Kirkpatrick challenges and delights with a three-part novel based on true stories of the Big Muddy Ranch in Oregon. During a 1901 grazing war, a sheepherder is convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison, leaving his child bride behind. Faith, courage and the birth of her daughter transform Eva into a woman of deep character.

In 1984, a cult occupies the Big Muddy and Cora must rescue her granddaughter before violence erupts. Stepping into an atmosphere of suspicion and manipulation disguised by false joy and peace, Cora clings to faith in God's power to triumph over evil.

In 1997, a youth ministry acquires an abandoned cult site. Jill is reluctantly caught up in her husband's enthusiasm to help transform the ravaged land into a fruitful paradise. In the process, she lives miracles that only God's love can produce.

Moving plots with memorable characters flesh out historical facts, though the present-perfect voice creates a sense of detachment that can be distracting. (Apr., 400 pp., $13.99)
Reviewed by: 
Jill Elizabeth Nelson