Monday, December 14, 2015

Soda Springs by Carolyn Steele {Review}

Soda Springs by Carolyn Steele
Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 8th 2015 by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media 
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review 
My Rating: 5 Stars
When Tessa Darrow discovers her father burning his Civil War uniform, she has no idea how his secret will devastate their family and drive them from their home in North Carolina. The family journeys along the Oregon Trail until tragedy strikes, leaving Tessa and her father to build a new life in Soda Springs, Idaho. This sweeping story illuminates an oft-forgotten era in LDS Church history. Filled with life and passion, it's a thrilling read for history buffs and romantics alike.  


I often think when I read books, such as this, that I would love to live in a simpler time. These people are hardworking and life is full from sunup to sundown--busy with surviving and taking care of basic needs. Our time now is filled up with so many distractions, but in the 1860s, life was hard, yet very satisfying. 

Soda Springs captured me heart and soul. I loved reading about the sudden decision that Henry made to move his family from their "posh" plantation in North Carolina to Oregon and the heartbreaking tragedies that ensued because of that decision; I loved reading about the day-to-day life and the way Tessa grew up and learned to survive in an extremely small town in Idaho; I loved reading about Tessa's feelings, coming-of-age, and determination to make the best of life; and I loved the sometimes shocking surprises that pop up throughout. 

Tessa is in the midst of growing up and sometimes acts childish and sometimes very mature, which is typical. Her emotions can occasionally get the best of her, but for the most part, she's a very likable, generous, and kind soul. I love her relationship with her father, Henry, and Mrs. Holt, a kind, yet no-nonsense woman in town. In fact, Mrs. Holt is one of my favorite characters.

Spanning several years, Soda Springs tackles some tough topics, such as effects of the Civil War, religion, kooky characters, disease, and life on the frontier. I enjoyed it all and would recommend it to anyone who loves a good historical romance.

Content: no language; mild violence (disease, death, etc--not extremely graphic); mild religious elements (necessary to the story, but not preachy); mild romance (kissing). Clean!

Buy Links:
<a rel="nofollow" href="">Soda Springs</a><img src="" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />

 About the Author:
Born and raised in Utah, Carolyn Steele was introduced to western novels at a very young age by her grandfather, the son of a gold miner. She has been writing technical and marketing communications for most of her adult life. Her nonfiction articles have appeared in numerous national magazines. She earned her undergraduate degree in Communications from the University of Utah. Her first novel, Willow Springs, was published in 2014.


  1. Katie, I love your synopsis of this book. I love it, too. You've captured in a few paragraphs the essence of why this book is a good read.
    BTW, I have a lilac bush just like the one in your photo above. They are most intoxicating and beautiful.

    1. Susan, thank you! It is a good read and I appreciate your kind comments. That bush photo was taken in my backyard--love it! They smell soooo good.

  2. Katie, Thank you for this wonderful, detailed review! You hit upon everything that drove this story for me. The characters embedded themselves in my heart from the moment each revealed him/herself to me. Several of the situations were happy surprises that turned out to be historically accurate. This was a true joy to write--and I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

    1. Thank you so much! I did enjoy it. :) I appreciate you stopping by.