Song of Herself
In 1860, men win, and women lose.
It’s a truth Eva knows well. Ever since her backwoods mother died giving birth to her eighteen years ago, she’s been told she’s good for nothing except satisfying men’s pleasures. The catcalls and leers have tried to turn her into a whore, but a militant teacher has shown her she can build a life on more than the attributes of her body.
She finds an abandoned copy of Leaves of Grass, and the strange first poem inspires her to look beyond her physical identity and celebrate the possibilities of her spirit. Along with her feckless father, she begins the journey to Pikes Peak, Colorado, where gold will give them the means to build a restaurant. Far from her mother’s shame, she can indulge her love of cooking and prove she is capable of success as great as any man’s.
Then her father dies, and she is left to the mercy of men on the Oregon Trail. Within twenty-four hours, she is forced to marry a Nebraska farmer or succumb to the scoundrels who see her as payment for her father’s mistakes.
That day, Eva’s dreams are extinguished, and with them her chance to be more than a woman. For Matthew, she is the answer to his yearnings for a wife and children, yet to her, his very touch is an insult. They’re trapped in a marriage teeming with frustration and mismatched goals, where one cannot be satisfied without the other sacrificing all.
But Eva is determined not to lose. This time, a woman will win.