As broad as the panoramic view and as untamed as the land, this is an epic novel of one woman and the two men who love her.

Clementine Kennicutt is a starry-eyed bride when she arrives in Montana with the "cowboy of her dreams," Gus McGowan. But all the books and souvenir cards she had seen in Boston and all the beatings she had taken from her domineering father because of her fascination with the West do not prepare her for the reality.

Strong in body and will, Clementine sets out to make a home out of a shack and to make a good marriage with her gentle, kind husband. Yet her thoughts stray to Gus' roguish brother Zach. The "black sheep," prodigal brother, Zach carries the burdens of the past and a forbidden passion for his brother's beautiful wife.

Though a lady born and bred, Clementine breaks all the rules by befriending both the local Madam and a Chinese mail-order bride, and by saving the lives of a young half-breed rustler and his wife. Recording the beauty of the land and the people in her photographs enables Clementine to see her world in better perspective-all the pain (the senseless loss of a son), the joy, the friendships and the tragedies that befall them all.

Against this huge canvas Clementine, her family, and friends carve out their destinies as they shape the dreams of a new life and new loves in a land as untamed as their spirits.

HEART OF THE WEST is just that-a novel that details, with loving care, the hearts of those determined people willing to build a future in a harsh, untamed land. Readers will be magically transported to the "Big Sky" country in this larger-than-life spellbinding tale told in the tradition of the grand epic. A novel readers will long remember. SENSUAL (Apr., 592 pp., $22.00)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin