Disgraced dime novelist Kate Tenney fled the city that banned her latest book for a new start at a cattle ranch in the Arizona Territory. She hopes that ranching turns out to be as romantic as she portrayed it in her novels.
But what awaits Kate is a much harder life than she ever imagined. There is no room for mistakes on a working cattle ranch in 1895, and Kate is ill-prepared for her new life. She quickly learns that dawn comes early...every day. However, Kate has always been tenacious, and she is determined to stick it out at the ranch.
Having been abandoned by her father and her mother's string of lovers, Kate has no intention of ever marrying. However, she did not expect to meet Luke Adams either. Luke awakens feelings inside Kate that she doesn't recognize, and his steady presence is a constant distraction. She has only written about love -she has never known it herself. But her feelings for Luke stand in the way of all she has to gain if she is chosen as the heir to Miss Walker's cattle ranch. Perhaps God has brought Kate to the barrenness of the desert to give new life to her jaded heart.
Dawn Comes Early was a really sweet and enjoyable read. The novel was written with a slightly whimsical tone, and its structure resembled the structure of the dime novels that Kate wrote. This parallel structure helped the reader see Kate's perspective and view the story as if Kate herself was writing it. There were several portions of the novel that were particularly comical and made me laugh, especially when Kate is trying to learn to be a ranch hand. The last couple of scenes of the novel, however, were my absolute favorite. They were so sweet that I was almost brought to tears.
The characters of Dawn Comes Early were also memorable and well written. Luke Adam was my favorite character, as he was incredibly sweet, handsome, and loyal even when Kate was confused and pushed him away. Ruckus, one of the old cattle hands, was also a great character who really explained to Kate the some of the characteristics of God and His great love of His creation. I also enjoyed seeing Kate's transformation through the book as she began to understand the love of God and others for her.
Overall, Dawn Comes Early was a well written novel in terms of plot, tone, and characters, and I truly enjoyed the afternoon I spend reading it. I cannot wait to read the next installment, Waiting for Morning when it comes out in January 2013.
I received this novel for free from Booksneeze.com and Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.