At age seventeen, Helen Pendleton considered herself to be a modern woman, eager to embrace the new century. While the normal path for a female in her New York town was matrimony and children, she shocked her parents by planning to attend college and hoping to eventually become a schoolteacher. So when her neighbor, Albert, surprised her by proposing marriage, she was smugly confident in her decision to decline his offer.
Yet time and adversity changed everything.
Three years later, with her parents deceased, and college a fading memory, she and her sister, Violet, are in dire straits. Their father?s business is bankrupt, and they?re losing their home. Violet?s erratic behavior compounds the situation. She suffers from wild mood swings and carouses at night with young men who will only get her into trouble. Helen is desperate and would do anything to protect her sister from scandal. As she reaches her lowest ebb, she receives a letter from Albert.
After she spurned him, he and his family moved west, pursuing their dream of homesteading in the Dakotas. When he hears of her dilemma, he offers marriage again, tempting her with tales of his prosperous ranch and the fine house he?s built for her out on the prairie.
With Helen out of ideas or options, she accepts his proposal. She?s abandoned her prior certainty that she can be free and independent, and she?s anxious to get Violet out of the city, feeling that her sister?s condition will improve in the quiet serenity of the country. But Albert has lied to Helen about his life on the Great Plains. He has no aptitude for ranching, and his family?s homestead is a bleak, barren place where wind, weather, and isolation guarantee that their survival is always in question.
Helen arrives in the Dakotas, with an ill, destructive Violet in tow, thinking they?ll benefit from the security and leisure Albert has promised. So she?s unprepared for the grueling reality that awaits. Trapped in a downward spiral of work and worry, and wed to a man she could never love, she must find the inner strength to endure the hand that fate has dealt her.
Bestselling novelist, Cheryl Holt, paints a world of triumph and tragedy, of joy and sorrow, where people are tested to their limits and the best and worst of humanity is revealed. Mud Creek is a tremendous, accessible, and heartrending book that whirls to a gripping climax, featuring Ms. Holt?s most memorable characters in years.