Trapper Thomas Nash likes his life just the way it is—unencumbered. Four years after his wife's death, he's still not ready to look for another woman. But one finds him.

Cordelia Channing has survived many months alone in the mountains since her missionary husband's death. Found by "flat heads" and traded to Nash, she's ill prepared for his hostile reception.

It will be months before the trappers' rendezvous, where he can find someone to escort her back East. Cordelia has already proven to be a remarkable and resilient woman by surviving in the wilderness, but can she survive Nash?

Together they journey through the wilderness, where Cordelia shoots a grizzly, turns down two Native American chiefs' proposals of marriage, escapes from the Crow and the Blackfoot, and conquers the Bighorn Rapids in a bull boat. Yet her greatest challenge is winning Nash's love.

WINTER WOMAN presents a fascinating portrait of the early days of the West and the extraordinary men and women who traveled and settled the area. But mostly, this is an action-packed yet tender love story, whose ending is reminiscent of "Gift of the Magi," the classic O'Henry Christmas story of love and sacrifice. Kernan has a knack for writing a solid western with likable characters. SENSUAL (Sep., 300 pp., $5.50)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin