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1844 – California
Two years before the Donner Party, the Stevens-Murphy company left Missouri to be the first wagons into California through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Mostly Irish Catholics, the party sought religious freedom and education in the mission-dominated land and enjoyed a safe journey–until October, when a heavy snowstorm forced difficult decisions. The first of many for young Mary Sullivan, newlywed Sarah Montgomery, the widow Ellen Murphy, and her pregnant sister-in-law Maolisa.
When the party separates in three directions, each risks losing those they loved and faces the prospect of learning that adversity can destroy or redefine. Two women and four men go overland around Lake Tahoe, three men stay to guard the heaviest wagons–and the rest of the party, including eight women and seventeen children, huddle in a makeshift cabin at the headwaters of the Yuba River waiting for rescue . . . or their deaths.
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Past/Present – Oregon
A young indentured Chinese boy is injured and left behind by his Oregon-bound wagon train. Trapped in an underground pit, incapacitated and terrified, his pleading is mistaken for that of an evil spirit by the Indians who hear him. Gifts of food and water appear as if from nowhere. The wailing moans frighten some and intrigue others, including a young slave girl who thinks he is the wanagi spirit of her lost warrior.
His struggle to survive occupies his mind, body and spirit with surprising results. A hundred and fifty years later the echoes of his struggle remain when a Lakota Indian advisor finds signs of his passage in the limestone cave.
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1848 – Colorado
Sophia Lorenzo is a young widow. And she’s in hiding at Bent’s Fort with her one-year-old son. Her late husband’s parents are powerful and determined to take her son from her. To protect them both, she must hide her true identity.
Buck Williams is the wagon master for the wagon train recently arrived at the Fort. He has been a loner since his wife died on a wagon train headed for Oregon. He guards his heart against further hurt.
Buck knows Sophia, but doesn’t know why she is lying about her identity. When she reveals the trouble she is in and asks for his help, Buck finds new hope that protecting this woman and child will atone for his failure to protect his wife.
But trouble is on Sophia’s trail. Can Buck protect the woman and child he’s come to love?
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1848 – New Mexico
Mary Mae Clark has learned the hard way not to trust what a man says. Broken promises have made her wary and now she only wants to return to Santa Fe to help her friend Sophia keep her wee son.
Warren Russell has been freighting on the Trail for four years. He likes it that way. No ties. No family. No love. He doesn’t deserve it after his neglect of his wife and small son resulted in their deaths.
But the accidental death of his best friend on the trail leaves Warren as guardian to the man’s ten-year-old niece, Polly. He gratefully accepts Mary Mae’s help with the child but only while they are on the trail. Then he and Polly will move on. Only Polly has other ideas. Matchmaking ideas…
Can Polly match Mary Mae and Warren in time for her to have a family for Christmas?
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1850 – Missouri to California
Previously released in the The Westward Christmas Brides Collection
Only the brave—or foolhardy—would attempt a cross-country journey late in the season. Three wagons meet up in Independence, Missouri, in April 1850, and their owners decide to keep forging ahead despite many setbacks and delays. December finds them in the Sierra Nevada Mountains when a sudden snowstorm traps them, obscuring the trail.
Cynthia Cooper is traveling with her mother and the man she has promised to marry. But as Christmas is upon them and they are hunkered down in a small cabin, she is forced to reevaluate her reasons for planning to marry fellow-traveler Walter Prentice. When a widowed father heading to a California ranch and a gold prospector both show an interest in Cynthia, she weighs her dreams for marriage alongside her responsibility to care for her mother. Can love win over her timid heart?
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1848 – New Mexico
Judith Russel is devastated by the death of her fiancé and vows to never again trust her feelings toward a man.
Gil Trapper is the wagon train scout and owner of several freight wagons. Freighting is going to give him the future he’d thought he lost. He has no interest in love after the woman he intended to marry broke his heart.
Judith and Gil are forced to marry after they spend a night alone together saving a lost child. Their marriage of convenience doesn’t change anything. Judith can’t trust Gil and Gil will never open his heart to Judith. But as they work together to care for the tiny child that needs them, they can’t help growing closer to each other.
Will time spent together facing the challenges of the trail, the joy of the child, and the truth about their past experiences force them to admit their growing love or drive them apart forever?
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1848 – New Mexico
A life-altering betrayal leaves Donna Grace alone, unmarried, and pregnant. She’s desperate to leave St. Louis, Missouri, and return to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she grew up, and the only way back is by wagon train. The wagon master refuses to let a single woman drive a wagon without a male escort. Donna knows she can’t trust men, but it seems she’s going to have to partner with one if she wants to get back home.
Luke Russell failed to protect his fiancée. Because of his neglect, she was murdered. He vows to never leave another person to face dangers on their own and to never again open his heart to love. When he overhears Donna Grace’s predicament he offers her a marriage of convenience that they will dissolve as soon they reach Santa Fe.
But the trail forces them to work together. The birth of Donna’s baby unites them in a way they can’t deny. Will the dangers and joys of the Santa Fe Trail break down the barriers these two have built around their hearts?
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1865 – Wagon Train to Montana
Can a woman with no faith in men learn to trust the half-Cheyenne trail guide determined to protect her?
Young Irish widow Bry Brennan doesn’t want another husband to break her spirit. When she and her brother Con join a wagon train headed to Montana Territory, Bry ignores her fascination with Nick Laramie, the handsome trail guide.
Nick lives in an uneasy truce between the settlers and his mother’s tribe without fully fitting in among either. With no intention of dragging a woman into his troubles, he stifles his yearning for Bry.
The perilous journey throws the two together, leaving Bry no choice but to trust Nick with her life. Can she also trust him with her heart? Answering that riddle forces Bry to confront her unresolved questions about God’s love.
Based on actual historical events during a time of unrest in America, Cheyenne Sunrise explores faith, love, and courage in the wild west.
1847 – Washington
Grace Martindale has known more than her share of hardship. After her parents died, raising her two younger sisters became her responsibility. A hasty marriage to a minister who is heading to the untamed West seemed like an opportunity for a fresh start, but a cholera outbreak along the wagon trail has left Grace a widow in a very precarious position.
Having learned natural remedies and midwifery from her mother, Grace seeks an opportunity to use her skills for the benefit of others. So when she and her sisters arrive at the Whitman mission in “Oregon Country,” she decides to stay rather than push on.
With the help of Alex Armistead, a French-American fur trapper, Grace begins to provide care for her neighbors, including some of the native populace. But not everyone welcomes her skills–or her presence–and soon Grace finds herself and those she loves in more danger than she imagined possible.
Wed on the Wagon Train
1845 – Wagon Train
When she and her sister are unexpectedly orphaned and prevented from traveling West unless they have a male chaperone, Mattie Prescott disguises herself as a boy. But after Mattie’s fellow wagon train companions discover her masquerade, their long-dreamed-of fresh start is over before it’s even begun. She has only one choice: marriage to the man who helped her—and kept her secret—along the trail.
To save her honor and his own, Josiah Dawson agrees to take Mattie as his bride. But his plans don’t include a wife, and this hasty union is just a temporary duty he’ll dissolve at the end of the trail. As Mattie proves herself indispensable in the face of tragedy, though, it’s soon clear that she’s also indispensable to Josiah’s heart…
This Road We Traveled
1846 – Oregon
When Tabitha Brown’s son makes the fateful decision to leave Missouri and strike out for Oregon, she refuses to be left behind. Despite her son’s concerns, Tabitha hires her own wagon to join the party. Along with her reluctant daughter and her ever-hopeful granddaughter, the intrepid Tabitha has her misgivings. But family ties are stronger than fear.
The trials they face along the way will severely test Tabitha’s faith, courage, and ability to hope. With her family’s survival on the line, she must make the ultimate sacrifice, plunging deeper into the wilderness to seek aid. What she couldn’t know was how this frightening journey would impact how she understood her own life–and the greater part she had to play in history.
With her signature attention to detail and epic style, New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick invites readers to travel the deadly and enticing Oregon Trail. Based on actual events, This Road We Traveled will inspire the pioneer in all of us.
Post Civil War – Several US States/Wagon Train
Abigail Baldwyn might not be a widow after all…
Ever since she received word that her husband, Robert, was killed in the Civil War, Abigail has struggled to keep her Tennessee home and family together. Then a letter arrives claiming that Robert isn’t dead, yet he has no plans to return. Desperate for answers, Abigail travels to Independence, Missouri, where she joins a westbound wagon train to find him.
Leading a company along the Oregon Trail isn’t part of Hoke Mathews’s plans. But then the former cavalry scout gets a glimpse of Abigail—so elegant compared to the rest of their hardscrabble wagon community, yet spirited and resilient. Through every peril they encounter—snakebites, Indian raids, fevers, dangerous grudges—his bond with Abigail grows.
Abigail knew this journey would test her courage. Now it’s testing her marriage vows and her heart, daring her to claim a future on her own terms in a land rich with promise.
Wagon Train Proposal
1843 – Washington Territory
A marriage of convenience? Rachel Hewitt couldn’t possibly accept. Not even for the sake of three adorable little girls who desperately want a new mother. Sheriff Tristan McCullough offers Rachel a home and family, but not the one thing she truly seeks—someone to love her for herself.
Tristan McCullough hoped to find a wife on the wagon train, not a nanny. The hardworking widower wants a marriage without emotional risks. But independent Rachel intrigues him. One minute she’s winning over his shy little girls, and the next she’s tackling danger head-on. She might just be Tristan’s unexpected second chance at happiness…if he’ll risk his wary heart again.
Wagon Train Sweetheart
On a Wagon Train
Emma Hewitt never thought she’d travel thousands of miles to wed. Yet Oregon is where she’ll meet the groom her brothers have chosen. After years of nursing her ailing father, Emma’s social skills are lacking. An arranged marriage is only sensible. And her growing feelings for Nathan Reed, a worker on her wagon train, are surely better forgotten.
Nathan knows he’s wrong for Emma. He’s too rough, too burdened with guilt over his past. But when Emma nurses him through a fever, she sees something in him no one ever has. Now he wants to be a man worthy of her love. Emma’s loyalty to family has always come first. Will she find the courage now to follow her heart?
Wagon Train Reunion
1843 – Oregon Wagon Train
Abigail Black had no choice but to break Ben Hewitt’s heart years ago. Her parents had picked another, wealthier groom. Now widowed and destitute, she’s desperate to leave her old life behind. The wagon-train journey to Oregon is full of dangers, but she’ll face anything—even Ben—for a fresh start.
Ben knows better than to trust Abby again. Between her family’s snobbery and his family’s protectiveness, avoiding her should be easy. Yet he’s still moved by Abby’s sweetness and beauty…along with a sadness and strength he never noticed in her before. Forgiving past wrongs would be a struggle—but the hardest struggle would be letting Abby go once more.
The Oregon Trail Romance Collection
Risking all their hopes and dreams on promises of fertile land in the Northwest, thousands set off on the Oregon Trail between 1843 and the 1890s. Despite the majestic landscape and daily opportunities for fireside chats, the trail was hardly the place these migrants expected to find romance. In these nine novellas, travelers on the wagon trains experience all the challenges and dangers of the trail. Some will lose much, settle down along the trail, and even turn back home, while others endure to the end. Readers will enjoy traveling along with the romantic adventures in which faith is honed.
The Westward Christmas Brides Collection
Take the journey into the American west alongside nine women who are chasing their dreams—Cynthia, for security; Beryl, for a new family; Adeline, for freedom; Molly, for marriage; Beth, for a new start; Belinda, for a place to heal; Suzette, for adventure; Juliet, for peace; and Caroline, for a future for her children. Celebrate Christmas alongside these pioneers as love finds them in nine distinctly different romances penned by leading Christian fiction authors, including New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter.
A Light in the Wilderness
1844 – Missouri
Letitia holds nothing more dear than the papers that prove she is no longer a slave. They may not cause white folks to treat her like a human being, but at least they show she is free. She trusts in those words she cannot read–as she is beginning to trust in Davey Carson, an Irish immigrant cattleman who wants her to come west with him. Nancy Hawkins is loathe to leave her settled life for the treacherous journey by wagon train, but she is so deeply in love with her husband that she knows she will follow him anywhere–even when the trek exacts a terrible cost. Betsy is a Kalapuya Indian, the last remnant of a once proud tribe in the Willamette Valley in Oregon territory. She spends her time trying to impart the wisdom and ways of her people to her grandson. But she will soon have another person to care for. As season turns to season, suspicion turns to friendship, and fear turns to courage, three spirited women will discover what it means to be truly free in a land that makes promises it cannot fulfill.
1832 – Texas
A spunky young widow hires a farmhand with a bad reputation to help her get her cotton to Jefferson to meet the wagon train, and sparks fly—but can she love a man who doesn’t love the Lord? Susannah Abbot Baylor reluctantly hires Henry Buckmeyer to help her along the Jefferson Trace, the hard stretch of land between her Texas farm and the cotton market, where she is determined to get a fair price for her crop. It’s been a rough year, and she’s in danger of losing the land her husband left to her and the children, but she’ll need help getting both of her wagons to Jefferson safely. She knows Henry’s reputation as a layabout and is prepared for his insolence, but she is not expecting his irresistible good looks or his gentle manner. Soon they are entwined in a romantic relationship that only gets more complicated when Susannah learns that Henry doesn’t know God the way she does. Dangers arise on the road—but none as difficult as the trial her heart is going through. Will Susannah and Henry’s love overcome their differences? And will she get her crop safely to the cotton market with enough money to save the farm? In this heartening and adventurous tale, a young woman’s fortitude, faith, and heart are put to the ultimate test.
Missouri to Kansas
The wagon train ride from Missouri to Kansas territory is rife with perils. But there are bigger obstacles for Dr. Victoria Fenway than cholera or creek floods. Years ago, she and wagon-train captain Joseph Rickard were deeply in love. Now, Victoria is tracking the man who killed her late husband, and she is determined to continue his work rescuing slaves. She can’t allow herself to fall for Joseph again—not when he abandoned her once before. Joseph told Victoria he’d love her forever, and he’s been as good as his word. Misunderstanding led to her marrying another man. But with dangerous slavers on their trail, he’ll do anything to keep her safe until they reach a new home—and a second chance.
Prairie Song: Hearts Seeking Home Book 1
1866 – Missouri to California
Though it means saying goodbye to the beloved friends and spiritual mentors of her St. Charles, Missouri quilting circle, Anna Goben is certain that she needs to enlist her family in the Boones Lick Company wagon train. The loss of her beloved brother in the Civil War has paralyzed her mother and grandfather in a malaise of grief and depression and Anna is convinced that only a fresh start in the Promised Land of California can bring her family back to her. Although the unknown perils of the trail west loom, Anna’s commitment to caring for her loved ones leaves no room for fear—or even loving someone new. During the five-month journey, trail hand Caleb Reger plans to keep a low profile as he watches over the band of travelers. Guarding secrets about his past and avoiding God’s calling on his life, Caleb wants to steer as far from Anna as she does him, but she proves to be just as he assessed her from the beginning— independent, beautiful trouble. Led by a pillar of hope, the group faces rough terrain that begins to take a toll on their spirits. Will the wilderness of suffering lead them astray, or will the gentle song of love that echoes across the prairie turn their hearts toward God’s grace and the promise of a new home?
A Home at Trail’s End (Homeward on the Oregon Trail)
1857 – Oregon
Elizabeth Martin and her two children have finally reached the Oregon Country. But Eli Kincade, the wagon train scout who captured her heart, has chosen to continue life on the trail. As other pioneer families begin building new homes, Elizabeth has never felt more alone. However, when Eli unexpectedly returns, confesses his love, and proposes, Elizabeth accepts with her family’s blessing. A community begins to take shape, but not without growing pains. As an alternative to the local minister’s fiery sermons, Elizabeth’s father begins to preach at home, raising the ire of some. Racial biases arise against Brady, Elizabeth’s African-American hired hand. Eli’s warm sentiments toward Indians also raises concerns. Can Elizabeth and her family overcome these differences and begin a legacy of reconciliation and love? About This Series: The Homeward on the Oregon Trail series brings to life the challenges a young widow faces as she journeys west, settles her family in the Pacific Northwest, and helps create a new community among strong-willed and diverse pioneers.
A Dream for Tomorrow (Homeward on the Oregon Trail)
1857 – Oregon
Elizabeth Martin and her two children have made it through the easy part of their journey, but now their wagon train faces high mountain passes, dangerous river crossings, and decreasing supplies. Desperate circumstances bring out the best and worst of the travelers, including Will Bramford, the wealthy widower who is pursuing Elizabeth, and Eli Kincade, the independent and solitary guide who has stolen Elizabeth’s heart.
As the group reaches the Oregon Country, the emigrants part ways to find their new homes. Elizabeth and Will and their families have made arrangements to board a ship that will take them south along the coast. Will Eli change his plans and accompany Elizabeth to her new and permanent home? Or will his mysterious past continue to keep them from love?
Catherine’s Pursuit (McKenna’s Daughters)
1885 – Several US States – California, Oregon, Washington
Raised by her father, Catherine McKenna has never lacked for anything, surrounded by people to take care of her every need. On her eighteenth birthday she discovers that not only did her mother die when she was born, but she has two identical sisters. Although her father vowed not to look for his daughters, Catherine made no such promise. Setting out on her own with one clue and her maid in tow, she’s determined to find her sisters.
Collin Elliott has seen better days. After losing his ship to a violent and unexpected storm, he is trying to recover–physically and emotionally. When Angus McKenna sends him to find, follow, and protect his daughter, he wants nothing more than to finish his task and return home. Can he help her find her sisters?
And will the discoveries they make along the way teach them both what’s most important in life?
A Home in Drayton Valley
1880 – Kansas
Fed up with the poor quality of life in 1880 New York, Tarsie Raines encourages her friends Joss and Mary Brubacher to move with their two children to Drayton Valley, Kansas, a booming town hailed in the guidebook as the land of opportunity. She offers to help with expenses and to care for Mary and the children as they travel west by wagon train. But when tragedy strikes on the trip across the prairie, Tarsie is thrown into an arrangement with Joss that leaves both of them questioning God and their dreams for the future. As their funds dwindle and nothing goes as planned, will Tarsie and Joss give up and go their separate ways, or will God use their time in Drayton Valley to turn their hearts toward him?
The Journey (formerly title Where the Trail Ends)
1841 – Oregon
A young woman traveling the Oregon Trail in 1841 must rely on a stranger to bring her to safety. After losing her parents along the trail to Oregon Country, Samantha Waldron and her young brother, Daniel, must overcome tremendous challenges to reach the Willamette Valley before winter. When their canoe capsizes on the Columbia River, they rely on handsome British exporter Alexander Clarke to escort them to Fort Vancouver. A number of men vie for Samantha’s affections, but the only one who intrigues her is the one she cannot have. When Alex’s betrothed arrives from Britain, Samantha becomes determined to create a home far away from the fort. But when Daniel disappears into the wilderness alone one night, Samantha must rely on the man she loves to rescue her brother before it’s too late.
Westward Hearts (Homeward on the Oregon Trail)
1854 -Several US States
Kentucky, 1854–Elizabeth Martin has mourned her husband’s death for three years, but now she feels ready to fulfill the dream they had shared–to take their two children west. The dream becomes reality when her middle-aged parents and bachelor brother surprise her with the news that they want to go as well.
After converting three of their best wagons to prairie schooners and thoroughly outfitting them, the little party travels from Kentucky to Kansas City, where they join a substantial wagon train. Elizabeth soon finds herself being drawn to the group’s handsome guide, Eli Kincade.
The long journey and deepening relationships challenge the travelers to their core, and Eli’s mysterious past leaves Elizabeth with more questions than answers. She knows there’s no turning back, but she wonders, What have I gotten myself into?
Mary’s Blessing (McKenna’s Daughters)
1885 – Oregon Trail
Mary Lenora Caine knows she is adopted. As she was growing up, her mother called her “God’s blessing.” But now that she’s gone, Mary no longer feels like any kind of blessing. Her father, in his grief, has cut himself off from the family, leaving the running of the home entirely in Mary’s hands.
As she nears her eighteenth birthday, Mary can’t see anything in her future but drudgery. Then her childhood friend Daniel begins to court her, promising her a life of riches and ease. But her fairy-tale dreams turn to dust when her family becomes too much for Daniel, and he abandons her in her time of deepest need.
Will Daniel come to grips with God’s plan for him? And if he does return, can Mary trust that this time he will really follow through?
When Shadows Fall
1862 – Virginia/Maryland
Their lives torn by war, Matthew and Rebekah fight to keep their worlds intact. Rebekah wishes she could turn back time, and go home. Matthew wishes his arms could be the home she runs to.
Lady Anne’s Quest (Prairie Dreams)
1855 – Oregon
Finding an imposter instead of her uncle means Anne’s quest must continue after The Lady’s Maid is wed, and Dan is determined to protect her from the swindlers now trailing her. But though he’s good at keeping her safe, he’s certain he’ll never be able to convince Anne to be his wife since her sights are set on finding her uncle and returning to England. As her quest becomes even more difficult—and dangerous—Anne finds her feelings for Dan changing. Will she soon be envisioning a new life in America?
Maggie’s Journey (McKenna’s Daughters)
1885 – Oregon and Arkansas
A girl who’s been lied to her whole life…
Near her eighteenth birthday, Margaret Lenora Caine finds a chest hidden in the attic containing proof that she was adopted. The daughter of wealthy merchants in Seattle, she feels betrayed both by her real parents and by the ones who raised her.
Maggie desires a place where she belongs. But her mother’s constant criticism and reminders that she doesn’t fit the mold of a young woman of their social standing have already created tension in their home. With the discovery of the family secret, all sense of her identity is lost.
When Maggie asks to visit her grandmother in Arkansas, her father agrees on the condition that she take her Aunt Georgia as a chaperone and his young partner, Charles Stanton, as protection on the journey. Will she discover who she really is and, more importantly, what truly matters most in life?
The Lady’s Maid (Prairie Dreams)
1855 – Several US States
Travel along with Elise Finster and her British mistress, Lady Anne Stone, as they search for the new but missing earl of Stoneford. Determined to follow David Stone’s somewhat cold trail leading to Oregon, greenhorns Elise and Anne secure livestock and supplies to join a wagon train. Will the ladies succeed in their quest or succumb to the malfeasance of the mysterious man dogging their heels? Scout Eb Bentley’s initial disgust with these ill-prepared women eventually turns into admiration for one lady in particular. Can he protect her long enough to win her over, or will prairie dreams turn into a Wild West nightmare?
The Doctor’s Lady
1836 – Several US States
Priscilla White knows she’ll never be a wife or mother and feels God’s call to the mission field in India. Dr. Eli Ernest is back from Oregon Country only long enough to raise awareness of missions to the natives before heading out West once more. But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women into the field.
Left scrambling for options, the two realize the other might be the answer to their needs. Priscilla and Eli agree to a partnership, a marriage in name only that will allow them to follow God’s leading into the mission field. But as they journey west, this decision will be tested by the hardships of the trip and by the unexpected turnings of their hearts.
1808 -Travel through US
In 1808, when Emma meets and marries Eric Montclaire (the famed “most handsome man west of the Appalachians”), this young daughter of prominent St. Louis citizens believes a fairy tale has just begun. Instead, her husband’s angelic looks quickly prove only to mask a monstrous soul all too capable of possessive emotions and physical abuse. Praying for mercy, she is devastated when Eric insists on her joining his yearlong group expedition to the Pacific Ocean, following the trail Lewis and Clark blazed just a few years earlier. By the time cartographer Luke Bowen realizes Emma’s plight, it’s too late to easily untangle what has become an epic web of lies, theft, murder, courtroom drama, and a deep longing for love. Only God can show them the way out.
The Bride Bargain (Prairie Promises Series #1)
1855 – Nebraska
This stunning debut novel by Kelly Eileen Hake is full of wit and warmth. Set down upon the wild American plains during the 1850, Clara is desperate for a home and a future for herself and her aunt. Striking a bargain with a lonely trader to fool a head-strong doctor could lead Clara to an unexpected avenue of romance.