by Saundra Mitchell
Heartbroken over the tragic death of her fiancé, seventeen-year-old Zora Stewart leaves Baltimore for the frontier town of West Glory, Oklahoma, to help her young widowed aunt keep her homestead going. There she discovers that she possesses the astonishing ability to sense water under the parched earth. When her aunt hires her out as a “springsweet” to advise other settlers where to dig their wells, Zora feels the burden of holding the key to something so essential to survival in this unforgiving land. Even more, she finds herself longing for love the way the prairie thirsts for water. Maybe, in the wildness of the territories, Zora can finally move beyond simply surviving and start living.Review: In an attempt to escape a wounded heart, Zora Stewart packs a bag and heads West. Robbery, rescue and the occasional tumbleweed follow. Being a fan of the Vespertine inspired me to pick up the companion novel, The Springsweet. The setting shifts from Balitmore to the hardships of prairie life along the great frontier. Because of the setting, the book has a western country feel and for those readers who enjoy American settler stories, The Springsweet will be a pleasurable and clean read. It's appropriate for most ages and has a hint of mysticism, but mostly is grounded in the historical fiction of the time period. This book definitely has a different appeal than the The Vespertine and I wasn't as intrigued or connected to Zora as I became to the heroine, Amelia. The attraction and sweet love story is well-scripted. However, given the title of the book, I felt the actual areas where springsweet was involved should have been dimensionally developed. This portion of the story was skimpy and lacked detailing and information that could have contributed to the books depth by creating more of a shadow similar to that found in The Vespertine. Readers have certain elements they love about a series, and this specific string would have strengthened my personal fascination in the book. I felt a bit cheated and was left to figure out, or rather guess about what happened to Mr. Larsen. It was too vague and because of this, lacked impact. Emerson was the most developed character and will likely be memorable. Zora, she's a sweet girl, but does not come with the same force as the beloved Amelia. Good. Beach read. Summer read, and if you want clean and innocent -- this is a safe bet.
* ARC provided by Harcourt courtesy of Amazon Vine for Review