Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Page Free Publishing
Release Date: July 2004
ISBN: 1-58961-156-X
Format Reviewed: Trade Paperback
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Genre:   Romance/Western / Christian Concepts
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Beverly J. Rowe
Reviewer Notes:  

Dakota Printer 
By Janet Elaine Smith

      Move over Jeannette Oke; here comes Janet Elaine Smith. This story has it all; the excitement of life on the raw frontier of the Dakotas in the 1800's, a lively romance, and the courage of the American pioneer spirit. Fargo is a newly settled town with no church or school, but "Papa" Joseph Levine and his orphaned granddaughter publish a small weekly newspaper. Papa is not as young as he once was, and decides to advertise for an assistant. The handsome stranger that comes to Fargo in response to the ad seems to be taking Mary Jane's place in the print shop, and she has a wee bit of resentment about that. Having Jonathan working with Papa does give Mary Jane time to think about her dream of starting a school, though. Then Eric Thorson comes to Fargo to start a church. Mary Jane latches onto the chance to teach Sunday School to the children, and with that and the newly organized school, Mary Jane is kept very busy.

     Jonathan befriends the Indians in the area, but he and Papa make enemies of the liquor suppliers. There is lots of action from the birth of a baby in the remote prairie to the terror of arson and an appearance by George Armstrong Custer and his wife Libby. A beautiful Christian theme is woven into the tapestry of the story without being preachy.

      Janet has done her research for this delightful historical novel, and gives us a peek at what life was really like in the 1800s in the Dakotas. She makes the hardship of frontier life sound like fun, and I didn't really get enough of it. Fortunately, I have a couple more books by this versatile author to read next. I love her style.

A note from the author, Janet Elaine Smith reviewer Bev Rowe dropped a hint about her husband's poetry. Bill, who is elderly and enduring some health issues, is what we westerners call "A Cowboy Poet." At my request, Bev forwarded Bill's poems to me. I was very moved by them, and I selected a poem, "Run Quiet, Run Deep" to go at the front of the book. In addition, the dedication in the book reads, "To the memory of Walter Cole Smith, my 'grandfather-in-law,' who was an original Dakota printer; and to William D. Rowe, a true cowboy poet."