Eliana has secrets. Daring Eliana Van Horn aims to make her mark by joining her father as his photography assistant--disguised as a young man--on a survey expedition to the remote Four Corners.
Living in the shadows of his native heritage, trail guide Yiska Wilcox is thrown off course when the shadow catcher's daughter opens up the uncharted territory of his heart. As they travel through dangerous terrain in the mountains and deserts of Colorado and New Mexico, Eliana and Yiska must learn to overcome the barriers of culture, faith, and ideals to discover common ground.
Though they are worlds apart, will they stake a chance on love?
I got The Shadow Catcher's Daughter by Carla Olson Gade, book 1 in the Love in Four Corners series, when it first debuted... but lost it for a while after I'd started reading it. For a long while. I actually found it just a couple of months ago searching through my mom's house in a pile of books she'd taken off my old shelves and from various corner's of the house. I'm really glad it found its way back to me.
Eliana is the daughter of a photographer. She's accompanying him on a professional trip but she's disguised as a boy, both to keep herself safe and to try and avoid issues with the team. Before leaving on the expedition she meets Yiska. A "halfbreed" who's both a trail guide and a wonderfully poetic writer. They both become enamored with each other immediately.
Along the journey Yiska proves an incredible asset to the team, saving Eli several times and protecting the team from attack on more than one occasion. The trip is not without tragedy though... but along with the tragedy comes hope.
I liked this story. It was WAY too short if you ask me. I wish it had gone on for at least another 100 pages. Yiska was brave and selfless. And as I said before, an incredibly poetic writer. He was a man with dreams that, it seemed, he wasn't sure he'd be able to realize. Until he came across Eliana and her father. Two people who treated him like a human being and not like an animal like it seemed so many others believed him to be.
Eliana was a very determined young woman. She knew what she wanted and she wasn't going to let the fact that she was female stop her from achieving the goals she'd set for herself. She was also extremely kind and so full of faith. A faith that rubbed off on her trail guide eventually.
Her father was wonderful. He was protective but not overbearing. He was stern but he was kind and he was generous. Not quick to jump to conclusions or to accuse. He let Eliana be who she wanted to be and accepted Yiska almost as a part of the family, trusting him to take care of his daughter should anything happen to him on their journey. Or even after.
There wasn't necessarily one defining moment in this story. A peak, so to speak. It was full of mountains and valleys and action scattered all throughout. I love period pieces, especially set in or around this time. The descriptions of their travels and Yiska's stories and journal writings were absolutely lovely. Due to the characters in this story it was not without the issues of prejudice and finding faith. And as I said before, it was not without its tragedy.
But there was a joy as well. Every cloud has a silver lining right? Yiska was Eliana's every bit as much as she was his. And I thought that ended the book fantastically. I just wish it had been longer. I really do. That is the ONLY bone I have to pick with this story.
If you like period pieces as much as I do then this is a wonderful story to read. If you like Christian fiction (mixed in with some actual history!) then this is the book for you. If you're interested in reading at ALL then I suggest picking it up. It's an easy book to breeze through and it's such a wonderful story. Carla is a fantastic writer (I've also reviewed her novel A Pattern for Romance HERE) and a fantastic person as well and I'm glad that I was able to finally get this story reviewed!