Part historical and part romance, this novel of life on the Kansas prairie in the 1920s follows Hallie Meredith's 19th year. Left to care for her abandoned five-year-old brother, Hallie joins the MacLeod threshing outfit as cook. The crew becomes their family, and Hallie is drawn to the two MacLeod brothers, outgoing Rory and enigmatic Garth. Times are tough for the MacLeods, who are forced to struggle against the land and the growing political clout of enemy Quentin Raford. Raford, who manages to gain control of most of the area's farms and businesses, tries to put the MacLeods out of business. Williams (The Longest Road, St. Martin's, 1993) paints the Kansas landscape vividly; she also describes the prejudices and politics of the time, although somewhat more pedantically. An enjoyable story for light fiction collections.-M. Janet Simmons, Duluth P.L., Minn.