We’re having tea…or Chocolate Velvet coffee….today with author Sandra Leesmith as we talk about her amazing new book, Love’s Dream Song, a romantic suspense set in the Navajo area of northern Arizona.
Since I have lived near the eastern edge of the Navajo Nation, it is especially fun to read a suspenseful adventure set in this beautiful desert country ….. along with the passionate romance story of Autumn and Jess. Sandra does settings so well…..you feel you are there! An example from the book:
Nature entertained them with a display of sunset color. Bright magenta deepened to red and then turned fluorescent orange. The jagged outline of cliffs was silhouetted like black sentinels against the vermillion brilliance.
This is a great romantic adventure with realistic heart-racing excitement.
A few more of my favorite lines from the book:
“Know your heart. Walk in the way of your dreams.”
“But I refuse to be bowed by the hatred. Real Tall Man taught me that when you let hatred affect your life, it then exists.”
“Being alone in the wilderness makes you face up to yourself. I’ve grown to love the desert country.”
This book releases October 17 and is available to pre-order. You can pre-order Love’s Dream Song HERE . So please have a piece of pumpkin bread as you read the blurb and my review of Love’s Dream Song. The giveaway form is near the end of this post.
Autumn O’Neill came to Arizona on an archeological dig hoping to find out what happened to the ancient Anasazi tribes, but her true desire was to discover her own Navajo roots. It didn’t help that the dig was located on Jess Barron’s ranch and that the handsome rancher scorned his own native American heritage and believed Autumn was part of a drug ring operating on his land. When the dig is compromised and danger threatens their lives, Jess and Autumn can no longer fight their attraction for each other. They both come to understand that finding answers means listening to the voices of their ancestors and the longings of their hearts.
My review of Love’s Dream Song:
Love’s Dream Song by Sandra Leesmith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A blend of suspense and romance with an adventure in the Navajo cultural world…a great story!
I was completely engaged with this suspenseful book. Archeologist Autumn O’Neill is assisting with a trouble-plagued exploration of Anasazi ruins on the northern Arizona ranch of Jess Barron.
The suspense in this book is developed well, with many possible motives and suspects. I was definitely guessing until the end. The reunion romance between beautiful Autumn and undercover agent Jess is touching, yet complicated because of both their past relationship and their feelings about their Native American heritages. Both are interesting, complex characters.
The well-researched Navajo cultural elements added interesting flavor to the story, with tribal customs and bits of Navajo language included. Additionally, I liked this book because of its vivid and accurate depiction of the red rock country of Arizona….a uniquely stunning desert. Sandra Leesmith is an author who excels at bringing to life the settings of her books. You feel you are right there in the experience. I have lived near the Navajo country of Love’s Dream Song and find the sense of this amazing place is very realistically presented.
Author Sandra Leesmith has balanced suspense and passionate romance perfectly in Love’s Dream Song to bring readers a great adventure in the desert southwest. I highly recommend Love’s Dream Song!
*I was given an electronic review copy of this book. I’m delighted to post my honest thoughts about this story.
TREATS and the THREE SISTERS
The pumpkin bread ( PUMPKIN BREAD RECIPE from All Recipes ) seemed appropriate to serve as a treat while talking about this Navajo-inspired story because of the importance of squash to native people in this southwest region. The Three Sisters- squash, corn and beans- have been important food sources for the native people. The Three Sisters are crops which are mutually beneficial, so are planted together in mounds of dirt…the corn stalks provide a climbing trellis for the bean plants which provide the soil with nitrogen, enabling the squash plants to thrive and shade the base of the plants for water retention and to crowd out weeds. For more information, you can read about the Three Sisters here.
INTERVIEW: If you didn’t read my interview with Sandra during the cover reveal post, you might enjoy learning about her research through the following questions.
SHERIDA: How did you get the idea for this story?
SANDRA: My husband and I have traveled many times in Northern Arizona Color Country. We have explored many of the ancient Anasazi ruins in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. Being a writer with a vivid imagination, I’ve always been fascinated with the history of these people.
It has always been a mystery as to what happened to the very advanced and flourishing Anasazi people. They are the native Americans who lived in the ancient cliff dwellings found in the Southwest. Hundreds of years ago, they suddenly disappeared and archeologists are not certain as to why. I used one of the less popular, but more intriguing speculations as part of the premise in Love’s Dream Song.
The summer I started this story, my hubby and I were hiking around a lot of the Anasazi ruins so the story evolved from the interesting facts we were learning about the ancient culture.
SHERIDA: What is your connection to the setting?
SANDRA: I have lived in Arizona most of my adult life. Most weekends and holidays were spent hiking and exploring the beautiful deserts in this colorful state. I love the variety and color, so describing the setting and bringing it alive is easy for me. I love sharing the beauty with others.
The cover is a photo of Monument Valley. It is one of the most popular areas. But all of Color Country is gorgeous. My husband is a scientist and very knowledgeable about the geology. In Color Country, which is a term that refers to the red rock areas of Northern Arizona, Southern Utah and Norwestern New Mexico, you can see so much of the geological features in vivid colors.
SHERIDA: How did you research the topics covered in Love’s Dream Song?
SANDRA: As mentioned above, my hubby is a scientist so we whenever we travel to an area, we study the geology and explore the historical aspects of the locale. Consequently, I am very familiar with the geological and historical elements presented within the story.
Being a teacher in Arizona, I was required to know the anthropological history as well. I love studying about ancient cultures. I love learning about different cultures.
When I finished writing this novel, I happened to be invited (through my work with ASU) to the Navajo nation to present educational workshops to the teachers on the reservation. Several women I met helped me with many aspects of the culture of Dineh (The People).
ABOUT AUTHOR SANDRA LEESMITH
Sandra Leesmith writes romance designed to warm the heart and make you smile. Sandra loves to play pickleball, hike, read, bicycle and write. A retired teacher, she lives in Arizona with her husband. During the hot summers she and her husband travel throughout the United States in their motorhome, where she enjoys the outdoors and finds wonderful ideas for her next writing project.
You can connect with Sandra through her website, Sandra Leesmith website.
Her books are available through Amazon: Sandra’s books.
Sandra has generously offered a copy to a reader. Thank you, Sandra! Please fill out the Rafflecopter entry form below to enter. Be sure to make a comment in the blog comments with your thoughts about Love’s Dream Song and whether you want an ebook or print version if you win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
We’d love to hear your thoughts about Love’s Dream Song. Do you enjoy romantic suspense? Do you like to learn about diverse cultures through reading stories? Have you traveled to the desert Southwest?
Thank you so much for having teatime with us today! May your days be blessed with God’s abundant treasures!