Cottonwood, Iowa, 1875
Lydia Walcott is on the run. With a broken arm and a wounded spirit, she is escaping the hands of her cruel brother and the marriage he has arranged. She's running to the unknown, praying God will lead her steps. Seeking shelter from an ice storm in a livery stall, Lydia goes to sleep, hoping that in this small town of Cottonwood she'll find a job, a place to live, and friends.
Dr. Sterling Graham, having just delivered a baby, rides back to town over ice-covered roads. He's confident and secure in the knowledge that he is loved and respected by the people of Cottonwood. Exhausted from the long night, he decides to sleep on the cot in the livery. Sterling's reputation and career, along with Lydia's hope for a new life, are put in jeopardy when gossips spread the news that Doc spent the night in the stable with a woman. The story grows as "facts" are added.
Without money to travel west, Lydia feels trapped by her sense of responsibility for the doctor's good name. Even with his practice at risk, Sterling's compassion for the young woman whose physical wounds he treated stirs his heart. Something needs to be decided that will repair the damage to Sterling's career and give Lydia the home and safety she needs.
The unwelcome solution is that they marry. How do they learn about each other and mesh two lives into a successful marriage that honors God while coping with issues of trust, pride, epidemic, and injury and the fear that Lydia's brother will find her?
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Story bogged down by scripture