Reviewed by Vickie McDonough
Unbridled Dreams by Stephanie Grace Whitson
"...a charming, realistic coming of age story with plenty of conflict, humor, romance, and a good message..."
A young woman’s dreams collided with her mother’s well-laid plans for her
Irma Friedrich lives in the nicest home in her town and has had everything a girl could want—except all Irma ever wanted was to live on a ranch, riding horses until the sun set. Willa, her mother, intends on sending her to a restrictive finishing school come fall and plans to arrange an advantageous marriage for her daughter, but Irma wants no part of either. She’s spent her summers honing her riding skills on her uncle’s ranch, and longs to become Liberty Belle, a trick rider in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.
When Willa leaves town on a shopping trip, Irma is delighted that her father has arranged a trip of their own to see the Wild West show. But even more surprising is that he arranges for her to audition for Buffalo Bill.
When she lands a contract with the Wild West show, Irma is thrilled. Shep Sterling, the king of the Cowboys and a man Irma once humiliated herself in front of, agrees to take responsibility for her. But as the weeks draw out, and Irma is assigned menial chores instead of riding in the show, her irritation and impatience grows. Shep says she isn’t ready yet, but in spite of her growing feelings for the handsome cowboy, can she prove him wrong? What will Willa do when she discovers Irma is working for the Wild West show instead of getting ready to go to finishing school? Will Irma see the end of her dream before she ever once rides as Liberty Belle?
I loved Unbridled Dreams from the very start. Readers will easily relate to Irma, a young woman with big dreams, whose wings are clipped by a domineering mother. But Irma doesn’t give up easily, even if it means going behind her mother’s back. She struggles with wanting to do her own will and being obedient to her mother, much like today’s young women. Irma grows a lot in this story and readers will enjoy seeing a rebellious young woman change as does her dreams.
Stephanie Grace Whitson is an excellent author, breathing life into her stories and keeping the reader thoroughly engaged and entertained. I could see her characters as clearly as if I were watching them in a movie. Whitson delivers a charming, realistic coming of age story with plenty of conflict, humor, romance, and a good message in Unbridled Dreams.
Vickie McDonough is an award-winning inspirational romance author. She has written four Heartsong novels and five novellas. Her stories have placed first in several prestigious contests, such as the ACFW Noble Theme, the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest, and the Texas Gold contest. She has also written books reviews for nearly five years and enjoys mentoring new writers. Vickie is a wife of thirty-one years, mother to four sons, and a new grandma. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, gardening, watching movies, and traveling. Vickie loves hearing from her readers via e-mail.