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Frontier Father (Love Inspired Historical) Mass Market Paperback – July 5, 2011

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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Product Details

  • Series: Love Inspired Historical
  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Love Inspired (July 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373828764
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373828760
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 4.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,763,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Award winning author Dorothy Clark enjoys traveling with her husband throughout the United States doing research and gaining inspiration for future books. Dorothy values our American heritage and believes in God, family, love and happy endings, which explains why she feels so at home writing for Love Inspired Historical. Dorothy enjoys hearing from her readers and may be contacted at or

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Oregon country, 1841

It was not impressive. Not that it mattered. Nothing did anymore. Anne turned her back to the scattered log buildings that formed the Banning Mission, brushed the dust from her black wool cloak and walked to the back of her wagon. "Thank you for bringing me, Mr. Thatcher. I am grateful."

The tall man unhitched his horse from the tailgate and looked down at her. "Are you sure you don't want me to stay until you have met Mr. Banning, Widow Simms? I gave your sister my word I would see you safely settled."

"And so you have, Mr. Thatcher. Emma worries overmuch. What possible harm can befall me at a mission?" She gave him a polite, dismissive smile.

He frowned, glanced at the buildings behind her. "Even so. I will wait until you are safe inside."

Anne looked up at the man's set face and the protest on her lips died. Zachary Thatcher had guided their wagon train all the way from Independence, Missouri,

to the site of the new town of Promise the emigrants were founding here in Oregon country. Now he had brought her on to the mission. He would not yield his position as protector on her whim. "As you wish, Mr. Thatcher. But I assure you, it is quite unnecessary."

She turned back toward the buildings. The one on the right had a large addition that formed a T on the far end. Smoke poured from chimneys at the gable ends, and from another centered at the juncture of the wood-shingled roofs. There was a beaten track through the grass that divided at the end to reach two doors. She lifted the front of her long skirts clear of the exposed soil and followed the path to the plank door in the main building. Its red paint was streaked and faded. And dirty. She gave the back of her skirts a shake to free them of any soil adhering to their hems, adjusted her bonnet and knocked.

The late October sun glinted off three small windows spaced along the length of the building. Dust encrusted windows. Her fastidious nature reared. She jerked her gaze back to the door and knocked harder.

A reluctant hinge squealed in protest as the door was yanked open. "What for you knock? Door open, you come in!"

Anne jerked back at the imperious words, then squared her shoulders and stepped into the dim interior. Behind her, hoofs thudded against the ground as Zach-ary Thatcher rode off. The stiffness in her spine relaxed. At last. Her final link with her family was broken. There was no one here she cared about. Her heart was safe.

"You sit. Mister come soon maybe."

The Indian woman issuing the order closed the door, crossed the room and disappeared through a doorway at the other side of the fireplace.

Anne stared after her, stunned to silence and immobility by the unaccustomed rudeness. She swept her gaze over the room, took in the crude furnishings made of wood and hide. Even in the dim light offered by the smoldering fire and one of the small, dirty windows she could see the dust that covered them. And the dirt and bits of dried grass on the plank floor. Her training to be mistress of a home surged to the surface. Why would Mitchel Banning's wife allow such neglect?

The hinge on the door behind her again squealed its protest. She turned, flinched as the flung-open door banged against the wall.

"By heaven, William, it is past time you got here!" A man charged into the room, stopped dead in his tracks and stared at her. The glad smile curving his lips and warming his hazel eyes died. Confusion took its place. He glanced around the room, frowned, looked back at her and made a visible effort to gather himself. He brushed at his shirtsleeves and ran his hands through his short, wavy, brown hair, scattering dust and tiny particles of some sort of grass or grain into the air. She could see them glittering against the sun coming in the open door behind him as they drifted toward the floor. He turned, grabbed a jacket off a peg beside the door and shrugged into it.

"Forgive my appearance, I was at the gristmill when I heard the wagon pull in, Miss…er…Mrs…."

"Widow Simms."

He turned, swept his gaze over her black clothing and made her a slight bow. "Mitchel Banning, at your service. I beg your pardon for my…er…explosive entrance, Widow Simms. But when I heard your wagon arrive, I thought." He gave a little shrug.

"That my brother, William Allen, had arrived?"

"William is your brother?" Mitchel Banning's broad smile returned. "Where is the scalawag? In the wagon?" He turned and peered out the door.

"No, Mr. Banning. William is in Philadelphia. His wife is with child and she took ill and was unable to make the journey."

Mitchel turned back, confusion on his face, a question in his eyes.

Anne straightened to her full height, which brought the top of her head somewhere close to the level of his chin. "William was loath to disappoint you, so I have come to teach school in his stead."

The man's reaction was instant and acute, his disappointment palpable. It washed over her like a wave. A frown drew his brows together. He lifted a hand and kneaded the muscles at the back of his neck. Her stomach clenched in a sharp spasm. If he should disapprove… "I am well qualified to fill the position, Mr. Banning." Her quiet words drew his gaze back to her. There was a harried look in his eyes.

He nodded and lowered his hand to his side. "Forgive my poor manners, Widow Simms. You must be weary after your long journey. We can continue this discussion later. If you would care to refresh yourself before dinner, William's— There is a spare room up those stairs." He gestured across the room. "I will have Sighing Wind bring you water. And if there is anything more you have need of…" His voice trailed off, left the words hanging there in indecision.

Anne took a deep breath. It would be of no advantage to delay. She must make her expectations clear. "I should like my trunks and personal belongings brought from the wagon to my room as quickly as possible, Mr. Banning."

Another frown darkened his face, was quickly erased. He made no answer, merely sketched her a polite bow.

Her stomach clenched tighter. Surely, he was not considering refusing her the position. She firmed her voice. "My teaching supplies can be carried directly to the schoolroom. I will begin organizing them tomorrow. For now, as you say, I am weary. But I should like to pay my respects to Mrs. Banning and express my gratitude for her hospitality before I go upstairs."

Something about him changed, went…still. He turned, closed the door, shutting out the fading sunlight.

"I see William did not tell you my wife has departed this earth for her heavenly home. It was her death that prompted me to write and ask William to come and help me in my work." He turned back to face her. "I wasn't sure William ever received my letter. It is over two years since her passing."

His words touched the rawness of her grief. Over two years. An eternity. How would she ever survive it without her beloved Phillip and their precious baby, Grace? The memories she struggled to keep buried surged upward. Familiar bands of pain clamped around her chest and throat. Her fingers twitched. "I am sorry for your loss, Mr. Banning." The words came out a broken whisper. It was the best she could manage with so little breath.

He stepped away from the door, came closer to where she stood in the center of the room. "And I, for yours, Widow Simms. May Almighty God grant you His peace and comfort during this time of your bereavement."

God. Every muscle in her body went rigid. Her face drew taut. It was God who had taken her husband and child from her and left her to walk this earth in unbearable anguish. She wanted no comfort. Certainly not from God. Not from anyone. She wanted only to be numb. She swallowed, tried, but could not force polite words through the constricting barrier of her anger. She gave Mitchel Banning a small nod, thankful for the long brim of the scoop bonnet that hid her face from him, raised the front hems of her skirts off the dusty planks and walked toward the stairs, aware of his gaze on her every step of the way.

He was trapped. His choice a privilege that bowed to circumstance. Mitchel listened to the sounds of her things being carried to her room and stole another glance at William's sister. Her hair had been smoothly drawn back into a bun at her crown when she joined him for dinner. But all through the meal her curls had been popping free of any restraint and now formed a riotous halo around her head. Not a golden one, but one the deep-russet color of oak leaves in autumn. Color of such bold contrast to the rest of her solemn appearance it seemed almost to make it a lie. As did her eyes. They were the violet-blue of a bottle gentian, startling in a face with skin that put him in mind of the prized alabaster vase that had sat on his parents' mantel all his growing-up years. It gave him a shock every time she lifted those long, brown lashes and looked up at him. But those were not the only contrasts he had discovered in William's sister.

Mitchel scowled, stabbed his fork into the last bite of beef on his plate and carried it to his mouth. The woman's nature was strongly opposite to her fragile appearance. No matter what argument he set forth to prove her best interest lay in returning to the emigrant town being formed by those with whom she had journeyed to Oregon country, she would not be dissuaded from her determination to remain and teach school. And he did not need another person to look after! He had enough on his plate. He had been living on the hope of William's arrival expecting relief, not more responsibility. But what was he to do? Cast William's sister out into the wilderness? He did not have time to leave the mission to escort her to the emigrant town or Fort Walla Walla. There was too much work to be done in preparation for winter. And he da...

More About the Author

Award winning author Dorothy Clark values our American heritage and believes in love and happy endings. You'll find all those things in her books. Dorothy enjoys hearing from her readers and may be contacted at or at her website

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jutzie TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 4, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Frontier Father by Dorothy Clark
Mitchel Banning has been sent as a missionary to the Indians. It's been tough. First his wife died and a few weeks later the man who came with him to start the mission. It's been two years since then and now his beloved two year old daughter, Hope, has been ill and he fears losing her as well. He is awaiting his friend William Allen to come and teach the Indian children in the mission school. Only the widow Anne Sims shows up on his doorstep as the new teacher rather than her brother William.

Anne has stayed disconnected from people since her husband Philip and their daughter Grace died. She believes if she keeps herself closed off she can never be hurt again. She is aggrieved to find that there is a toddler at the mission, a girl who is around the age Grace would be. She struggles to stay away from the child and her father. Could it be that God has different plans for her life? A God she know longer acknowledges since he took her loved ones from her.

I enjoyed this story. The interaction between the Indians and the Mission were not all prettied up but showed a real struggle and the differences in the cultures. It has romance but also adventure and suspense.

These books are not listed as a series but they follow the same families and are connected. This is the 6th book. Book 1 is Beauty for Ashes, book 2 is Joy for Mourning, book 3 is Family of the Heart and book 4 is The Law and Miss Mary and book 5 is Prairie Courtship. If you enjoy reading books within series you may want to start with book 1.
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why do you put a word requirement.... you would get more reviews if you let us decide how much to say and what we have time to say.... sure your venders would appreciate just getting a good review....
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By Elizabeth on March 3, 2013
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This was the first time I read anything by this author, this is a quick weekend read holds you interest from the git go!! Not overly romantic but still very sweet
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By Kitty Bible on November 4, 2012
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Was so happy to see there was a book with Annie‘s story! This was a fantastic read as well! Love Dorothy Clarke books and will be reading more of them

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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Shelia D. In VA on July 3, 2011
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This was such a cute and enjoyable read. I can't imagine anyone that loves historical romance book's not enjoying this book. It was a relatively quick book to read, and it will leave a smile on your face.
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