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Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
Cheyenne's Destiny by Raymond Cook is a Western story set on a remote Colorado ranch in the late 1890s. The story opens with the murder of the rancher, his wife, and a grown son by horse thieves. The rancher's 21-year-old unmarried daughter Cheyenne is seriously wounded in the encounter but survives through the fortuitous intervention of Carl, a handsome young cowboy recently discharged from the army, who happens to pass near the ranch as the attack occurs. Carl has nowhere special to go and owns nothing but his horse. Out of compassion for the young woman, now alone and unable to work the ranch while she heals from her ordeal, he stays to help. Will the tragedy that Cheyenne survived lead to a happy future for them both or will lawlessness threaten them once again? Without giving away the ending, let me say that it’s dramatic.
In Cheyenne's Destiny, Raymond Cook gives us a glimpse of life in the American West. It’s a time when people carry loaded weapons and use them, some for good, some for evil. Cheyenne is a hardworking, horse-loving, affectionate young woman who displays amazing resilience in the face of violence and loss. Like many young women, she wonders if she’ll ever cross paths with a decent man with whom she can start a family of her own. Through detailed and descriptive narrative, the story dives into both the mundane and the dramatic aspects of life faced by settlers, who must overcome the deadly trials of nature and man alike if they're to survive and prosper. Juxtaposed against the difficulties, challenges, and hardships are the simple daily joys of family life and the kindness and courage of neighbors, lawmen, doctors, and people of faith who come to each other’s aid despite the risks to their own lives. Though a bit slow-paced in places, the storyline blends historical settings with drama and romance to bring the Old West to life.