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Lottie Buchanan, a genteel and refined lady of St. Louis signs a contract to sing in the wilds of Deadwood, S. Dakota. There she is deluged by a swarm of lonely miners and ruffians wanting to see a ‘real lady’. But one man stands out in the crowd. A big, broad shouldered, red haired man—Grant Adams.
Grant takes one look at Lottie and knows he’s in trouble. She is lovely, very much a lady and not for the likes of him—a rough and ready miner. But he has trouble convincing his heart. He wants her, to protect her, to wrap his arms around her and hold her. Lottie can only see and pursue her Dakota Dreams.
Deadwood Gulch, South Dakota Territory 1877
She had been warned! Lottie Buchanan stepped off the stagecoach and looked around nervously. Yes, she’d been warned, but that hadn’t stopped her. “Oh no,” faltered from her lips.
Deadwood’s mud, and the board sidewalks were certainly a far cry from St. Louis’ refinement and civilization, paved streets and lighting. She had been told it was an overnight metropolis in the wilderness, fueled by greed, gold and gunpowder. No law, no organization, and no order existed. Disputes over gold claims were frequent and bloody.
She had been warned that Indians ambushed stragglers and mail riders. Bandits waylaid armored and guarded bullion coaches. Prices were outrageous. She guessed now she would find out for herself.
But she wanted this independence, didn’t she? The opportunity to sing had long been her dream. She swallowed the lump in her throat. This wasn’t St. Louis, to be sure, but she had signed a contract and she intended to fulfill it. Petrified, she raised her chin just a notch, determined to make the best of these dismal surroundings. This was the first time she had been away from her family. “Oh, if they could only see me now.” She laughed nervously and wiped the tears from her eyes. Mama would be more than terrified for her refined and genteel daughter.
“Which way is the hotel?” she asked the driver.
“Deadwood Palace or the Melodean?”
He spat a stream of amber liquid and pointed. “Right over yonder on Main Street, ma’am.”
“Thank you.” Holding up her royal blue skirt, Lottie crossed the muddy and rutted street. A boy trailed behind with her luggage.
Lottie thanked the young man and gave him a tip when he set down her small trunks. Walking to the registration desk, she said, “Lottie Buchanan. I believe I have a room reserved.”
The balding clerk, spectacles riding low on his nose, replied, “Oh, yes, Miz Buchanan. We’re glad to have you. Room 203.” He hesitated briefly, and added, “We hear tell you can sing sweet as a canary.”
She smiled shyly and murmured a quick, “Thank you.”
Snapping his fingers, he passed a key to a youngster who materialized from around the corner. The young man hefted her luggage to his shoulder. With pride, Lottie signed her name to the register with a flourish, and walked up the stairs, the plank flooring echoing under their steps.
The boy unlocked the door, set down her bags and stared at her. “You’re very pretty, Miz Buchanan.” He blushed furiously.
“Thank you.” She gave him a sweet smile, and then turned to look out the window when she heard the door click shut.
Deadwood, nestled in a canyon, and shaped like a chicken’s wishbone, was bounded by steep mountains on every side. She noticed a few nice houses, but most were small cabins, or tent houses with lumber part way up. Lazy spirals of smoke trailed from the chimneys. Main Street appeared to be the main thoroughfare, with eating places, mercantile stores, hardware store, gambling halls, saloons and even a photo studio.
Breathing heavily, Lottie turned back to the room. “This room—here it is. This will be my life, I guess,” she said wearily, her breath catching in her throat. She wanted to cry and pound on the bed with her doubled up fists. Fear got the best of her and she let a few tears run down her face. Mama was right, as bad as she hated to admit it. What should she do first?
The room wasn’t so bad. It consisted of a small dressing room and a bathing facility. A settee, two chairs, bed and dresser were in the larger room. Heavy drapes of blue brocade covered the two windows, a matching blue spread on the bed. A pretty braided blue rug was centered in the room.
Taking off her gloves, she hung her lightweight cloak in the dressing room, and wondered when she was supposed to see Monte Rawlins, her new boss. Maybe she ought to go downstairs and leave word.
Dakota Dreams by Weta Nichols allows you to see how women back in the Old West had to make choices and decisions that would affect their lives. You can see through the eyes of Lottie and Grant how life was back then. Portraying the events accurately gives the reader a look into the past. I could almost smell the stale beer and whiskey smells of the saloon where Lottie sang. Weta Nichols has done just that, encompassing and enriching us with Dakota Dreams; this is not just a story, but a story of passion, love and the decisions that we, as humans, make every day.
You are taken back to the past in Dakota Dreams, giving you a look at the “Wild West”. Pick up this book and escape into times long ago. You'll be cheering for love to win, but also hoping against all odds that Lottie can have both her career and her love with Grant. Dakota Dreams is a very enjoyable book and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to read about the West as it used to be.
Reviewed by: Wendi 5 Angels
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 292
Paper Weight (lb): 12.4
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