CHASE THE WIND
This sprawling saga begins in West Virginia when Ian Duncan steals Randolph Mason's bride, Faith Taylor. The young lovers manage to escape and build a homestead in Iowa with their few belongings: a wedding ring quilt and a magnificent horse.
Nearly a decade later, their lives are shattered when the wealthy Mason finds and kills Faith and Ian, leaving their twins, Jamie and Jenny, orphaned. The children are taken to an orphanage run by the ruthless Father Clarence, who sells Jenny to a man headed for California.
Jamie, along with their half-breed friend Chase the Wind, vows to find Jenny. Their search leads to Wyoming where they find work as ranch hands.
Through the strangest twist of fate, it is Jenny who finds them and the reawakened friendship between Chase and Jenny forms the basis for the romance.
CHASE THE WIND is a long-winded saga moving through decades and traversing the country. There are a multitude of tragedies to overcome: death, separation, jealousy, greed, hatred, prejudice, cruelty and other obstacles thrown into the characters' paths. Though the twins triumph in the end, I found some of the tragedies contrived and even a bit hard to believe (in particular, the way Jenny manages to find her brother, though he and Chase have been looking for her for years, strikes a false note). Yet for those who long for a "big" book, this may fit the bill. SENSUAL (Oct., 450 pp., $5.99)