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Sarah's Secret: A Western Tale of Betrayal and Forgiveness Paperback – December 14, 2016
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"It opens in 1911 New Mexico, where Sarah's husband Sam is dying, leaving her alone to manage five children with no means of support, and evolves into a decision to leave the sandy, rattlesnake-infested world Sam has brought them to for a wagon journey back home to family roots in Nebraska. From skinning rabbits to finding safe crossings during the journey, Sarah faces quicksand bogs and many dangers as she tries to keep her family together. Scott could have kept the focus on Sarah's perspective and trials; but her book's second section focuses on Will, a "sod buster" who gains employment on a cattle drive as he searches for a way home, guilty about abandoning his children and wife even as he dodges the law and becomes involved with another woman. How these disparate lives come together makes for a Western story of struggle, redemption, betrayal, and family ties that winds its way through hearts and minds as deftly as it moves through early America's rugged landscape... (The story)goes well beyond well-researched history or leisure adventure to closely examine the far-reaching significance of individual lives. Readers of Western fiction who enjoy a solid blend of history and psychology, and who seek more than just a frontier flavor in their fiction, will find Sarah's Secret a revealing and absorbing read." D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review "In the flash of one moment, the trajectory of a man's life and of those who loved and depended on him changes forever. Set against the backdrop of a post-Civil War nation, when thousands headed west to escape their past, disappear into the horizon, and remake themselves, this biography is a rich study of pioneer ethos and the risks faced every day." Craig and Patricia Neal, co-founders, Heartland Inc. Authors, "The Art of Convening "The separate and intertwined stories of hardship, struggles against the harsh climate, and efforts for family and settlement encountered by Sarah and Sam in the late 1800s and early 1900s as they traveled from the Midwestern prairie through the West from New Mexico to Wyoming, captivated me so completely that I read the book in one sitting. Scott skillfully uses words to bring to life not only the physical dangers pioneers faced but also the more subtle, emotional crises that women pioneers encountered through childbirth, widowhood, and the vulnerability of being alone and keeping a family together, in the face of poverty and betrayal!" Sue Rosser, San Francisco State University "Sarah's Secret is the gritty, heart-warming story of a widow, Sarah Martin, who travels from New Mexico to Nebraska with five young children in 1911. Sarah shows herself to be smart, resourceful, and even a little cunning as she confronts dangers such as quicksand and thieves along the way. However, the biggest shock comes when she finally makes it home and discovers that her late husband was not the man she thought she knew." Martha Conway, author, "Thieving Forest" "What began as a self-described genealogical journey to uncover the details of her grandparents' lives, Sarah's Secret ended up being a magnificently crafted saga that speaks to the heart of all of us. Using the hardscrabble early 20th century Midwest as a backdrop, the author spins an epic narrative of love and hate; life and death; free-will and fate; and, finally, redemption. If you enjoy authentic, dramatic and wonderfully written prose, you'll love this book. I was blown away." Dennis Koller, author, "The Custer Conspiracy" "The forgiveness thread that is woven throughout the book is insightful and lovingly handled. Regardless of your faith, you begin to understand how life can go astray and wrong decisions can be made. When this happens, the ability to offer forgiveness, even when the person is gone, offers such a sense of grace, peace and wholeness. May we all experience the forgiveness that Sarah offers" Anonymous --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Bev specialized in serving executives and managers as a leadership coach and organizational consultant for over thirty-five years. She taught organization psychology and founded The 3rd Act, a program whose mission supports positive aging. As she grew into her own third act, she started a genealogical journey to uncover the details of her grandparents’ lives. She concluded that the story needed to be told as fiction using the known facts as her framework. Sarah’s Secret: A Western Tale of Betrayal and Forgiveness, Bev’s debut novel, is the culmination of her long-held desire tell the family story and confirm the whispered story about her grandfather. Bev previously focused on publishing non-fiction work, including the second edition of Consulting on the Inside: A Practical Guide for Internal Consultants, which she co-authored with Kim Barnes, was published in 2011. She has written numerous professional articles and contributed to 70 Things to Do When You Turn 70 edited by Ronnie Sellers and Mark Chimsky. Bev blogs on several sites, including her own, “The Writing Life” on www.bevscott.com Bev enjoys traveling, visiting with friends, reading and spending time with her grandsons. She lives with her spouse in San Francisco.
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Top Customer Reviews
Then back story, we meet up with her husband Sam and his story which is not alt all what we thought and not at all Sarah's experience of him. What happens when you have been so profoundly betrayed by the person you trusted most in your life? Humiliation, both personal and public and a broken heart. Can it heal? It is a tough life and like all of us she struggles with compassion to make her way in the world. Good read.
What began as a self-described genealogical journey to uncover the details of her grandparents’ lives, Sarah's Secret ended up being a magnificently crafted saga that speaks to the heart of all of us.
Using the hardscrabble early 20th century Midwest as a backdrop, the author spins an epic narrative of love and hate; life and death; free-will and fate; and, finally, redemption.
If you enjoy authentic, dramatic and wonderfully written prose, you’ll love this book. I was blown away.
(** Accept for the joy of Beta reading this author's first novel, I received nothing for this review.)
Beverly Scott draws her characters well.
Her heroine, Sarah Martin is strong in the face of disease, tragedy, abandonment, and social adversity. She is consistently forward looking and hard working though physically fragile and emotionally fraught at times. Immediately, through her relationships with her children and her seldom erring judgment, we grow to both admire and love her.
Sam Martin, Sarah's husband, is painted as much a hero as an anti-hero. He is a handsome man who women are attracted to. He is enchanted by poetry. He is likeable, handy, brave, and enterprising. But Sam's character defects kept him from establishing himself in a prosperous reality, in a society, in a community.
The story of Sarah's Secret compels us to read to the finish. The book is craftily fashioned for readers who like to piece together connections themselves. Scott fashions mystery and a bit of pleasing surprise. The premise is one worth exploring.
If Sarah's Secret misses somewhere, it is in opportunity lost. The structure and unity of the book are sacrificed along with the greatest gift of literature, irony, all to the service of mystery where mystery does not truly exist.
As it is, the tale trails off into a bramble of less consequential life experience which is put on the same plane as the book's primary conflicts: lies and abandonment.
Had the story started at the beginning, the secret being known to the reader in its proper context, all during Sarah's courtship and marriage to Sam irony, both situational and verbal, would have been rife. That irony involves the reader in a much deeper way than does mystery. It is the force of irony that is given away for a lighter weight tension, leaving forgiveness at the end as lip service.
The flaw is by no means ruinous. It is understandable in a first performance. Sarah's Secret suffers the error, remaining a well written part of the crowd, just missing distinction.