A Story of the West, by Susan Spence Review and signed giveaway!!

4 Stars!!!!

Matt Daly and his father first came to Montana Territory driving a herd of Texas longhorns in the 1880s. They, like many others, were determined to make a living on the lawless frontier. Life was hard, but fulfilling, as there was money to be made selling beef to the exploding population back east.

When the train came through, it made life easier and it also brought more people. Lavina Lavold rode out with her family seeking adventure, which she found when she met Matt and fell in love.

Conflicts were common as there were rustlers who wanted the Daly cattle and other ranchers who wanted the land they had claimed as their own. It didn't matter that the vast prairie still belonged to the federal government. 

Susan Spence has always been intrigued with life in the American West during the 1880's. She researched historical accounts and first-person narratives as she prepared to write A Story of the West. She currently lives in Montana on an old sheep shearing station and is working on a sequel. 

Well this book was not what I expected! Holy cow!
It was a tad bit slow starting out, but then got real good when the little love story was thrown in there. It went from a love story to sadness to adventure and suspense, back to love story, back to sadness.... I love a book that can take you from the edge of your seat to sobbing in a matter of pages!
And - how can I talk about this book without giving it all away? Well - there are so many things that  happened that just blew my mind.  It was not predictable at all. My sweet happily ever after turned into a gunslinger adventure book!
Now I have to admit - I have never been the gunslinger type of gal. I am more the woman staying home keeping ranch waiting for her man kinda gal. But I really got into this book! At first I wasn't sure I even liked Matt Daly - I really liked Lavina, but then half way through I really did start liking Matt and I was rooting for him and actually respected him!
The book switches back and forth from Matt's point of view to Lavina's point of view and I really love books that do that. Of course I loved Lavina's part better only because I can connect with a female better. She started out as a frail shy naive little girl and ended up being a Kick-ass woman of the west! I loved her!
"Hello, I'm Mrs. Daly, and I wish to withdraw funds from my husbands account." ...
The young man facing Lavina wasn't sure how to handle her request.... He was faced with what he considered a big decision. The large amount Mrs. Daly wanted would drain the account.
"How much do you need?" He asked again in a condescending tone. It was an obvious attempt to hide his inexperience. "Isn't there someone who could sign for you?" He glanced over at Samuel, believing that women were incapable of handling financial matters.
Lavina looked him in the eye. "Are you questioning my intelligence or my honesty?"
Reluctantly he agreed to the withdrawal.
The character development was good but a little slow for me at first, it took me a while to feel like I really knew them. It did come, just took a while.
But on the other hand the descriptions were excellent. You really get a good picture, a visual of everything and feel like you are right there. And the Historical research is excellent. I have read so many Historical fiction books it is hard to learn something new - But I did!
I learned all about branding cattle, the cattle drive and round ups. It was all very interesting.
This book really has something for everyone - Love story, suspense, adventure, rich historical facts, even sadness and joy! This book was also very clean (thank-you!) no swearing (that I remember) and only suggestions of sex nothing explicit. So this would be good for any age.

1. My favorite season is summer, basically because I have summers off and I get to travel and visit friends and family.
What is your favorite season and why?
It used to be I didn’t have a favorite season. Since I grew up skiing, I always enjoyed winter as much as other seasons. I still like snow, but now I think spring is my favorite. I love the fresh green of spring as well as all the other vibrant colors. Plus the feeling of hope as plants come to life makes me happy.

2. Historical Fiction is my favorite genre! To me it’s like coming home, where I am comfortable.
What types of books do you like to read?
I like a good story, with if not a happy ending, at least a satisfying one. I read fictional books about ordinary people, as well as biographies of interesting and amazing people. I like historical fiction also, as I enjoy reading about different time periods.

3. My 3 favorite foods are - Pizza, ice cream, and coffee! My 3 least fav. are - mushrooms (ick), meat (I'm a veg.) and artichokes.
What are your 3 fav. and 3 least fav. foods?
My three favorite foods are most types of fruit, fresh vegetables and ice cream.
My least favorite are pretzels, fast food, and most anything out of a can or a box.

4. One of my favorite animals is the Dragonfly! It is so pretty, it’s free, its fantasy, mystical, and just flits around exploring.
What is one of your favorite animals and why?
Although there are many different species of living with and around me, both wild and domestic, horses are probably my favorite animal. I could probably list a lot of reasons why, but mainly they’re just so awesome and beautiful. I feel honored that they let me pet them, not to mention ride them.

5. My perfect afternoon - Grabbing a glass of wine (or cup of coffee) and sitting on my front porch with a great book!
Describe your perfect afternoon -
Jeez, there are so many ways to enjoy an afternoon. I have a lot more energy in the morning, so am apt to exercise or work at physically demanding jobs early on. After lunch, taking a nap is an excellent way to spend an hour or so on those days, especially if a thunderstorm rolls through.

 Susan Spence, the Author has offered to giveaway one signed copy of her book!
To enter - fill out the form below. I will choose a winner (email you and wait for a response within 48 hrs) and pass the info along to Susan so she can contact you directly to get you your book.

*** Please leave a comment for the Author!
* Please US & Canada only.
* And please only enter once!
* Winner will be chosen on 6/11/12
* Winner will have 48 hrs. to respond.


  1. I love this period in American history and your book sounds intriguing!

  2. Great review. You makes me want to read it.

  3. This book is on my July reading list, so it's nice to know what others have thought about it. The book sounds great!

  4. Very nice review and interview. I agree about ice cream as a favorite food.