Marik Youngblood left her father's Oklahoma ranch--and the child she gave up for adoption--intent on becoming an artist instead of a rancher. Her father's death brings her back to a failing cattle operation, a pile of debt and a haunting need to find the child she left behind. Leasing out the land for wind towers solves one problem but creates another--the hostility of her neighbors, Burt and Lena Gurdman. Lena Gurdman may be poor and uneducated, with a husband who's quick to blame her for any perceived wrong, but she knows she and Marik have more in common than the property line between them. When the bones of an infant are uncovered on Killdeer Ridge Ranch, both Marik and Lena are left with questions about secrets they thought were buried long ago.
Despite a laconic style that helps temper some of the more disturbing content, Preston's tale of a woman struggling to stay afloat on a contemporary Oklahoma ranch is too distancing to be truly affecting. Marik Youngblood lives alone on Killdeer Ridge Ranch, haunted by regrets. Her ranch is debt-ridden, but rather than ask her wealthy sister for relief, Marik leases part of her acreage to a power company for wind towers, angering her neighbor, Burt Gurdman. After Marik and Jace Rainwater, who's applying to become Killdeer's foreman, discover a dead bald eagle under one of the wind towers, they learn that Burt poisoned the bird in a failed attempt to prove the towers unsafe. Burt's hostility grows and Marik is forced to turn to Devon, a powerful man from her past. Preston (Trudy's Promise) ably frames Marik's story with the legend of Silk Mountain, the story of an 1890s frontier woman who committed suicide rather than face life in the harsh Oklahoma territory. But even the cast of multidimensional characters, especially Jace and his autistic son, cannot entirely shore up this novel. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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April 01, 2009
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