The Other West by Merry Farmer

One of the things I tried to capture in my book In Your Arms is the vast diversity of the Old West.  I absolutely love romances about the intrepid pioneers that tamed the wilderness along with their hearts.  Strong heroines who seek a new life on the frontier and gorgeous cowboy who help them fulfill their dreams are irresistible to me.  So much so that I’ve written all about them in the other books of the Montana Romance series.  But for In Your Arms, I wanted to take a different look at things.  I wanted to write about the other west.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the history of the opening up of our country is the fact that the West was in so many ways more accepting and more varied than theIn Your Arms [e-book draft b] East.  It had to be.  In a world that was challenging at best and deadly at its worst, there wasn’t time to stop and worry about whether someone was a man or a woman, whether they had been born in the USA or overseas, or what color their skin was.  There was land that needed to be tamed, cities that needed to be grown, railroads that needed to be constructed, and a world that needed to rise.

Much of the work that went into building the West was done by immigrants and minorities of one kind or another.  The railroads that define so much of western life couldn’t have been built without Chinese immigrants.  Great swaths of Utah wouldn’t have been settled if not for the persecuted minority of Mormons.  The West was the first area of the United States to allow women the vote because women were a necessary part of civic life in an area with a struggling population.  Even African Americans found greater opportunity (at first) in the early days of the West.  It was a land of opportunity for so many different kinds of people…except Native Americans.

This is what I wanted to write about in In Your Arms.  My heroine, Lily Singer, is a Native American woman who has lost her identity.  She was taken from her tribe as a small child and raised in the Carlisle Indian Industrial School back east.  Shortly before my book begins, she has accepted a teaching position in Cold Springs, Montana and moved back to an area to which she feels a draw, but which is painfully hostile to her and people like her.

In writing this book, I didn’t want to paint this awkward chapter of our history with an entirely black or an entirely white brush.  The truth is that it was far from cut and dry.  There were no singly-defined good guys and bad guys in the story of what happened to the Native Americans.  Yes, it is tragic that their way of life was destroyed to make way for the America we know now, but as I discovered when doing research about the phenomenon of Indian schools at the end of the nineteenth century, more often than not the intentions of the missionaries who started these schools was good while the results were destructive.

Even though she was given a fine education, one that enabled her to enter a career that would provide for her and help her to educate the next generation, the school where Lily was raised has stripped her of her identity.  This happened to far too many young men and women.  Where one side thought they were providing the ultimate help—bringing young people into the modern world, civilizing them, and giving them skills to build a better life—the other side saw it as the rape of their culture.  People like my character Lily found themselves in the middle of this bittersweet tug-o-war of ideals.

Fortunately, In Your Arms is ultimately a happy story.  It’s a love story.  It’s about finding that place where you belong with the person you were meant to be with.  No matter how challenging our lives can be, home really is where the heart is.  I loved writing this story for Lily and Christian and bringing them together to find their ultimate home with each other.  And really, that was what the West was all about.  It was about making a home for yourself against the odds, no matter who you were.  It was about finding that path that was right for you, even if society said it was dangerous or risky.  It’s about all those things that we read Historical Westerns for in the first place.  I hope you enjoy it!

Merry will be giving away a free copy (digital or print) of In Your Arms to one lucky person who leaves a comment!

Other options for purchase (Click on the Name!) Amazon – Amazon UK Smashwords – Barnes & Noble iBooks – Kobo 

best headshot Merry Farmer is an award-winning novelist who lives in suburban Philadelphia with her two cats, Butterfly and Torpedo. She has been writing since she was ten years old and realized one day that she didn’t have to wait for the teacher to assign a creative writing project to write something. It was the best day of her life. She then went on to earn not one but two degrees in History so that she would always having something to write about. Today she is a giant History nerd and a hopeless romantic waiting for her own love story to start. Her first book, The Loyal Heart, is a swashbuckling Medieval Historical Romance involving a love triangle that will keep you guessing.  Both The Loyal Heart and its sequel, The Faithful Heart, are available wherever eBooks are sold.  The third book in the trilogy, The Courageous Heart, will be available sometime this Fall.  She has also begun a new Western Historical Romance series set in Montana in 1805.  The first of that series, Our Little Secrets, is now available.  The second, Fool for Love, will be released in early 2013.  Merry is also passionate about blogging, knitting, and teaching her niece to knit.

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Updated: July 22, 2014 — 9:40 am

26 Comments

  1. In Your Arms sounds fantastic! I think the title speaks volumes. Thank you Merry for your wonderful post.

    1. Aaw, thanks! I hope you get a chance to read it and enjoy! =D

  2. What a wonderful concept for a story, Merry. I, too, write about the west. My stories are set in the post gold rush era where the 1849 gold rush happened. I used to fight the title western because that always made me thing of the Zane Grey type stories and mine aren’t like that. Your time period is such a rich time, yet full of tragedy like you said. I have learned it is the characters that make the story no matter where or when you write them. In Your Arms does sound like a great read and I look forward to being able to read it. Good luck with your book.

    PS: It was nice to meet you today.

    1. Thanks so much, Paisley! (Love your name, btw) There was so much going on in the western half of this continent all throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. I don’t think one genre will ever be enough to cover it. It has always fascinated me. I look forward to seeing what you’ve done with the gold rush!

  3. Enjoyed the post and would love to win a print copy of In Your Arms. Thank you for the chance.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  4. I’m glad that Lily eventually finds Christian who accepts her as she is. I’d love to read your story,IN YOUR ARMS. I’d like to find out why Lily was removed from her tribe and enrolled in the Native American school out East. How she meets Christian and how they deal with the prejudice.

    Even today there still remains a lot of prejudice. My SIL is fostering the cutest little boy, a child of color. She has met with stares and cruel remarks from cashiers and other people as she stands in line to buy food or clothes. So sad as Barb has so much love to give. She’d like to eventually adopt him.

    johns lake at usa dot com

    1. It’s a shame how prejudice is still with us, even after everything we’ve learned. The story of the Native Americans and these Indian schools was such a bittersweet one. I feel like there was so much information about them that I could have written a whole bunch of books on the topic!

  5. Sounds great, I can’t wait to read it.

    1. Thanks, Rita! I hope you enjoy it. =D

  6. Merry, welcome to the Junction! Your book sounds wonderful. What an insightful take on the history of our nation. May you have many, many sales!

    1. There’s SO much about this time period that I wish I could share. Thanks!

  7. Merry your books sounds like one I would enjoy reading… thank you so much for sharing a bit about In Your Arms with us!

    1. Thanks, Colleen! I hope you get a chance to read it soon. =D

  8. The missionaries that set up the schools feeling they were “saving the savages” from themselves, but their intent to destroy a culture (or rather cultures), really had not much to do with kindness of heart. Their feelings of superiority and lack of remorse in taking these children from families and everything they knew lacks any type of moral justification. To take a child and destroy what they are to make them into a lesser version of yourself lacks a rightness. Especially when they and others were unwilling to accept them into society as an equal when finished with the transformation. It left most with no where to belong, resulting in many of the problems in the native american communities that have followed.

    Not that I have strong opinions on the subject or anything. Anyway, it sounds like a good story. Some did manage to find happiness in their lives, but it was hard won. It will be interesting reading Lily’s story and finding out who the special person was who saw her for herself and gave her her HEA.

    I read the blurb and excerpt from your other book, THE LOYAL HEART, which is set in my other favorite time period. I look forward to reading that one too.

    1. Thanks, Patricia! Yeah, this is SUCH a tricky time period with so many variables at play. It’s horrible to see what actually happened. I mean, my ancestors were Cherokee, and to read about what happened to them is just heartbreaking (although my particular family members escaped on the Trail of Tears and hid out in the mountains). I do think there were people who honestly believed what they were doing was right, although their “right” seems really, really wrong to our 21st century eyes. But the damage that was done has had such long-lasting consequences. I hope we don’t ever repeat that!

  9. Hi Merry! I enjoyed this informative post and am eager to read your wonderful story! Thank you so much for the giveaway opportunity.

  10. Love the cover of your book, sounds like a fantastic read and I would love to read it.

  11. Have loved all of your books I have read so far and this sounds like one I would love to read as well!

  12. Great article, Merry. In Your Arms sounds great.

  13. I just finished reading Our Little Secrets and I LOVED it. Can’t wait to read another one of your. Thanks for the chance to win In Your Arms!

  14. Sounds like an interesting story. This situation and the manner it affected the Native Americans has always been interesting to me. I look forward to reading your book.

  15. Sorry to say I am not familiar with your work but I plan on changing that soon. In your arms sounds fantastic!

  16. I think this sounds very interesting. I very much like stories about the Native Americans and their culture.

  17. Thrilling book synopsis. Can’t wait to read it.

  18. Beautiful Book Cover, Thanks for the wonderful Giveway!!! I would love a chance to win!!!

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