Follow the Dream – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘She ticked off the places they’d lived since she and Jake were married. Twenty-four times she’d picked up and moved since their honeymoon days on the Davis Place nearly fifteen years ago. Twenty-four times packing up their few belongings. They’d never really stayed anywhere long enough to accumulate much. Twenty-four times of setting up camp in a tent, squeezing into a hotel room, or cleaning a mouse-infested abandoned shack, even a granary, for heaven’s sake. Moving around would’ve been different if they’d been part of the rodeo world. But that dream hadn’t come true. Then she’d settled for the one about having their own place. Someday. Always someday. Did other women have to endure this kind of life? She twisted the ring on her left hand. Jake was a good man, good-hearted, hardworking. He’d had his ambitions too, his visions blown away in the dust, swallowed by new-fangled machines, strangled by the death-throes of the only way of life they’d ever known. Easterners taking over farming, corporate ranches, machines making horses obsolete. What was to become of the life of the cowboy? Of Jake’s life? Selling his horses could be the last straw.’
When Nettie and Jake married they became partners. They would follow the rodeo tours and win the top prizes making names for themselves. Nettie was even offered a chance to show off her riding abilities, both horse and steer, in England when some of her friends decided to take the show across the waters. But then the unexpected hit. Nettie was pregnant, which not only stopped her from touring but it also stopped her from riding. It also meant that she and Jake must settle down and start thinking about their future.
Work in the 1920s and 1930s had become rather hard to find but Jake knew there would always be a demand for work horses so he and Nettie decided that breeding and selling their draft horses would be the perfect source of income. That was before the big drought hit resulting in them searching for “greener pastures” and the promise of eventually coming back to their families and buying their own ranch.
As I read Follow the Dream I couldn’t help but think about the times of today. Our financial futures and/or lack of them. Follow the Dream has made me realize just how strong our families of the past had to be. The hardships they went through just to get us where we are today. And with each generation, we seemed to weaken just a bit. We have become soft in our tolerance of problems and pain. I don’t believe I know of a person who would go through the hardships that Nettie, Jake and their son Neil went through and still keep a family together. Follow the Dream is a wonderful, heartwarming story of love, not just of a family, but a love for life. The sequel to Cowgirl Dreams, both are suitable for adult and young adult readers.
Sundowners and Mountain View Publishing, divisions of Treble Heart Books
Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com