The Highland Hotel
by Dorrine Simmering
PageTurner Press and Media

"The coach still dropped off people in front of the Highland Hotel and most moved on to a better life... people had faith in the future."

The book starts in the mid-1800s with the caesarian birth of Abigail Jermaine. This inauspicious event proves to be the last straw for her parents' incompatible marriage. Abigail survives the resulting difficulties and comes of age at the end of the Civil War and the opening up of America's West. After gaining a doctor's degree against her medical father's wishes, she secretly leaves the East and rides by train to Kansas as a mail-order bride, taking her mother's small inheritance with her.

Despite a sad and unlucky start to her arrival in town, Abigail assumes the lead in restoring the Highland Hotel, eventually building a small hospital nearby. She and her friends struggle with issues such as acceptance, forgiveness, and understanding, which are problems that young people face to this day. Abigail excels in taking others under her wing, no matter how their lives happen to intertwine with hers. The book's large cast of mostly female friends and trusted employees survives and thrives in a time and culture when women were considered second-class citizens and when the paying jobs available to them were often limited to cooks, maids, clothes washers, or prostitutes.

In this lengthy historical novel with pages loaded with romance, Simmering has conceived an engaging plotline surrounding her lead character, Abigail. Located in the small town of Highland, Kansas, along the wagon trail westward, the author combines a rich storyline with courageous characters. The second half of this book has all the makings of a TV serial along the lines of Little House on the Prairie. Regardless of the challenges facing the characters, mysteries are still solved, new skills such as carpentry and nursing are taught, true love arrives for the heroine, and hope for a better future fills the air.

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