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Book review: 'Beyond the White River' is a Western romance

By Rosemarie Howard

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Sept. 30 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

"BEYOND THE WHITE RIVER," by Kristen McKendry, Covenant Communications, $14.99, 197 pages (f)

Kristen McKendry’s latest novel, “Beyond the White River,” is set in late 19th century Mustang, Wyo.

Seven years ago, Faith Frisbee left Mustang, running from a situation she didn’t know how to face. But her father’s death and a determination to confront her fear bring her back to claim the family farm. Even though she comes accompanied by eight young boys who were places in her care, the single men line up to help the attractive young woman work her farm. But when their romantic intentions are spurned, they all suddenly have better things to do on their own farms — that is until Joe Condie comes to town.

Joe’s first attempts to strike up a friendship with Faith are met with icy politeness. But he persists in offering his friendship and assistance. In spite of herself, Faith eventually acknowledges his sincerity and warms up to his courteous and persistent advances. However, before she consents to marriage, there is a secret she must share.

Although it is a fairly predictable romance with a murder mystery thrown in, the author tells a good story with likable characters that keeps the reader turning the pages. McKendry chose to tell the story from Joe’s perspective.

The main characters are portrayed as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and bits of Mormon doctrine are deftly woven into the story. Descriptions of Wyoming landscapes and weather, and the struggles of making a living from the land add a nice dimension.

Although there is a description of a man who is stabbed, and allusions to unmarried sex, there is no offensive language or graphic descriptions of immorality.

Kristen McKendry is an LDS author who currently lives in Canada. Her book “Garden Plot” was nominated for the 2011 Whitney Award for Excellence in LDS Fiction.

Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street, Springville. She enjoys creating multimedia projects. Her website is at dramaticdimensions.com.

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