I have a new story to talk about, one very close to my heart.
My father took me to pow wows when I was a child. I can still remember the sun blazing down on my head, the salty sweetness of buttered corn, and dancers in ornamental dress swaying to the drumbeat. My father greeted many of his friends from among the gathered tribes. In this way, I suppose he captured something of the heritage he’d been denied. Dad, was half Native American, but never knew his father. He took after that side of his bloodline and as a result suffered from the prejudices of others. Orphaned at age 14, he took to the road and eventually landed among my mother’s relatives. My parents’ romance was the stuff of novels.
My father passed to me an abhorrence of injustice, and this often makes its way into my fiction. Montana Gold, my western historical romance series, focuses on the Irish in America. Nowadays we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and it’s hard to understand that Irish immigrants were once despised.
Many fled Ireland’s potato famine only to die on the journey to America. Packed like sardines into ‘coffin ships,’ they had to endure a four-week journey in deplorable conditions. Those who lived arrived on American shores disease-ridden and hungry. They met with hostility from those suspicious of the newcomers’ Catholic faith and angry that they would take away jobs or rely upon the public coffer. The job market could not keep up with the influx, and many Irish immigrants wound up in the Five Points slum of Manhattan. The residents crammed into cheap housing built above a filled-in collection pond which had been polluted by commercial enterprises. Sickness and death followed. Street gangs flourished amid all the vices of desperation, and crime grew rampant.
When Bryanna married, she counted herself fortunate to leave the slum behind. Hardship dogged her, however. Her husband died, forcing her to go into service. She is unjustly accused as Cheyenne Sunrise opens. Bry’s trials continue, leaving her with a burning question. Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Her search for an answer occupies her throughout the story and is finally satisfied.
I found it intriguing to contrast negative sentiment against the Irish with the prevailing attitude against Native Americans. Nick Laramie, the hero of the story, is the son of a Cheyenne woman and a French trapper who have both died. Nick struggles to survive despite the prejudice that plagues him. His feeling that he doesn’t fully belong to either of his parents’ worlds and his yearning to belong echo my father’s.
Nick takes on work as a trail guide for the wagon train carrying Bry to her brother’s ranch in Montana Territory to start a new life. They are attracted to one another, but neither wants a romance. After her disastrous marriage, Bry doesn’t need another man to break her spirit, and Nick has no intention of bringing a woman into the pain of his life. After dire circumstances throw them together, each must learn that true peace comes only from trusting in God.
More About Cheyenne Sunrise
Can a woman with no faith in men learn to trust the half-Cheyenne trail guide determined to protect her?
Young Irish widow Bry Brennan doesn’t want another husband to break her spirit. When she and her brother Con join a wagon train headed to Montana Territory, Bry ignores her fascination with Nick Laramie, the handsome trail guide.
Nick lives in an uneasy truce between the settlers and his mother’s tribe without fully fitting in among either. With no intention of dragging a woman into his troubles, he stifles his yearning for Bry.
The perilous journey throws the two together, leaving Bry no choice but to trust Nick with her life. Can she also trust him with her heart? Answering that riddle forces Bry to confront her unresolved questions about God’s love.
Based on actual historical events during a time of unrest in America, Cheyenne Sunrise explores faith, love, and courage in the wild west.
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About Janalyn Voigt
Janalyn Voigt is a multi-genre, best-selling novelist who has books available in the western historical romance and epic fantasy genres. An inspirational, motivational, and practical speaker, Janalyn has presented at the Northwest Christian Writers’ Renewal Conference and Inland Northwest Christian Writers Conference. She has also spoken for local writing groups, book events, and libraries. Janalyn is represented by Wordserve Literary and holds memberships in ACFW and Northwest Christian Writers Association. For more information, go to: Janalyn Voigt.
I’m celebrating the launch of Cheyenne Sunrise with a giveaway drawing for winner’s choice of a Kindle Fire, Celtic and Cheyenne flute music CDs, or a $30 gift card. Click on the image below to enter.