The Blue Hour

November 17, 2015
Votes: 1
Audience Adult
Word Count 100-120k (average/long)

Editing, Production, Marketing & Sales

Cover design by Mill City Press
Formatted by Mill City Press
Published Through Mill City Press

The Rundown

It’s 1861 in Springfield, Illinois, and 26 year-old Emily Wainwright is on the brink of settling into spinsterhood when she meets Samuel Todd. Enamored by his charisma and good looks, Emily is also drawn toward a shimmering possibility on the horizon . . . maybe it isn’t too late for her to have the husband and family she’s yearning for after all.

Emily’s dream shifts into high gear when Samuel proposes, but it doesn’t take long for her to discover the sharp edges beneath his smooth-talking exterior.  As the newlyweds follow Samuel’s plan to homestead in Oregon, Emily is increasingly distraught over her husband’s ability to be mean and controlling.

After Samuel dies, Emily knows it will be difficult to forge ahead alone, but she’s heartened by the idea of starting over. When she starts falling for farmhand Cole Walker, her second chance for a happy life expands into a second chance at sharing her life with someone . . . if she can allow herself to open up to love before it’s too late.

This novel is about second chances and the courage needed to take them.

There are times when the pace seems too slow, but it’s soon evident that these moments are reflecting the motion of the interior and exterior journeys underway. It also becomes clear that healing a wounded heart can be more terrifying than traveling into the geographic unknown. 

The most compelling aspects of The Blue Hour are not the vivid, expansive descriptions of life on the vast (and seemingly never-ending) Oregon Trail or the well-drawn characters who dance (and often trudge) between hardship and hope. Instead, the brightest lights burst forth from nuanced moments tucked throughout the story.

Like Emily’s first few moments alone after Samuel’s funeral. Contemplating life beyond her miserable marriage, Emily’s thoughts and actions draw us into the cacophony of emotions at work, and the strength she derives from taking small steps into her next chapter. “She could do this. She could eat this meal, drink this tea. She could do this one, small thing. And perhaps if she did enough small things, she’d figure out what to do with the rest of her life.”

The Recommendation

Read this book if you want to immerse yourself in the wilds of western America in the 1860s or get lost in the even denser wilderness of love and loss. 

Maybe this recommendation needs to be simplified even further – read this book. It’s exhilarating to root for a character who is trying to navigate uncharted territory and make the greatest discovery of all.


The Rating Reviewer Rating: 4.5 Stars

4.5 Stars (out of 5): Highly recommended. This book is a great read. It can hold its own against any traditionally published novel in its genre, and surpasses many.

The Pros & Cons

Pros: Characterization
Cons: Slow in Places

The Reviewer

Yvonne Lieblein

Yvonne Lieblein is a writer and creative producer who lives in the seaside village of Greenport, NY. Her debut novel with a songscape, The Wheelhouse Café, was published in December.

Visit Yvonne Lieblein‘s website.

Author’s Summary

Sometimes the world is kind enough to give you a second chance to live the life you’ve always wanted…but only if you’re brave enough to take the chance.

The year is 1861, a time when women are expected to be married by a certain age. For that reason, 26-year-old spinster Emily Wainwright has no reason to believe her sheltered life in Springfield, Illinois will ever change – until the charming Samuel Todd unexpectedly crosses her path.

Samuel yearns to homestead and start a family in Oregon, but to do so, he first needs to find a wife. Blinded by Samuel’s good looks, and grasping at her final chance to have a husband and children, Emily accepts his marriage proposal. However, Emily soon learns that Samuel is not the man she thought he was, and her marriage becomes a prison of coldness and cruelty, offering her no solace amidst the hardships of rural farm life. When Samuel dies and a second chance at love and happiness arrives in the form of farmhand Cole Walker, Emily must overcome her bitter past—or risk losing Cole and the life she has always dreamed of having.

Short Description

An epic tale of love, loss, and redemption, The Blue Hour traces one woman’s struggle to survive in the wilds of 1860s Oregon, as she simultaneously navigates the hidden wilderness of the human heart.


When you a get second chance, are you brave enough to take it?

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