Headstrong, independent Clara Winslow has run away from home and taken a teaching position in Waymon Valley, Montana, hoping to escape the mistakes of her past. Being under the wing of her matchmaking aunt is the only fly in the proverbial ointment.

Handsome, brawny Luke Evans, the valley's architect/carpenter, is the matrimonial catch designated for Clara. He, however, is determined to never marry again. To avoid the trap set for them, Luke and Clara join forces to teach her aunt a lesson about meddling in other people's affairs, and fall into the very trap they've sought to avoid-a romance complete with pounding hearts, yearning bodies and constant turmoil!

CLARA'S PROMISE explores the beauty and nostalgia of turn-of-the-century Montana and the relationship of an emotionally wounded man and a confused young woman bound by the snares of her secrets. Ms. Hailstock has written a wonderful novel filled with poignant emotion, unforgettable characters and historical richness that touches the heart. (June, 411 pp., $4.,99)

Reviewed by: 
Cheryl Ferguson