Seventeen-year-old Nealie Bent arrives in Georgetown, Colo., while the mining town is booming. She falls in love with the beautiful Bride’s House. Young and innocent Nealie is no beauty, but she attracts two very different men: big, kind Charlie Dumas and charismatic Will Spaulding. Her passion for Will leads to heartbreak and marriage to Charlie is the only choice for Nealie, who comes to live in the Bride’s House before she dies in childbirth.
Her daughter, Pearl, continues the family legacy of tragedy and triumph. Adored by her father, Pearl grows into a lovely young lady and is as much her father’s business partner as daughter. But when Pearl falls in love, Charlie isn’t ready to let her go which leads a misunderstanding that takes years to rectify. The story comes full circle as Pearl’s daughter Susan faces her own challenges in the 20th century. She too will learn the pain of love and loss, but it is the discovery of an old cache of letters that gives Susan the courage to build the life she wants. (ST. MARTIN’S, May, 372 pp., $24.99)