I just finished reading a great book by Stephanie Whitson.
Messenger by Moonlight tells the story of Annie, Frank and Emmet Paxton. Left penniless after the death of their father, they travel on to the big city searching for work and the blue-trimmed house of Annie's dreams. The brothers agree to put aside their wages to help buy a home for Annie before pursuing their own dreams of adventure and marriage.
But the changes in Annie's life don't stop there. Her two brothers spotted a sign hiring Pony Express riders and the two decide to give it a go. Annie and her brothers travel on to George Martin's station in the middle of nowhere. The station serves as a "home base" for Frank and Emmet's Pony Express rides and Annie will earn her keep as the station's cook.
The book follow's the boys adventures as Pony Express riders as they discover their own dreams and learn who they truly are. However, the story centers around Annie as she adjusts to the harsh life of a cook for Mr. Martin. Annie is such a strong female character. I loved seeing a heroine who isn't there just to provide a counterweight for the hero. Annie doesn't expect her brother's or Mr. Martin to change their lives for her and fully expects to earn her own keep. This makes the moments when her brothers or Mr. Martin go out of their way to provide for Annie extra meaningful.
I highly recommend this historical fiction novel. It made me very interested in the women who contributed to the success of the Pony Express. I look forward to enjoying Whitson's other books.