Well, this was kind of a surprise. The cover is a bit plain, the title is a little hokey and it takes a while to get started, but In Love's Territory turned out to be one of my favorite books of the year. We have a no spoilers policy on the blog, but this is a fish-out-of-water story centering around a rich girl whose family picks up and moves from the East Coast to Wisconsin in the 1850s. She finds herself falling in love with Edward, a rich businessman, while half-Lakota Sioux farmhand Sam finds himself falling for her. Kind of a cliched setup? Maybe, but Evanson lifts the story from something we've all heard before into a really good full-length novel (over 80 thousand words).
I loved the dialogue, the characterization and the apparent historical accuracy--I'm actually not a stickler about that, but after checking a few references in the book, it looks like the author did her homework. The interplay between the characters was particularly well done; you get clearly defined people in your mind, not cardboard cutouts. Her writing is clear and poetic in places, and I have to admit that in the last couple of chapters I had tears in my eyes and my heart in my throat.
Is this a perfect book? Not quite--I mentioned a few quibbles at the beginning, but overall I consider my time extremely well spent. This is a "sweet" romance, so if you're looking for graphic content then this won't be for you, but I didn't miss it here.
So there you have it--our very first five-star review, just in the nick of time for the end of the year!