easy read and a refreshing change of pace from the intensely emotional romances that I usually tend to favor, a sweetly endearing story that had the feel of curling up by the fire on a cold winter's day. Loving Sarah can be found in the anthology, A Frontier Christmas, and is the first in a two-novella series. The sequel, Loving Devlin, is found in the anthology, A Wilderness Christmas.
The Hope Chest Reviews on Facebook